A Climate Message From Stuart Chapman, of Bolinas, California
A Few Words Of Introduction
Hello, I'm Warren Senders, known in these parts as WarrenS. Thank you for visiting my diary. I hope you'll find it useful.
Over the four years I sustained the Climate Letter Project, I wrote daily letters to the editor on virtually every aspect of climate change, and had them published in newspapers and magazines all over the world.
So when it came time to pitch in for the "Support California SB1132" blogathon, it was a relatively simple matter to pull up some of the letters I'd written in opposition to fracking and the use of natural gas in our energy economy. SB1132, of course, places a moratorium on fracking in CA. We're for it.
What We Are Asking You To Do
Please Help Pass a Moratorium on Fracking in California!
Key votes will be held next week on California SB 1132, which imposes a moratorium on fracking. If the bill fails, the legislative process toward moratorium must restart next January.
Please join us for a blogathon May 19-23 in a campaign to tell lawmakers to support this bill. This is a coordinated effort with a coalition of more than a dozen NGOs, including Earth Works, Sierra Club, and Center for Race, Poverty and the Environment.
And please call key lawmakers, ASAP.
Tell them YES on SB 1132!
Sen. Kevin De Leon: (916) 651-4022
Sen. Ricardo Lara: (916) 651-4033
Sen. Ed Hernandez: (916) 651-4024
Sen. Cathleen Galgiani: (916) 651-4005
Sen. Ben Hueso: (916) 651-4040
Sen. Lou Correa: (916) 651-4034
Sen. Carol Liu: (916) 651-4025
Sen. Richard Roth: (916) 651-4031
Sen. Norma Torres: (916) 651-4032
How To Use This Diary
While writing fourteen hundred and sixty-one letters, I built a repertoire of stock phrases which can be combined and recombined to make varied combinations of letters on particular themes. I've brought a few of these together to make a handy letter-generating tool which will produce a huge variety of different texts....facilitating the production of multiple non-identical letters. Using this tool, someone who wants to send a letter but doesn't know what to say can produce an effectively unique text — and someone with more time and motivation can produce twenty; all different, all conveying the same basic point.
Below the copulating croissants of hive-mind progressivism, you'll find two "Letter Generators" — each a sequence of statements, grouped in threes. Select one statement from the first group, one from the second group, one from the third, and so on, all the way down. Within 1 minute you'll have a perfectly usable letter to your congresscritter or newspaper. Practice reading them aloud and they'll be useful for radio call-ins, too.
The Climate Message Videos are there because nobody should have to do this kind of work without music. As of May 19, over 120 musicians in a huge variety of idioms have submitted these little video messages from many different countries; they can all be found online at The Climate Message. This diary exclusively showcases the voices of Californians. I hope you enjoy them.
A Climate Message from Diana Rowan, of San Francisco, California:
Letter Generator The First
To use this setup, just select one line from each group of three. Make any necessary adjustments, and you're good to go. Here's a sample letter/comment:(Natural gas advocates tout it as a)
(Proponents of natural gas like to call it a)
(Its supporters in the corporate sector offer it as a)("climate-friendly" substitute for dirty fossil fuels, but)
(clean source of energy, but)
("bridge" fuel to aid our global transition to a sustainable energy economy, but)(more careful studies of natural gas reveal that there are)
(extensive research and documentation demonstrate that there are)
(a closer look at the record shows that there are)(multiple mutually-reinforcing problems with)
(a number of highly significant drawbacks to)
(more disadvantages than anyone knew to)(this ostensible "wonder fuel.")
(natural gas as a component of our energy economy.)
(this fossil fuel source.)(Leaks are inevitable,)
(The pipeline without leaks hasn't been invented,)
(Environmental contamination along the transport route is unavoidable,)(and the extraction technique of "fracking")
(while getting the stuff out of the ground )
(and injecting toxic chemicals into the earth to force the gas to the surface)(turns out to have devastating effects on)
(can cause irreversible damage to)
(wreaks havoc on)(local and regional water supplies — )
(agriculture and farming —)
(environmental quality and sustainability — )(as well as being linked with increased earthquake activity.)
(not to mention the very robust correlations with more-frequent earthquakes.)
(and extreme seismic impacts, to boot.)(Furthermore,)
(And that's not all!)(methane is a vastly more powerful greenhouse gas than CO2,)
(when it comes to intensifying the greenhouse effect, methane is over 25 times worse than carbon dioxide,)
(natural gas beats CO2 cold when it comes to greenhouse impacts,)(so its contribution to global heating is even more significant.)
(inextricably connecting it with runaway climate change.)
(leading to even more intense effects of accelerating climatic disruption.)
