Not Buying Anything: Happy Winter Solstice

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Thanks for all life to come

Stepping out of my lead role in Climate Change for Families, organizing in Plant-for-the-Planet and Our Children’s Trust legal efforts, and collaborating with other climate youth initiatives worldwide, I am grateful for the chance to make a difference with wonderful people. Following my act of civil disobedience in North Dakota I face likely prison time. Those who have worked with me know I’m the volunteer “Disorganizer”. Expect things to run much better as I serve others, rather than coordinate activities.

On Saturday, families meet to chart a path forward. We are all volunteers. I would love to hand over a growing organization, with one paid position for 2017. Our budget is so tiny, your donations today might make that possible. Each dollar given to Climate Change for Families pays our tiny expenses or plants tiny trees (You can choose, or let us put your donation where it is most needed). Your gifts help win tiny grants by showing how many people value our work.

To protect life on earth, the world needs more than money. Groups like ours need your time and energy. The future needs your commitment.Clearly, no government, no court, no corporation will force us to stop polluting soon enough. And yet “it is we who decide what nature is, and what it isn’t.”

What active contribution will you make for the good of all life to come?

On December 10th, Plant-for-the-Planet Ambassadors for Climate Justice will plant giant Coastal Redwood saplings here in Puget Sound, cloned from the DNA of a monster tree stump in California. Redwoods need to migrate north with climate change. The trees live for thousands of years. Can our mild marine climate protect them as oceans warm up through this hot century? Will we stop polluting fast enough to cool the planet by 2100? If we succeed, these tiny 3′ saplings the kids plant on December 10th might live to shelter newly evolved species in 3100, or in the year 6100. Wow!!

redwood-base

This week, youth await Judge Hill’s ruling on whether Ecology owes our kids a real Climate Recovery plan — not just the state Clean Air Rule which the state admits fails to cover all emissions or even mention forests. Should we win and the courts oversee a just climate plan for future generations, how many years will the state and polluters fight against implementation? Will these kids fight for life all the rest of their lives?

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If the world fails to get it together before 2020, we will need to cut emissions 15% annually until we are done with fuels. Does that seem impossible? If we start today, we need only 9% less pollution in 2017 and every year going forward. Will you cut your emissions 9% this year? Can you? Can your workplace?

It’s easier than you might think. And the results can be contagious. Think of it as wanting less, not more. When people live as if money makes the world go ’round, they make a hot mess. We got where we are today making more money and a big mess. For our kids to live well, should we work harder making a living or will we make things live?

Consider the sum of all you do for the planet, then multiply the good stuff. On Giving Tuesday, please don’t limit yourself to money. Donate time and love too. Donate creativity, lend a hand, and give up your pollution as quickly as you can. What gifts will you share?

We take a stand for life. I know we love our families more than anything and other living things so much that we will be the ones who make future life both possible and abundant, by changing our climate for the better. For that love and care, I am grateful.

If you would like to help Climate Change for Families, just tell us how you want to contribute. We all depend on one another giving.

In gratitude, Michael

 

Kids make history today

Tuesday November 22, 2016 King County Superior Court, Seattle WA

3pm Press Conference

4pm Hearing Open to the public!

Come watch Judge Hill weigh in on how best to defend our children’s air and water against climate change and from deliberate neglect by the state Dept of Ecology under Governor Inslee.

As of October, Washington now has a state Clean Air Act finished under order of Judge Hollis Hill, whose prior historic rulings — in favor of protecting children’s essential resources against climate dangers — became landmark decisions celebrated around the world. In May, Judge Hill directed the state Dept of Ecology to finish the rule-making in 2016 because, “These children cannot wait. Polar bears cannot wait. People in Bangladesh cannot wait. While I may not address the needs in those matters, I do have authority in this courtroom, and that is why I am taking this action today.”

Ecology quickly finished a rule which gives away tons of pollution permits for free and requires the 19 worst polluters in the state to start reducing emissions 1.7% starting a few years from now or not, in other words, a rule which does nothing to address our emergency. “ALL DONE!” Ecology admits their plan falls short even for those 19 polluters to satisfy the old limits set way back in 2008. Meanwhile the planet cooks coral reefs, ice caps, forests, and species, all vanishing faster than predicted.

