Hurricane Harvey, 2017: NOAA Environmental Visualization Laboratory, Public Domain
Hurricane Harvey’s wrath and destruction will remain with us for years to come. How we as a country rebuild after the storm – what regulations and safeguards we put in place to protect people, homes and business from the next epic storm can and should serve as guidelines as we live with climate change. Yet, if the Trump Administration’s environmental, energy and climate guidelines to date are any indication, we are heading in a dangerous direction.
We are pleased to share with you an original post by Morgan Statt, the Health & Safety Advocate at ConsumerSafety.org. Morgan’s post walks us through some of the environmental deregulations we have seen so far from the Trump Administration, and why these deregulation proposals lead not only to false hopes but potentially dangerous environmental and health impacts.
TRUMPS COAL PRIORITIES SKEWED AGAINST YOUR HEALTH
by Morgan Statt
Prior to Election Day 2017, Donald Trump assured America that he would work towards strengthening and growing the middle class through job creation and lower taxes. Now successfully in the Oval Office, the Trump Administration has proposed substantial deregulation efforts across many sections of the US economy, including in support of “rebuilding” the coal industry.
During Obama’s years in office, many industry regulations were instated with the rational that these were needed to protect both American’s health and the environment. If Trump’s proposed deregulations and focus on bringing back the coal mining industry indicate one thing, it’s that a crack has appeared in the Obama Administration’s foundation, built to ensure these protections. And it’s a crack that has the power to bring the [White] house down. Continue reading →
In 2017 “labels” seem to define us. People know “immediately” what we stand for, what we look like, what we believe and how we think, according to our label. We are: Republican, Democrat, Liberal, Conservative, urbanites, suburbanite, southerner, northerner, east coaster, west coaster, Midwesterners, Jewish, Muslim, religious, born again, atheist, rancher, farmer, fisherman…. These are only a handful of the many labels that are thrown around with authority…But, are we actually defined by our “labels”…?
The documentary, Rancher, Farmer, Fisherman turns labels upside down for ALL of us to clearly see and deeply understand. Our differences can be set aside, our passion and compassion for our planet and for one another can and does make us stronger. We can find ways to work together when we have a shared vision of what is at stake. Our Climate Mama community knows this intimately. We are so much more than one-dimensional versions of what others think we should be.
This special film is a tribute to people like Justin Knopf, a fifth-generation Kansas farmer revolutionizing industrial scale agriculture to rebuild the fertility, biodiversity and resilience of his soil, and Dusty Crary, a fourth-generation Montana rancher who forged alliances between cattlemen, federal agencies, hunters and environmental groups to protect the Rocky Mountain Front. Based on a book by best-selling author Miriam Horn, Rancher, Farmer, Fisherman was directed by Oscar nominee and Emmy winner Susan Froemke and Emmy winner John Hoffman, and narrated by award-winning journalist Tom Brokaw.
The individuals in the movie personify our ClimateMama motto, “Tell the truth, actions speak louder than words, and don’t be afraid.”Rancher, Farmer, Fisherman shows us that one person CAN truly make a difference.
Across the country, and around the world, many of our children have already headed back to the classroom. In the United States and Canada, Labor Day – the first Monday of September – is traditionally the last day of summer vacation for many of our children. As we start gathering our children’s school supplies and back to school clothing, we begin by searching shelves and closets to see what supplies are left over from last year, what school clothes still fit, and what we may need to replace or find. Our back to school travels often bring us to stores and malls, as we ready our children for their first day of the new school year.
Our friends and new partners at Generation 180 have a simple, yet powerful campaign called Keep it Cool, that we LOVE and which we know you and your kids will love too. As Climate Mamas and Papas, we are always looking for ways to help our children learn that every step of the way, we can make a difference. Lets help the businesses that we support and shop at – those that we already know have sustainability plans and climate solutions as part of their business models – save money and save energy too just by remembering to shut their door; something we remind our kids to do every time we leave our own homes……Generation 180 gives us an easy way to help ALL stores and businesses do their part for our planet and for their bottom line. Join us and learn more about the Keep it Cool campaign.
Make a Difference While Back to School Shopping!
by Susan Klees
As kids head off to school, many of us are rushing to our local stores to stock up on supplies. This is the second-busiest shopping season of the year, and it is also the hottest time to shop. Along with big sales, many stores prop open their doors to lure in customers with refreshing air conditioning.
