High School Students Explain Significance of Climate Change

On Saturday Oct. 27th, this young woman spoke to the threat and magnitude of climate change before a crowd at the week long Vigil to End Climate Silence in Boston’s Government Center. It would be three days before several elected officials would choose to follow suit, responding the the shocking destruction of Hurricane Sandy. On this election day, voters are still wondering where many candidates stand on this issue.

Recording by Susan R.

Update: Don’t miss this amazing essay, posted today on Climate Progress, from 16 year old climate activist and now Sandy survivor, Maya Faison.

“I am 16 years old and I am currently in my home in Laurelton, Queens.  It is day six with no heat, no power and no gas in my mom’s car to escape.
Trees are down all over my neighborhood and at night it is pitch dark, with only the moon as light. I feel paralyzed with cold.

…Our nation is in danger and my future is in danger.
This is the future I want: a country that is better prepared for climate and environmental disasters, and is working proactively to mitigate global warming. Just like we have fire drills in school, we need to have evacuation plans and disaster preparedness kits.  We must rely less on oil and more on alternative energy, and reduce carbon emissions by any means necessary. We need more preservation of natural resources and less consumption. We cannot continue to provide subsidies to oil and gas companies that are wreaking havoc on our earth.  Science matters, and we must educate the next generation on the realities of climate change so we are all working to promote a better, more sustainable future.”

~ Nuevaspora

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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.

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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

20 Arrested Protesting Mountain Top Removal

Dorian Williams, active in OB’s CASEJ working group, Students for a Just and Sustainable Future, 350.org, and now 350 MA, was arrested last night, along with about 19 others, after successfully shutting down a mountain top removal mine in West Virginia. The action was organized by RAMPS (Radical Action for Mountain People’s Survival), a nonviolent organization centered in the coal fields of West Virginia, and dedicated to ending all strip mining in Appalachia. These 20 people stopped production by using lockboxes to attach themselves to a giant rock truck, as a means of calling attention to the harms of strip mining and the damage it does to local communities, local ecosystems, and the global atmosphere.

Knowing Dorian personally, I can say that she is a passionate and hard working person who puts great thought into how to be a more responsible member of a global community, and is quite bright in all senses of the word. She is an optimist who believes that dedicated people can mobilize to make the world a better place. It might be easiest to write her and her cohort off as kids seeking a thrill, but I can vouch that at least one is a deeply conscientious adult responding to a dire situation. It’s a reality that might leave one looking a little harder at herself.

There is now a collection going out for their bail, but I’d like to take the “ask” a step further. Tell everyone you can think of that this is happening. Tell them why.

RAMPS site (w/info on the action)

RAMPS twitter

News of their arrest

Donate towards their bail.

~ nuevaspora

Summer Approaches; Things Are Heating Up

Hello everyone, our meetings have been a bit sparse but our people have been busy. It seems like a good time to mention some work being done in the area by groups with similar aims (and sometimes membership).

350 MA is in the works! For those who don’t know 350.org  is a nonprofit organization working to lower the concentration of  CO2 in the atmosphere to the safe threshold of 350 part per million (ppm). We are currently at about 392 ppm. The science for this is well established, but a little complex. I’ll try to describe it later in the week, but in the meantime you can checkout climate researcher Dr. James Hanson’s site, Wikipedia if you prefer multiple authors, or 350.org. I know some of the very dedicated folks involved in getting this off the ground, (some of them are regulars at CASEJ meetings), so it will be exciting to see what comes out of this!

Protest against fossil fuel industry influence on politics (Jan. 2012)

Side note: Some us tried to pass a proposal at the Occupy Boston GA back in February, which included a call for immediate action to reduce green house gas to the safe threshold of 350 ppm. People wouldn’t pass it until we reworded it to “below” the safe threshold. They didn’t want to play the edge when it came to something so important.

 

Members of Students for a Just and Stable Future, an active, student led, volunteer network “leading the way toward bold solutions to the climate crisis”, are about to disperse for the summer. However, their work and campaigns continue. Last year they helped lobby for a Green Economy Caucus in Massachusetts. This year they have focused on a campaign to end fossil fuel subsidies in 2013. (Sign their petition here). Several of these inspiring and dedicated young people will be working on a various community and environmental projects throughout the summer (and yes, we’d love updates!).

Meanwhile, many people involved in Occupy Boston, and from occupations all over, have converged in Chicago to protest at this year’s NATO summit. Reports from both mainstream and citizen journalists are painting a tense scene, with tensions rising between police and journalists. Protests in Montrial also ballooned this weekend with over 300 people arrested. On May 18th the government of Quebec enacted controversial Bill 78, reported to, among other things, levy heavy fines people involved in demonstrations of 50 or more who do not submit and receive approval for demonstration routs and times in advance. This have been criticized by many as an infringement of the citizens right to assemble. Meanwhile, the protests are reported to have begun covering more diverse issues. Will restrictions on the demonstrations of our neighbors (not to mention the reactions to them) have any impact on our own? Only time will tell.

Hello Boston! Welcome World!

Connect the Dots May 5th

This is the inaugural post from Occupy Boston’s Climate Action, Sustainability and Environmental Justice (CASEJ) working group. We are a 100% grass roots, all volunteer, consensus organized group, committed to providing space where Occupy & the 99% Movement and allies can come together to help create a more just and sustainable world. Individual posts are meant to foster thoughtful discussion and do not represent CASEJ as a whole. If you are interested in posting, our contact information can be found on our wiki page.

May Day Rally

We just concluded a busy week, going to the May Day rally organized by Occupy Boston, setting up a giant twister game on May 5th for 350.org’s international Connect the Dots, Climate Impacts Day campaign, and hosting our first Occupy Boston Community Gathering last night.

It’s also been a whirlwind week on the climate front. On May 1st, James Hansen, head of the NASSA Goddard Institute for Space Studies, sent e-mail to Warren Buffett, announcing that on May 5th he and others would use civil disobedience to stop Buffet’s BNSF coal trains. This was done in response to 350.org’s Connect the Dots campaign, as well as growing concern over coal exports. On May 5th, while the Heartland Institute was getting flack for an add campaign that likened people who accept climate research to mass murders, 13 individuals were arrested in Canada for making good on Dr. Hanson’s promise. Amongst those arrested was Nobel Peace Prize Laureate Dr. Mark Jacarrd, economics professor at Simon Fraser University.

Climate Twister for Connect the Dots (on a hand painted mat)

Are the tides really changing and how much time do we have? These questions loom as NASSA scientists report that spring has been starting earlier than researchers had predicted. Meanwhile, a recent report by the Civil Society Institute shows that the majority of Republican citizens now support improved efficiency and renewable energy. The study further reports that 83 percent of Americans (including 69% of republicans) said they would agree with the following:

“The time is now for a new, grassroots-driven politics to realize a renewable energy future. Congress is debating large public investments in energy and we need to take action to ensure that our taxpayer dollars support renewable energy– one that protects public health, promotes energy independence and the economic well being of all Americans.”

While that still falls short of 99%, it’s enough to pass a resolution at most GA’s. This challenges the common wisdom that partisan divides are creating the greatest barriers to a rapid transition to renewables. It also begs one to ask, who is blocking this?

Connect the Dots: High school students in Texas.
To see more check out 350.org