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

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Obama to UN: “The Alarm Bells Keep Ringing, Our Citizens Keep Marching”
Transcript of U.S. President Barack Obama’s remarks at the UN Climate Summit in New York today:

For all the immediate challenges that we gather to address this week — terrorism, instability, inequality, disease — there’s one issue that will define the contours of this century more dramatically than any other, and that is the urgent and growing threat of a changing climate.

Five years have passed since many of us met in Copenhagen. And since then, our understanding of climate change has advanced — both in the deepening science that says this once-distant threat has moved “firmly into the present,” and into the sting of more frequent extreme weather events that show us exactly what these changes may mean for future generations.

No nation is immune. In America, the past decade has been our hottest on record. Along our eastern coast, the city of Miami now floods at high tide. In our west, wildfire season now stretches most of the year. In our heartland, farms have been parched by the worst drought in generations, and drenched by the wettest spring in our history. A hurricane left parts of this great city dark and underwater. And some nations already live with far worse. Worldwide, this summer was the hottest ever recorded — with global carbon emissions still on the rise.

So the climate is changing faster than our efforts to address it. The alarm bells keep ringing. Our citizens keep marching. We cannot pretend we do not hear them. We have to answer the call. We know what we have to do to avoid irreparable harm. We have to cut carbon pollution in our own countries to prevent the worst effects of climate change. We have to adapt to the impacts that, unfortunately, we can no longer avoid. And we have to work together as a global community to tackle this global threat before it is too late.

We cannot condemn our children, and their children, to a future that is beyond their capacity to repair. Not when we have the means — the technological innovation and the scientific imagination — to begin the work of repairing it right now.

As one of America’s governors has said, “We are the first generation to feel the impact of climate change and the last generation that can do something about it.” So today, I’m here personally, as the leader of the world’s largest economy and its second largest emitter, to say that we have begun to do something about it.

The United States has made ambitious investments in clean energy, and ambitious reductions in our carbon emissions. We now harness three times as much electricity from the wind and 10 times as much from the sun as we did when I came into office. Within a decade, our cars will go twice as far on a gallon of gas, and already, every major automaker offers electric vehicles. We’ve made unprecedented investments to cut energy waste in our homes and our buildings and our appliances, all of which will save consumers billions of dollars. And we are committed to helping communities build climate-resilient infrastructure.

So, all told, these advances have helped create jobs, grow our economy, and drive our carbon pollution to its lowest levels in nearly two decades — proving that there does not have to be a conflict between a sound environment and strong economic growth.

Over the past eight years, the United States has reduced our total carbon pollution by more than any other nation on Earth. But we have to do more. Last year, I issued America’s first Climate Action Plan to double down on our efforts. Under that plan, my administration is working with states and utilities to set first-ever standards to cut the amount of carbon pollution our power plants can dump into the air. And when completed, this will mark the single most important and significant step the United States has ever taken to reduce our carbon emissions.

Last week alone, we announced an array of new actions in renewable energy and energy efficiency that will save consumers more than $10 billion on their energy bills and cut carbon pollution by nearly 300 million metric tons through 2030. That’s the equivalent of taking more than 60 million cars off the road for one year.

I also convened a group of private sector leaders who’ve agreed to do their part to slash consumption of dangerous greenhouse gases known as HFCs — slash them 80 percent by 2050. And already, more than 100 nations have agreed to launch talks to phase down HFCs under the Montreal Protocol — the same agreement the world used successfully to phase out ozone-depleting chemicals. This is something that President Xi of China and I have worked on together. Just a few minutes ago, I met with Chinese Vice Premier Zhang Gaoli, and reiterated my belief that as the two largest economies and emitters in the world, we have a special responsibility to lead. That’s what big nations have to do. (Applause.)

And today, I call on all countries to join us -– not next year, or the year after, but right now, because no nation can meet this global threat alone. The United States has also engaged more allies and partners to cut carbon pollution and prepare for the impacts we cannot avoid. All told, American climate assistance now reaches more than 120 nations around the world. We’re helping more nations skip past the dirty phase of development, using current technologies, not duplicating the same mistakes and environmental degradation that took place previously.

We’re partnering with African entrepreneurs to launch clean energy projects. We’re helping farmers practice climate-smart agriculture and plant more durable crops. We’re building international coalitions to drive action, from reducing methane emissions from pipelines to launching a free trade agreement for environmental goods. And we have been working shoulder-to-shoulder with many of you to make the Green Climate Fund a reality.
But let me be honest. None of this is without controversy. In each of our countries, there are interests that will be resistant to action. And in each country, there is a suspicion that if we act and other countries don’t that we will be at an economic disadvantage. But we have to lead. That is what the United Nations and this General Assembly is about.

