After the Elections: Pollution Has Consequences

Yes,  time to fight harder!

Pollution Has Consequences

Mary Anne Hitt, Director of the Sierra Club’s Beyond Coal Campaign

November 6, 2014

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Elections have consequences—that’s a common political trope we hear after every election, and it’s true. It’s also true that pollution has consequences, and those hit Americans right where they live, from kids with asthma, to rivers fouled with coal pollution, to the farmer in the grip of an unending drought made worse by climate change.

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Pollution will still have consequences. Decisions about energy will continue to be made at the local and state level, by utility commissions and state regulators who are usually far less partisan and polarized than their federal counterparts—and those are venues where every one of us can and should get engaged.

As the new report by the world’s leading scientists makes clear, the effect of climate pollution released over the next two years will be far more lasting and irrevocable than anything that happens in the 114th Congress. So now is not the time for despair—it’s time for us to double down and do the most effective, strategic work of our lives.

While Americans showed their anger and frustration at the voting booth and sent new leadership to Congress this week, they did not vote for dirty air, dirty water or dirty energy. However, unless we do our work very well, that is just what they will get. In the next two years we will need to defend the progress that has been made to address climate change, shift away from fossil fuels to clean energy, and safeguard public health from dangerous air and water pollution.

Federally, climate deniers are poised to take the reins in several key U.S. Senate committees, and they clearly intend to take aim at a whole host of air, water and climate safeguards, especially the Clean Power Plan, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency standard to reduce carbon pollution from power plants.

Meanwhile, in statehouses across the nation, polluters are teeing up a wave of anti-environmental measures, including making it harder for homeowners to go solar, rolling back state clean energy standards and blocking states from reducing their carbon pollution under the Clean Power Plan.

At the same time, when it comes to our progress moving the U.S. beyond coal, we’re not going backwards. No new coal plants are being built in the U.S. right now, our existing coal plants aren’t getting any younger, and clean energy is being installed at such skyrocketing rates that wind and solar are as cheap as fossil fuels in a growing number of states around the country.

Pollution will still have consequences. Decisions about energy will continue to be made at the local and state level, by utility commissions and state regulators who are usually far less partisan and polarized than their federal counterparts—and those are venues where every one of us can and should get engaged.

Poll after poll has shown that the public wants clean air, clean water and action to tackle the climate crisis. We want more investments in clean energy now. Local concerns about public health, air pollution, and clean water will still be the most powerful arguments in the room. And regular people, fighting for their families and their communities, will still be the most powerful force shaping America’s energy future.

I’ll leave you with a couple of pieces of advice that seem very fitting this week, from two strong Appalachian women who I count among my heroes. When Judy Bonds, a leader and legend in the fight to end mountaintop removal, was in failing health, she told her friends and supporters that the best way to honor her legacy was simple: “Fight harder.” And to paraphrase legendary labor organizer Mother Jones, “Don’t whine—organize!”

Over 25,000 Sierra Club Members Take Action at the People’s Climate March

David Scott at PCM

Among the 400,000-plus people who participated in the People’s Climate March in New York City on September 21 were more than 25,000 Sierra Club members — the largest gathering of Club members in the organization’s history. The Board of Directors set the stage months ago for the Club’s deep involvement with the march, and over 100 buses from 35 states were organized and funded by the Club.

“We made an emphatic statement to global leaders and the world,” says Club president David Scott (pictured above). “And we were involved from the get-go.

Thanks to all the Charlotte area and N.C. Sierra Club members and supporters that made the commitment to speak out on the Climate Crisis!

Symphony of Science – Our Biggest Challenge

Check out this great short video!

We can do this!

We can change the world, this one global ecosystem!

Symphony of Science – Our Biggest Challenge is a musical investigation into the causes and effects of global climate change and our opportunities to use science to offset it. Featuring Bill Nye (the Science Guy), David Attenborough, Richard Alley and Isaac Asimov. It’s packed with information about climate change and inspiring calls to action. “Our Biggest Challenge” is the 16th episode of the Symphony of Science series by melodysheep.

So what can I do about this?

1. Send in comments to the EPA to end the era of unlimited carbon pollution. We’ve known for decades that carbon wrecks our health and our climate, and power plants are one of our nation’s top sources. Their pollution fuels climate disruption — it makes wildfires burn hotter and droughts last longer. Unlimited carbon pollution means more smog, more asthma attacks, and more climate disruption. And there’s literally no limit to how much carbon polluters are allowed to dump into our air. Join the 3.2 million voices that have already asked the EPA to protect our communities from carbon pollution.

2. Share the link to this post with your friends and neighbors. Post the link to your Facebook page. Get five people to join you in this action.

