Resilience Celebration and Climate Justice Report for Providence

Today, join Providence’s Racial and Environmental Justice Committee in celebrating our city’s resilience and sharing the Climate Justice Report for Providence. Providence residents have worked with the REJC and the city’s Office of Sustainability to put together a plan that doesn’t treat any place like a sacrifice zone, or anyone as disposable, but makes the well-being of our city’s people a priority.

If you have questions about what the plan will mean for you, your family or your neighborhood, or how you can participate in carrying it out, this is a great place to ask them! If you don’t know the people of your city that well, this is a great place to meet them.

12-3pm, Davey Lopes Recreation Complex (227 Dudley St), Providence. Spanish-English interpretation will be available, as will food for the first 100 people. I’ll be there with the Climate Anxiety Counseling booth.

There’ll be music (live and DJed) and stuff for kids too. Please join us.

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Stop Cricket Valley: November 16

Last month I held Climate Anxiety Counseling in Millerton, NY, where I talked with a lot of people my parents know. Many of them, and some of the people I didn’t know, said they were worried, angry and frustrated about the Cricket Valley Energy Center. On November 16, residents and activists are rallying against it.

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This fracked-gas power plant is scheduled to receive out-of-state fracked gas through the Iroquois Gas Transmission System, a pipeline project co-owned by TransCanada and the Virginia-based Dominion Resources. Advanced Power, a private Swiss energy company, would own and operate the plant. Here’s a little more background, including some of the project’s investors and other ties.

I grew up about half an hour from where those companies want to build this plant, and my parents live there still. Dover Plains could use some jobs, but this won’t bring them; it’ll bring asthma and other environmental illnesses, weaken a vibrant but struggling ecosystem, and haste climate change.

If you live nearby and can go to 2241 Rte 22 on November 16th at 11am, please go. Sign up here. The Facebook event is a good place to ask about the specifics of support roles. There’s also picketing this Saturday.

Racial Justice and the Climate Movement: an opportunity for learning

As more and more people recognize the need to respond to climate change with multiple forms of action and transformation, we need more tools for working together in a way that doesn’t replicate unjust power structures, but undoes them within as well as outside our activities. If you live in Rhode Island or can easily get here, here is a way to start doing that! It requires some time but is free in money. I’m going to do it and maybe you would like to do it also, especially if you’re part of an environmental or climate organization whose members are mostly white! Sign up here by September 19th for the dialogues described below.

“Join White Noise Collective, Showing Up for Racial Justice (SURJ) RI, No LNG in PVD and the FANG Collective for a dialogue series on understanding racism in the climate movement. This 5-part dialogue series is designed to support white climate justice activists and other white co-conspirators in the Rhode Island area in making connections between climate justice and racial justice and how to incorporate anti-oppression into our movements and organizations. Participants will commit to 4 three-hour sessions and will be guided through readings, exercises, and dialogue to reflect on the ways that white supremacy and other forms of oppression show up in our culture, organizations, relationships and within ourselves.

Some of the topics discussed will include: white supremacy culture and how it impacts our organizations, how non-native people can show up in solidarity with indigenous movements and leadership, accountability with front-line communities, Jemez Principles, Green New Deal, and strategies for shifting organizing culture to address oppression when it shows up.

We use these dialogue spaces to develop greater self-awareness, literacy, and accountability in order to show up with more integrity to the movement work in which each of us is involved. We also investigate larger patterns and systems of racism including white supremacy culture, intersections of race, class, and gender, and practices of allyship.”

Again, registration is here, along with dates and locations, descriptions of the organizations leading the dialogues, some core values, and some opportunities to request particular topics of discussion.

Climate Anxiety Counseling: Seasonal Total for Tooth and Nail Community Support Collective

This season, I asked Climate Anxiety Counseling booth interlocutors to donate their nickels (often, in practice, more–as much as $20.00 from some people) to the Tooth and Nail Community Support Collective. Their commitment to healing and nourishing work as a key part of fighting oppressive forces and enacting a livable, possible world is powerful and necessary, and I wanted to support it. I thank you all for supporting it too.

I’m pleased to report that the people who spoke with me at the booth shared a total of $116.85 (rounded up to $117.00 because GoFundMe doesn’t do decimals). If I do any rogue booth sessions this fall, I will add to the total.

You can read a little more about Tooth and Nail’s principles and projects at the above link, and if you didn’t get a chance to stop by the booth this summer but would like to support their work, I encourage you to do so.

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[IMAGE: Hands digging in brown leaf mulch, mostly oak leaves, a few beech leaves.]

The Tooth and Nail farm also has work days; after I post this, I’m going to put my shoes on and head out there.

