Climate Action

Tuesday in Mooseville – SHEnanigans: Wangari Maathai 10/15/19

U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton (center) walks with Kenyan Minister of Agriculture William Ruto (left) and Kenyan environmental and political activist Wangari Maathai (right) during a tour of the Kenyan Agricultural Research Institute (KARI) near Nairobi, Kenya August 5, 2009. (State Department Photo)

A few weeks ago I saw a random tweet about the progress of a tree-planting initiative in Kenya, similar to this:

Then this weekend, I decided to treat myself and downloaded Chelsea and Hillary Clinton’s latest book, The Book of Gutsy Women: Favorite Stories of Courage and Resilience. One of the reasons I went ahead and bought the book is because the description of the book included a mention of Wangari Maathai, a woman “who sparked a movement to plant trees, understood the power of role modeling.” (The Book of Gutsy Women) It seemed like a perfect storm of things I didn’t know…what was Kenya’s tree-planting initiative and who was Wangari Maathai? And as anyone who knows me can attest, I don’t like not knowing things. So today you get my introduction, and maybe yours, to Wangari Maathai and the Green Belt Movement.

Training the Next Generation of Green Warriors – Earth Day 2019

Foggy and rainy day at Kendall Creek and wetlands below Sumas Mountain, Whatcom Co. WA on Earth Day, April 20, 2019. The foreground sticks are Sitka Willow cuttings planted by a class of 2nd Graders. Note the mats of invasive Reed Canarygrass covering everything with proximity to the water.

A rainy Earth Day 2019 found me and my trusty salmon creek restoration partner, granddaughter Ava, assisting a class of 2nd graders to plant willows along some wetlands from an overflowing Kendall Creek. This creek is a Nooksack River tributary and is a prime spawning stream for several species of Pacific Salmon.  We had been there just a month earlier in March on a work party planting Sitka Willows and Red-Osier dogwood in frozen ground.  A month later by Earth Day in April, it was wet and soggy, just right for sticking cuttings into the muck.

Al Gore: “Hillary Clinton will make solving the climate crisis a top national priority”

On Tuesday afternoon, Democratic Party presidential candidate Hillary Clinton and former Vice President Al Gore spoke to a crowd in Miami. The topic was climate change and how every vote matters:

Former Vice President Al Gore:

Hillary Clinton will make solving the climate crisis a top national priority. Her opponent, based on the ideas he has presented, would take us toward a climate catastrophe.

Vice President Gore also spoke out about local issues, calling for the election of Patrick Murphy to the U.S. Senate instead of re-electing climate change denier Marco Rubio and urging a NO vote on an amendment that will discourage renewable energy:

Here is something else you can do — vote no on initiative one on your ballot.

Hillary mentioned that there are fewer solar jobs in the sunshine state, Florida, then there are in New Jersey. Actually, Florida also lags behind Massachusetts, which is even farther north. Despite having three times the population of Massachusetts, Florida has less than half of the solar jobs that have been created in Massachusetts. Massachusetts installed more solar energy last year alone than Florida has installed in its entire history. [AUDIENCE MEMBER: That’s ridiculous] Yes, it is ridiculous, that is exactly right. The head of one of the fossil fuel-burning utilities here actually said last year, yes, Florida is the Sunshine State, but remember it is also be partly cloudy state. Well, they are trying to cloud the truth by putting forward a phony baloney initiative that sounds like protects solar. It does not protect solar. The things they claim to protect solar are protections you already have. They are trying to fully you into amending your state constitution in a way that gives them the authority to shut down net metering and do in Florida what they did in Nevada and killed the solar industry. This is a question — our democracy has been hacked and the fossil utilities here have spent more than $20 million to try to pull the wool over your eyes. $20 million can buy a lot of wool. Amendment one would make it harder for homeowners to go solar.

The choice could not be more clear.

President Obama speaks on the historic Paris climate accord – UPDATED with Transcript

Saturday, December 12, 2015 at 5:30pm Eastern

PRESIDENT OBAMA:

The problem is not solved because of this accord. But make no mistake, the Paris agreement establishes the enduring framework the world needs to solve the climate crisis. It creates the mechanism, the architecture, for us to continually tackle this problem in an effective way.