At Tuesday’s “Show Cause” hearing Judge Hill will listen to the children’s lawyer Andrea Rogers argue that the court must intervene because Ecology refuses to follow the judge’s prior rulings to do our part to protect the air and water these children will need for a livable future.

The Dept of Ecology under climate champion Governor Jay Inslee has no plan. No secret Proposals. No clue how to protect our children’s air and water. After 2 years of losing in court to the children they fight against, they still fight to protect corporate polluters. Under our Washington constitution, the state may not choose profits over the people.

Yet, sadly, to win “contempt of court” against a state agency is a very difficult legal standard to prove. How will the judge decide? Nobody knows. I hope we’ll see you in court to find out.

REVIEW Q: Under Judge Hill’s prior rulings, who reserves constitutional rights to air and water in the future?

A: It ain’t polluters.

For the Trees

We are reposting this excellent blog post “For the Trees” with permission from the Blog Transition Times by Jennifer Browdy.


blackwater-canyon-fall-colors_-_west_virginia_-_forestwanderFor North American tree lovers, October is a special month: the time of year when the trees get dressed up in their fanciest finery and show off just how wildly beautiful they are.

I pay attention to trees in all seasons, and have ever since I was a girl who loved to climb them, as high as I could go, and drape myself over a branch to feel the wind swaying us both gently.

My very first short story, written in pencil in a nondescript notebook when I was about 8, was about a tree nymph named Estrella, who gathered the animals around her in an urgent council, and set off on a quest to try to save her forest from destruction by humans. I never finished that story, mostly because I could not imagine a solution—how could a tree nymph and some forest animals stop the men with their bulldozers and chain saws?

Estrella haunts me now, prodding me to return to her story and persevere to the ending. Since those long ago days of my childhood, the pace of forest destruction has only increased.

According to National Geographic, if the current pace of deforestation continues, the planet’s rainforests could “completely vanish in a hundred years” (italics mine).

The fate of the northern boreal forests is no less dire. The Canadian boreal forest, an area more than 14 times the size of California, is being scraped away relentlessly for tar sands oil production, as well as being steadily logged.

Boreal Concessions

In the first 13 years of the 21st century, according to a report from the World Resources Institute and Global Forest Watch, “Canada lost more than 26 million hectares of forest, mainly in its boreal region. More than 20 percent of the boreal forest region (more than 150 million hectares) is now covered by industrial concessions for timber operations, hydrocarbon development, hydroelectric power reservoirs, and mineral extraction.”

A hectare is equal to about 2.5 acres. The scale of this deforestation boggles the mind. In fact, I think one of the reasons this vast destruction is continuing is because it’s so hard to wrap our minds around it. Outside of photos, very few of us tree lovers ever see a fresh clear-cut or a mine. We don’t see what passes for “reforestation,” the planting of millions of trees in straight lines, with herbicide sprayed below them to prevent “weeds” from growing, and not an animal or bird or butterfly in sight.

A stalk of flowers with a bird and a butterfly
By English: thesandiegomuseumofartcollection (Flickr) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons
Yet so many of us love birds and butterflies and animals. We put out our bird feeders in the winter and ooh and ahh over a sighting of a deer or a bobcat.

How can we be so loving on the one hand, and so callous on the other? How can we allow the relentless logging and scraping and dozing and burning to go on???

We seem to live with constant cognitive dissonance, whereby we know what’s going on, but resolutely shut out the knowledge. At least, that’s what I do. I know that every time I get in my car I’m being part of the problem. But I continue driving, nevertheless. We all do.

Human beings are profoundly social animals. The more I think about our behavior, the more I see our resemblance to ants, bees and termites. Especially ants, who are also wizards at reshaping the environment to suit their own needs. But no other species on Earth destroys its own habitat—and knowingly, at that!

A long, long time ago, the Earth was an anaerobic environment; there was no oxygen in the atmosphere. Then the plants came along and started turning carbon dioxide into oxygen, paving the way for all of us oxygen breathers who followed them.

Without the plants—without the algae, grasses, trees and all the other carbon-dioxide breathers—the Earth would become uninhabitable for us, just as it became uninhabitable for the anaerobic creatures millions of years ago.

