Highlights of the Largest Climate Rally in History

The folks at 350.org have put together the story of the February 17 demonstration in photos, video clips, and tweets. It’s very inspiring. You can breeze through it, or take your time, watching the clips and listening to short selections from impassioned speakers like the Hip Hop Caucus’s Rev Yearwood, Chief Jackie Thomas (speaking for Canada’s indigenous groups that oppose the Keystone Pipeline), Van Jones from Rebuild the Dream, and the Sierra Club’s Michael Brune. Is this made using a program called Story–does anyone know? It’s very user-friendly, whatever was used.

Arrests in Washington Signal Increasing Urgency on Keystone Pipeline by Chris Francis — YES! Magazine

In case you missed the news–I did–here’s a story about the 45 environmental and other leaders who were arrested last week, from Yes!

Arrests in Washington Signal Increasing Urgency on Keystone Pipeline by Chris Francis — YES! Magazine.

The Climate Movement Gets a Boost from 50,000 Protestors in D.C.


That’s 350.org‘s estimate of how many people attended the Forward on Climate rally in DC on Feb. 17 . The Sierra Club, another core organizer, says there were at least 40,000. Either way, that’s a large number to brave the cold weather to demonstrate, and it’s a sign of how committed people are to stopping the Keystone Pipeline. A million more showed their support for the action online, and polls show that a majority of Americans are eager for real leadership on climate change. President Obama was the focus, because he will make the crucial decision on Keystone very soon, and many in Washington lofted signs reminding him that his legacy will be defined by his actions on the climate, beginning with this all-important decision. (See previous posts on why tar sands oil must be left in the ground and the pipeline must be stopped here and here.)

Al Gore on the Daily Show: “I wish I was wrong about climate change”

I am reposting Jon Stewart’s extended interview with Al Gore that David Ferguson of Raw Story very helpfully uploaded.

Gore: I wish I was wrong about climate change (via Raw Story )

On Wednesday night’s edition of “The Daily Show,” host Jon Stewart welcomed former Vice President Al Gore in a wide-ranging discussion that covered topics ranging from Gore’s sale of his Current TV network to Al Jazeera to global climate change to the influence of big money in politics. Raw…

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Mitigation and Adaptation: Hawai’i Plans for Climate Change

Because we should have started decades ago to minimize climate change by cutting the amount of carbon spewing into the atmosphere, we have to both  mitigate further climate change by slowing carbon emissions through alternative energy sources and adapt to the effects that are already here–decreasing rainfall (up to 30% in coming decades), the decline of healthy reefs and fewer fish, and predicted loss of oceanfront property to rising seas. In a recent cover story in the Honolulu Weekly  Joan Conrow lays out both the threats to our islands and the planning the state of Hawai‘i  is doing on both fronts.


Richard Wallsgrove studied fresh-water management for a year and produced a white paper laying out some solutions to dwindling supplies such as greater efficiency and a rise in rates to decrease consumption. Although some officials express concernabout the costs of both kinds of responses to warming, Wallsgrove discounted that worry, calling it shortsighted. “The concept that we can’t afford to handle climate change is so myopic it blows my mind,” he told the Weekly. “You can’t afford not to.”


What you can do to be a climate hawk*


Read a novel that brings the reality of climate change home in beautiful prose with believable characters–Barbara Kingsolver’s Flight Behavior–and recommend it to friends.


Sign the open letter to President Obama urging him to to fight climate change by executive action, first rejecting the Keystone pipeline and doing what he can by executive action to neutralize the power of the fossil-fuel companies. As the letter says, he is the key leader right now, and his legacy depends on what he does in his second term. It was drafted by Credo and 350.org.

*A climate hawk knows that climate change is real and supports action to combat it. See the Urban Dictionary definition here.

Climate change is ignored no longer–that’s good news

People tend to avoid facing huge problems requiring years of planning and dramatic changes in systems, so of course we’d rather not think about climate change, by all accounts humankind’s biggest challenge. But it’s impossible to ignore in the short term, given news about the havoc climate change is causing worldwide. The world’s people are being plagued not only by heat and drought but extremes of flood, wind, and fire. Hurricane Sandy is now seen as a harbinger of super storms to come. An article in Rolling Stone refers to “the End of Australia.” Climate Change is a topic everywhere you look–on the cover of news magazines, TV specials, podcasts (see Best of the Left, an anthology of progressive voices, on 12/5, 12/8, 1/14), and alternative weeklies (the Honolulu Weekly headline was “Climate Change: Now Showing on an Island Near You“). And although we were holding our breath in fear that President Obama would ignore the problem in his second inaugural address so as not to offend Republicans whose votes he needs for other items on his agenda, he did put  it front-and-center. We’re waiting for action to follow closely on those words.

In the meantime, we can take heart from the fact that most Americans are convinced that climate change is real and must be dealt with. In a January 24 Times Opinionator column on how out of step Republicans are–they’re labeling Obama’s inaugural address and his policies “liberal” as though it were a dirty word–Timothy Egan counters with evidence that if Obama’s positions on immigration, gay marriage are liberal positions, then liberalism is winning. What’s more:

On climate change, a Pew poll at the height of last’s fall’s election found strong bipartisan support for taking steps against many of the effects of global warming. There was a significant increase in those who say the storms, fires, droughts, record-high-temperatures and ice-melting of the last decade or so are human-caused. Only 12 percent — and here’s where the talk radio and Fox wing of the Republican party are glaringly out of step — believe it’s some kind of hoax.

Only 12 percent have swallowed the deniers’ propaganda! And people from both sides of the political spectrum want their leaders to solve the problems associated with climate change. That’s a reason to celebrate in the short term, before turning our energy to working toward long-term solutions.