3. Attend a local event about the Climate Crisis and become active in the Movement.

Thanks!

 

Make Polluters Pay for Their Toxic Waste!

Take Action: Polluters Must Pay for Superfund Sites Take Action: Polluters Must Pay for Superfund SitesCongress enacted the Superfund toxic waste cleanup program in 1980, following the discovery of toxic waste seeping into homes and harming health in Love Canal, New York. Even though the Superfund program has been responsible for the cleanup of hundreds of toxic waste sites, more than a thousand sites continue to threaten health and water.

When the polluter pays fees stopped in 1995, the Trust Fund quickly dried up — leaving taxpayers to pay the full cost of cleaning up abandoned Superfund sites.

Take Action
Contact your senators today and tell them to support the Superfund Polluter Pays Restoration Act of 2014 (S 2679) to make polluters pay for their toxic waste!


Take Action: No More Coal Ash Disasters Take Action: No More Coal Ash Disasters

Coal ash, a byproduct of burning coal for electricity, is one of the largest waste streams in the country, with nearly 140 million tons produced each year. This toxic waste, which contains dangerous chemicals like arsenic, mercury, chromium, selenium, lead, and boron, is stored in more than 400 landfills and over 1,000 wet impoundments across the country. Yet currently no federal safeguards exist to protect communities and waterways from coal ash pollution.

Take Action
Tell your state legislators to support the EPA on finalizing strong coal ash safeguards by the end of this year.

The Dan River coal ash spill. Photo by Catawba Riverkeeper Sam Perkins.


Sign Up: Our Wild America Sign Up: Our Wild America

Sign up for our monthly Our Wild America newsletter to get the inside scoop about the Sierra Club’s work to explore, enjoy, and protect America’s wild legacy.

Stay up-to-date on the challenges facing our public lands and wildlife (especially in the face of climate disruption), follow what the Sierra Club is doing to connect people with nature, and learn what actions you can take to help protect our great outdoors.

Sign up today.


Grassroots Activism: Keep the People's Climate March Momentum Going! Grassroots Activism: Keep the People’s Climate March Momentum Going!

It’s been a week since more than 400,000 people marched in NYC for climate action (and in many other cities across the U.S. and world), but you can still take action!

Take Action
Tell the Environmental Protection Agency you support the Clean Power Plan.

So Much Happening! 4QT Mecklenburg Environmental/Social Justice Events

Here are some of our Sierra Club and community events that are related to environmental and social justice issues. I hope to see you at many of these!

Be the Change

People’s Climate March

See, listen and learn about the March and what you can do to grow the movement!

Memories and Images of the Peoples Climate March

VOICES OF THE PEOPLE’S CLIMATE MARCH Volume 1

The New Climate Movement Has Begun – Be a Part of the Change!

“The alarm bells keep ringing, our citizens keep marching. We must answer the call”

 Oct 6 – MSNBC “All In: Coal Country” with NC Coal Ash and Duke Energy

Monday, October 6th at 8:00 PM, Chris Hayes on MSNBC will be doing an hour-long investigative special on the coal industry

Oct 6 – MSNBC “All In: Coal Country” with NC Coal Ash and Duke Energy

 Oct 7 – 2nd of 3 NC Senate Debates with Kay Hagan vs. Thom Tillis, ‘Round 2′

Host a house party to watch and discuss. Or, Drinking Liberally Charlotte is hosting a viewing party at Kennedy’s Premium Bar & Grill – 366 N. Caswell (http://www.kennedyscharlotte.com). Folks will be upstairs starting at 6:30pm and stick around afterwards as long as you’d like to discuss how the candidates performed. The Debate starts at 7pm and lasts just 1 hour. This one is hosted by George Stephanopoulos!

 Oct 9 – Charlotte Bike Talk!

Charlotte Bike Talk! – Oct 9

 Oct 10 – Voter Registration Deadline

More information at http://charlottesierraclub.org/political-2/elections-2014/

Oct 10 – Carolina Thread “Fall Into the Thread”

One Week To Fall Into The Thread on October 10th!

