Climate change is already affecting the whole planet with the highest temperatures, the worst droughts and floods in history. Farmers across the Midwest are destroying or selling their animals because fields of grain burned in the sun – our world is already markedly different from that we were born into. Bill McKibbin, author and activist, named a recent book Eaarth, to show that we have already changed our globe for the worse through hydrocarbon pollution.

THERE IS NOW A 45-DAY WINDOW (maybe 30 days left?) in which we can reach out to President Obama to keep his promise to successfully address climate change, reach out to the Senate to reach out to Obama .

And the Sierra Club, previously holding a non-confrontational policy for the whole history of its existence, now sends its CEO, Michael Brune, to get arrested at a D.C. climate rally and calls for members and friends to write letters to editors, 4 suggested, offering clear, brief summations of the fraking problem, making it easy for all who care to publicly speak out.
Sierra Club’s questions and info for ltes:
– Did you attend the Forward on Climate Rally or another climate event? If so, say why you went and how it gave you hope for the future!
– Do you know how the climate crisis will affect you or your family? Do you live in the path of heavier storms, or in a drought-affected state? If so, share your story — editors are interested in your perspective, and readers will connect with it.
– Rejection of the proposed Keystone XL tar sands pipeline is one of the most important and immediate executive steps that President Obama can take to address the climate crisis.
– Keystone XL would carry tar sands, not crude oil. NASA’s leading climate scientist, Dr. James Hansen, said that tar sands development would mean “game over for the climate.”
– It’s impossible to fight climate change while simultaneously investing in the dirtiest, most carbon-intensive fossil fuel on the planet. New clean energy sources are critical, but we can’t cancel them out with dirty energy exports.
– Even the State Department’s review of this Canadian pipeline admits that it will have harmful climate impacts — the stakes are high, and there is no excuse to approve Big Oil’s pet project.
– This pipeline will take the tar sands through America, not to America. It is likely an export pipeline, and will not lower gas prices or create very many permanent jobs. Climate change, however, will destroy jobs.
– If we don’t take action soon, we are going to pay, and future generations will blame us for our inaction.
– Remember to keep it short (usually papers have a 200-250 word limit), focus on one or two points, and put things in your own words.
– When you have finished writing your letter, send it to the Sierra Club’s Katherine Cima, and we can help you submit it to your local paper. We’ll also be reaching out to you to answer any questions you might have. (end Sierra Club appeal)
So I wrote variations of a basic letter and emailed (go to the site for each)
SF Chronicle
Santa Rosa Press Democrat
San Jose Mercury News
LA Times

Now its YOUR TURN!

If we as a people can say NO to the Keystone XL Pipeline proposed to carry dirty tar sands shale oil by pipeline under the USA from Canada to Mexico, where it will be mostly sold to other countries, we’re still in the game of living sustainably. We can still clean up our act – barely! Meanwhile, the whole fraking extraction process is possibly quite dangerous – at a time when we are at an apex where we must back away from use of hydrocarbons.

We must end the silence on climate change, says Yale Project on Climate Change Communications professor, Anthony Leiserowitz, interviewed on Bill Moyers and Company. 40% of people around the world don’t even know there is a problem! Time to end the deafening silence on climate change and let everyone know what’s coming if we don’t change our energy uses and policies.

“Conservatives need to look at the threat to our freedoms – climate change itself is a threat to our freedoms,” says Leiserowitz. “If you’re a farmer, you’re in the midst of a two-year drought. You don’t get to choose who you’re going to slaughter. That’s not freedom. You’re literally not about to do what you were raised to do. Political opportunity: the conservatives have lost two national elections and they need to find their way back into the middle of the …those who want to take the party farther to the right vs. those who say you must reach out to Hispanics, Women, and if we ever want to appeal to the voters again, we have to respond to those people. It’s not just future generations – it’s US. I don’t want my nine year old son to live in the world we’re heading into. We’re heading into 2-6% centigrade. As you go, things are going to get much, much worse. Think about when you get sick and you get a fever. Your body is usually 98.6 degrees; it rises by two degrees and you’re getting anything from hot flashes to cold sweats. That little difference in global temperature can have huge implications – unfortunately, science …I think we are entirely capable of (facing this off). Henry Ford: “Those who think they can’t and those who think they can are both right.” Benjamin Franklin: “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure”. If we wait until it’s 3 or 4 degrees, it’s too late. There is no magic vacuum cleaner to bring us back to what we consider normal. It is imperative we take these actions now.” (roughly quoted)

