The future doesn’t suck
By Chip Giller on Nov 19, 2016 11:00 am
Sooo … that happened. Donald Trump won the U.S. election and now threatens the progress we’ve all worked so hard to achieve. Does this mean our planet is gonna burn and our future is gonna suck? Many of us are in pain and fear for the future right now. Optimism might as well go on the endangered species list. Great time to kick off a newsletter focused on hope and progress for building a better world, right?
Actually, yes. Because change doesn’t begin — or end — in Washington, D.C. And it doesn’t rest solely on the actions of one person, or even one government. Innovators, artists, activists, cleantech pioneers, community organizers, city and state leaders, and many others across the globe aren’t giving up on the effort to build a better future for all humanity. That’s why Grist is here — to shine our beacon in the smog. To show progress and solutions and bring together the best and brightest to facilitate progress. Shift happens … let’s share it together.
Hence, this newsletter. Feedback welcome. Please bamboozle friends to subscribe via email, too.
–Chip, Grist founder
5 people you should know
One of the great things about my job: I get to hang out with cool people.
Check out what these five are up to:
Alvaro Sanchez wows me with his work on environmental equity at The Greenlining Institute. He looks at public transit, for example, and sees a boon for communities and the climate — equitable transit can solve poverty and pollution at the same time. Sweet.
Rebecca Burgess founded Fibershed (a play on “watershed,” get it?) after vowing to spend a year wearing clothing sourced within 150 miles of her home — the whole kit and caboodle, from fabrics to dyes to labor. She now envisions a system of regional textile communities that uses water renewably, builds up local soils, and creates “climate-beneficial” clothes … that look way comfier than mine.
Michael Ford is digging into the social and cultural impact of architecture and urban planning on city-dwellers, and is designing the Universal Hip-Hop Museum in the Bronx.
David Pomerantz, executive director of the Energy and Policy Institute, is the chief anti-BS officer who helped take down Florida’s fake solar amendment. His main hobby? Haunting dreams of fossil fuel execs everywhere.
Hard not to fanboy over artist and architect Maya Lin, who is working on a project to highlight biodiversity loss and climate change and what can be done about them. It’s called What is Missing? — take a look, and cue the jaw-drop.
P.S. Recently, Team Grist held a dinner in the Big Apple with a bunch of Grist 50 types, including NYC Councilmember Donovan Richards, sustainable fashionista Maxine Bédat, and attorney and community organizer Elizabeth Yeampierre. We like people who are getting shit done. Want to grab dinner soon?
Stuff I’m reading
Election Day wasn’t a complete disaster. Floridians cared enough about renewables to vote down a Koch bros-backed initiative masquerading as pro-solar. Seriously, the fight for climate and environmental justice is more important than ever — and a lot of it will shift to the regional and local levels in the United States. Last week, an important oil-producing county in California actually banned fracking — a huge environmental justice win for residents. Soda taxes won big in cities, too. Election Day also saw Seattle and L.A. voters boost public transit like crazy, and Nevada took a big step toward ending a state-wide monopoly on electricity. Yep, cities and states can be home to environmental solutions even in Trump’s America, but only if they dig deeper than canvas totes, and keep high-density development top of mind. (Good job on that, Santa Monica. Tesla, that means you, too!) And in some especially surprising news: Children can sue the feds over climate change. Follow the yutes.
On my nightstand
Need perspective on the election and the work moving forward? These books are a start. Got questions for the authors? Shoot ’em to me and I’ll do my mightiest to get answers.
Hillbilly Elegy: A Memoir of a Family and Culture in Crisis, by J. D. Vance, is an examination of the struggles of poor, white Americans — some of the same struggles that helped bring us a Trump presidency.
Rules for Revolutionaries: How Big Organizing Can Change Everything, by Bernie Sanders campaign organizers Becky Bond and Zack Exley. Important right now.
Coming of Age at the End of Nature, a collection of essays by twentysomethings working to get us out of this planetary pickle.
Sarah Jaffe’s new book Necessary Trouble: Americans in Revolt explores movement-building in America. I asked her what lessons she drew from the book that can be applied to the climate cause right now. Her response: While doubling down on our specific issues is important, we’re going to have to do better at showing up for others’ struggles to build unlikely alliances. Labor and the climate movement have to learn to talk to each other. Climate activists need to see protecting immigrants from deportation as part of their fight, because we’re going to have a lot more climate migrants in the years to come.
Action that inspires
The fight to block the Dakota Access Pipeline continues. Activists on Tuesday held protests around the country and beyond. Keep up with Dakota Access news on Grist and on Twitter.
Have any loose change lying around that you’re itching to put to good use? Big national charities like Planned Parenthood are raking in donations since Trump’s win, and that’s great. But if you want your contribution to reach the community-based groups that need it most right now, I asked around for suggestions.Here are some organizations to consider.
What are your favorite causes that merit special help right now? Zap me with suggestions to highlight in a future newsletter. You can also, of course, donate to Grist.
Food+Tech Connect has a new job board for you foodies.
Zooming in on foodie freelancers: Civil Eats needs a managing editor.
The New School is hiring a visiting professor in the climate field.
Hey, Grist is hiring, too.
Do you know of a sweet job waiting to be filled? Do tell!
How to spend your Sunday
Listen to stuff by soul singer/climate activist extraordinaire Antonique Smith, especially her take on Marvin Gaye’s “Mercy Me.” What gives her hope after this election? People power, if we use it: Whether it’s in our personal lives or coming together to fight for our futures, our freedom and equality, our right to clean air and clean water, we, the people, actually have the power.