So when we’re thinking about the trees, we owe them some gratitude. Some reverence and respect.

I love trees because they seem majestic and wise to me. They live a long time, far longer than humans, and they exist both above and below ground in ways I can hardly begin to fathom. They are also patient and resilient. When you cut down a tree, its roots still feed the soil, and if left alone (ie, no herbicides), it will soon regenerate, calmly sending up hundreds of new saplings to take the place of the one who fell. It has time. There is no rush.

It’s human beings who are in a rush, all the time. In a rush to “harvest biomass,” policy code for cutting down forests. In a rush to figure out how to “manage ecosystem services,” ie, learning how to cut down, replant and cut down again at the fastest possible rate.

All this rush is sending us pell-mell off the cliff of climate change. We know this, but try not to think about it. It’s so much easier to go along with the flow of our dominant, fossil-fuel-based, wood-hungry culture than to try to resist. Especially when it seems like that’s what everyone else is doing too.

Charles Eisenstein says that “enlightenment is a group activity,” meaning that it’s almost impossible for us humans, social creatures that we are, to change our mind-sets alone.

What’s truly exciting about our time is that now, we are more networked and communicative than ever before, just like our cousins the ants and the bees. Our Internet has made group enlightenment (otherwise known as social change) possible at a speed and a scale never before possible for humans.

It’s no longer possible for us to simply not know when millions of acres of forest are being clear-cut. That kind of innocence is gone, and with knowledge comes the responsibility to act, to live up to our values. Happily, there are some potent actions going on right now on behalf of the forests and the waters—the lifeblood of our planet.

Not surprisingly, it’s indigenous peoples, the ones who have stayed closest to the land throughout the whole horrendous onslaught of “Western civilization,” who are leading the way.

If you haven’t been following the protests at Standing Rock, North Dakota, where a massive pipeline project is underway, please inform yourself. The powers that be are trying to muzzle the media there, but that always backfires in the age of social media, doesn’t it.

Amy Goodman’s video report of dogs attacking peaceful protesters (they prefer to call  themselves as “water protectors”) has gone viral with more than 14 million views in just a couple of weeks. The more the oil moguls try to stamp out resistance, the brighter the glare of public awareness and outrage shines.

I’m also heartened by the response to the Million Trees Campaign started by Treesisters, an organization inspired by the Pachamama Alliance, which was itself sparked by visits with the Amazonian Shuar people who were reaching out to northern allies to try to save their forests.

Treesisters is funding local reforestation projects, focusing on the tropical rainforests that are so essential to the stability of the climate worldwide. Currently they are half-way to their goal of funding the planting of 1 million trees in the coming year—you can join in here.

Onderwijsgek at nl.wikipedia [CC BY-SA 2.5 nl (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.5/nl/deed.en)], via Wikimedia CommonsEstrella the tree nymph is never far from my mind these days, her great love for the trees and forests fueling her implacable determination to change the hearts and minds of the human beings that would destroy them.

One day I will finish her story. And I hope I can find my way to a happy ending.


We reposted this excellent blog post “For the Trees” with permission from the Blog Transition Times by Jennifer Browdy.

The 10% rule

When will the founder of 350.org share science on how we get back to 350ppm CO2?

For our children to inherit a planet similar to the one we knew, 350 is the upper limit for the amount of CO2 in the air, the greenhouse gas that fuel-burning pollutes in Gigatons. It was 280ppm (ppm = parts per million) before the industrial revolution. We polluted past 350ppm in the 1980s, back when I was in college. This month CO2 stayed above 400ppm in the time of year it is lowest. “Unless someone like you cares a whole awful lot” nobody living today will experience a world with less than 400ppm again. For every 4 molecules of CO2 that you breathe in right now, one of those was placed there by human pollution. And we need to change that quick, before temperatures cook our biosphere.

Here is the math that defines my kids’ century: Earth now requires 9% reductions in carbon pollution in 2017. 10% in 2018, and rising fast if we don’t act now. Plus humans must help the planet restore 100GtC of our pollution into the ground, or roughly a decade of human emissions into trees and soil.