Natural gas advocates tout it as a clean source of energy, but more careful studies of natural gas reveal a number of highly significant drawbacks to this fossil fuel source. The pipeline without leaks hasn't been invented, and injecting toxic chemicals into the earth to force the gas to the surface turns out to have devastating effects on environmental quality and sustainability — and extreme seismic impacts, to boot. Even worse, methane is a vastly more powerful greenhouse gas than CO2, inextricably connected with runaway climate change.
A Climate Message From Melanie Ida Chopko, of San Francisco, California:
Letter Generator The Second
(As global warming's effects become)
(As the impacts of climate change grow)
(As planetary climate disruption gets)(harder and harder to ignore, we can look forward to)
(ever more obvious, we can anticipate)
(impossible for even the most ardent denialist to dismiss, we can expect)(a gradual transformation in conservative rhetoric, from)
(a change in GOP talking points, from)
(conservative pundits and politicians to shift their sloganeering, from)("it's not happening" to "it's too expensive to do anything." )
(outright rejection to guarded acceptance.)
(anti-science zealotry to economic arguments against action.)(But American civilization is addicted to fossil fuels, and)
(But our nation has become addicted to oil and coal, and)
(But the United States is a fossil-fuel addicted culture, and)(conservatives deny the grim facts of our national dependency.)
(politicians funded by these extractive industries are enabling the "pushers".)
(the GOP's cozy relationship with the energy industry fosters our destructive habit.)(Promoting "alternative fuels" ostensibly less damaging to the planet's climate, such as "clean coal" or natural gas,)
(The notion that natural gas is safer and less polluting than oil or coal)
(We need to kick our dependency once and for all, and advocacy of natural gas)(is nothing more than an addict's desperate bargaining.)
(is simply a junkie's vain attempt to negotiate with the facts.)
(as absurd as a carton-a-day smoker's rationalizations.)(In late 19th century America, morphine addiction was a serious problem,)
(In 1895, millions of Americans were hooked on morphine, which was freely available over the counter,)
(120 years ago, morphine addiction was devastating the lives of thousands of people,)(until the pharmaceutical industry developed a "non-addictive" cure for the condition,)
(until this enormous social and medical crisis was finally solved by diacetylmorphine, a "non-addictive" treatment,)
(when the Bayer pharmaceutical company introduced a new and "non-addictive" substitute — diacetylmorphine,)(which was marketed under the trade name, "Heroin." )
(which they called "Heroin.")
(which we now know as "heroin.")(We remember how that turned out.)
(Let's remember how well that worked out before we put our hopes in natural gas and "clean coal.")
(We don't need to shift our addiction from one deadly substance to another; we need to kick the habit entirely.)
A Climate Message From Justin Purtill, of San Francisco, California:
Two Useful Paragraphs Of Talking Points
Natural gas is only cheap if we ignore the fact that it demands a massive industrial effort for the drilling process along with huge investments in infrastructure for pipelines and other delivery mechanisms — to say nothing of the devastating consequences of hydraulic fracturing ("fracking") as a means of extraction.Backers of natural gas use an extractive technique that is wasteful, resource intensive, and environmentally hazardous. Hydraulic fracturing, or "fracking," has in only a few years' time accumulated a troubling history of communities and ecosystems destroyed. A study released in Scientific American in early 2012 confirmed that hydrofracturing releases significant quantities of methane, and families living near fracking sites discover that their tap water is foul-smelling, discolored, and highly flammable, all strong indicators what was touted as a climate-friendly and ecologically benign process is anything but.
A Climate Message From Jonah Smith, of Los Angeles, California:
Some More Useful Paragraphs
Natural gas companies are heavily invested in hydraulic fracturing, or "fracking," and they naturally want to bring this risky technology to California. But when it comes to the greenhouse emissions that are driving climate change, research has shown that natural gas extraction and processing emit significant quantities of methane, an extremely powerful greenhouse gas.
Natural gas is only cheap when you don't count externalities like huge infrastructural costs for delivery and extraction technology, and the virtual certainty of groundwater contamination in the aftermath of the hydraulic fracturing ("fracking") process. Once all these factors are accounted for, it's neither cheap nor clean, contributing almost as much to greenhouse emissions as do oil and coal.Natural gas is the environmental equivalent of a nicotine patch — a slightly less smelly way to deliver the same poisons.
A Climate Message From Diana "PeaceGranny" Hartman, of San Francisco, California:
A Few Words Of Wisdom From My Brother The Baker, Speaking To An Anti-Fracking Demonstration In Albany, New York, While Holding Aloft A Loaf Of Some Of The Best Bread In The World.