Now, the truth is, is that no matter what we do, some populations will still be at risk. The nations that contribute the least to climate change often stand to lose the most. And that’s why, since I took office, the United States has expanded our direct adaptation assistance eightfold, and we’re going to do more.

Today, I’m directing our federal agencies to begin factoring climate resilience into our international development programs and investments. And I’m announcing a new effort to deploy the unique scientific and technological capabilities of the United States, from climate data to early-warning systems. So this effort includes a new partnership that will draw on the resources and expertise of our leading private sector companies and philanthropies to help vulnerable nations better prepare for weather-related disasters, and better plan for long-term threats like steadily rising seas.

Yes, this is hard. But there should be no question that the United States of America is stepping up to the plate. We recognize our role in creating this problem; we embrace our responsibility to combat it. We will do our part, and we will help developing nations do theirs. But we can only succeed in combating climate change if we are joined in this effort by every nation –- developed and developing alike. Nobody gets a pass.

The emerging economies that have experienced some of the most dynamic growth in recent years have also emitted rising levels of carbon pollution. It is those emerging economies that are likely to produce more and more carbon emissions in the years to come. So nobody can stand on the sidelines on this issues. We have to set aside the old divides. We have to raise our collective ambition, each of us doing what we can to confront this global challenge.
This time, we need an agreement that reflects economic realities in the next decade and beyond. It must be ambitious –- because that’s what the scale of this challenge demands. It must be inclusive –- because every country must play its part. And, yes, it must be flexible –- because different nations have different circumstances.

Five years ago, I pledged America would reduce our carbon emissions in the range of 17 percent below 2005 levels by the year 2020. America will meet that target. And by early next year, we will put forward our next emission target, reflecting our confidence in the ability of our technological entrepreneurs and scientific innovators to lead the way.

So today, I call on all major economies to do the same. For I believe, in the words of Dr. King, that there is such a thing as being too late. And for the sake of future generations, our generation must move toward a global compact to confront a changing climate while we still can.

This challenge demands our ambition. Our children deserve such ambition. And if we act now, if we can look beyond the swarm of current events and some of the economic challenges and political challenges involved, if we place the air that our children will breathe and the food that they will eat and the hopes and dreams of all posterity above our own short-term interests, we may not be too late for them.

While you and I may not live to see all the fruits of our labor, we can act to see that the century ahead is marked not by conflict, but by cooperation; not by human suffering, but by human progress; and that the world we leave to our children, and our children’s children, will be cleaner and healthier, and more prosperous and secure.

http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2014-09-23/obama-to-un-the-alarm-bells-keep-ringing-our-citizens-keep-marching-.html

 

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

Want to learn more about how to become a better advocate on environmental and social justice issues? Want to learn more about the North Carolina General Assembly and the legislative process? Then this webinar is for you! Register today for this NC IPL program.

North Carolina Interfaith Power and<br />
                                            Light

Advocating with Compassion & NC General Assembly 101

October 14, 2014, at 12:00 noon.

TO REGISTER ONLINE CLICK HERE

NCIPL is kicking off its exciting new Webinar program with a talk on Advocating with Compassion, and a simple, easy to understand ’101′ on the North Carolina General Assembly and governmental process. The webinar will be hosted by NCIPL’s Executive Director, Susannah Tuttle, and Veronica Shingleton, Communications and Advocacy Development Project Consultant.

This webinar will help you answer questions like:

  • How does the NCGA work?
  • Who holds the power?
  • What does it mean to advocate with compassion?
  • How can put my faith into action?

Susannah has been Executive Director of NCIPL for three years and will talk about her experience reaching out to congregations and officials with an open and engaging approach and the successes she’s experienced.

Veronica has extensive knowledge on these topics, with over 14 years of public policy and advocacy experience on the state and federal level.  In this webinar, she will help us better understand the legislative process and how that can guide advocacy efforts.

Mark your calendars! The webinar will take place at 12:00 p.m. on Tuesday, October 14.

TO REGISTER ONLINE CLICK HERE

Contact reuben@ncipl.org with any questions. We hope you can make it!

Memories and Images of the Peoples Climate March

Thanks to long time Sierra Club member Nancy Bryant for this great message!

Memories of the “Great March”

Nancy C. Bryant

On Saturday, 8pm, September 20, our charter bus, along with nine other buses from NC, took off for New York City for the People’s Climate March the next day. The 55 people on our bus were to join what we had hoped would be 250,000 others, but which would become 400,000 at the final tally.