… I believe this moment can be a turning point for the world. We’ve shown that the world has both the will and the ability to take on this challenge. It won’t be easy. Progress won’t always come quick. We cannot be complacent. While our generation will see some of the benefits of building a clean energy economy — jobs created and money saved — we may not live to see the full realization of our achievement. But that’s okay. What matters is that today we can be more confident that this planet is going to be in better shape for the next generation.

From the White House:

Today, nations of the world have come together to announce a historic achievement: The most ambitious global agreement to combat climate change. 

The Paris Agreement establishes a long term, durable global framework to reduce global greenhouse gas emissions. For the first time, all countries commit to putting forward successive and ambitious, nationally determined climate targets and reporting on their progress towards them using a rigorous, standardized process of review.

President Obama from COP21: “We recognize our role in creating this problem and we embrace our responsibility to do something about it.”

President Obama spoke to those gathered at the COP21 Climate Change Summit in Paris on Monday.

(President Obama delivers remarks at COP21 in Paris on the global community’s need to address the threat of climate change. November 30, 2015.)

PRESIDENT OBAMA:

Nearly 200 nations have assembled here this week — a declaration that for all the challenges we face, the growing threat of climate change could define the contours of this century more dramatically than any other. What should give us hope that this is a turning point, that this is the moment we finally determined we would save our planet, is the fact that our nations share a sense of urgency about this challenge and a growing realization that it is within our power to do something about it. […] [What I saw in Alaska] was a preview of one possible future — a glimpse of our children’s fate if the climate keeps changing faster than our efforts to address it. Submerged countries. Abandoned cities. Fields that no longer grow. Political disruptions that trigger new conflict, and even more floods of desperate peoples seeking the sanctuary of nations not their own. […]

I’ve come here personally, as the leader of the world’s largest economy and the second-largest emitter, to say that the United States of America not only recognizes our role in creating this problem, we embrace our responsibility to do something about it.

I believe, in the words of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., that there is such a thing as being too late. And when it comes to climate change, that hour is almost upon us. But if we act here, if we act now, if we place our own short-term interests behind the air that our young people will breathe, and the food that they will eat, and the water that they will drink, and the hopes and dreams that sustain their lives, then we won’t be too late for them.

COP21 – UN Climate Summit Begins in Paris on November 30 – UPDATED with Photos from #ClimateMarch

Monday marks the start of a two-week long gathering of the planet’s political leaders and representatives at the COP21 summit in Paris.

What is COP21? From the BBC:

COP21 is short for the 21st Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change.

That long winded title was created in Rio in 1992 where countries concerned about the impacts of climate change came together under the United Nations to do something about it.

They signed a convention that came into force in 1994 and has now been ratified by 195 countries, including the United States.

The key aim is the “stabilisation of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere at a level that would prevent dangerous anthropogenic interference with the climate system”. […]

… the world’s governments have already committed to curbing human activities such as burning fossil fuels that release the gases that interfere with the climate.

But that isn’t problem solved.

The difficulty comes when you try to get 195 countries to agree on how to deal with the issue of climate change. Every year since 1992 the Conference of the Parties has taken place with negotiators trying to put together a practical plan of action.

This year’s COP21 in Paris is the last chance for this process. Negotiators agreed in 2011 that a deal had to be done by the end of 2015.

On November 30, heads of state will gather and other events will follow:

The Leaders Event will start at 11 a.m. with speeches by François Hollande, Ban Ki-moon and Laurent Fabius. […]

At 4 p.m.: launch of the Mission Innovation (Clean Tech) initiative, in the presence of Barack Obama and Bill Gates. This is a commitment by States to double their research and development budgets by 2020 and by private investors to increase their own investments. It is being organized in liaison with the White House, the United States Department of Energy headed by Ernest Moniz, and Bill Gates.

It’s time to get engaged … links and shareables below.