My name is Stefan Senders, and I am a baker. Beside me are Thor Oechsner, an organic farmer, and Neal Johnston, a miller. We work together.
Today we bring bread to Albany to intervene in the self-destruction of the great State of New York. We come, Farmers, Bakers, and Millers, to remind our state and our Governor, Andrew Cuomo, that despite the promises of industry lobbyists, the exploitation of Shale Gas in New York is bad and broken economy of the worst kind.
This bread is the product of our community and our farms. The wheat, grown, tended, and harvested by our local organic farmers, is fresh from the soil of New York. The flour, ground in our local flour mill, is as fine as concerned and caring hands can make it.
To resurrect a term long since emptied by advertisers, the wheat, the flour, and the bread are wholesome: they bring our communities together, give us work, nourish us, please our senses, and make our bodies and our land more healthy.
This is good economy. It is wise economy. It is a steady economy that nourishes the State of New York.
We know that for many New Yorkers, Fracking sounds like a good idea. We have all heard the fantastic tales: Fracking, it is said, will save our state from financial ruin, release us from our dependence on “foreign oil,” and revive our rural economy by bringing cash, if not fertility, to our once vibrant farmland.
For politicians, these stories of money and growth are hard to resist: the numbers are large, deficits are unnerving, and elections are expensive.
For many farmers and land-owners, the promises of cash are dizzying, and to risk the land’s fertility to extract gas is only one step removed from risking the land’s fertility to extract a few more bushels of corn or soybeans.
But farmers might know better.
Farming has not always been, and need not be, an extractive industry. There was a time when farmers worked with a longer view, keeping in mind their role as stewards and caretakers of the land. That long view is the farmer’s wisdom, and it is as good and wise today as it ever was.
The promises of the gas industry are demonstrably false, and they miss what farmers know well: There is no independence that does not demand care and responsibility. There is no quantity of cash that can restore fertility to a poisoned field. There is no adequate monetary “compensation” for poisoned water. There is no payment, no dollar, no loan, that can restore life and community to a broken world.
Our work and the work we provide others—on the farm, at the mill, and at the bakery—depends on fertile soil, pure water, and a viable community. All of these are put at risk by Fracking.
What happens to our land in an economy bloated by gas exploitation? Prices rise, rents rise, and good arable land becomes scarce as acres once leased to farmers are set to quick development schemes—flimsy housing, storage barns, parking lots, and man-camps.
And what happens to our water when gas exploitation takes over? Storage pools, as safe as the Titanic was unsinkable, overflow, contaminating the soil; inevitable leaks in well-casings allow gasses and Frack-fluids to pass into our aquifers, into our bodies, and into the bodies of our children.
And what happens to communities held in thrall to gas exploitation? As we have seen in other parts of the country, the boom-bust cycle of the petroleum economy fractures communities, undermining our capacity to act wisely and civilly.
With every boom, a few get rich, a few do better, but all are impoverished. For every hastily built motel there are dozens of apartments with rising rents; for every newly minted millionaire there are many dozens who see nothing but the pain of rising costs and receding resources. For every short-term dollar there are hundreds in long-term losses that can never be recouped. To go for gas is to go for broke.
With this bread we are here to remind you that there is another economy, one that works.
This bread symbolizes a commitment to the health of New York State. It embodies the knowledge that good work, not a gambler’s dream, is the basis of a sound and sustainable economy.
This bread symbolizes the farmer’s simple truth that without fertile soil, without pure water, and without strong community, we go hungry.
This bread reminds us all that the promises of gas exploitation are empty: What are we to grow in fields broken by the drill and tilled with poison? What are we to feed our children when our water and wheat are unfit? Shall we grind money to make our bread?
We do have a choice. We need not poison our land to live. We need not taint our water to drink. We need not sell our future to finance our present. These are choices, not inevitabilities.
With this bread we say: take the long view; pay attention to the health of the soil and nourish it; treasure pure water; remember the value of your community and keep it whole.
If something must be broken, let it be this bread, not shale. Break bread, not shale!
A Climate Message From Madhuri Kulkarni, of Orange County, California:
More Resources For You
If you want to write some letters, please feel free to use my verbiage. There are four years' worth of Climate Letters available on my website, searchable under all sorts of keywords. They need to be used in the service of our planet. If you find a piece of text you like, you can edit it, paraphrase it, mine it for ideas, or just plain steal it. The more the better.
And if you like the musical interludes, please visit the home page of The Climate Message, providing performing artists a forum for speaking out on climate — witnessing the crisis with conscience and beauty.
A Climate Message From Beet The System, featuring our own Citisven:
And Now It's Time To Close This Diary
Thanks for visiting, dear ones. Support that bill! Let's not frack ourselves out of existence!