If we don’t change our ways… 2°C in 2050 means our kids and their descendants next century will face diseases, droughts, fires, floods, and endure wars for water and food, as temperatures keep rising and eventually wipe out most plants and animals that breathe oxygen. For the next few centuries there will be no path back to 350, because we dicker and delay. But today in 2016 we have that window open to a living planet for the next millenia.

For a start, ban all new extraction projects worldwide. By digging up fuel when we know the consequences, we commit deliberate crimes against humanity and nature. Keep it in the ground. Children are suing the federal government for extraction of fuels that has violated their ability to live on the planet in their lifetime. They demand justice, a climate recovery plan.

Can we stop ourselves? Can we police and disarm our industrial digging machines? Can we prosecute violators? Can we consume less?

Of course we can. We are nature defending itself, from us. Who better to stop the ticking bomb than the ones who built it? We need everyone, you and me, to play a part.

Yet green groups refuse to tell us the whole truth or demand what our children require of us. Why?  Maybe people don’t donate as much when told they have to change the way they live immediately.

9% – 10% less pollution means each year mom and dad will generate 10% less CO2 at work, buy 10% less fossil-fueled products with their pay, and burn 10% less gas getting to work. Consuming 10% less in year 1 and 2 is do-able. In year 3, 4, 5 how do you keep doing it?

Since we’ve already taken so much from the land and oceans, can clean energy save us from our voracious over-consumption? Will we extract, transport, and burn 10% less fuel this year?

The Question, for the next millenia of all life as we know it on this tiny blue marble,  this Eden sweltering in space: How can we feed, clothe, and house our communities fuel-free and restore wildness to half-earth.  I know we can do it.  How fast?

According to E.O. Wilson, we need to preserve “Half-Earth” in wildness for species biodiversity on which we depend to continue. We’ve already interfered with more than half. Can we work at restoring what’s been disturbed? Planting another trillion trees will take a lot of work and a lot of land.

With corporate power and fuel money slamming the brakes on progress, will corporations stop themselves? Maybe one day. If corporations are made of people, and those people have children, then it is only in their self-interest to stop if they want to survive. Let’s make that stopping point now, not later.

Unless you provide a real service for people, produce food, build efficiencies or store carbon, the economy might be better off with 10% less of what you do each year until we kick our fuel habit for good. The Solutions Project demonstrates how each state in the USA can go 100% clean energy, and must of the change comes through efficiency and conservation, saving the energy you don’t need.

Think about how you care for your family, what role you play in the just transition to living in honest relation with our common home. Will you transition to an essential career soon, or make do with less as we re-learn to feed ourselves?

Some jobs will get phased out completely by 2022. Industrial beef and cruise ships are done. Air travel shrinks until Boeing delivers a solar plane. To live as one healthy actor in our common home, what do we need more of?

350.org does great work. I hope green groups find the courage to point the way forward to climate recovery for this generation, not just protests, not false solutions, not 2°C or 1.5°C. Point us to the physical, ethical red line for survival, 350ppm this century.

We can do the math and we know. Our children depend on us.

Recovery

3 years ago today, we heard awesome young people speak across generations on Climate Recovery. Gabe defined the solution starting in 2013, 6% less pollution each year and massive reforestation.

Last week WA Ecology announced a Clean Air Rule to limit pollution roughly 1% – 1.7% each year that only covers 60% of our greenhouse gas and starts in 2020.

According to expert research in the kids’ legal case against WA Ecology, we’ll need 15% cuts if we start in 2020. Because leaders relied on markets and fracking to save us, this year our planet needs 8% cuts!

Or 9% in 2017…

Or if we don’t achieve that, +10% in 2018…

After that climate recovery starts to become unworkable in any timeframe of interest to humans.

Everything we do today matters greatly to all living things on earth. We are the humans who “decide what nature is and what it isn’t.”

Climate recovery for this generation is still mathematically possible only if we act today. Leaders don’t know how to get 10% less pollution next year. Yet the world doesn’t work for today’s kids if we don’t. So let’s figure it out together.

Stop polluting. Demand our leaders,  candidates and businesses stop too. Make climate the number one priority. Ambassadors wrote letters asking polluters to begin now on a path to recovery. You can write letters too. Will you?

