Welcome to the Forward on Climate blogathon on Daily Kos, a week of action diaries by an amazing lineup of Kossacks and a who's who of eco guest writers leading up to this Sunday's #ForwardOnClimate Rally in Washington, D.C., the largest climate rally in history.
Below you'll find all the information you'll need to become part of this exciting movement. If you can make it to the National Mall in Washington D.C. to urge President Obama to say no to the Keystone XL pipeline, great!
If you can't, there are many other opportunities to get involved. Below the orange squiggle you'll find an extensive list of solidarity rallies across the country, some of them attended by fellow Kossacks. If you can't make it to a rally, you can show your solidarity by supporting the diaries that will be posted throughout the week.
Without further ado, here is all the information you'll need, sprinkled with my personal story of how I convinced my inner gremlin that it's time to take a stand.
As wise Kossack WarrenS likes to point out: "Remember, if we fail on climate change, nothing else matters."
The overall picture, thus, is far from rocket science: We are all sitting in the same living room, with all our cars and planes and farms and factories blowing greenhouse gases at full steam, but there's no window to be opened or ventilation system to dilute the fumes to some other far away place. There's only one atmosphere surrounding us, and the only way to keep us all from roasting is to take our collective foot off the proverbial gas pedal. Dilution is no longer the solution to pollution.
Easier said than done, I know. Since the problem is on such a large scale and the causes so multitudinous, it's tempting to do nothing at all. Unlike most other natural systems on this planet, the human mind — at its most unrefined — can be a master of dualistic, reductive reasoning, thriving on juxtaposition and zero sums. "What good does it do to drive less if a single flight emits more carbon than my car does in an entire year?" the little voice in our head laments. "Why bother turning the lights off when I leave the house while a thousand new coal fired plants are going online in China every week?" the testy gremlin lodged inside the noggin kvetches.
I myself am not immune to the temptations of this type of reductionism, generally retreating to my "be the change you wish to see" comfort zone when faced with taking a more confrontational stance against entities that constitute a significant institutionalized part of the problem.
There are a whole range of smack-talking gremlins in my head cautioning against hypocrisy and overreach. First and foremost, there's the old guilt monger grumbling "how can you tell Chevron to refrain from selling all the oil they're sitting on when you've just booked your flight to France?" Other favorites on the list of inaction excuses range from "I'm not angry enough to protest" and "it doesn't make a difference whether I'm there or not" to "I can be of better service working behind the scenes." And yes, there's even a John Lennon gremlin, slyly singing "you say you want a revolution, weheeell you knooow, you better free your mind instead." Om Shanti Shanti, all the way past 400 parts per million of atmospheric carbon dioxide.
It was Bill McKibben, who in his milestone Global Warming's Terrifying New Math article summed up our convulsive inertia when it comes to the biggest threat of our time. "Since all of us are in some way the beneficiaries of cheap fossil fuel," he wrote, "tackling climate change has been like trying to build a movement against yourself – it's as if the gay-rights movement had to be constructed entirely from evangelical preachers, or the abolition movement from slaveholders."
Following his own assessment, Bill could long ago have let himself be devoured by entire armies of naysaying critics, both in- and outside his head, and just stayed hunkered down at home, writing books about how screwed we are. You know the drill by now: "How can you justify burning fossil fuel traveling across the country while telling people to divest from fossil companies? Aren't these companies just giving us what we want? Why aren't you talking about [insert other important related issue]? Aren't you just pushing all the polluters to poor countries?"
Instead, he decided to mobilize people from around the world, educate the country about the math, take on the biggest fossil fuel producers, and organize the largest climate rally in American history to take place this Sunday, February 17th, at the National Mall in Washington D.C.
"Forward On Climate" Rally - February 17, 2013, 12:00 pm, Washington, DC
Link - feel free to post on your Facebook pages.
There are Kossack Meet-ups Coinciding with Forward on Climate Rally. Send eeff a kosmail if you're interested in connecting the night before or the night of the event. Check New Day diaries for the latest updates and RSVPs.
