Climate Silence…

I was just down town to thank the folks at the Vigil to End Climate Silence, as they wrapped things up in anticipation of Hurricane Sandy. A couple blocks away from Government Center, the water was nearly level with the doc. With a surge and high waves anticipated, the cars parked a few feet away might be in for a doozy of a flood. For now, the vigil will continue unofficially. Sage and Abe are still down at Government Center with an Occupod.  (It looks like a covered wagon for a bike.) On one side there is a banner that reads “Denial is Not an Energy Policy” and on the other a quote from Henry David Thoreau, “What’s the use of a fine house if you haven’t got a tolerable planet to put it on”. Let’s wish them and everyone along the east coast well.

So, what are people talking about when they say “climate silence”, and why are they so worked up? Besides, hasn’t it always been this way?

First, let’s address why this is an issue. The climate is changing. Take oh so topical Sandy, for example. This is a very unusual storm but does that really have anything to do with climate? The long answer gets a little harry (but if you have the time please check out the links below). The short of it seems to be that higher ocean temperatures add energy to hurricanes and the documented increase in sea levels makes the associated flooding worse. Both are expected to increase with climate change. To put it more eloquently consider this quote from Dr. Kevin Trenberth at the US National Center for Atmospheric Research:

“The answer to the oft-asked question of whether an event is caused by climate change is that it is the wrong question. All weather events are affected by climate change because the environment in which they occur is warmer and moister than it used to be….”

Today, it is flying all over the internet. However that discussion is not happening at the national level. At the national level things are getting quieter and this is rather curious. That is because, to answer that second question, it really hasn’t always been this way.

Its no less curious because there is now general agreement in the scientific community that this is happening, that it’s the result of our own carbon emissions, and it is a significant threat to us.

~ nuevaspora

Vigil in the news:

Metro Desk

WUBR

To read more about the political silence read:

http://thinkprogress.org/climate/2012/10/22/1057251/will-this-be-the-first-time-the-debates-are-silent-on-climate-since-1984/

To find our more about climate change and Sandy, check out:

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/10/29/hurricane-sandy-climate-change_n_2038859.html

http://www.motherjones.com/environment/2012/10/hurricane-sandy-climate-science

http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/ezra-klein/wp/2012/10/29/yes-hurricane-sandy-is-a-good-reason-to-worry-about-climate-change/

http://thinkprogress.org/climate/2012/10/28/1101241/cnn-bans-term-frankenstorm-but-its-a-good-metaphor-for-warming-driven-monster-largest-hurricane-in-atlantic-history/

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Update: Vigil to end Today at Noon

This just in from Vanessa of Better Future Project and 350MA, re Hurricane Sandy and the Vigil:

Hello all,

After careful consideration, we have decided that the best course of action at this point is to end the Vigil for Climate Silence at noon today, Monday. This storm is predicted to cause dangerous winds, disruptive flooding and power outages and the public transit system may not remain open through the storm. We feel that safety of participants and making sure people don’t get stranded downtown without a way to get home is more important than sticking it out.

Thanks to the people who came out this morning and those who planned to come in later. Thanks to the folks who made it through last night’s night shift. See this great story about the Vigil from WBUR!

We should all feel proud of what we have accomplished in the last week and move forward with resolve and energized for our next effort.   Thank you to all who participated.

We have a ton of video footage and photos that we will be posting in the coming day. Please send any stories, photos and videos to photos@350ma.org.

This storm is further evidence of what we are facing as a result of climate change and why we need to make sure it is part of the public debate. Please take this opportunity to communicate this in the coming days.   Onward!

Vanessa

Update on Vigil & Hurricane Sandy

We just got this update on the Vigil to End Climate Silence from Marla. Please let people know that they are out there in the rain, working to break the #ClimateSilence.

Message:

Vigil is on. Playing it by ear. We will update with any changes at 350ma.org/vigil on the 350 Massachusetts facebook page and the vigil event page and via twitter @350Mass and @marlamarcum and @BetterFuturePro.

We have use of Old West Church (where we used to gather for CASEJ meetings at 131 Cambridge Street, Boston, just down the street). People can bring a change of clothes and leave them in the church if they like so they can change into dry clothes after their shifts.

Please be in touch with me, Marla Marcum, if you have questions: marla.marcum@gmail.com

If you cannot join us, please consider committing to be a virtual vigiler by spreading the word that we are out there on social media, calling the Globe News Desk, calling amd emailing other news outlets’ tip lines.