If we won’t speak up for what we actually need, how can we ever get it?

Plus we must make these changes ourselves. Can you find 10% savings in your home this year?

The good news? Saving the planet together is FUN. We get all kinds of wonderful good healthy things in the bargain. No act of kindness for our planet today is wasted.

Greenhouse gasses build up. We make them.  We stop them. We can’t give up. We can do it if we all act now. (We means you too.)

TWO October Academies!

Have you ever wanted to change the world? Seattle and West Seattle youth can become Ambassadors for Climate Justice in October!

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FREE to all students ages 9 – 14, includes t-shirt and book “Tree By Tree”

SEATTLE Plant-for-the-Planet Academy
Saturday October 8th 2016
8:30am Registration
9 – 5:30pm Academy
University Christian Church
4731 15th Ave NE Seattle 98105

WEST SEATTLE Plant-for-the-Planet Academy
Saturday October 29th 2016
9:00am – 5:30pm
Westside Unitarian Church
7141 California Ave SW Seattle 98136

Students learn to inspire Tree-Planting efforts as Ambassadors for Climate Justice. Influence leaders, organize your school and neighborhood, make a better world. Plant-For-The-Planet Academy helps you get started.

SIGN UP TODAY!

Inspire Governor Inslee to act for our kids’ rights

Thanks to our Ambassadors and our amazing lawyer, Washington kids have rights to future nature that nobody else in the world has… yet! Washington kids won their lawsuit against the Dept of Ecology. The Governor now has to act to protect your rights to air and water in the future. We are going to give him people power to enact bold plans to preserve Washington kids’ air and water this week!

Gabe, our current Seattle president wrote an important editorial that was published today in 2 sites http://www.commondreams.org/views/2016/05/13/emissions-limits-will-test-gov-inslees-greenest-gov-claim

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/gabe-mandell/emissions-limits-will-tes_b_9959330.html

Share it! Do you tweet?
https://twitter.com/commondreams/status/731179333625188352

Help Governor Inslee make history this week! Get all your friends and neighbors to tell our Governor, Use the best current Climate Science to write a new Clean Air Rule to get our kids back to the future!
Sign the petition here:

3 Youth Plaintiffs from Our Children’s Trust met Bernie Sanders!

Our Children’s Trust posted to its members this wonderful photo and quote:

Bernie’s smile says it all, and so do his comments just before greeting Sahara, Avery and Hazel:
“Climate change is real. And for the sake of our kids and our grandchildren, we are going to have to have the courage to take on the fossil fuel industry and tell them that their short term profits are not more important than the future of this planet.”  – Bernie Sanders, April 28, 2016, Springfield, OR

From Seattle to Zambia

Our young friend Miku & her family recently moved from Seattle to Zambia. Miku and her mom took their commitment to ending the climate crisis with them. It turns out Climate Science is universal, like inspiration, action, and kids’ enthusiasm. No time to waste, they started making a difference. Here’s a note from Miku’s mom,

“Exciting news !!

We did first Plant-for-the-Planet ambassador training in Zambia 2 days ago.

And more exciting news is …….

Miku did all the facilitator at the academy. Yes she did “Lead – moderator”!!

Principal and teachers were sitting with children and listened Miku and helped other children when they need help. Miku was always in front and total 6 adults were always supporter.

When all the academy finished and kids enjoyed cupcake. Then I asked new ambassadors “how was today?”.

“Miku taught me lots of things!! She taught me about climate change, she taught me about how important to plant trees, she taught me what a Plant for the planet, she taught me a lot!! I really really really really appreciated her”.

I understood from this words that Miku was good impact for new ambassadors and these new ambassadors can think(imagine) about how they can motivate other people like Miku.

So children motivate other children at the academy would had lots of fun !!! Also one club will start next week at the International school.

This happened after Miku’s presentation at the school. I was thinking how I can facilitate this club, but now I can think Miku will facilitate this club and adults will supervise all.

We are still connecting with you and receive lots of energy from your activities. Congratulation on the court case. Children’s WON !

Thank you so much for your work to protect our children’s future !!”

And thank you Miku & family for inspiring the new Ambassadors for Climate Justice in Zambia!