In another related story this week on KQED’s Forum, Tom Steyer: Billionaire Investor Turned Climate Activist, discussed fracking – “if you force tiny little oil particles out of the rock…in certain places, carefully regulated, it can be done without risk…without the big risks to water and the environment. (And my question is which places? Which regulations will protect us? These are not in place!) Second question is “should we be taking hydrocarbons at all? We need a systematic way to charge people for using hydrocarbons at all. In the short term, its good to replace coal with natural gas? Yes – can be a step toward getting past oil – but that is not the end – the end is good decisions taking into account all the costs.” We are not in a position to put ourselves into a carbon-free environment now, but we can get there, he says. American businesses that exist now weren’t imagined in the 1990’s. The ability of this country to make change and lead change around the world is phenomenal. Trust us, especially friends of the environment in California, to come up with ideas that work to help us! See

So what ounce of prevention could we take in 2013 to prevent this? California has already taken dramatic steps. Citizens all over this country are starting to engage the political system to make change. What we haven’t do is come together to engage with this issue and recognize we as a planet are facing a fundamental challenge to the way of life we want for ourselves and our children. Whereas in the past, we’ve treated this as an issue and a few leaders have tried to impose rules from the top down, now we need grassroots up. It’s absolutely going to affect us. The world is now one planet; we’re all interconnected.
What is the right relationship to the planet and to our fellow human beings?

“It may be too late with global warming,” said Michael Krasny, author and host of Forum on KQED FM. “I’ve become obsessed with the urgency and timing of climate change and what we do should be in line with what we have to do. The warnings are out there. “192 countries have decided that 2% temperature change is unexceptable. That’s the level of unexceptable. How hard can we work to make this change happen? This isn’t a mid-century problem – the need to make a dramatic pivot is here now.”

This is serious. My son will probably have children. I will want to see them grow strong in a healthy world without war.
If we are facing droughts and floods and mass migrations of starving and parched people, that will not be a happy planet.
But I don’t give up easily and hope you are the same!

A whole other tack is coming from Bill McKibben these days:

Dear Friends,

There are days when I get utterly preoccupied playing defense against the fossil fuel industry, trying to stop pipeline after frack well after coal port. It’s necessary work — but there are also days when I remind myself we’ve got to go on offense too.

Today’s one of those days. We’re launching the next phase of our fossil fuel divestment campaign, bringing it off campus to include city, state, and town governments; religious denominations, museums, foundations — anyone with an investment portfolio. If someone’s investing in the destruction of the future, we’re going to ask them to sell those shares.

Here’s how to get started. Our web-team has set up a new online petition tool that makes it easy for you to join up with a local campaign or start your own. These petitions will help you build up some local pressure, as well as start a local email list you can use for organizing (they’re so easy to use, even I can figure it out).

Click here to find or start a local divestment petition:

Once you’ve got a petition going, it’s time to start organizing. Host a local meeting to get your group together, set up meetings with your key decision makers, make the case for divestment, and then figure out the type of pressure you’re going to need to get a victory. You’ll find some useful resources up on the website — and don’t hestitate to get in touch if you need help.

The first phase of this campaign, on American colleges and campuses, has exceeded everyone’s expectations. Inside Climate said it was “spreading like wildfire,” and writing in the Nation, Harvard student leader Chloe Maxmin said it was “engaging more students than any similar campaign in the past twenty years.” The fourth college to commit to make their portfolio fossil free — College of the Atlantic in Maine — divested last week, which is way ahead of our wildest hopes.

And truthfully, Phase 2 has been up and running quietly for a while: the City of Seattle has already announced plans to divest, and 6 conferences of the United Church of Christ have joined to urge the national denomination to do the right thing.

But now it’s going to get big fast, in no small part because a we’ve got a very talented new staff member, Jay Carmona, who will be running the battle. She’s worked in City Government, organized with our friends at Media Matters and Get Equal, and she plays to win. “Divestment is targeting the one thing that those companies can’t buy, which is their reputation,” she told Yale e360 earlier this week.

I’m pretty fired up too. The best arguments for divesting if you’re a city: “why would we spend millions putting up seawalls and so on, and at the same time invest in the companies making it necessary?” If you’re a church: “why are we doing business with an industry that’s running Genesis backwards?” If you’re — well, if you’re a human being: “if it’s wrong to wreck the climate, it’s wrong to profit from that wreckage?”

I think those arguments will prevail. Not easily — but no one ever said it was going to be easy. Just exciting! You can get started right here:

Many thanks,


P.S. An update on the Keystone fight in the Senate from our political director Jason: “The vote on the pipeline could come today, tomorrow, or Saturday. Our work together is making an impact: offices report being flooded with calls telling them to vote no on KXL. A few Senators who were on the fence are now leaning our way — and we have everyone who called to thank for that.” We can’t let our guard down, but I’d say that’s good news. Our team will send another update in the near future!