Now, why would 400,000 people come from all over the US and Norway and Canada, and who knows how many other counties, to march for one day? People of all ages, all colors, cultures and backgrounds. People singing, playing instruments, chanting, shouting, carrying signs and posters and waving flags and flying birds and giant parachutes, people walking, in strollers, in wheelchairs, on floats, on bikes, on scooters, on roller skates, dancing, prancing……..

I’ll tell you why. Because they care about what is happening to this, our fragile planet earth. They care about the future of their children and grandchildren and all living things on this earth. They care about the climate that is now changing so rapidly that we see it in front of our eyes, if we look about and pay attention to the climate. Just ask the farmers who were there. Just ask our local farmers. They want fossil fuels to continue being replaced with renewal energy sources, not 10 years from now, not 50 years from now, but now. They want the fracking to stop. They want our climate to get back into balance instead of heating up.

At first, my stepson, Jeep Bryant, and I marched with the contingent of people of faith and scientists, but later we joined the indigenous peoples of the world. There were people from labor, families, students, elders, environmental justice, community groups, neighborhood groups, the City Council of NYC, the head of the UN, movie and pop culture advocates – every possible group of people concerned about the issues.

The people who marched were marching with hope and exhilaration, knowing that millions more of us would also march for our fragile earth and the future for generations to come if they could. Deb from Anson, James from Montgomery and Harry from Richmond, my busmates, join me in saying that it was a highlight of our lives to be marching on Sunday, sharing the hope of a better world.

And now for some scenes from the People’s Climate Change March.

Enjoy the memories. Rekindle the passion. Take some action on the Climate Cris today and everyday…

PCM ImagesPCM Art and Photos

And for a special treat, listen to the “Voices of the the Peoples Climate March” by Brian Kasher

The audio stream includes over forty (40) mini-interviews; street music from: the Second Line Social Aid and Pleasure Society Brass Band, Rocket McFlyy, the Raging Grannies and more; chants, Central Park crickets, police helicopters, and general crowd ambiance. Two-hundred fifty three (253) sounds clips were recorded during the March.

PCM Voices 1

How Green Spaces Are Saving Humanity

Great article from  Sierra Magazine!

Need to get your green on and recharge your humanity? Check out our Mecklenburg Park & Rec Nature Preserves. You’ll be glad you did!

How Green Spaces Are Saving Humanity

It’s like The Giving Tree, but in real life.
Park bench on a summer day

Thanks, Mother Nature.

Parks and green spaces are little oases nestled in a city’s fabric, offering respite from stressful bustle and ideal spots to picnic or walk. But urban green spaces—parks, gardens, or simply the trees that line sidewalks—also afford a host of less visible health benefits. Even living around leafy areas can provide perks you don’t even realize you’re getting, from lower blood pressure to lower crime rates.

1. Green spaces make you less stressed.

Anyone who’s ever sat in a park after a harrowing day of work knows that trees just have a way of making you feel better. Scientists have backed up this phenomenon, with studies that found lower blood pressure and heart rates, as well as lower levels of cortisol, a marker of stress found in saliva, among people who spend time in green spaces.

Trees are there for you during the harder times, too. Dutch researchers surveyed over 4,500 people going through stressful life events, including the death of a loved one, serious illness, or financial hardship. The ones who lived within 3 kilometers of green space reported higher levels of well-being and fewer health complaints in the face of their struggles than those who didn’t. And several studies have shown that people who live near green spaces are much less likely to suffer from depression or anxiety.

2. You’re less likely to die from stress or pollution-related problems.

These positive effects can go a long way. A study of 575,000 urban residents of Ontario, Canada showed that who lived near trees had lower rates of mortality, and were especially less likely to die of respiratory disease. This makes sense: Trees are air-filtering workhorses, taking in pollution and pumping out that sweet, sweet oxygen.

Another vivid study in 2013 used a natural experiment to confirm this trend. Scientists tracked the emerald ash borer, an invasive green beetle, as it demolished tens of millions of ash trees in Michigan and the northeast U.S. Over a period of five years, they found that in the areas the beetle hit hardest, about 21,000 more people had died from lower respiratory tract illness and heart disease than those who lived where ash trees survived.

3. Spending time in nature makes you a better employee.

Hanging out with trees during your lunch break can give your brain a rest by replenishing attention, say researchers at the University of Michigan. Unlike urban environments that require focused attention (say, dodging a speeding car), natural environments are filled with “intriguing stimuli” that modestly grab your attention—a funky-looking insect, the wind rustling through leaves—letting your higher concentration faculties rest. When you get back to work, you’ll be refreshed and more prepared to make savvy, career-advancing decisions.