While the cool air may feel good, this practice harms the environment. The average store wastes some 4,200 kWh of energy, which generates 2.2 tons of pollutants such as carbon dioxide into the environment when keeping their doors propped open during the summer. That’s the same amount of CO2 emitted by a diesel semi-truck driving from New York to Miami.
But there is an easy way that you can make a difference and encourage local stores to close their doors while you are out on the town back-to-school shopping. Our non-profit Generation 180 has created a campaign that enables environmentally conscious consumers to take action. Through Keep It Cool, you can easily and anonymously urge stores to close their doors and reduce pollution in your own community.
A Simple Campaign
Participating in Keep It Cool is simple: Just use Facebook Messenger on your smartphone to send a pinned store location to Generation 180 (read directions here or watch this video) noting whether the store has its doors open or closed. We will then reach out to the stores to recognize those that ‘keep it cool’ with their doors closed and educate those who are allowing energy to escape. A national campaign map tracks all the stores identified by consumers with doors open or closed.
Consumers support this change. We surveyed 1,500 millennials and 62 percent think that this practice is wasteful. Up to 25 percent are less likely to shop at retailers that leave their doors open.
Just creating awareness could go a long way toward reducing carbon emissions. If U.S. retailers maintained closed-door policies all summer, they could reduce pollution equivalent to cars driving 830 million.
At a time when many of us are feeling powerless about climate change, one of the quickest and least-expensive ways to cut carbon emissions is for people to make simple changes in their everyday lives. And our Keep It Cool campaign gives retailers the opportunity to do the right thing and showcase their green values. It is good for business, the community and the environment.
So, when you are strolling down Main Street, take the time to notice stores with their doors open or closed and join the Keep It Cool campaign to make a difference.
Susan Kleesis campaign director at Generation 180, a non-profit committed to advancing the transition to clean energy and supporting a cultural shift in energy awareness via original content, digitally enabled campaigns and an empowered volunteer network.
We are pleased to share this special post with you, by Canadian Climate Mama extraordinare Laura Sacks. Laura is a member of Citizens’ Climate Lobby Canada and a newly trained, Climate Reality leader. In this post, Laura shares her training experience and why she chose to train with the Climate Reality Project. We are sharing Laura’s post, with permission, as published by our Canadian partner, Below 2°C, co-founded by our Climate Reality friend and colleague, Rolly Montpellier. As well, Laura’s mentor at the June 2017 Climate Reality training in Washington State, is another dear friend of ClimateMama, Brian Ettling!
CLIMATE REALITY LEADER WANTS BETTER FUTURE FOR THE PLANET
“Thank you, Mom, for doing this crucially important work as a climate activist. Your recent training as a Climate Reality Leader is inspiring, and serves as a reminder of the imperative of taking action, no matter your age or place in life, on behalf of a better future for the planet.”
Kara Smith (Laura’s 21 year old daughter)
Climate Reality Leadership Corps
As a mother, I think about the future of my two daughters and other young people a lot – what kind of world are we going to leave them? This latest heat wave and rash of wildfires here in British Columbia are yet further examples of our climate crisis.
If we don’t resolve the root causes of human-caused climate change, we are leaving our children a world where climate disruption gets considerably worse. But I find hope in collectively working with others to solve this crisis – including building the political will for policies that will accelerate our transition to a low carbon future.
I recently had the privilege of attending Al Gore’s Climate Reality Leadership Training in Bellevue, Washington. I was selected as one of 35 Canadians, joining 800 people from 26 countries. This three day training at the end of June focused on the latest climate science, communication techniques, and ways to effectively collaborate with others to address the climate crisis.
One thing that was surprising was the collective buzz of positive energy in the room – people united in being proactive about the climate crisis. I expected to be overwhelmed by the large number of attendees, but it was quite the opposite. I was energized by all the interesting people I met at every line up for coffee or lunch. Everyone had a unique story that brought them there.
Rich Diversity of Participants
Attendees came from diverse backgrounds – peoples of colour, indigenous people, those who traveled from faraway places in Africa and Asia. I was also inspired by the large number of youth attendees who are striving to create a better world for their generation. I was thrilled to meet several teenagers who are plaintiffs in the Our Children’s Trust Lawsuit against the United States government. What struck me was that they were not only passionate and committed about the climate crisis, but also just ordinary teenagers.
