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Strait of Juan de Fuca 2

The Olympic Mountains in Washington State over the Strait of Juan de Fuca

The water separates our two countries the USA and Canada. This photograph was taken in Victoria, British Columbia looking across the water to Washington. We share the ocean, the air, the climate. I am listing Canadian and America responses here: an open letter from my friend to Canada's Minister of Natural Resources and a response to the re-elected President Obama from Canada's only Green Member of Parliament along with a variety of American responses.

Responses to the re-election of President Barack Obama

From Grist by Lisa Hymas

Beyond Obama: Here are green ballot measures that won and lost

From, founder Bill McKibben's response was to organize a Global Movement to Solve the Climate Crisis. Here's what he wrote about Hurricane Sandy in The Guardian:
Hurricane Sandy has drowned the New York I love
I'm an environmentalist: New York is as beautiful and diverse and glorious as an old-growth forest. It's as grand, in its unplanned tumble, as anything ever devised by man or nature. And now, I fear its roots are being severed.

From Hon. Elizabeth May, Canada's only Green Party Member of Parliament:

No Time For a Victory Lap, Mr. President. Your Planet is Calling.

In the wake of the devastation of Hurricane Sandy and the summer of parched earth and lost crops, the president must listen to his science advisor, Dr. John Holdren, and the head of climate science at NASA, Dr. James Hansen, and actually lead on climate. The world needs the U.S. to join the European Union in moving aggressively to a low-carbon economy. Barak Obama got a second chance. Let's hope that the rest of us did too.

From the Center for Biodiversity:
Mr. President: 5 Ways to Salvage Your Environmental Legacy (and Our Future)
1. Address climate change and ocean acidification. There's no crisis bigger than the one that's rapidly transforming the world's climate and oceans. We need to fix this, and fast. 2012 is on track to become the warmest year on record; some 40,000 temperature records have been shattered in the United States this year, while Arctic sea ice has melted to a record low.

The urgency of this crisis is manifested in the devastation of Hurricane Sandy, record droughts, massive wildfires, disappearing coral reefs, floods and a terrible, continuous stream of bleak headlines. Left unchecked, climate change threatens millions of people around the globe and countless species already on the brink of extinction. It's time to stop waiting for someone else, including Congress, to lead. The best way to start: Fully harness existing laws like the Clean Air Act and the Clean Water Act to reduce carbon pollution.

Environmental Defense Fund Statement of president Fred Krupp on the results of the election
"Congratulations to President Obama on his re-election to a second term, and to all of those who will be serving in the 113th Congress. We look forward to working with them to solve our country’s most pressing environmental problems, including global climate change. As the President declared last night, ‘We want our children to live in an America ... that isn't threatened by the destructive power of a warming planet.’

“Exit polls confirm that for millions of American voters, Hurricane Sandy and climate change were decisive factors in this election. As the historic storm just reminded us, we have no time to waste; we must get serious about climate solutions in order to protect our loved ones and communities from terrible impacts -- extreme weather disasters, droughts, heat waves, and other dangerous consequences of global warming. Especially in the wake of Sandy, which demonstrated that doing nothing about climate change is much costlier than taking action, this issue clearly should be a top priority for our leaders in government.”

- Fred Krupp, President, EDF

From Greenpeace, by Kumi Naidoo

On the future of America’s children or whether Obama will have a different approach this time around

I felt relieved when I heard Obama’s victory speech this morning, and I particularly resonated with him when he spoke about the future of America’s children.

“We want our children to live in an America that isn’t burnt by debt, that isn’t weakened by inequality, that isn’t threatened by the destructive power of a warming planet,” said Obama during his speech. Crowds burst into applause, while probably millions of other citizens of the world heard his vision.

My relief came with the realisation that Barack Obama shares our vision. When President Obama was elected four years ago, his challenge was to stop the US from going into financial freefall. His challenge is even greater now – he needs to play a more assertive roleinternationally on the issue of climate change and stop us all from climate freefall.


Here is an excellent recent open letter from a friend to Canada's Minister of Natural Resources Ottawa, Canada. He asks for bipartisanship on the important issue of the Tar Sands Project and its pipelines.

To: The Honourable Joe Oliver, Minister of Natural Resources
Re: Decision time

Dear Mr. Oliver,

I find myself a little surprised to be addressing you in what I hope is a cordial manner. Only a few months ago, I would have had difficulty doing so given my deep frustration with your decision to publicly defame Canadians (and others) concerned about the environmental consequences of Alberta’s bitumen sands. But instead of feeling angry, I feel circumspect and somewhat curious about how you regard the security and integrity of your stance and your office.

