Category Archives: climate change

As Trump Rolls Back Environmental Regs, Coal Operations Expand

coal mining imageThe following story, authored by SAFE board member Karen Kahn, is reposted from the Nonprofit Quarterly.

Rural Action, an Appalachian Ohio nonprofit, has spent two decades working to clean up a watershed in Southeastern Ohio polluted by old coal mines. Now, the organization and its supporters are fighting the permitting of a new surface mine proposed by Oxford Mining Co.

Rural Action, in partnership with the federal and state governments, universities, and other nonprofits, has invested $9 million to date to clean up the watershed. Of that, nearly $3 million has been spent on Sunday Creek, which is directly threatened by the new mine operation.

The group’s work has had a significant impact on water quality over the years. The west branch of Sunday River Creek had no fish when the work began, and now hosts 17 different species.

At a recent public hearing, Michelle Shively, Rural Action’s Watershed coordinator, said, “We hope that the Ohio EPA and Oxford Mining Co. will take into account the tremendous investment and resulting water quality improvements that have occurred in the Sunday Creek watershed and take the necessary precautions to not endanger the biological communities and quality habitat downstream.”

Andrea Reik, a local resident who spoke at the public hearing, asked a question that must have been on many minds. “Why would we go backward? It makes no sense. It’s crazy, and we need to continue saying no.”

In the face of global climate change, Reik is asking the right question. Why continue to destroy, as she said, “precious resources” with new mining operations that would bring 100 temporary jobs to the area but further risk global collapse? Why not look to new opportunities that will grow jobs for a green energy economy, that build on the work of Rural Action to bring back a diverse, healthy watershed? Jobs in coal mining should not be the only option for the people of the region.

But that’s not the logic of the Trump administration, which campaigned on a promise to bring back coal mining jobs. It’s now working hard to dismantle regulations that make mining less profitable—probably the only reason that Oxford Mining is proposing to reopen mine operations.

One of the administration’s top goals is to roll back the Clean Power Plan, the centerpiece of the Obama administration’s climate action plan. The administration announced its plan to repeal the regulations last October and is now in the process of holding public hearings. Three of the four hearings are in coal-friendly areas of the country, but on February 28th, a hearing was held in San Francisco. According to Mother Jones, “dozens of angry Californians filed into the San Francisco Public Library” to oppose the proposal.

“The rescission [of the Clean Power Plan] is a political act to fulfill Trump’s promises to polluting industries,” said Marc Sapir, a family physician and former public health officer at the hearing. “If this EPA cared one iota about the nation’s public health and well-being, it would engage the appeals court in defending the Clean Power Plan.”

Mother Jones reports that an EPA fact sheet removed from the EPA website (along with any references to climate change) reported that the Clean Power Plan would prevent up to 6,600 premature deaths and 150,000 asthma attacks in children in 2030. As the proposal for a new mine in the Sunday Creek watershed makes apparent, the plan also would have reduced mine pollution in our nation’s waterways.

The residents of southeastern Ohio unfortunately won’t be able to count on the federal government to protect their waterways. The administration has already rolled back the “stream protection rule,” which was intended to protect Appalachia’s streams and rivers from being filled with coal mining debris. The EPA has also put a moratorium on the Obama-era Waters of the United States rule, which expanded protections of 20 million acres of wetlands under the Clean Water Act.

These actions come on top of a mass exodus of scientists and other staff at the EPA, as the organization is revamped to prioritize profits over the rights of U.S Citizens to clean air, water, and land.

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Film: TOMORROW Feb. 2&9 at 6:45 pm

Tomorrow movie poster photoJoin us on Groundhog Day in Salem, for the first of two screenings and community discussions of the award winning and hopeful documentary film, Tomorrow.  On February 2 we will watch part one, and February 9 part two.

Tomorrow depends on the human race living more sustainably.  Come and hear stories about people doing just that, today.

A free screening sponsored by Citizen’s Climate Lobby North Shore, Team Tomorrow, and SAFE.

