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Stop Fracking, Heal the Planet

Mark Ruffalo and Josh Fox have just released a short video about why it is so important for people to come to Washington, D.C. on July 28 to take part in the Stop the Frack Attack demonstration. They're right! It is! Join them! Mark and Josh talk about two major reasons to come to DC and why we need to move as rapidly as possible away from ALL fossil fuels. It is especially urgent to get off the extremist-produced, especially dangerous energy like fracked gas, oil from the tar sands, the Arctic and deepwater offshore drilling, and mountaintop-removed coal. Extreme energy will only …

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Crying Over Colorado

Reading the piece below by Julia Olson made me cry. One of the big memories of my childhood is a one-month vacation trip my family took when I was 14 years old, driving from Lancaster, Pa. to Colorado and staying in Manitou Springs, just outside of Colorado Springs, for two weeks. Now, Manitou Springs is burning. And there's no clear end in sight to these spreading fires. No clear end over the coming days and weeks (months?), and no clear end for years and decades, given the certainty that the earth's atmosphere will continue to heat up and regions of …

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We Need a Green New Deal Now

All indications are that Dr. Jill Stein will be the U.S. Green Party’s candidate for President when it has a national convention in Baltimore in a few weeks. She has gathered a healthy majority of delegates pledged to vote for her as a result of Green Party state primaries and conventions.

It is a good thing for the planet that the Green Party is about to launch this campaign.

Four years ago John McCain was running against Obama on an “all of the above” platform on energy. This year, the “all of the above” candidate on energy is Barack Obama. In his State of the Union address, he talked approvingly about fracking and the government’s role in the development of the means to get at natural gas in shale rock. He rarely mentions the words “global warming” or “climate change.” He is proud that there is more domestic oil exploration during his administration than during George Bush’s. He held a press conference in Oklahoma endorsing the Oklahoma to Texas section of the Keystone XL tar sands pipeline. He is opening up the Arctic for oil exploration. And on an international level, since Copenhagen in December 2009, he and his representatives have worked to weaken, not strengthen, international action on climate change, including last week at the Rio Earth Summit in Brazil.

He has also done positive things. He has supported the EPA’s work to regulate carbon pollution and tighten up regulation of other pollutants. His stimulus package in 2009 allocated tens of billions for renewable energy and efficiency programs. He negotiated a deal with US automakers for an increase in fuel efficiency standards for cars. He is taking steps to get an offshore wind industry going. Under severe political pressure from our movement, he did the right thing, kind-of, temporarily, on the Canada to Oklahoma section of the Keystone XL pipeline.

This very mixed record is not the kind of leadership that the planet or its people need. What we need is what Jill Stein has called for and will talk about consistently from now until election day, and beyond: A Green New Deal, and all that goes with it..

“A Green New Deal for America”—that’s the official campaign slogan. And it’s not just words. Jill has a history of giving leadership and taking action on the climate and environmental issues, as can be seen by checking out her bio at http://www.jillstein.org/bio.

Jill’s voice in the next four months will make it more likely that we can force the climate issue into the mass media and the campaigns of Obama and Romney. In the 30 or more states where it is already certain who’s going to win based on past Presidential election results and current polling, Jill will offer a genuinely progressive option with very little risk of affecting the outcome, since it’s not the national popular vote that wins it but the results of 50 separate state votes for the Electoral College.

As far as the “swing states,” I appreciate the concern that many progressives have about a Green Party Presidential campaign hurting Obama and helping Romney. These are concerns that many progressives always have every four years because of the undemocratic, big money-dominated, winner-take-all nature of our political system. That reality, not progressives exercising their right to run a consistently progressive campaign, is the issue we should be concerned about, that we should all be working together on, and not just during a Presidential election year.

Right now, this week, there is something you can do to help strengthen the advancement of the progressive cause within the very difficult arena of our electoral system. You can donate, and urge others to donate, to help Jill Stein meet her federal matching funds objective. If she makes it, every dollar she raises will be matched by another public financing dollar.

Please go to http://www.jillstein.org/donate and support this genuine national leader in our struggle, as she likes to say, to “turn this breaking point into a tipping point.”

P.S. While all donations are valuable, Jill especially needs donations from the following key states to help her reach the required $5,000 per state threshold: Arizona, Colorado, Connecticut, DC, Florida, Maine, Michigan, Missouri, North Carolina, New Mexico, Ohio, Oregon, South Carolina, Tennessee and Virginia. You can learn more at http://www.jillstein.org/funding.