 Oct 14 Webinar: Advocating with Compassion & NC General Assembly 101

Oct 14 Webinar: Advocating with Compassion & NC General Assembly 101

 Oct 16 – Charlotte Moral Movies – Disruption

Oct 16 More Moral Movies – Watch and Discuss “Disruption”

 Oct 18 – Rocky Face Mountain Outing

Oct 18 Outing: Exploring Rocky Face Mountain Recreation Area

Oct 20 – Citizens’ United and Corporate Personhood

Oct 20 Program: Citizens’ United and Corporate Personhood

Oct 22 – Sierra Club monthly meeting

Oct 22 Sierra Club Monthly Meeting – Members Trip Highlights

Oct 22 – “Coal Ash In Our Water: An Unfinished Business” Town Hall Meeting

https://www.facebook.com/pages/Charlotte-Environmental-Action-CEA/169329816552913

Oct 23 – Early Voting Begins

More information at http://charlottesierraclub.org/political-2/elections-2014/

Oct 26 – Appalachian Trail Conservancy and Sierra Club: Relive the Legacy of the Appalachian Trail

Oct 26 – Relive the Legacy of the Appalachian Trail

Oct 27 – Charlotte City Council vote on the future of area water quality (PCCO)

For more information on this issue see:

Public Hearing Comments on the Proposed Weakened Stormwater Ordinance

Come Tell Charlotte City Council to Protect Our Streams, Lakes, and Rivers

81% of Total Mecklenburg Watershed Considered Unfit – Support Strong Stormwater Regulations!

Charlotte Stormwater Pollution – Harming Our Lakes, Streams and Rivers

Sept 22: Charlotte Public Hearing – The Future of Area Water Quality

Will Developers Take Control of Our Water Quality?

Will Charlotte Continue to Weaken Storm Water Controls?

Nov 1 – Early Voting Ends

More information at http://charlottesierraclub.org/political-2/elections-2014/

Nov 1 – Catawba Wildflower Glen Service Outing

More information at: http://www.meetup.com/Charlotte-Sierra-Club/events/210703312/

Nov 4 – General Election Day

More information at http://charlottesierraclub.org/political-2/elections-2014/

Nov 21 – NC Climate Justice Summit

More information at NC Climate Justice Summit, Nov 21-23

NC Climate Justice Summit, Nov 21-23

NC Cliamte Justice Summit

NC Climate Justice Summit

November 21 – 23, 2014
Beginning at 4:00 PM on Friday
Haw River State Park
On Hwy 64 where Haw River crosses over highway
Pittsboro, NC

Want to take the People’s Climate March passion to the next level? Sign up today to be a part of the change!

Register here: http://www.eventbrite.com/e/north-carolina-climate-justice-summit-nccjs-registration-11711907631

What is the NC Climate Justice Summit?

The NC Climate Justice Summit (NCCJS) is the first statewide gathering of youth and adult community leaders focused on connecting the dots between social justice issues and climate change.

But NCCJS is not a conference.  It is an opportunity to bring our heads, hands and hearts to the biggest challenge of our times. It is a gathering that harnesses the strength of our diversity. We are all thought leaders with a crucial contribution to make toward answering these questions: How do we manifest climate justice in North Carolina?  How can we make all of our communities more resilient?

We will explore how climate change impacts our food, water, energy, housing, transportation, health and economy in NC. Together, we will name the problems and identify emerging solutions.  Together, we will build new community connections and skills that will support us to do the work of building the world we want to live in.

It is time to Re-imagine. Resist. Reform. Re-Create.  It is time for the NC Climate Justice Summit!

Register here: http://www.eventbrite.com/e/north-carolina-climate-justice-summit-nccjs-registration-11711907631

The Summit’s at the Summit:

The NCCJS will take place at the Haw River State Park in Browns Summit, NC. The Haw River State Park is a beautiful environmental education conference center about 20 minutes north of Greensboro. The Park will provide all of our meals, lodging and meeting facilities during the NCCJS.  Lodging includes hotel-style accommodations for adults and cabins for youth; there is no camping.

NCCJS Agenda Highlights:

· Racial Equity Basecamp (8am-5pm, 11/21): addressing the legacy of racism within the environmental movement

· Re-imagining: generate our collective vision of climate justice in NC

· Intergenerational breakout groups: identify core problems, emerging solutions and possible actions

· Campaign Fair: organizations share their work and recruit new volunteers

· Outer Resilience Workshops: develop concrete skills in the 7 Summit issue areas (such as an energy workshop on low budget weatherizing or a food workshop on drought resistant gardening)

· Inner Resilience Workshops: hone cultural skills that support us to collaborate over the long haul (such as mindfulness practices, working in diverse groups and creative self-care)

· Open Space Session: participants lead their own workshops or discussions

· Cultural extravaganza: poetry slam, film showings and dance party!

· Regional breakout groups: learn about how to create Resilience Hubs to build on the learning from the Summit when we return home

Event Organizers

The NCCJS Leadership Team is a grassroots group of 13 teenage youth leaders and 8 adults from across NC.

For more information see:

http://acespace.org/ncclimatejusticesummit
https://www.facebook.com/people/NC-Climate-Justice-Summit/100007742744796