And read this letter from E.B. White. It helps.
A Beacon in the Smog®
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An environmental activist who worked to prevent illegal logging and other environmentally exploitative practices was recently shot and killed by two gunmen. Demand that the perpetrators of this crime are brought to justice and that the government work to protect the vulnerable Amazon rainforest.
Each year, coffee drinkers across the globe create six million pounds of waste in the form of spent coffee grounds. Some of us chuck it in our compost pile, but most of it becomes just another garbage disposal challenge.
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The people’s voice should always be present at the table when projects that affect our public forest lands are considered. Because clear cutting is conducted at the taxpayer’s expense, we can legally demand: No taxation without representation. Call for better representation of citizen interests.
DailyMail: She has carved a name for herself in Hollywood, thanks to her roles in The Rose, For the Boys and The First Wives Club. But off-screen Bette Midler appears to be a strong environmental activist, so much so that the American star doesn’t have any plastic belongings in her home.
‘The whole world has become disposable,’ she confessed in an interview with The Telegraph newspaper. ‘People use things once, then they throw it away. I grew up really frugal,’ she added. ‘It was the end of the war and people didn’t have anything. They had to take care of what they had.’
The 68-year-old actress is well-known for her long-standing and passionate commitment to the environment. Earlier this year, Bette proposed a small fee on disposable plastic bags in the States.
According to the New York Observer, the actress’ restoration project asked Council…
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October 22nd, 2014. Chatham Rock Phosphate’s proposal to mine the Chatham Rise on New Zealand’s continental shelf could affect marine mammals such as whales and dolphins, University of Otago assistant professor Liz Slooten told the Environmental Protection Authority (EPA).
The EPA’s on-going hearing to assess the impact of the mining project has entered into its fifth week, where Slooten has been providing evidence from environmentalists Greenpeace, Kiwis Against Seabed Mining (KASM) and the Deep Sea Conservation Coalition (DSCC).
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California has fired the first salvo in what could be a national war on plastic bags.
Governor Edmund Brown on Tuesday signed into law a bill that bans plastic shopping bags, making California the first U.S. state to officially prohibit stores from handing them out for free.
“This bill is a step in the right direction — it reduces the torrent of plastic polluting our beaches, parks and even the vast ocean itself,” Brown said in a statement. “We’re the first to ban these bags, and we won’t be the last.”
The ban is a victory for environmentalists who say the 13 million plastic bags that are handed out each year in the state end up in waterways and landfills where they don’t break down for decades. Critics argue that the ban is misguided and will cost American jobs.
The new law goes into effect for large grocery chains and…
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September 24th, 2014 (Julien Arsenault). MONTREAL – A judge has suspended exploratory drilling for the TransCanada oil terminal in eastern Quebec after objections by environmentalists.
The decision by Quebec Superior Court Justice Claudine Roy to grant a temporary injunction on Tuesday stops the Alberta-based company from conducting seismic surveys in Cacouna until Oct. 15.
That work involved studying the composition of the sea bed in that part of the Lower St. Lawrence to determine where the port could be built.
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Sheldon National Wildlife Refuge managed by the United States Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) is in the very last days of “zeroing out” the mustang and burro population that lives within their boundaries.
As the helicopter removal phase ends three big questions remain: What happens to the horses and burros removed this year, what happened last year and what are the plans for the stragglers left on the refuge and those that WILL come in off BLM land until the fencing project has been completed?
Our inbox has been flooded with these questions.
A good place to start would be to watch the video put out by KTVL, the only media station to cover the roundup. http://www.ktvl.com/shared/news/top-stories/stories/ktvl_vid_13468.shtml
You can read Sheldon’s page about the removal here: http://www.fws.gov/sheldonhartmtn/sheldon/horseburro.html
Let’s start with last year. WHE did file legal action last year to attempt to address these issues…
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Judge Throws Out Colorado City’s Fracking Ban
Fort Collins voters put a five-year ban on fracking in November, but a judge ruled that it ‘impeded the state’s interest’
By Andrea Germanos, staff writer
Voters in Fort Collins, Colorado last year sent a clear message: no fracking in our city.
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This video is called North Pacific Right Whale.
There may be fewer than 300 North Pacific right whales compared to a pre-whaling population of more than 11,000.
30 May 2007
Anchorage, Alaska, US – Oil and gas drilling in Bristol Bay could threaten the eastern North Pacific right whale, the most endangered whale population in the world, according to a new WWF report released at the 59th meeting of the International Whaling Commission.
A planned lease sale area in Bristol Bay overlaps with critical habitat designated for the eastern North Pacific right, as well as for other endangered cetacean species including bowhead, blue, fin, sei, humpback and sperm whales.
“Offshore oil and gas development in Bristol Bay would be the wrong step for the right whale,” said Margaret Williams…
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“Between 2002 and 2013, at least 908 people were killed because of their environmental advocacy…” ~ http://www.greenisthenewred.com/blog/violence-murder-against-environmentalists/7749/
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The U.S. government is starting to prepare a five-year program—spanning the years 2017 to 2022—that could open the Arctic Ocean to oil and gas drilling. Stand with us against new oil and gas leasing and protect the animals and people who depend on a clean, healthy Arctic Ocean.
Tell the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) to say no to risky Arctic drilling.
- Sally Jewell
GR: Fossil fuels pollute our air and water. Overfishing, ocean acidification, and other human activities are already harming marine life. Let’s stop looking for oil and focus on cleaning up the mess we’ve made. Please sign the petition.