About the Amazon

When people say that climate change is what you get when your starting points are capitalism, exploitation, colonization and genocide, the burning of the Amazon is the kind of thing they’re talking about. This is the destruction of a world. It could mean the destruction of all the worlds we know.

If you have never been driven from your home by violence or disaster, I ask you to imagine the fire–fire set by human hands–taking not just your dwelling, but all your landmarks, your houses of worship, your sources of food and of meaning, driving you and your relatives apart, flattening and poisoning everything that made you who you are.

People are doing this to other people, right now, in what used to be the forest, in order to punish them for existing and to profit from that punishment. If you are neither the destroyers nor the people they’re trying to destroy, what can you do?

Climate and culture writer Nylah Burton has laid out a well-sourced and compassionate explanation of why boycotting beef is a worthwhile response to this murder and desecration if enough people do it. Remember that the purpose of a boycott is to starve an industry or a practice of profit–clearing your conscience is a side effect. (That thread includes a few actions and choices beyond your own eating habits as well.)

Europe and Asia are presently the main markets for Brazilian beef and soy, so if you don’t live in those places but know people there, please strongly and lovingly recommend this to them. People living in EU countries can also write to or call the office of your MEP (UK residents can do it here) and demand that they block the Mercosur trade deal if it includes no protections for the Amazon (a little background).

Improving tree and plant cover and soil health where you live is not enough to counter the wholesale destruction, but is good practice and may offer some relief, especially if it becomes more widespread. If you use Twitter, @BuildSoil is a good person to follow for suggestions and instructions on how to do this. Local conservation, restoration, permaculture, and food sovereignty/food justice initiatives already often have a body of expertise and effort that you can add your weight to–if you’re not already involved with them, use those terms to search for some near you.

Here is an alternate history about the end of resource extraction. Here’s another one about the Amazon and transforming grief into action and healing. Let’s open our imaginations, recognize our connections, and let both of those inform our choices and actions: it’s true that destruction or life in the Amazon can destroy life elsewhere, just as what happens there when the fires aren’t burning can nourish life elsewhere. It’s also true that what we do on the ground we’re on, in the web of life we’re in, reverberates in places we will never touch or see.

Some things to do with the people in your office* instead of scolding them or yourself about recycling

Schedule a clothing swap for you and your co-workers. Donate what’s left, if it’s in good condition, to something like this, or bring it to something like this.

Alert them to the possibility and benefits of joining a community or bulk solar program, either by announcing your intention to do it or lamenting your inability to do it; if the business owns its premises, sometimes there are commercial options too.

If you drive to work, see if there’s anyone it makes sense to carpool with, even on some days (putting up a flyer or sending around an email is a good place to start, but eventually you may end up using an app or program).

Talk with your co-workers about campaigning for a green roof (again, if the business owns its premises), pension divestment (if you have a city or state job), or offering in-kind donations or pro bono services to environmental justice organizations in your area (obviously this depends on what your office does).

This September, organize a walkout for this climate strike. (There’s a map of already-planned ones at that link if you scroll down.)

I don’t usually do lists like this because people, not to mention companies, can always find specific reasons why general suggestions are impossible for them. I’m doing this one because people are talking to me a lot lately about recycling and plastic waste, especially with reference to the places where they work.

The things on this list obviously have different levels of commitment, effort, risk, enjoyability, etc. What they have in common is that they involve working with your co-workers, rather than yelling at them or talking down to them; they have the potential for social benefits as well as environmental ones; and although none of them are pure or perfect, they also have the potential for a little more intermediate impact** than recycling, which at this point is not really happening.

[IMAGE: Three pale-skinned people, with a range of body shapes, holding up some clothes to look at and standing in front of more piles of clothes. This photo is from a gender-affirming clothing swap held at Binghamton University a couple years ago.]

*If you do, in fact, work in an office.

**By intermediate impact I think I mean something between “keeping everything exactly the same/with no appreciable difference” and “building alternatives to capitalism that allow us to leave extractive practices behind,” but we can talk more about that if you want.

Climate Anxiety Counseling TODAY: Sankofa World Market, 2-5pm! + Action Opportunity!

I’ll be at the Sankofa World Market TODAY, August 14th, 2-5pm, to listen to your climate-change-related and other anxieties. Elizabeth Malloy from Living On Earth will be there as well, and can record our conversation for a radio story if that’s something you’d like. You can also, as always, talk with me without being recorded and even without me taking any notes.

I’ll be leaving early today to go to this demonstration for migrant and refugee rights, which starts at 6:30pm and is meeting in Jenks Park in Central Falls (details are at that link). Maybe you can go too!