Former U.S. Vice President Al Gore was prominently featured throughout the training. After all these years, he is still passionate, humble, and genuine in his quest to educate others about the climate crisis. His presentations were framed around three questions: “must we change, can we change, and will we change?” He answered the first two questions with a resounding “yes!” But the answer to the last question “will we change?” was left up to us to make happen at this pivotal time in history.
Al Gore moderated in-depth panel discussions on climate science and policy, climate change and health, and coalition building between different sectors such as business community, people of colour, and the labour movement.
Resistance Movement Against Trump Fossil Fuel Agenda
We learned about the self-organizing and rapidly growing resistance movement against Trump’s agenda. We heard from Washington’s governor Jay Inslee, who assured us that these are “great days and not dark days,” and described how he helped form a coalition of States committed to the Paris Agreement within hours of Trump announcing his intention to pull the USA out.
Other sessions emphasized communication techniques – such as telling our stories, public speaking tips, and connecting with diverse audiences over shared values. Participants also had the opportunity to get directly involved in a campaign to close a dirty coal plant.
As a Climate Reality Leader, we agree to complete 10 acts of leadership in our community each year. Many things I already do with Citizens’ Climate Lobby fit into that category, but I am interested in using this training as another means to reach out to parts of my community who aren’t actively engaged on the issue. I look forward to offering customized presentations based on Al Gore’s visually engaging slides to community groups who would like to be kept current about this pressing issue.
Ten years have passed since the screening of An Inconvenient Truth, and some of the impacts of our changing climate have been alarming. An Inconvenient Sequel: Truth to Power is showing in theaters across the USA and Canada. This will spur renewed public interest in the climate crisis and solutions, and so we will all have more opportunities to engage our communities on this issue. Let’s hope this spurs us all to action.
Laura Sacks heads up the Nelson – West Kootenay chapter of Citizens’ Climate Lobby and is a new Climate Reality Leader. You can contact her at email@example.com. Her article was first published in the CCL Canada Blog.
Applications are now being accepted for the next Climate Reality Training, scheduled for October 17-19, 2017 in Pittsburg, Pa.
Al Gore’s An Inconvenient Truth was released in the spring of 2006 and many of our lives were forever changed because of it. Eleven years later, An Inconvenient Sequel takes the stage in bookstores on July 25, in theaters with a limited release beginning July 27, and nationwide on August 4th. See the movie, read the book; they will inspire you and remind you that each of us can and must find our voices and speak “Truth to Power” – our children’s future and now depends on it.
Mr. Gore begins by telling us that: “At this point in the fight to solve the climate crisis, there are only three questions remaining:Must we change? Can we change? Will we change.” From where we sit, the only answers to all three must be YES. Yet, Mr. Gore reminds us that while the answers to the first two of these three questions is a resounding yes, the conclusion to the last question – will we change – remains a prediction.
In order for this final question to be answered with a resounding yes, we need to face the existential threats to our survival head on. We all need to act now – each of us in our own way. There is no one simple way forward and as we see it, this therefore is our greatest hope. Climate change is complicated, complex and deeply rooted. The answers and solutions will and must take a myriad of forms. As a result, there is and will be room for each of us to find a way to become involved in the Sustainability Revolution that Mr. Gore talks about in his new book. Mr. Gore helps us see this, and guides us on our journey forward.
As many of our Climate Mamas and Papas know, Mr. Gore and the Climate Reality Project are the reasons that ClimateMama exists. The Climate Reality training and the leaders I have met because of it are who and what have inspired and empowered me to create ClimateMama, to find and use my voice to speak out, and to take action on climate change.
I am so very honored to be included in Mr. Gore’s new book (see page 223 in the section on talking to children about climate change). Mr. Gore’s book and film are filled with hope. They are filled with reasons, people and actions that demonstrate that each of us has a role to play in the sustainability revolution that is taking hold the world over – in spite of the road blocks that “power’ is putting in our way.
The book ends with a different question then those found in the beginning, a final question to those who did help the world change. “How did you find the moral courage to change, boldly and quickly and save our future?” Mr. Gore reminds us: “The time for us to answer that question is now—by seeking the truth about the reality we are confronting, by using the power we all have to bring about the necessary and urgent changes, and by never forgetting that the will to change is itself a renewable resource.”