Support among online communities for a greater measure of transparency regarding undertakings like the Enbridge pipeline, FIPA and Nexen seems to be growing daily. For someone in my generational demographic, it seems almost a given that popular resistance to the way in which your government has chosen to handle these situations (which some have chosen to characterize as -for instance- sweeping, secretive, summary, high handed, opportunistic, Machiavellian, corporatist, criminally negligent, or, in a more sympathetic frame of mind, short sighted) will eventually win out, though what 'win out' means is crucially rather ambiguous. Will your potentially disastrous policies win out in the short term, leaving your detractors (including the many victims of your successes, past, present and future) to fight the battle for posterity, or will the potential harm caused by those policies be reduced, diminished or curtailed, the potential benefits distract from or 'outweigh' that harm?

I am writing to ask you to consider the value of bipartisanship at this crucial time. When I look southward to today's United States election, I think about the perspective offered by Hurricane Sandy, the way that a natural disaster reduced for a moment the cacophonous final phase of campaigning with its negative advertising and rampant poll watching and hog calling. What I would like for you to consider is the balance between your detractors' claims and your own sense of self-justification and commitment. Is it so critical to maintain your partisan position, and if so, is it out of conviction that in the future the facts of the events themselves (punditry aside) will prove you right? Or does the balance of potential consequence - the legal, environmental and economical hazards at stake - threaten to outweigh your convictions?

How anxious do you feel about these decisions? Personally, I cannot imagine having to bear that kind of responsibility, and can understand why you might be tempted to label and condemn your detractors. But what concerns this letter is that while plenty have chosen to return your slurs in kind, others have made quieter, stronger arguments. I was really surprised the other night at a family dinner to hear my in-laws (generally ardent "small-c" conservatives) cite Elizabeth May's position with obvious respect, even reverence. I often debate the value of politics-as-usual with my son, a senior student in high school, whose strengths are writing and social studies and whose outlook is grim; in these debates, a Elizabeth May comes up often in the name of salvaging some respect for parliamentary process. I offer you these little family anecdotes as to underscore the possibility that those who disagree with you might do so not out of partisanship but out concern that the administration you represent, and the policies - and policy making processes- you endorse are rapidly moving towards an historical tipping point.

What is that tipping point? The point past which "ordinary Canadians" (to use a phrase your government seems to enjoy) will no longer be able to separate the three components of that triad I mentioned earlier: legal, environmental and economical. When the price for cleaning up the Athabasca River, or the consequences of the generational legacy of aboriginal communities poisoned and neglected, comes to be paid, where will you be? When pipelines built by Enbridge or Kinder Morgan spring leaks whose cleanup costs and consequences challenge the financial benefit of temporary jobs, will your office issue a statement that rationalizes the loss to provinces in believable terms? When China's economy threatens to become less stable, the motives of its leadership more questionable, and its trade policies more restrictive, will you feel the compunction to concede error or relinquish your position in cabinet? What I am implying, Mr. Oliver, through this string of rhetorical questions is this: that moment has already arrived; the probable costs can be conscionable acknowledged, even if (as I am sure we both fear) with each passing month they become more daunting to calculate.

Should you carry on denying and accusing, or will your detractors and opponents move on to other causes and subjects, will history pass over rather than indict your policies? That too is only a rhetorical question. There is another option; it is not rhetorical. It is pragmatic, practicable and immediate. Acknowledge the reality of your (our) situation. Work with your opposition.


John Luna.

Arctic Fox
Arctic Fox (photo credit World Wildlife Fund)

Originally posted to DFH writers group on Thu Nov 08, 2012 at 11:30 AM PST.

Also republished by Canadian Kossacks, Climate Hawks, Team DFH, and DK GreenRoots.

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Comment Preferences

  •  What do you think this bear is thinking? (23+ / 0-)

    Grizzly Bear
    The sign says that there is a Grizzly Bear Hazard.

    The photographer was safely situated on viewing platform.

    ❧To thine ownself be true

    by Agathena on Thu Nov 08, 2012 at 11:29:14 AM PST

  •  thanks for putting this together agathena... (10+ / 0-)

    hopefully, in light of the increasingly dramatic weather patterns, president obama will feel an obligation to carefully reconsider his commitment to his fossil-fuel heavy energy agenda and move to a more environmentally-friendly approach in his second term.  

    i'm part of the 99% - america's largest minority

    by joe shikspack on Thu Nov 08, 2012 at 11:38:32 AM PST

  •  Thanks for stopping by Joe (7+ / 0-)

    Environmentalists are hopeful that climate change will be on the table. We shouldn't wait for another Hurricane Sandy.

