Archive for July, 2015
Read this: Having been born in CA, I have often been proud when CA is credited with setting the standards on many environmental fronts, but at least I definitely know that NY isn’t the leader on these issues. Obviously, this is a ridiculous competitive thing, started when I was young. It’s like rooting for a favorite team and somehow, it remains in my subconscious. I can remember feeling like we won when CA passed NY as the most populous state. Talk about stupidity! What should matter, environmentally, is that some state gets it right and others may soon follow. Well, this short article from The Daily KOS describes one environmental battle where NY seems to have stepped into the leadership role. Kudos to New York. The “state of New York has officially banned fracking within its boundaries.” Time for CA and the rest of the US to quickly follow its’ lead. This is not a game and if we don’t do the right and timely thing, there can only be losers.
Read this: The article in the link below, by The Sierra Club, discusses how “efforts to solve the climate crisis are unleashing a wave of innovation, entrepreneurialism and economic opportunity in the private sector”. Leadership and investment are pushing various movements toward alternative energies. “The White House and The Sierra Club Foundation agree that to tackle the climate crisis we need to transition the global economy to a clean energy future, and make fossil fuels something relegated to the history books.” Read more below.
Bernie’s Solar Act of 2015
| Sign the petition: Solar energy is a rapidly expanding part of our move toward renewable energy. This petition, created by Credo, is attempting to gain support for Sen. Bernie Sanders’ Low Income Solar Act of 2015, which has been recently submitted in the Senate. “Today, solar energy is more affordable than it’s ever been, and is now the fastest growing source of energy in the U.S. But it’s still out of reach for a large percentage of Americans who can’t afford the cost of installation, can’t qualify for financing, or who are renters and don’t have appropriate rooftop access to install solar panels.” His bill takes targets the obstacles faced by the poor, renters, etc. It will “take direct aim at this problem by directly issuing grants for solar installation to low income homeowners with suitable rooftops, while connecting other households, like renters, with alternatives like community solar gardens which offer solar power access through a shared solar system.” Please sign the petition.Today, out of the 645,000 homes and businesses with rooftop solar panels, less than 5 percent are households earning less than $40,000.
Read this: This article in The Nation by Brendan Fischer and Mary Bottari exposes a recent expansion of tactics by the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC). I don’t like ALEC and feel its’ very existence is a plague on democracy very effectively created by oligarchs in the US as well as internationally. As the website ALEC Exposed says “Through the corporate-funded American Legislative Exchange Council, global corporations and state politicians vote behind closed doors to try to rewrite state laws that govern your rights. These so-called ‘model bills’ reach into almost every area of American life and often directly benefit huge corporations. In ALEC’s own words, corporations have ‘a VOICE and a VOTE’ on specific changes to the law that are then proposed in your state. DO YOU?” Recently local communities like Seattle, WA have flexed their democratic muscles in new ways, like attempting to change minimum wage laws at the local level. ALEC has looked for a way to counter such local efforts, regardless of the issue (wages, pollution, etc.). And so the American City County Exchange (ACCE) was created. “ACCE is now grooming a farm team of corporate-friendly politicians and equipping them with the tools to promote special-interest bills at the local level.” The director is Jon Russell and “part of his pitch as ACCE director involves convincing other local officials to give up their ability to protect their constituents’ health and economic well-being.”There are many reasons to fight ALEC and now its’ little brother ACCE. Here is one example from the article below: “ALEC has … promoted the Living Wage Mandate Preemption Act, a model bill that blocks local governments from raising the wage and has been enacted in recent years in Indiana, Mississippi, and Michigan. And ALEC legislators have supported bills in twelve states to preempt local paid sick day ordinances, most recently in Oklahoma, Alabama, and Michigan.”
Read this: The year 2014 ended up being rated as the hottest year ever recorded. But records are made to be broken and the “Earth dialed the heat up in June, smashing warm temperature records for both the month and the first half of the year.” At a time when actions and policies are needed by governments all over the world we instead are stuck trying to agree that it even exists, much less that man is the primary cause. “Off-the-charts heat is “getting to be a monthly thing,” said Jessica Blunden, a climate scientist for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. June was the fourth month of 2015 that set a record, she said. ‘There is almost no way that 2015 isn’t going to be the warmest on record,’ she added.” Look over the various information in this article from The Huffington Post and wonder where we are going when the environmental issues in the Senate are controlled by a climate change denier like Jim Inhofe (R-Okla.).
Sign the petition: One of the most disgusting tools used by our congressional representatives is the policy rider that seeks to undo or block an unrelated bill by tying it to another popular bill, often a spending bill needed for some part of government to simply continue. This is a favorite of the most cynical members of congress. Environmental policy bills are a very popular target for this exact purpose. Recently “the Senate Appropriations Committee has voted out the FY2016 environmental spending bill, S.1645—and it’s riddled with anti-environmental policy riders that seek to undo or block protections for clean air, clean water and wildlife. The Senate has not yet scheduled a date for floor votes on the bill.” This article and petition by EARTHJUSTICE identifies many specific “draconian cuts to the budgets of the EPA and other agencies that the FY2016 environmental spending bill contains”. Read and then please sign the petition asking “your senator to vote NO on the FY2016 environmental spending bill and keep anti-environmental riders out of budget and spending bills.”
Read this: Ever wonder how Ronald Reagan could have had such an overwhelming effect on the U.S. and for that matter the world. This article in in The Guardian by Dean Baker is a good brief overview. People seem to need an idol to give an idea real power. “Reagan helped to put a caricature of politics at the centre of the national debate and it remains there to this day.” He has become godlike and proven to be enormously effective. The differences in perceptions between right and left are pretty simple. Basically “progressives trust the government to make key decisions on production and distribution, while conservatives trust the market.” Amazingly, almost by default, the right has been able to effectively control the conversation as if it were gospel. As Baker says here, the “right has no greater commitment to the market than the left” but incredibly “progressives are so foolish as to accept this framing.” Progressives are either silent or go along with far to much of the right wing dialogue and in the process they have allowed the entire government to follow the false god of Reaganomics. As Dean says, “it seems that progressives have taken a pledge to be the Washington Generals of national politics. The policies that have led to the most massive upward redistribution of income in the history of the world go largely unchallenged, while we argue endlessly over the Reagan-Bush tax breaks to the rich.” Read the whole article below.
|California Water||Read this: “About 20 percent of the groundwater that Californians rely on to keep their taps flowing carries high concentrations of contaminants like arsenic, uranium, and nitrate.” How’s that for a shocker? A “ten-year US Geological Survey study of 11,000 public-water wells across the state” The findings were not reassuring as “naturally occurring trace elements like arsenic, manganese, and uranium turned up at high levels much more commonly than did agriculture-related chemicals like nitrate.” As you would expect, different areas within California have different problems, but high readings of chemicals such as these are very disturbing. Read this short article by Tom Philpott of Mother Jones to get more details.http://www.motherjones.com/tom-philpott/2015/07/california-groundwater-not-just-vanishing-also-widely-contaminated|