Mr. Gore has dedicated his new book to his children and his grandchildren. Each one of them knows that every day their father and grandfather is doing everything he can to make their future and now not only hopeful but possible. We know that each and every one of our Climate Mamas and Papas is doing the same thing, each of us in our own way.
For those of you with kids on Snapchat, we want to be the first to share this exciting promotion with you, so you can share it with your kids. Paramount Pictures and Participant Media have partnered with Snap Inc. for a first-to-market Snapchat promotion to give moviegoers under 18 a chance to see “An Inconvenient Sequel: Truth To Power” in theaters for free as soon as it opens. Snapchat users 18 and under will see the promotion populate in their Snapchat feed and be able to swipe up to redeem a code for free movie tickets, good through August 3, 2017. Each code is can be redeemed for two tickets. Ask your kids if they got the code!
With thanks and renewed hope,
P.S. Be inspired! Watch and listen to the original song created by One Republic for the film…share it with the kids in your life…
So, who is “minding the store” these days? For many of us, we have come to the realization that few people or organizations are actually minding our “collective store” – whether it’s our political systems, our industries, our health care system, our social and environmental justice policies and programs – too many decisions are being made strictly for reasons of profit and short-term gain.
So, we are thrilled to share with you that once again, we are joining the Safer Chemical’s Health Families “Mind the Store” Campaign and Week of Action, this week targeted at Albertsons. As background, in 2015, Safeway, the second largest grocery company in the country, merged with Albertsons and now the combined company operates under the name Albertsons. The company has 2,230 stores, 27 distribution facilities and 19 manufacturing plants with over 250,000 employees across 34 states and the District of Columbia.
When the Mind The Store campaign began in 2013, Safer Chemicals Healthy Families requested that Safeway develop a comprehensive plan to address the Hazardous 100+ chemicals in the products it sells. Four years later, the company (now Albertsons) has yet to take meaningful action for a comprehensive chemical policy and has received an “F” grade, the third lowest grade of any retailer evaluated. Albertsons has no public safer chemicals policy in place. While the company has reported some progress in reducing the use of BPA in canned foods, it has not disclosed a timeframe or plan for completely eliminating and safely substituting BPA in canned foods.
This week’s Campaign is demanding that Albertsons, and its subsidiaries assume it’s rightful place as an industry leader, and stop selling products containing or packaged with toxic chemicals such as lead, formaldehyde, parabens, and BPA. The campaign is calling on the supermarket giant to announce a safer chemicals policy to reduce and eliminate toxic chemicals, as Walmart, Target and other retailers have done.
The campaign is supported by new research revealing toxic chemicals in two dozen products sold by Albertsons, including lead in the handles of summer barbeque basting and cleaning brushes, formaldehyde releasers, parabens, fragrance and other toxic chemicals in personal care and cleaning products.
“This summer, it’s time for Albertsons to turn up the heat on toxic chemicals,” said Mike Schade, Mind the Store Campaign Director of Safer Chemicals, Healthy Families. “As one of the nation’s largest retailers, Albertsons should wield its market power to drive dangerous chemicals out of products. If retailers like Walmart and Target can do it, so can Albertsons.”
You may be wondering, what do “safer chemicals” have to do with climate change? A simple answer is that many of hazardous chemicals are derived from petrochemicals (fossil fuels). More complicated but equally relevant to me is the fact that my children and I seem to be part of a big “experiment” and at the mercy of companies that aren’t really sure “how harmful” their products are, but are willing to bargain with my health and that of my children while we all wait to find out. This same attitude and lack of adherence to the precautionary principal is ingrained in the production, distribution and transportation of fossil fuels and “big agriculture” products where the “experiment” not only involves my children’s health but that of our planet’s as well.
We need to work together to support campaigns, hopes, ideas and programs across a broad spectrum of issue areas and disciplines. Our common goals include a safe, healthy and hopeful future and now for our children. Together we can and will speak truth to power, and make sure that our children, their future and their now are front and center.
P.S. Please check out the Safer Chemicals Healthy Families Mind the Store Campaign page and consider getting involved at your neighborhood store. Drop off a letter, share flyers with your family and friends; together we can and will make our world a safer place for our children.