    ❧To thine ownself be true

    by Agathena on Thu Nov 08, 2012 at 11:51:51 AM PST

  •  many thanks for this (8+ / 0-)

    it's long past time for real leadership and action on climate (as well as on a spate of environmental issues).

    the false dichotomy that pits economy versus environment, which has served only a few very well, is long past its sell-by date.

    keep your eyes on the sky. put a dollar in the kitty. don't the moon look pretty. --becker&fagen

    by homo neurotic on Thu Nov 08, 2012 at 11:58:44 AM PST

  •  Great diary, Agathena (6+ / 0-)

    I'm glad to see 1) that there is some optimism on the prospect of Obama taking a fresh look at these issues and 2) that the reelection gives the environmental activists a good opportunity to lay things out, with their requests for a shift in his policy in the second term.

    "Justice is a commodity"

    by joanneleon on Thu Nov 08, 2012 at 12:01:58 PM PST

  •  He's just not that interested (6+ / 0-)

    beyond using green-speak to get re/elected.

    The XL Pipeline will be built as planned.

    BP will get an ever sweetening deal in "paying" for their destruction of the Gulf.

    "Clean Coal" will get more funding than it ever deserved (which would be $0).

    Progressive Candidate Obama (now - Nov 6, 2012)
    Bipartisan Obama returns (Nov 7, 2012)

    by The Dead Man on Thu Nov 08, 2012 at 12:02:48 PM PST

  •  excellent diary agathena I live within 20 miles (6+ / 0-)

    of the border here in Washington State and the biggest reason I live here instead of Texas is because I have a son, daughter and two grandsons in BC. And because it is beautiful.
    As you undoubtedly know the fight is on to stop the building of the biggest coal terminal in North America near here that will dwarf the one I worked out of as a Brakeman for CPR near Tswassen at Roberts Bank many years ago (for a 6 month period I worked Vancouver Island as well).

    If it was put to a vote it would be overwhelmingly defeated and the public meetings that have been held make that very clear with hundreds of opponents of it versus a handful of supporters.
     A great example would be the hearing held recently at a high school auditorium where for weeks before it Gateway Pacific Terminal had full page ads in the local paper, radio ads, TV ads and they offered free transportation to the event. What did we have? We had volunteers doing phone bank work (I did some of that) to push for a big turnout and we got it...big time, over a thousand people showed up to protest it. What did all their advertising, paid door to door shills bring to the event? About 40 people and some of them are employees of Gateway Pacific and SSA Marine.
    Then a few days ago at the hearing in Mount Vernon there was a massive turnout filling an auditorium and I only saw about a dozen supporters (they had green shirts on saying 'good jobs now'). There were are lot of great comments entered into the record but here is one that brought down the house and got the huge crowd to ignore the instruction that no applause was allowed on any comments. Screw that THIS brought a standing ovation. Here it is.

    From: Katharine Bowers' comment to agency co-leads 11/5, in McIntyre Hall, Mt. Vernon:

    Are slick wolves in sheep’s clothing cynically offering us much needed jobs and money for our local economy?

    Think frankenstorm. Major spill. Our federal marine sanctuary. Dead. Orcas dead.  Fishing. tourist industry dead.  Future of our children?    

    GPT’s plan?  Bring in the safety manuals!

    GPT’s Whatcom application states that a “ site-specific emergency response plan would be developed and kept available at the Terminal at all times.  Spill and response measures would be implemented following an emergency or release of dangerous materials... coordinated with ALCOA and BP.”

    Remember the BP Gulf Oil Spill emergency response plan?  
    After Fukushima radio active iodine 131 was fed to infants through tainted drinking water. Bhopal, Chernobyl, Three Mile Island, BP Gulf spill, Exxon Valdez spill...all had a safety plan.

    Prince William Sound was court ordered to receive $4.8 billion in punitive damages paid by Exxon for a failed safety plan. Silk stockinged lawyers for Exxon got it down to $504 million (a month’s profits).  

    Children are particularly susceptible to the consequences of environmental disasters.  

    Warren Buffet made 10.254 billion in 2011
    Peabody Energy’s CEO Gregory Boyce 30.66 million.
    Goldman Sachs President Lloyd Blankfein 16.2 million.
    SSA’s, CEO Jon Hemingway probably did OK too.

    This project could garner 1000 percent profits.

