[by Jeremy Brecher]
The summer of 1988 was long and hot. One scorching day I casually said to a deliveryman, “Awfully hot.” He responded, “I talk with old-timers who can’t remember anything like it in 60, 70 years.” He continued, “It’s probably this ‘greenhouse effect.’ If you ask me, it’s a warning. All the poisons we’re putting into the air and the water – if we don’t get our act together, we’re going to make the earth a place that people can’t live on.” I sat down and penned an op ed that appeared in the Chicago Tribune and other newspapers twenty-five years ago this week.
I noted that as a historian, I’m always on the lookout for subtle signs that indicate deep changes in social outlook. When that conversation shifted from local weather to the global biosphere, I felt I was witnessing “the opening shot of the second ecological revolution.” (more…)
[by Jeremy Brecher; cross-posted with Waging Nonviolence]
Two years ago I was among more than a thousand people who committed civil disobedience at the White House to oppose the building of the Keystone XL pipeline. Since then many more have been arrested around the country, often blocking the actual pathway along which the Keystone XL is being constructed. Nearly 70,000 people have vowed to risk arrest if the State Department recommends that the president approve the pipeline.
All along I believed that these actions were justified, even though they meant breaking the law. After all, leading NASA climate change specialist Jim Hansen says that the Alberta tar sands, which the pipeline will carry, “must be left in the ground” because “if the tar sands are thrown into the mix it is essentially game over” for a viable planet. (more…)
If you saw some scary headlines about global warming recently, there is a good chance they came from a preliminary draft of the US government’s third National Climate Assessment. The NCA is as close as there is to a definitive summary of what scientists tell us about the effects of climate change on the US and its diverse regions.
While the alarming scientific findings of the NCA have grabbed media attention, its unique stakeholder process has often been ignored. The NCA is not just a product of the scientific ivory tower; it is based on a conversation between scientists and community members across the country. That conversation has included farmers, indigenous people, rural residents, urban planners, resource managers, and many community-based experts and ordinary citizens. (more…)
[Editor's Note: Indigenous peoples, communities of color, and working-class white communities are among the hardest hit by the floods, heat waves, storms, droughts, and other results of climate change. At the same time they experience disproportionate rates of unemployment and poverty. Now leaders from those communities are launching the "Our Power Campaign: Communities United for a Just Transition." They are making concrete proposals to create jobs for hard-hit communities by transitioning from dirty energy to clean community power, zero waste, food sovereignty, public transit, housing for all, and restoration of ecosystems and watersheds. (more…)