Should I go to jail for my convictions? What will my children think, who will look after them while I’m in jail? Questions few of us actually will ever face but ones that a growing number of people are considering as we confront new and powerful assaults to our freedoms, our bodies, our children and our mother earth. Our dear friend and Climate Mama extraordinaire, Pramilla Malick, mother of 4 has steeled herself to report for jail on July 14, 2017, to raise attention to the crisis we face, and to demand justice for her children and for ours.
As Climate Mamas and Papas, we recognize and understand the urgency of the crisis we face because of climate change. Yet, we also recognize that many of our friends, our families and our colleagues do not understand or choose not to see that our collective “house is on fire” and that the fire department not only is NO WHERE in sight, it hasn’t even been called. While more and more people anecdotally do see and feel climate change, the immediacy of the problem is often beyond comprehension and the perceived ability to take meaningful action seems too hard to take or too removed from our abilities to act.
We want to share a brief account of the back-story to Pramilla’s conviction and sentencing; we will be sharing a longer version in the weeks to come. Pramilla is a busy mother of four, who works in the information technology sector and has always been active in her community. But in 2011, when a gas compressor station was being built in her New York town, she not only got curious she took action. Pramilla began speaking out, insisting on facts about what this would mean to the health and welfare of families living near the compressor station. Pramilla organized her community to demand answers too. She helped her neighbors have their voices heard in federal court in Washington DC and she has selflessly helped other towns and neighborhoods around the country learn more about the health and environmental impacts of gas infrastructure. Pramilla shows us daily how each of us can make a difference. She embodies our Climate Mama motto: “Tell the truth, actions speak louder then words, and don’t be afraid.”
The Minisink, NY compressor station was the “tip of the iceberg” for Pramilla and her neighbors, and for many communities around the country as well. This New York compressor station has resulted in the building of pipelines and also, in this case, of one of the largest gas power plants in New York State. The CPV fracked gas power plant (the gas to run the plant will come from fracking fields in Pennsylvania) is a 650 megawatt plant. During Pramilla’s trial, esteemed Cornell scientists Bob Howarth and Tony Ingraffea testified to the imminent harms this power plant would cause. You can listen to their press conference here.
There are close to 200 other large fracked gas fired power plants proposed or under construction in the United States; a disaster for our climate and our health, as more and more details are emerging on the impact of emissions from these plants, and on the health impacts for our children, our livestock, our farms and us.
So, while New York State is being touted as a “climate hero” state in fact it is in the final stages of construction of one of the biggest fracked gas fired power plants in the country, with a second large gas power plant that just broke ground last week. Clearly, energy policy and climate policy are at odds in New York. Pramilla along with a small group of determined people from the Wawayanda area in Orange County New York, are trying to raise this alarm and wake people up to these facts. This particular story is one full of intrigue and unexpected twists and turns. This complicated and massive power plant was approved by a small town planning board. Many 9/11 responders who settled in this area after the twin towers attack are now being assaulted again. A senior aide to Governor Cuomo is caught up in a bribery case that involves this power plant; and the list goes on.
As Pramilla prepares to go to jail, these are her thoughts: “Since I was young whenever I saw a movie about prison I was always afraid of being in one. I had a premonition that I would one day be in one for some erroneous reason, like being in the wrong place at the wrong time. So my premonition is about to come true. I am not as brave as James Cromwell. I am a bit nervous. But I know it was necessary to get peoples attention to the magnitude of this issue. For now the most important thing to do is to come on Friday (July 14th) and use our 7 days sacrifice to alert your friends and neighbors everywhere about this issue.”
Please join us and follow along. You can find more information on Facebook here, and here. If you can, be present on July 14th and join Pramilla on her “walk” to jail. Help us share this story with your friends and family. We are facing the greatest challenge that any of us will every face, and we need to begin acting like there is an emergency. Pramilla is showing us the way; leading with dignity, determination and grace.
Sending our thanks, love and support to all the Climate Mamas and Papas around the country and the world who are on guard and standing strong for us all.