    Make these rich corporations pay an up front a $50 billion dollar damage deposit so silk stockinged lawyers can’t make taxpayers take another hit when a Frankenstorm hits or an earthquake or volcano or all of the above. Prepay the safety plan and we’ll use dirty money to develop clean energy, living wage jobs! Now THAT’s a plan!

    without the ants the rainforest dies

    by aliasalias on Thu Nov 08, 2012 at 12:12:24 PM PST

    •  Hello aliasalias! Thanks that was a great (5+ / 0-)

      comment within your comment.  When I did a little reading on highly-government-subsidized "clean" coal I found out that the coal industry is frightened to death of those who are opposing the Gateway Pacific terminal. They were shocked and cowed by opposition to it.

      Since the US is turning away from coal, the industry wants to ship it to China and let China pollute the planet.

      The coal industry is turning more of its attention to "clean" coal and franken fuels. They have a process in Wyoming which turns coal into gas right in the ground without even extracting it. They will bury millions of barrels of carbon dioxide "cleaned" from coal. They will also be fracking coal underground, now what will all that do to the ground water?

      ❧To thine ownself be true

      by Agathena on Thu Nov 08, 2012 at 12:59:27 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  I think there is a good reason to believe that the (5+ / 0-)

        reason they proposed SIX coal terminals for the northwest was that at least one would get built, but it is already down to five because one proposed terminal has already been shot down (Grays Harbor).

        It's encouraging to hear the coal and terminal people are scared of losing the Gateway Pacific terminal. They are definitely feeling the heat and they did not anticipate the public's response when they first scheduled the locations for the hearings. At the High school they had to open up other (big) rooms to accommodate people and the public comment room (one of them) was in the gym and it was packed. In Mount Vernon they had to relent and open up the balcony area because there were too many people for the bottom part of the auditorium and there were people still in lines outside.
        Now we have THIS...

        Changes were announced this afternoon for the Seattle GPT scoping meeting:

         This afternoon the following announcement was released by one of the co-lead agencies overseeing the environmental review process for the Gateway Pacific Terminal:

         Since the scoping period began on September 21, the EIS team has hosted three successful scoping meetings in Bellingham, Friday Harbor and Mt. Vernon. We have had large attendance at all three of these meetings. Based on the turnout, the Co-Lead Agencies have decided that the North Seattle Community College venue was not large enough and to hold the upcoming Seattle meeting at the Washington State Convention Center
        . This means that we need to change the date of the meeting.

        The Seattle scoping meeting will now be held:

         4-7 p.m. Thursday, December 13

         Washington State Convention Center, Ballroom 6F

         800 Convention Place, Seattle

        without the ants the rainforest dies

        by aliasalias on Thu Nov 08, 2012 at 01:35:42 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  It's looking good aa, hope they keep on fighting (4+ / 0-)

          the industry is getting desperate to find a market for coal.

          We are fighting the plan to bring supertankers to the BC coast. A leak from one of those monsters would affect Washington State too.

          ❧To thine ownself be true

          by Agathena on Thu Nov 08, 2012 at 02:36:23 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  yes it would and this port adds 100's more of the (4+ / 0-)

            biggest tankers in the world to the Georgia and Juan de Fuca straits. These take SIX miles to stop and have the worst safety record of all tankers, so it's just a matter of 'when' not 'if' a disaster happens, but hey Gateway Pacific Terminal has a 'safety manual' to read when a disaster happens!

            My daughter and grandsons live in Duncan and we know (my daughter anyway, the boys are too young) that a tanker disaster's damage won't stop at a border line in the water drawn on maps.
             We are all literally in this together against the same enemies.

            without the ants the rainforest dies

            by aliasalias on Thu Nov 08, 2012 at 03:01:47 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

  •  Excellent, Agathena (6+ / 0-)

    I hope the powers that be are listening.

    "In times of universal deceit, telling the truth will be a revolutionary act." -George Orwell

    by ZhenRen on Thu Nov 08, 2012 at 02:13:42 PM PST

  •  Already the insults start from the usual suspects. (0+ / 0-)

    Yeah, let's cover him with contempt and insults, instead of
    approaching him like he is intelligent, aware, and smart as hell.

    Latinos will be beating him over the head to tackle  the immigration problem first. The attitude is hey, we elected you, now get to work on this FIRST, and RIGHT NOW, or else.  

    Unions will be beating him over the head to handle jobs first. "We elected you. Now back us up."