Dates:  Watched over two succeeding Friday nights:
February 2 & February 9, from 6:45 – 8:45 pm each night (Snow date: February 16)

Venue:  First Church in Salem, UU 316 Essex Street Salem, MA
http://www.firstchurchinsalem.org

Contacts: Jeff Barz-Snell, jeffreysnell@comcast.netJim Mulloy, jcmulloy@gmail.com

 Background:
“You must be the change you want to see in the world.”
~ Mahatma Gandhi

In 2012, “Nature” published a study led by more than 20 researchers from the top scientific institutions in the world predicting that humankind could disappear between 2040 and 2100. It also said that it could be avoided by drastically changing our way of life and take appropriate measures.

Two film makers travel the world in search of solutions that can help save the next generations. The result is Tomorrow, an inspiring documentary that presents concrete solutions implemented throughout the world by hundreds of communities.

From the US to the UK and through Finland and India, together they traveled to 10 countries to visit permaculture farms, urban agriculture projects and community-owned renewable initiatives to highlight people making a difference in the fields of food, energy, finance, democracy, and education.

Their common ideas and examples make Tomorrow one of the most essential and unexpectedly inspirational viewing experiences of our time.

TODAY, we sometimes feel powerless in front of the various crises of our times.

TODAY, we know that answers lie in a wide mobilization of the human race.

Over the course of a century, our dream of progress commonly called “the American Dream”, fundamentally changed the way we live and continues to inspire many developing countries.  We are now aware of the setbacks and limits of such development policies.  We urgently need to focus our efforts on changing our dreams before something irreversible happens to our planet.

TODAY, we need a new direction, objective… A new dream! The documentary Tomorrow sets out to showcase alternative and creative ways of viewing agriculture, economics, energy and education.

It offers constructive solutions to act on a local level to make a difference on a global level.  So far, no other documentary has gone down such an optimistic road…

TOMORROW is not just a film, it is the beginning of a movement seeking to encourage local communities around the world to change the way they live for the sake of our planet.

350 MA Releases 2017-18 Legislative Agenda

SAFE has been collaborating with 350MA and is happy to express support for this year’s legislative agenda. This year’s priorities are renewable energy, improving infrastructure to stop methane gas leaks, and stopping the expansion of gas pipelines that will carry fracked gas to coastal communities for export:

Stop the Pipeline Tax ✧ Oppose any legislative effort to restore the pipeline tax and pursue other legislative avenues to resist fossil fuel infrastructure

Make Utilities Buy More Renewables ✧ Raise the Renewable Portfolio Standard (RPS) so that electric utilities must more rapidly increase the percentage of electricity sourced from renewables to get us on a faster track to 100% renewable electricity.

Put a Price on Carbon ✧ Levy a price on carbon pollution and redistribute the revenue back to taxpayers.

Expand Solar Energy ✧ Raise or eliminate net metering caps, restore the net metering retail rate for all project types including community and large-scale solar, and provide funding for community and low-income solar initiatives.

Fix Gas Leaks ✧ Require that consumers not pay for leaked gas, incentivizing companies to fix leaks faster.

To learn more, and see the bill names and numbers of 350 Mass priority legislation, visit 350 Massachusetts 2017-2018 Legislative Agenda (PDF).

Rotterdam Addresses Climate Impact with Innovative Infrastructure

16ROTTERDAM2-superJumbo

In a recent blog post for the Nonprofit Quarterly, SAFE board member Karen Kahn wrote about how Rotterdam, another urban industrial coastal city is addressing climate change.

Despite President Trump having pulled the U.S. out of the Paris Agreement, scientists agree that the future of our planet is in jeopardy. In many parts of the world, the effects of climate change are simply undeniable: Seas are rising, storms are getting worse, and drought is forcing millions to migrate.

A consensus is emerging that we can no longer focus solely on reducing carbon emissions in order to keep our planet habitable. Even if countries meet their targets under the Paris Agreement, the global community has not moved quickly enough to save us from environmental changes that are already disrupting populations worldwide. At this point, renewable energy strategies must be combined with adaptation and mitigation to reduce the severity of floods, droughts, and other climate change impacts around the world. (As of this writing, the temperature in Phoenix, Arizona, is expected to reach 120 degrees Fahrenheit, with temperatures over 110 degrees for the entire week.)

