We’re in a Climate Emergency! Climate Action Now!
Last week, on the first day of the legislative session in Olympia, hundreds of climate activists turned up to try and bring attention to our climate emergency. And they did a great job of showing legislators that people care about this issue. From the demonstrators who loudly voiced their support for climate action in the state capitol Legislative building, to the women of the Puyallup tribe who slept overnight in Tarpees, climate activists in WA state were making their voices heard and their concerns known. But in Olympia, as in Washington D.C., life marches on and there is no guarantee that our legislators will continue to think about this issue. Unfortunately, legislators and voters both seem to have short attention spans. Which is why I’m asking all of you who care about our planet, to continue to show up and make phone calls and insist that climate action remain at the top of our legislator’s priority list.
Attend the hearing on Governor Inslee’s carbon pricing bill:
Where: Cherberg Senate Building, Olympia
When: Tuesday, January 16, 10:00 am.
As we embark on the second week of the 2018 legislative session in Olympia, let’s make a continued commitment to keeping the pressure on our legislators. Let’s insist that they keep their heads out of the sand and that they continue to focus on this issue! After you have marched on Monday for Martin Luther King Day, one more thing you can do is Join us in Olympia on Tuesday, January 16 at 10:00 am to support climate action! SSCAN members will be joining other climate groups for a hearing on Governor Inslee’s comprehensive proposal to put a price on carbon pollution and invest in solutions. We want to demonstrate our support for a price on carbon and we also want to push to make this bill even stronger. Right now, the Governor’s bill would use the majority of funds received to deal with our education crisis. What it would not do, is invest necessary funds in renewable energy and it does not focus support on communities that have been most impacted by climate change. We need a price on carbon but we also need to be investing in solutions so that we can transition quickly away from dirty fossil fuels.
Don’t think you can make it on January 16th? You can come to our upcoming SSCAN meeting on January 18th at the Columbia City Library at 6pm and learn about other ways to take action. Stacey Oaks, organizer for 350 Seattle, will come to talk about the protest actions against the Tacoma LNG plant.
Because it’s not just a price on carbon that we have to worry about. We also need to worry about new fossil fuel infrastructure that is being planned and built. Given that we are in a climate emergency – it is unbelievable that some of our “green” Washington State politicians that have given the go ahead on major new fossil fuel infrastructure projects such as the Liquified Natural (fracked) Gas plant which is being built in Tacoma by Puget Sound Energy.
According to PSE’s own figures, the 8 milion gallon plant would release 39.6 tons of toxic air pollutants and 20,000 tons of greenhouse gases a year. Because of its overall environmental impact, groups from the Sierra Club to 350.org to the NAACP oppose the claim that natural gas is a “bridge fuel” which can help us move towards a clean energy future. If that were the case, then fracked gas would also need to be ‘clean.’ which it most assuredly is not. At every stage — from drilling and extraction to transport and processing to combustion — “natural” gas releases methane, a greenhouse gas 87 times more potent than carbon dioxide at trapping heat in the Earth’s atmosphere. Peer-reviewed studies have found that leaked methane from fracking virtually eliminates any beneficial impacts of gas production. The Union of Concerned Scientists has found that if the US electricity grid transitioned to primarily gas there would be virtually no reduction in greenhouse gas emissions. This is not a clean solution to dirty fossil fuels, it is business as usual. And PSE’s business model is to make as much money as possible, regardless of the consequences for our children’s future. This is not acceptable and we all need to be fighting for our kids.
Moreover, due to the inherent risks posed by explosive fracked gas, LNG safety expert Dr. Jerry Havens recommends such facilities be located at least three miles from densely populated areas. Yet within three miles of PSE’s proposed site, thousands of people live and work – or are detailed. The 1575 bed Northwest Detention Center is within the blast zone of the plant. This facility is run by the GEO corporation that also runs for-profit prisons which have institutionalized a new form of slavery for black and brown men in this country. It has been the target of steady protests for immigrant rights, legal actions and environmental concerns since its opening. Detainees at the center have staged rolling hunger strikes over working conditions, $1 a day wages and human rights violations including the fact that the facility is built on a superfund site, which is polluting the air and water. Is it any surprise that this facility is also in the blast zone of the controversial 8 million gallon LNG plant being built on traditional lands of the Puyallup tribe?
Attend the Climate Lobby Day and Women’s Climate Reception
Where: Capitol, Olympia
When: January 22; Reception starts at 5:15pm
Attend the Fixing Democracy Training
Where: Westside Unitarian Congregation
When: January 27, 9am – 3:30pm
Thinking about all of these issues can be overwhelming and the temptation is to look away, or bury our head in the sand – like so many of our legislators seem to be doing. But, I’m sorry to say, that is not an option – not if you care about your kids, or your grandkids, or your neighbor’s kids, or any kids, anywhere on this planet. We need to keep paying attention and we need to keep showing up. And if you feel powerless, then find people who can support you and go out and do something. Go to the upcoming Climate Lobby Day on January 22nd. We need people to show our legislators that we care about this issue. And if you can’t make it to Olympia go to the Fixing Democracy Training in West Seattle. The upcoming Fixing Democracy training on January 27th is an opportunity to learn about the things we CAN do to try and address both our climate crisis and our economic, social and democracy crisis. Please see our events page for a description of these various events. Choose something you feel inspired by and then go do it!
Go forth and change the world! We need you!