    I want him to work on the planet right now. In Long Beach,
    CA, I work as a volunteer many hours per week to establish nature centers on school campuses to educate young children about native plants and animals, especially rare or endangered ones. I've already designed and maintain two of them.  (I'd like to put a nature center on every school campus in California.)  I'm currently trying to secure some tadpoles or adults of an endangered coastal species of spadefoot toad. I've also been working for years to restore our only 2 remaining saltwater wetlands in Long Beach. We dredged one thoroughly to clean up the pollution and are now replanting the entire area with indigenous plants.
    I participated in a event at one of the Lagoons.

    I want Barack to work on the planet right now, but as a colleague, a friend, a co-worker, and as somebody who has his back. In a cooperative spirit, not as an enemy, unfriendly monitor, or someone coming from contempt and even venom. And, I might add, with huge arrogance.

    I want him to work on the planet right now, but as an ally, not as an adversary. There are adversaries here, plenty of them, by their language. I'd advise him to ignore you and work with guys like me, who have an urgency about the planet, but who frankly love him and actually
    are his ally.

    You know who elected Barack? Blacks, young single women, Latinos, Asians, poor working class. Not the environmentalists. Get behind him like they did. You'd have far more clout.

    I want him to work on the planet with great urgency. But as a friend, not as an enemy.

    We're having a work party this weekend in one of our nature centers to trim back the brush. We come from an
    attitude of "we're all in this together" for California. And, by extension, for the world. I'm in this with Barack, not against him.  

    If I ever get out of here /Thought of giving it all away /To a registered charity/ All I need is a pint a day /If I ever get out of here- Paul McCartney, "Band on the Run"

    by Wildthumb on Thu Nov 08, 2012 at 02:51:04 PM PST

    •  news, we are all in it together whether someone (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      PhilJD, triv33, joe shikspack

      "loves" Obama or not, this isn't about attacking Obama or "loving him" it's about acting on issues like climate change which will override any other issues.

      Plus he needs to get push back, not hugs, on his 'all of the above' energy policy which is like a diet of organic greens, grains AND poison. We don't need "70% MORE Federal lands opened" to more drill baby drill , nor do we need "enough pipeline to circle the earth" to deliver a death blow to our environment.
      NASA's  James Hansen and Bill McKibben point out that burning the tar sands 'oil' will mean game over for the human species and it will take PIPELINES to get it to the Asian markets.
      If that's considered 'adversarial' then there is no need to tell you anything else, it won't matter. I would be saying these same things regardless of the person in the White House. It ain't personal (regarding Obama) but the urgency of the climate crisis IS and it will hit my grandsons long after I'm gone, which IS personal.

      (as far as the quotes go Obama has said them so often I didn't think google was needed)

      without the ants the rainforest dies

      by aliasalias on Thu Nov 08, 2012 at 03:45:26 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  You got that right aa, this is not about (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        aliasalias, joe shikspack

        personalities it's about the most important issue of our time.

        The President began his victory speech with "the deficit" - climate change is going to play havoc with the US deficit. Billions will be required for the reconstruction of the East Coast and billions more for the next climate disaster. People need to get through to White House with the information that ignoring climate change is going to increase the US deficit.

        ❧To thine ownself be true

        by Agathena on Thu Nov 08, 2012 at 04:17:26 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

    •  "somebody who has his back" (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Funkygal, aliasalias, joe shikspack

      The most powerful person in the world doesn't need people to "have his back." He needs to give people his eyes and ears to look and listen to what's happening to our planet

      Environmentalists are going to get his attention on November 18. They don't want to get behind him they want to confront him with the issue of Climate Change. It's not about personalties, it's about the survival of our planet.

      ❧To thine ownself be true

      by Agathena on Thu Nov 08, 2012 at 04:11:33 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  I ALREADY know it's about the survival of the (0+ / 0-)

        planet. I indicated that really plainly. I work on green issues with my bare fucking hands every day. But you talk about him like he's an object, a stupid obstacle.  And you're ignoring the other groups who think they have priority even ahead of your concerns. I think the planet is priority one. I don't need a fucking lecture from any arrogant, presumptuous people here who think they're the only spokespeople for Earth.

        And you people don't listen. That's why as a group you'll lose. He'll much rather listen to people in other environmental groups who want to work with him rather than the "fuck you" group here.

        If I ever get out of here /Thought of giving it all away /To a registered charity/ All I need is a pint a day /If I ever get out of here- Paul McCartney, "Band on the Run"

        by Wildthumb on Thu Nov 08, 2012 at 04:30:03 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

    •  The environment (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Agathena, aliasalias, joe shikspack

      should not be dependent upon placating the whims of one personality.

      Good grief.

      "In times of universal deceit, telling the truth will be a revolutionary act." -George Orwell

      by ZhenRen on Thu Nov 08, 2012 at 07:25:55 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

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