Also, if you're trying to hitch a ride to Washington D.C. from other places around the country, check the Sierra Club's excellent bus list.
When I interviewed Bill last November, I realized that the time had come to stop drowning in nuance and take a stand. I needed to get out of my comfort zone, defy myself and all my gremlins, because if we're serious about making the big changes needed to keep this planet from frying, the one thing we cannot do is stay the same, both in our head and in the world.
So I took Bill's challenge to get off my ass and do something beyond reducing my own ecological footprint and waxing poetic about it. I'm in the Bay Area, so one thing Bill said we could do here is to go to Chevron's shareholder meeting in San Ramon and tell them to become an energy company instead of an oil company. I had this idea for a Bike the Math action that I took to my local 350 group. They immediately jumped on it and we're going to make this happen in May.
But that's another diary. What happened through my engagement with 350bayarea.org is that I realized how many people there really are who are fired up and ready to go on a whole list of campaigns ranging from tar sands direct action to getting climate disruption warning labels on gas pumps. And the next big thing, of course, happens to be a Forward on Climate Solidarity Rally right in downtown San Francisco that has gone from a modest side event to over 70 organizations endorsing and over 1200 rsvps in just a couple of weeks.
So this is where I will be on Sunday, along with the 350 folks and a bunch of SF Kossacks, and I hope you will be able to join us or any of the other solidarity rallies listed below.
So there it is. Time to tell all the big guns — the big fossil fuel companies, their powerful lobbies, and our influential politicians — that We the People are no longer going to be sedated by the dangling carrots of (artificially) cheap oil, short-term profits, and perceived convenience, at the expense of our children's and the planet's future.
Forward on Climate Rally SF
WHEN: Sunday, February 17th, 1-3pm
WHERE: One Market Plaza, 1 Market St, San Francisco, CA 94105
WHAT: Join over 70 organizations and thousands of citizens to encircle the State Department Office at One Market Plaza. Demand that the Department reject the permit for Keystone XL.
Click here to RSVP: www.350bayarea.org/forward_on_climate_bay_area_rally
This will be the biggest climate march that we know of in Bay Area history, with folks coming from as far away as Sacramento and Santa Cruz. California has made extraordinary and bold progress toward halting the climate crisis, but if President Obama does not take similarly bold action, our state will suffer the consequences along with the rest of the world.
It doesn't mean we're blameless in this mess we've made. It doesn't mean we can't also continue to work on making personal changes. It doesn't mean we can't work for the kind of infrastructure we'll need to live in a less fossil-fueled world. It doesn't mean we can't be sensitive to the contradictions inherent in the out-of-balance-with-nature's-systems civilization we've created.
It just means that we're ready to stop the madness of burning every last drop of oil we know of, so that we can at least have a chance to be the change we wish to see in the world.
Time to take a Stand!
Green For All Press Teleconference
on Communities of Color & Climate Change
With President Obama’s inaugural speech renewing America’s commitment to combating climate change and the expectation that the President will reveal more details about his plans on the issue in the State of the Union this Tuesday, Green for All is hosting a press teleconference to highlight why communities of color should care about climate change and what they can do to take action.
The press teleconference will feature Rep. Barbara Lee (D-Calif.), Green for All CEO Phaedra Ellis-Lamkins, MSNBC political analyst and Politic365 Executive Editor Jeff Johnson, Superstorm Sandy survivor and environmental activist Tanya Fields, and African-American solar panel manufacturer Mark Davis. Q&A session with participants to immediately follow.
To receive call-in information, please RSVP via email firstname.lastname@example.org to Alyssa Cocchi.
Green For All is a national organization dedicated to improving the lives of all Americans through a clean energy economy. The organization works in collaboration with the business, government, labor, and grassroots communities to create and implement programs that increase quality jobs and opportunities in green industry – all while holding the most vulnerable people at the center of its agenda. For more information, please visit www.greenforall.org.