This part of the vigil will be worth the discomfort if we can really show the world that climate silence is an urgent problem that deserves our attention and our voices… Perhaps especially durimg a hurricane (but we WILL NOT endanger people or ask anybody to do anything they think is dangerous)
-Marla

An Update on the Vigil to End Climate Silence

Posted by Occupy Boston:

In Boston’s Government Center, several people are gathered it the midst of a week long vigil through which they are seeking to break what has been popularly termed “Climate Silence”. According to several reports, for the first time in 20 years the presidential debates have not had any direct mention of climate change. (3rd parties, as always, not included.) The Massachusetts senatorial candidates have also been hesitant to say much directly about the climate.

The vigil was spear-headed by Better Future Project, Students for a Just and Stable Future, and 350MA. The later is a local chapter of the 350.org movement, working to build grassroots coalitions that will bring the levels of CO2 in the atmosphere down to the safety threshold of 350 parts per million. (This means that out of every 1 million particles in the atmosphere, 350 are CO2). Anything above can cause problematic warming. We are currently at about 392 ppm.

Read More

 

Vigil to end Climate Silence: Day 1 & 2

Vanessa from 350MA sent updates for days one and two! First, for those interested, a schedule . The vigil is down in Boston’s Government Center (near the identically named T stop) and it has included people from 350MA, Students for a Just and Stable Future, Occupy Boston and more. All are welcome to sign up for a shift at 350MA site or just head down with a home made sign and let the world know were they stand…

350MA

Schedule

The vigil will take place around the clock from 10/23 at 5:30pm to 10/30 at noon.  Shifts will last on average 3 hours long.

Every day at noon and 6pm — speak out forums (no 6pm speak outs on October 23rd, 27th, 28th and 30th as rallies will be taking place instead).  All are invited to come speak out about why we need to End the Silence on Climate Change.

Every day, time TBA — faith portions of the vigil (check back soon for exact times).

Tuesday Oct. 23rd — Kick-Off Rally at 5:30pm.
Speakers will start at 5:30pm but we encourage people to start gathering at 5pm so we have a crowd during the rush hour traffic. We’ll have Shift Captain training there at 7:00pm – all are welcome.

Saturday Oct. 27th — Youth Rally from 3 to 4pm, Family Time from 4 to 6pm.
We encourage kids (and parents) coming for Family Time to come in Halloween costumes!

Sunday, Oct 28th — Rally with Bill McKibben starting at 5:30pm.

Tuesday, October 30th — Closing Rally at Noon, Walking/Biking March to Debate.

Day 1

Kick-Off for Vigil to End Climate Silence

50 people came out to Vigil to End Climate Silence at Government Center in Boston last night, October 23rd.   The Vigil was kicked-off by rousing speeches by special guest Gus Speth, BU Public Health Professor Richard Clapp, and Better Future Project Executive Director Craig Altemose.  Gus Speth, author and current professor at Vermont Law School, and whose positions have included Chairman of the U.S. Council on Environmental Quality under Bill Clinton, Keystone XL protester/arrestee, and founder of Natural Resources Defense Council, joined the vigil on the day his 6th grandchild was born.

Reverend Reebee Girash led the group in a grounding meditation, Marla Marcum led the group in singing “Gentle Angry People” and Dean Stevens in other songs.

Many passersby stopped to talk to vigillers, signed the guest book, expressed appreciation and pledged to return later this week.  Words were exchanged in Spanish and Swahili and someone gave the group $20 to buy coffee.

Around 10pm, a family from Kenya emerged from the T at Government Center and made a b-line to participants of the Vigil.  They excitedly shared that they volunteer for 350.org at home and were thrilled to meet Americans standing up to address the climate crisis.

Vigil Night Shift

By midnight Lisa Purdy, Ben Thompson, Dorian Williams, Anna Lello-Smith and her mom, Denise Lello, John Griese, Roman Madaus, Marla Marcum, and one other settled in for a cold, but dry, 6 hour long night shift.  Bonnie Cockman arrived at 6am this morning to relieve them and to start the first shift of day 2.

Between 5:30pm and 6am this morning, the Brown and Warren Campaigns had already gotten 5 phone calls from the Vigil to urge them to end their climate silence during the last debate on October 30th.

More to come!

Vanessa for the Vigillers!

Day 2

We are the leaders we have been waiting for!  45 people participated in the 2nd day of the vigil!  It was our first full 24 hour day.

1) From Day 2 Vigil participant Bill Holland:

8AM...

“I arrived about 7:45am,  joining the three people who had been there for the previous shift.  Several other people showed up and while all seven of us were there we called the Warren and Brown offices.  As the 8:00 shift got underway we had five vigilers.  We were six by 9:00am.  Three people walked up toward the T entrance and held signs while two of us held up the “Denial Is Not an Energy Policy” sign next to the main vigil banner.  We called out “Good morning” to people who came near and received supportive responses.  A couple people showed particular interest and we invited them to sign the guest book, which they did.  Several people particularly acknowledged us for being there.  Charley took over as Shift Captain at 9:00.  All in all it was an hour well spent.”