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Fracking, Climate Action and July 28

“To address the huge threat posed by global warming, I believe it is essential to move as quickly as possible away from natural gas towards renewable energy resources, and to not further develop shale gas unless major (and expensive) steps are taken to greatly reduce methane emissions.” -Cornell U. professor Robert Howarth, May 31, 2012, testifying before the House of Representatives

“On July 28th, 2012, we invite community members and organizations everywhere to join us in Washington, D.C. for a rally at the Capitol to demand no more drilling that harms public health, water, and air. . . Elected officials and public agencies must insist that the industry stop all drilling that is dirty and dangerous, and put communities and the environment first, starting by removing special exemptions and subsidies for the oil and gas industry. Join community leaders, celebrities and policymakers and add your voice to the call for a clean, fossil fuel free energy future.”
-Call to Action at http://www.stopthefrackattack.org

There are two energy-related issues that have generated significant popular movement over the past year: the movement in opposition to the Keystone XL pipeline and tar sands oil extraction, and the movement against hydraulic fracturing of deep-underground shale to extract natural gas.

The stop-the-pipeline movement won an historic temporary victory, with the final decision still to be made. The stop-fracking movement has also won victories, among them many-months-long fracking moratoriums still in place, but not permanent, in New York, New Jersey, Maryland and the Delaware River basin area. However, fracking is taking place in 20 or so other states.

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Tipping points, climate and political

Photo by Ecolabs.

Two headlines in USA Today and Reuters last week were very sobering: “Study: Global temperatures could rise 5 degrees by 2050,” and, even worse, “Global warming close to becoming irreversible.”

It’s not that I was surprised. I have known for years how urgent things are as far as our heated-up climate. Since I decided in 2003 that I needed to do more personally on this overarching survival issue, the world has seen a dramatic rise in the number and intensity of weather disasters, just as predicted by climate scientists years ago, though they've come sooner than most scientists expected.

What are the main points of these two articles?

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Drawing inspiration in the climate fight from Rachel Carson

Water makes its way, through fields, hills, and mountains Water makes its way, it has its ups and downs Water makes its way, it ends up in the oceans Water makes its way, it really gets around. I must make my way, no matter what life throws me I must make my way, must do the best I can I must make my way, my faith and hope they guide me I must make my way, together we all must stand. We must make our way, together up the mountain We must make our way, rememb'ring those before We must …

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How Great Thou Art

When I go out and feel nature’s wonders Wind, water, sun, the earth, the moon, the stars I feel such joy, love and appreciation I thank my God, the Force of Truth You are.   Chorus: Then sings my soul, the best I know within How great thou art, how great thou art Then sings my soul, the best I know within How great thou art, how great thou art.   And yet I know the world is full of suffering From greed and hate which often have their way Children dying, oppression much too normal, The environment itself in …

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Why Isn't There a More Massive, Activist Climate Movement?

Eight years ago I decided that I needed to change my life. The reason? The late summer heat wave which hit Western Europe in August, 2003, leading to 30,000 or more deaths.   I knew about the issue of global warming before 2003. Indeed, in 2002, during a Green Party of New Jersey campaign for the U.S. Senate, it was one of my major issues. Prominent in my basic brochure was this statement: “Move towards energy independence, reverse global warming and create jobs through a crash program to get energy from the sun, the wind and other renewable fuels.”   …

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Movement-building and 2012

“But eventually, the greater danger to the movement is that it may dovetail into the presidential election campaign that's coming up. I've seen that happen before in the antiwar movement here, and I see it happening all the time in India. Eventually, all the energy goes into trying to campaign for the "better guy," in this case Barack Obama, who's actually expanding wars all over the world. Election campaigns seem to siphon away political anger and even basic political intelligence into this great vaudeville, after which we all end up in exactly the same place.”      -Arundhati Roy,  http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2011/nov/30/arundhati-roy-interview   …

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Reasons for thanks giving

Amazing, just amazing. We win one a week ago on the tar-sands pipeline -- not a final victory but a big one -- and then yesterday, the young (and older) people of Occupy Wall Street pull off a tremendously powerful day-long series of actions in response to the Bloomberg/police, middle-of-the-night Tuesday eviction at Liberty Park. It began with nonviolent disruption of Wall Street, continued with organized outreach, education and movement-building on the NYC subways and concluded with a massive march and rally of tens of thousands across the Brooklyn Bridge and into Brooklyn. But not just this. Yesterday was also …

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