Posts tagged ‘climate change’

Happy National Blog Day! Subject: Climate Change

Happy National Blog Day!

I’m proud to say I’m part of the blogging phenomenon. It couldn’t have come at a better time for technology to be simplified so your average citizen can utilize it to make their voice heard. OK, on with the message.

thumbnail-1Climate Change.

It’s no joke. It’s for real. And the U.S. needs to step up and take action. Copenhagen is coming up in December, so we need to make sure we urge President Obama to make strong, long-lasting and decisive goals for reversing the damage we’ve done to our planet.

There have been a lot of natural disasters lately. Tsunamis, hurricanes, wildfires… pretty heavy stuff. How can one thrive and be happy when they’ve been displaced? We can prevent this from escalating. How? Being vocal and letting our government officials know WE WANT ACTION! Writing our councilmembers to enforce policies on environmentalism, writing our senators to encourage them to stand strong for environmental bills.

If you don’t know who you government representative is, check it out here

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The Internet makes everything soooo easy. With the power of search engines and the connectivity of social media, we really have the power in our own hands.  With this power, let’s do what is needed most – urge the government to take action. While we can be green on an individual level (and we should be!) we also need laws to stand in place to prevent corporations, automakers, etc. from polluting.

The American Clean Energy and Security Act of 2009 (ACES) is a bill designed to put a cap-and-trade restriction on greenhouse gas emissions. (Don’t know WTF that means? Here’s what Wikipedia says) Can you believe this is the first bill Congress put into place to specifically address climate change? I mean, at least it’s a start! However, we need more action. We need incentives for businesses to switch to alternative energy. We need incentives for consumers to switch to alternative energy. The government provides a tax credit when you install solar panels. And you know what the crazy thing about all this is? YOU SAVE MONEY WHEN YOU SAVE ENERGY!!!!

Energy, consumption and waste… three areas of focus for terra firma residents to improve on. I really hope after reading this you becoming inspired to take action.  Individually, find out ways to be more green and collectively, write your senator to urge him/her to enforce environmental laws. We have the solutions already, we just need to make them happen!

Let’s do this! Until next time.

In solidarity,

Raychel Espiritu

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October 15, 2009 at 4:00 pm Leave a comment

Take a Stand Against…Oil Sand?

Today President Obama will meet with Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper. An event not likely to make headline news with the Kanye v. Taylor debacle dominating the interwebs. Events even less likely to make headlines are the pillar examples of radical activism undertaken by Greenpeace and the Rainforest Action Network (RAN) that took place in light of the Obama-Stephen meeting to protest Canada’s practice of oil sand extraction.

What the hell is oil sand extraction? Put simply, it is a method of sucking crude oil out of the ground that is way worse than basic oil drilling. In fact, emissions produced from oil sand are estimated to be between 1.3 and 1.7x as much as from drilling, ground to pump. In addition, the process requires that land be strip mined, and that the oil be separated from the highly viscous sand through steaming or other solvency techniques.

In other words, it uses a damn lot of energy and resources to produce this cruder, dirtier source of oil. Canada happens to have some of the largest oil sand reserves in the world, and about 10% of oil used in the US comes from those oil sand reserves.

After combing through the blogosphere, hunting for some decent coverage of examples of activism, I came across this video of RAN hanging a 70-foot banner from the Niagara Falls observation deck highlighting this problem.

In what I can only assume was a team effort, Greenpeace also took a radical action yesterday when 25 activists broke into and shut down a Shell-owned oil sands mine in northern Alberta. According to Reuters Canada, representatives from Shell stated that they “have invited [Greenpeace] into our administrative building to sit down with management to discuss their concerns.”

This unfolding of events is an interesting case study in what makes for effective organizing and advocacy. More specifically, how knowing who your audience is and what messages and tactics will best reach them is key for making any kind of impact.

Since I’ve been involved in grassroots organizing, I have come to think of activism as being in one of two camps – “Push” or “Pull.” Pushers being the activists who start where people are and work inside the system through traditional methods (nonprofits, lobbying, petitions, etc) in order to move in a better direction, and Pullers being the activists who move ahead of where everyone is and work outside the system to bring the conversation in a new direction. Both are critical to making any kind of change happen, but while my heart is closer to the “pull” category, my logic tells me to keep on pushin.’

These events are shining examples of “pulling,” but while I laud the brave efforts of these activists and I totally agree with their cause, their message is unfortunately going to fall on deaf ears. Of course, those that are already tuned in will perk up, and they’ll tweet about it, and some people will watch the video on youtube, and maybe a few other late-night web surfers will come across an article, but the general public, the consumers of oil and the constituents of those that the activists are trying to persuade, will never hear about these brave and painstakingly-planned efforts.

And the reason is because not nearly enough people have ever heard about oil sand, and so even if they do care about climate change and sustainability, they don’t know how bad oil sand extraction is and how big a player Canada is in its expansion.

From a pusher’s perspective, I would think that in order to persuade President Obama to stop purchasing crude oil from Canada, he would need to hear an uproar from the American people. Americans care about low gas prices, but they also care about sustainability and preserving our beautiful spaces – air, land, and water. Especially in this tough economic time, more and more Americans are pushing for home-grown, clean energy because they know it will create jobs and make us more energy-independent. There is plenty of room there to message the oil sand campaign in a way that will tap into what Americans care about.