Along our ClimateMama journey we are honored and humbled to have the opportunity to meet so many inspiring Climate Mamas and Papas from across the country and around the world. One of these very special Climate Mamas is Heidi Cody. Heidi is a Washington State Climate Mama extraordinare who, through her art and activism, is helping climate campaigns and campaigners across the USA engage, educate and empower people to learn more about the climate crisis and to take action – at the same time inspiring and building climate hope. No campaign is too big, or to small. Whether you are part of a large organization, or simply want to share a project your local PTA or community group is planning, Climate Toothpaste could be the perfect platform for you! Learn more as Heidi, in her own words, introducing us to her Climate Toothpaste project. Share this post with the kids in your life. Show them how each of us can use our talents and our passions to do good and to help others do good too. Do you know an artist that is using their art for good? We’d love to share his or her story with our ClimateMama community!
Climate Toothpaste: An Introduction
I’d like to introduce you to my project Climate Toothpaste. I’m an artist and designer, and a climate activist. Plus I have a wonderful child. I just can’t do all of those things well. And, I want to help more climate groups than I can. So, I fused my art with my activism, and created Climate Toothpaste.
Wait a minute. Climate TOOTHPASTE?! Yes. It’s NOT toothpaste. (Sorry.) It’s a mass-produced art object: a real toothpaste box, covered with information about climate change. It’s eye-popping, and it sparks conversations about climate. You can’t put a price on starting conversations about climate change.
As the final school bell rings to mark the end of the school year and the real start to summer vacation – thoughts of family holidays at the beach, the mountains, hiking, camping and new adventures, enter our minds and our conversations. But as Climate Mamas and Papas, we also are well aware that traveling can also weigh heavy on our planet and have significant climate impacts. Thought and preparation in advance of our travels can lessen the load, create learning opportunities, and make our vacations more memorable and fun! Our friends from Change My Footprint have shared some great travel tips with us and we are so very pleased to share them with you.
With the holiday season upon us, we find ourselves thinking about our next travel destination. But vacations often come with a heavy footprint on our planet…so, can we plan for this? In fact we can! Not only can we travel lighter, there are many things we can do that also help us save money at the same time.
Use e-tickets for everything: Why print your train or flight tickets? No need to waste that paper. Use a digital ticket instead. Most of our phones now have apps to help us store and keep our tickets with us, readily accessible at all times. E-tickets are often cheaper than paper tickets and e-tickets are hard to lose as well!
Driving vacations: Many of us drive to our holiday destinations. Especially on long drives, there is a lot of money and a huge footprint to save. To begin with, before you leave, make sure your tires are properly inflated. Your gas mileage will improve when your tires have to right amount of air in them. Continue reading →
The third week of June is filled with many monumental moments and observances that remind us to think, listen, learn and connect the dots between our planet and our actions.
In the United States, the third week of June is Pollinator week – which among many concepts, reminds us that as we live climate change, the lives of critical pollinators are increasingly being threatened, potentially impacting and imperiling our food supply, our future and now. Around the world, World Refugee Day is held on June 20th. This solemn day connects so many dots, reminding us that 10’s of thousands of families around the world are being forced to flee their homes due to armed conflict, generalized violence, or persecution based on race, religion or nationality. Increasingly, we are also seeing “climate refugees” as the results of extreme weather disasters and deteriorating ecological conditions force more and more people to seek refuge far from home.
The summer solstice, celebrated on June 21st is both the longest day and the shortest night of the year, as well as the “technical” beginning of summer. For those of us who study climate change, it is an opportunity to remind ourselves how our planet’s formal “seasonal changes,” are being altered as our heavy footprints impact our planet’s ecosystems and throw mother nature “off balance.”
This solstice, we at ClimateMama, were honored to partner with One World One Love, to build on the awareness of this impactful week, by asking people around the world to light candles to honor our planet and connects the dots between climate change and refugees. We were thrilled to see pictures sent in from all over the world, from Maryland to Bangladesh, from Vancouver to India, from the United Kingdom to Northern Ireland, and from New Jersey to Washington DC, to name just a few. It’s not to late to add your photos; take one with the kids in your life and post the photo on your social media with the hashtag #1world1climate – remember to tell us what city you are posting from!
And, in case you missed it, take some time to sit down with the kids in our life and watch the Years of Living Dangerously episode on climate change and refugees. According to the UN Refugee Agency, over 25 million people are forced to leave their homes due to disasters every year. Sadly, as our world continues to be kept out of balance, and as we all live climate change, the world refugee crisis will continue to grow. How we help manage this crisis, is up to us. Here is a short preview of this episode.