Coastal cities are among the geographic areas under most immediate threat, and in many cases, it is these municipalities that are leading the way toward innovative solutions. In a recent New York Times article, Michael Kimmelman profiles the city of Rotterdam, where visionary leadership is transforming an old industrial landscape into one that is cosmopolitan, climate-resilient, and community-oriented.

Read the full article here.

Join SAFE for Climate March, April 29

“The damage from climate change isn’t just coming in the future, it’s part of the present,” says New York Times writer David Leonhardt, introducing this week’s Sunday Times magazine special. The Times includes a wide array of stories this week that track the melting of Arctic sea ice, island nations sinking into the sea, and increased flooding in many of our major urban areas. Yet the president of the United States wants to drill more oil and dig more coal. As Bill McKibben says in his Sunday Review essay, our current president could easily waste so much time that the Earth will not recover—at least not in time to save humans.

So let your voices be heard.  Saturday, April 29, join the Boston People’s Climate March. SAFE will meeting at the Wonderland MBTA station at 10:30 am on the Inbound platform to go into the Common, where a climate rally begins at 12 noon. If you can’t meet at Wonderland, join us at Park Street Station by 11:45 to head over to the rally. Look for the SAFE banner:

SAFEScreen shot 2012-07-03 at 2.35.27 PMThe Boston People’s Climate March is a being organized by local groups from environmental justice, labor, youth, faith, and climate activism. They are hosting a day full of powerful events that include:

  • 11:30am-12:00pm
    Music and gathering at the Parkman Bandstand on the Boston Common
  • 12:00-1:00pm
    Rally for Climate, Jobs, and Justice on the Common
  • 1:00-4:00pm
    Action tables and activities from local organizations on the Common and Climate Justice Teach-ins at nearby indoor locations (see details and sign-up here!)

For more information, contact Pat Gozemba at pgozemba@gmail.com.

 

 

Gas Leaks Kill Trees

One of SAFE’s major projects is addressing natural gas leaks throughout our city. These leaks, which are the result of decaying infrastructure, negatively impact our environment in multiple ways. In our latest video, we look at how natural gas leaks affect the trees that line our streets. Do you have a dead or dying tree on your block? Perhaps there is a persistent gas leak. Watch the video below to learn more.

 

You can also catch the video on SATV at the following times:

  • April 6 at 2:30 PM
  • April 8 at 3:30 PM
  • April 11 at 10:30 AM
  • April 13 at 2:30 PM
For more information on the gas leaks project, click here.

Message to SAFE from Greenpeace: “We need solutions that are fast and affordable and that rules out new nuclear power.”

This is from Jim Riccio, Greenpeace’s Nuclear Policy Analyst since 2001. He starts by commenting on the 2013 movie about “new nuclear power,” Pandora’s Promise:

quotation marks

…I do have this article from FAIR (Fairness & Accuracy in Reporting), which calls the film pure propaganda.

and this from Eco watch:

http://www.ecowatch.com/3-myths-from-pro-nuclear-film-pandoras-promise-1881814544.html

I also mentioned the articles by Joe Romm, a MIT physicist and climate advocate who has had an ongoing battle with the utter garbage produced by the BreakThrough
Institute & the PP [Pandora’s Promise] crowd. Here are a few of my favorites:

On Pandora’s Promise:

http://thinkprogress.org/climate/2013/06/17/2158951/pandoras-promise-nuclear-powers-trek-from-too-cheap-to-meter-to-too-costly-to-matter-much/

On BTI [Breakthrough Institute] :

http://thinkprogress.org/climate/2009/05/22/204144/waxman-markey-offsets-breakthrough-institute-shellenberger-nordhaus-media/

And while I respect & supported James Hansen and his whistleblowing on the Bush administration’s climate change denial he doesn’t know nukes!

http://thinkprogress.org/climate/2016/01/07/3736243/nuclear-power-climate-change/

If we want to abate climate change we need solutions that are fast and affordable, and that rules out new nuclear power.

NoNewNukes!

Jim

Jim-Riccio
Jim Riccio, Greenpeace’s Nuclear Policy Analyst since 2001