Maybe one day we’ll have more people willing to take that kind of bold action on an issue, but until then, I hope that those who are willing take the time to really think through whether their strategies are the most effective for reaching the broadest audience and influencing their targets.

Anyway, we should do our part and help RAN and Greenpeace take a stand against oil sand. You can take action here.

I’d love to hear your thoughts on push v. pull strategies and whether or not the Greenpeace and RAN actions were effective. Leave a comment!

Tara

September 16, 2009 at 8:36 am 1 comment

Sarah Palin needs a swift backhand. Like, now.

Sarah Palin Satire CartoonThis heffer: Sarah Palin is attacking clean energy. She wrote an op-ed piece for the Washington Post stating Obama’s clean energy plan is basically a “cap and tax” plan and it will only increase taxes on energy. She proposes we drill, baby drill. Ugh that statement has to be THE stupidest catch phrase the Republicans have ever used. People are smart and are learning how to read through politician’s lies, ahem, I mean lines. Obviously Sarah Palin wants to monetize Alaska’s oil reserves. Hey guys, let’s get our dependency off of foreign oil. Yeah, thats right, come to mama. It’s soooo obvious the only reason she’s blasting Obama’s clean energy plan is so she can fatten her pockets with big oil money. 

She wants America to get off foreign oil, use all the oil we have here, and then… what?  That’s what I thought. SHE MAKES ME SO FURIOUS!! 

Whew, OK I’m back. Had to let that out.

Why would anyone criticize the shift to alternative energy? By turning our focus away from fossil fuels and towards solar and wind power, we are doing 3 things:

  1. Creating jobs
  2. Saving the environment
  3. Leading the way for other countries to follow

Palin needs a backhand. Someone needs to shut her up and let Obama do his work. The Waxman-Markey bill is a small stepping stone towards the path of energy independence. If we let her kick this stepping stone, then we’ll all be kicking rocks 10 years from now when dealing with the repercussions of global warming. 

This article has a more in-depth look as to exactly why she’s attacking the bill, and what the consequences will be if we back away from it. And This article tells you more about ACES. 

It’s just so funny to see Palin talking in circles and carefully avoiding the phrases “global warming” or “greenhouse emissions” when attacking the American Clean Energy and Security Act of 2009 (ACES). Palin claims that it will cost thousands in tax dollars, yet fails to mention the financial costs of climate change. Maybe if consumers and businesses are seeing higher energy bills, it will force them to CONSERVE energy, not be so wasteful, and seriously consider alternative energy for their homes and businesses. The Huffington Post says:

“But in a new non-partisan analysis, the Environmental Protection Agency reiterates… GDP would increase by more than $5.1 trillion by 2030, says the agency, and costs to families would be no more than $140 per year. That doesn’t take into effect reduced energy costs from energy efficiency and greater use of solar and wind sources.”

BOOYAH! Game recognizes game. 

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Lets focus on the positive. Support The American Clean Energy and Security Act by calling your representative and simply letting them know you support it! Spread the word about clean energy, and defuse the lies Palin is trying to spread. Be ahead of the game and start conserving energy. Be the change you wish to see in the world. (Had to slip that last one in somehow) 

❤ Raychel


P.S. Read this mock article based off Palin’s Huffington Post Article… so funny!

July 21, 2009 at 6:57 am Leave a comment

Can Universal Healthcare Cure Apathy?

I know this is how I feel

I know this is how I feel

Back to the grind after an enjoyable weekend celebrating our nation’s b-day. I spent the weekend camping by the lake with family, lounging with a brew and riding my cousin’s jet ski. Was I scared I would break a limb? No – because I am lucky enough to have health insurance.   And since I am young and healthy, I don’t have to worry about paying a lot for healthcare. So while I was out glossin’ over the cut, I didn’t much have the head space to care about insurance company lobbyists in DC spending the Holiday trying to decimate Obama’s universal healthcare plan.

Then I check my email this morning to find one of my usual call-to-action emails with an unusually catchy headline – “Thomas Friedman called us out.” Thomas Friedman, well-respected NY Times columnist and author of many bestsellers, blasted young people for not stepping up to the plate enough on the landmark energy bill in Congress last week. The Green movement has been (rightfully) dubbed the movement of our generation, and yet Friedman claims that we aren’t loud enough.

If that is true on as hip an issue as the green movement, it’s even truer on healthcare! Why should we care? We’re young and healthy! But in fact, young adults are the most uninsured age group. 28.6% of 25-34 year olds are uninsured!

We’ve got a great opportunity to pass a policy that would make healthcare affordable for EVERYONE, but big insurance company lobbyists and right-wingers are fighting it HARD CORE. For details on the two plans, look here. Co-Op Plan

Friedman says we should “get out of Facebook and into somebody’s face.” I think he’s right (and I realize I am saying this on a blog), so here’s a real-life, in-person opportunity for you to get in some decision makers’ faces.

This Thursday, MoveOn.org is hosting rallies across the country in front of Senate offices to make sure our support is felt viscerally, not just virtually.

Find one in your area here.

…and while we’re at it, we still need that Climate Bill Friedman was talking about to pass the Senate, so you can do some virtual nudging on that issue here.

Of course young people care…but we’re also comfortable in front of our computers. Let’s stay healthy and go outside! It’s summer! See you on Thursday.

-Tara

July 7, 2009 at 6:28 am Leave a comment


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