Remember that everyone of your presence counts!  We are so completely grateful for those who have stood out already and can’t wait for everyone else to join.

2) Every group of vigilers yesterday ended their shift by calling the Campaign Headquarters of Elizabeth Warren and Scott Brown introduced themselves and said:

” I am here with (#) other people participating in the weeklong, round-the-clock Vigil to End Climate Silence on climate change.

Climate change is the single most urgent threat to our future, to national security, and to the stability of our world.  Despite this, our elected leaders and those who seek office have remained silent on the issue.  We, as voters in the Commonwealth of MA, ask that Scott Brown/Elizabeth Warren inform the public about their position on climate change and lay out a concrete plan for taking leadership to address it.  We ask them to make this a central part of the October 30th debate, even if the moderator does not ask about it.

What do we want?

ALL: “Break the Climate Silence!”  Thank you for your time.”

Vigil day 2 call campaigns

3) Another highlight for the day 2:  Karl Thidemann of Somerville Climate Action made and brought a pecan pie! Bring food if you want!  Thank you Karl!  Others, please feel free to bring by some food for vigilers.

8PM Shift

4) Don’t forget to submit questions to WBUR  ( feedback@wgbh.org) and John King of CNN http://www.cnn.com/feedback/forms/form5.html?118, who will be moderating the last MA senate race debate next Tuesday night 10/30!

5) Finally, check out this incredible “Do the Math” wrap made by Shea Riester, Divestment Coordinator at Better Future Project.  Check it out!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Xeg9PABdj_g

Gratefully yours,

Vanessa for 350 Massachusetts!

Fact Check: Time to End Climate Silence

The Vigil to End Climate Silence kicked off this evening in Boston’s Government Center. People from all walks of life will be calling for an end to the political silence over climate change. This election year, it was put on the back burner while politicians focused on more pressing matters of the economy and foreign policy. This seems reasonable, so long as one ignores three, apparently inconvenient, things:

1) There is general scientific consensus that the climate is changing right now, that it is affecting us right now, and it will be much easier to deal with now than later.

“However, even with an 80 per cent emissions cut, damages will be large: any impact that occurs below a temperature rise of 1 °C (Figs. 1 and 2) is likely to be unavoidable, even under the most stringent mitigative action. Residual damage will be great unless we invest in adaptation now. Much of the damage could be avoided by adaptation, but again, this would require a much larger effort than is currently planned.”

M Parry, J Palutikof, C Hanson, J Lowe

Nature Reports Climate Change 2008

http://www.nature.com/climate/2008/0806/full/climate.2008.50.html

“ …we can state, with a high degree of confidence, that extreme anomalies such as those in Texas and Oklahoma in 2011 and Moscow in 2010 were a consequence of global warming because their likelihood in the absence of global warming was exceedingly small.”

– J Hansen, M Sato, R Ruedy

Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the USA 2012

http://www.pnas.org/content/early/2012/07/30/1205276109.abstract

“The American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) has reaffirmed the position of its Board of Directors and the leaders of 18 respected organizations, who concluded based on multiple lines of scientific evidence that global climate change caused by human activities is now underway, and it is a growing threat to society.”

–  American Association For the Advancement of Science 2009

http://www.aaas.org/news/releases/2009/1204climate_statement.shtml

2) A neat separation between climate change issues and economic issues is vanishing. [Check out the sources above]

3) The partition between climate change issues and foreign policy issues is predicted to crumble.

http://thinkprogress.org/climate/2012/10/19/1047081/hillary-clinton-on-energy-and-foreign-policy-we-need-to-address-the-very-real-threat-of-climate-change/

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/renee-parsons/climate-change-national-security_b_1929398.html

http://www.defense.gov/news/newsarticle.aspx?id=116192

Gus Speth (who’s many hats have included Vermont Law School Professor of Law, Chairman of the U.S. Council on Environmental Quality, and Keystone XL protester/arrestee) gave a rousing speech, followed by another fantastic one by Craig Altemose of Better Future Project to a small but dedicated crowd of 40 or so people. The vigil was organized by 350MA,  Students for a Just and Stable Future and several other local organizations. The gathering included organizers from Occupy Boston and Veterans for Peace. There are stalwart folks out there as I write this tonight, keeping vigil and stubbornly working to break the silence. They will be there throughout the week and I am sure they would love company.

Link: 350ma.org/vigil 

Tweet: #climatesilence