4. Trees make inner-city neighborhoods safer.

Trees can even fight crime, according to a study by the Landscape and Human Health Laboratory at the University of Illinois. Researchers analyzed police crime reports from a Chicago public housing development to discover that buildings with greener surroundings had fewer reports of crime, both property and violent.

The idea that trees can act like leafy Batmen is cool enough, but how does it happen? In a later study, the same researchers found crimes in low-income areas often occurred because people were constantly mentally fatigued or stressed. Since the mere sight of trees is restorative, as we know, being surrounded by vegetation helped people recover from their stress, check their aggression, and keep the peace.

To top it all off, research has shown that these psychological benefits are even more pronounced when a park contains more biodiversity. Researchers from the University of Sheffield, England quizzed park-goers about their psychological well-being and how many bird, butterfly, and plant species they thought lived in the parks they frequented. The parks’ species richness, the scientists found, correlated with the people’s well-being. Moreover, the visitors themselves were able to tell on some subconscious level which parks were more diverse. That knowledge, it seems, did them good.

Will Charlotte Continue to Weaken Storm Water Controls?

For months now the Charlotte environmental and sustainability community, including Catawba RiverkeeperCharlotte Public Tree Fund, Sierra Club Central Piedmont Group, and Sustain Charlotte, have reached out to the Charlotte City Council and City Stormwater Staff and urged them NOT TO WEAKEN our stormwater protection. The Post-Construction Stormwater Ordinance (PCO) is a key regulation to stop stormwater runoff, protect our stream banks and trees, and help to reduce reduce pollution following into our streams, rivers, and lakes.

Take a moment and click below to read WHAT and WHY we asking City Council NOT TO WEAKEN our stormwater protection.

On Monday, September 22, Charlotte City Council has planned a Public Hearing that will, for the most part, determine the future water quality of our area lakes, streams and rivers. More information on the hearing to follow. Check back often.

See also: Charlotte Stormwater Pollution – Harming Our Lakes, Streams and Rivers

September 4 Joint Letter

PCO Letter Sept 4 2014 PCO Joint Comments Sept 4 2014

June 16 Joint Letter

PCCO Joint Letter June 16 2014PCO Joint Letter June 16 2014

New Charlotte Alliance and Website – Transportation Choices Alliance (TCA)

TCA Website

Today Sustain Charlotte launched www.MoveCharlotteSmarter.org to help educate, engage, and unite Charlotte area residents on local transportation issues. The site represents the official educational and engagement platform for the Transportation Choices Alliance (TCA), and we are proud to be a Founding Member of this alliance!
The mission of the TCA is to increase transportation choices, and their use, throughout the Charlotte region to improve traffic, air quality, public health, mobility, and the economy. More transportation choices means more safe and convenient opportunities to take a bus, catch a train, ride a bike, or walk.
We invite you to join us in showing support for more transportation choices by visiting the new website, subscribing to the alliance email list, become a member, and following the TCA on Facebook and Twitter!
Over 25 organizations have joined as Founding Members, including:

Alta Planning + Design, Greater Charlotte Apartment Association, AARP North Carolina, American Heart Association, American Stroke Association, Biddleville Smallwood Community Organization, BikeWalk NC, Carolina Thread Trail, Catawba Lands Conservancy, Catawba Riverkeeper, Charlotte Area Bicycle Alliance, Charlotte Public Tree Fund, Charlotte Spokes People, Clean Air Carolina, Crisis Assistance Ministry, CROWN Charlotte Chapter of the North Carolina Wildlife Federation, Historic Washington Heights Community Organization, NC Central Piedmont Group of the Sierra Club, Queen City Forward, SAFE – North Meck, Safe Routes to School Partnership, Surfrider Foundation Charlotte Chapter, Trips for Kids, UNC Charlotte IDEAS Center, and UNC Charlotte Parking and Transportation Services.

Partner for Parks – 6th Annual Awards Event

This is a great event for a great cause -supporting our Mecklenburg Parks! Make plans to attend or make a donation.

CLICK HERE TO RSVP

Partners for Parks is an independent non-profit 501(c)(3) organization. In Mecklenburg County, we partner with the Park & Recreation Department which preserves and maintains over 200+ parks and facilities covering almost 20,000 acres of parkland. Partners for Parks strives to sustain the legacy of recreation by providing a safe place to raise funds – offering grant assistance to area organizations. We also facilitate community outreach and education to bolster the trails, the parks, the playgrounds, the recreation centers and the natural areas saved and created. Our goal is Breathing Life Into Our Community and ultimately enhance the gifts of beauty and quality of life for the people in our region.

Partners for Parks 2014

CLICK HERE TO RSVP