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Two opportunities to fight two pipelines

If your climate anxieties are acting up, and you can spare ten minutes or ten bucks, here’s your chance.

TEN MINUTES:

National Grid is seeking approval to construct and operate the E37 natural gas pipeline that would cut through Papscanee Island on the Mahicannituck (Hudson) River. In addition to contributing to fossil-fueled climate change, this pipeline would desecrate a sacred place: Papscanee Island, named for a prominent Mohican chief, is a culturally significant part of the homelands of the Stockbridge Munsee-Mohican people. The island holds the bones of their ancestors, the artifacts of their villages, and the memory of their fertile maize mounds. Papscanee Island is recorded in the National Register of Historic Places because of its cultural significance to the Muh-he-con-neok (Mohican) “People of the Waters That Are Never Still.”

Please contact Kathleen H. Burgess, Secretary of NY Public Service Commission, at secretary@dps.ny.gov to urge the commission to block the pipeline. Reference “Case 19-T-0069” in your correspondence.

TEN BUCKS:

People fighting the Mountain Valley Pipeline in West Virginia have been imprisoned, with bail set in the tens of thousands.

If you have money to spare, share it with them here.

Save the Date: Action at the Wyatt Detention Center, 8/13

Last month, Jews, immigrants and allies shut down the Wyatt Detention Center, where Rhode Island imprisons people in cooperation with ICE’s unjust detention and deportation policies. Next month, we can do it again.

The ties between climate justice and migrant justice are strong: people are leaving their homes because climate change is making it impossible for them to stay, and some of them are coming here only to be met with arrest and imprisonment, mistreatment, separation from their families, and murder. Many people fleeing climate-change-induced hardship come from countries that the US has continued to deliberately destabilize and exploit, in ways that contribute to climate change as well as other kinds of injustice, and land defenders and Indigenous people are also being murdered in their own countries because of these extractive practices! US residents can resist the cruel and fascist policies and practices that affect people when they try to leave conditions that our country helped create.


Here’s the form to indicate the level and kind of your participation (there are many roles and ways to participate, before and during, for people with many levels of experience and/or comfort with risk), and here are the relevant dates.


TOMORROW, 8/1, 7pm, 319 Broadway: Meeting for those who want to be more involved in planning the event. The entrance is street-level and wheelchair accessible and there is a parking lot for the building in the back.


8/11, time and location TBD: Art build (signs, posters, banners) for the event. 


8/12, 6pm, location TBD: Nonviolent direct action training for people who are planning to do that. 


8/13, time TBD, Wyatt Detention Center (950 High St, Central Falls): The action itself. 


Again, reading the form will give you a sense of the possibilities for participation in this action, and you do need to fill it out in order to participate. For updates and questions, and to sign up to get more information directly about this and other actions, email neveragainpvd at gmail dot com.

[IMAGE: People with their arms linked, facing the camera, in front of the fence and barbed wire gate of a brick detention facility. Cops are confronting the people, their backs to the camera.]

Climate Anxiety Counseling TODAY, Sankofa Market, 2-5pm! & Two Climate Action Opportunities!

Come and visit me at the Sankofa Market today (Wednesday, 7/10) between 2 and 5:30pm. The market is outside the Knight Memorial Library (275 Elmwood Ave, Providence), which now has air conditioning on the ground floor!!! You can talk with me, buy vegetables and baked goods from neighborhood farmers and vendors, and then step inside and cool off.

At the Climate Anxiety Counseling Booth, can share your climate-change-related and other anxieties, get a little piece of art to keep, and potentially find some paths to action that work for you. There are also a couple of things you can do TODAY to contribute to climate and environmental justice:

TODAY, 12-2pm, 234 Thayer St, Providence: Community rally to protest Chase Bank’s practices of bankrolling fossil fuel industries and contributing to climate change. Details at the link; email shutdownchaseri AT gmail DOT com for more information.

TONIGHT, 6-7:30pm, CCRI, 1 Hilton St, Providence: The Shell Oil terminal is reapplying for an air quality permit that they shouldn’t have: the legal limits for chemicals released into the air are higher than the quantities of those chemicals that make people sick. Let’s go to the RI DEM hearing and point this out to them. Childcare, snacks & talking points provided.

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My sister and I found these Rhode Island neighbors, (what we think are) black trumpet mushrooms, on a walk in Roger Williams Park. Send me pictures of the mushrooms & fungi near you, if you want!

black trumpet mushrooms

[IMAGE: Black, brown and gray mushrooms shaped sort of like curly funnels, growing on the ground among moss, dead oak leaves, grass, and tiny broadleaved plants.]