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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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

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

Update on 20 arrested at Hobet 45 coal mining complex

Many updates have been filtering in, mostly through email. We have been told that the 20 arrested for shutting down Hobet  mine in Lincoln County, West Virginia are still in jail and in the process of raising funds for a bail set at $25,000 each. Other information is trickling through, some very serious. For the moment such stories will not be passed along as they deserve more than “telephone style” reports.

Instead, I would encourage people to read Sue Sturgis’ brief article in Facing South (for The Institute of Southern Studies). She discusses a mounting body of research associating strip mining with cancer, birth defects, and other serious illnesses amongst those living in the area, and the recently introduced H.R. 5959 (the ACHE Act) that would place a legal moratorium on mountain top removal coal mining.

In the mean time organizers are trying to raise money for the 20 protesters being held.

Sturgis’ Article

To donate to the bail fund: http://rampscampaign.org/

Dorian Williams (in blue) with others protesting mountain top removal at Hobet 45

~ Nuevaspora

Benny Benassi, “Eco-Magnation” & Climate Reality

The three videos below, though seemingly unrelated, bear a bizarre connection to each other. Stranger still, our fate may depend upon our ability to understand this. They are presented here in the order of most to least viewed.

The first video may not be safe for work, but bears such a close resemblance to the next that it must be considered as a possible source of artistic, or at least marketing, inspiration. Take note of the shot of the woman with the drill about one minute in.

The second video is a GE add for clean coal set to 16 tons, and tells us that, “harnessing the power of coal is looking more beautiful everyday”. In contrast to Benny Benassi they use both shirtless male and female models to do this. (Readers interested in cultural studies or cinematography should take note of the parallel between the shots 20, 25 and 33 seconds in, and Benassi’s drilling woman.)

Without explicitly using the words “clean coal” they announce their achievement as “another product of pure eco-magination”. Since burning the “250 year” supply of coal will necessarily release huge amounts of carbon dioxide into the air, I’m apt to agree.

This last video takes us out of the fantasy realm of Benassi and the imaginary realm of GE’s, to one much less made-up. It is physicist and climate expert Dr. Joseph Romm trying to inject some statements based on research into the house of representatives. The heat we have been under all summer is slated to soon become mild in comparison to future heat waves. More specifically, it has become clear that if we do not change the way we use energy now, we will rapidly lock ourselves into a future of record breaking wildfires, and droughts described as “multiple, mulit-decade Dust Bowls”.

Whether congress is ready to contend with this reality, given its mortal significance, or whether it will continue to operating under the fantasy that there is still time to safely increase concentrations of greenhouse gasses, remains unclear. However, this is; until Dr. Romm’s message reaches more people than Benassi’s, there will be little pressure on congress to do so, and the stakes are high.

For the full transcript of Dr. Romm’s statement, click here.

~ Nevaspora