Looking for stories about the way climate change is changing you

Friends, I am looking for some help.

I want to know, and to talk about, and to write about, how we live with the knowledge of climate change: how we bear it, and how we act on it.

I’m working with a Rhode Island organization to create a manual of concrete actions for fossil fuel drawdown and community building in the state, called “Livable Rhode Island”, and so I’m looking for stories from Rhode Islanders specifically. If you have such a story, I can take it via email at any time: publiclycomplex at gmail is my address.

And I’m also working on a series of writings that will be a more general tool for transforming ourselves in response to the transformation of our world, so I want to listen to people about that. This, I’d like to do in person and in groups if possible.

The climate anxiety counseling booth isn’t really set up for this–for one thing, I want those conversations to be about what the person talking to me chooses and needs. I’m still working on the structure, trying to learn from the arc of Interdependence Days and other things I’ve been part of. Let me know if you think you might like to be part of this, and please ask me questions.

Talking is weird because it’s somewhere between feeling and doing–it’s a necessary prelude to action, but it isn’t itself action (though the amount of effort it takes to do it can trick you into feeling like it is). But it still seems to me to be a key part of making a possible, livable world in the present and for as long as we can–we need to listen to each other in order to know how we can work together.

Sorry about that “we”–I know it’s not as simple as that–but in its complication and variation is strength, too.

I hope you will stay with me.

Advertisements

Help for Houston and its people

Food banks: Galveston County, Corpus Christi, Houston

Texas Diaper Bank

SPCA (many shelters won’t take pets)

Portlight, providing disaster relief specifically for people with disabilities

Coalition for the Homeless

Texas Workers Relief Fund

Writer & former Houston resident Jia Tolentino, who supplied the names of many of the organizations on this list, also pointed out on Twitter, “As always, disasters are necessarily political: the kind of gov you would want to help your family in a crisis is the kind of gov you want!” Others have drawn the connections between Hurricane Harvey and climate change, between extractive capitalism and vulnerable infrastructure, between contempt for poor people and the quality of disaster planning and response.

UPDATE: Another very good list, compiled by Colorlines, here. 

Sometimes people say to me at the booth, “We need a really big disaster to wake people up.” Whether or not the waking up is forthcoming, we could’ve done without the disaster. If you can share your resources with Texans who need them, please do so.

Climate Anxiety Counseling at the Sankofa World Market TODAY; Public Meeting TONIGHT

Come and see me today at the Sankofa World Market. I’ll listen to your climate-change-related and other anxieties, and you can take home a picture of one of our nonhuman neighbors.

I’ll also have some information sheets about tonight’s public meeting about the LNG plant that National Grid wants to build on Allens Avenue, near people’s homes, hospitals, and schools. This meeting is a chance for Providence residents, from the neighborhood and elsewhere, to make it very clear that we don’t want this plant in our city. Digging up the site to start building the plant will disturb years of industrial toxins; the plant itself, in addition to increasing the planet’s fossil fuel burden, poses a threat in the form of leaks and explosions that would level the neighborhood. Building this facility, at every step, would put the neighborhood at risk. 

Meanwhile, as it is (undisturbed), the site doesn’t pose an acute hazard, which means it doesn’t qualify for the kind of permit that National Grid is applying for.

If you can’t go to the meeting, you can still submit a comment to the RI Dept. of Environmental Management (RIDEM), along the above lines. Send them to joseph.martella @ dem. ri. gov.

If you want more detailed points, or have questions, email me at my gmail address, publiclycomplex, and I’ll do my best for you.

Providence Resolution to Block Sale of Water to Invenergy: City Council Vote TONIGHT

From RI Future:

Providence City Councilor Seth Yurdin(Ward 1) wants the city to fight the sale of Providence water to Invenergy, the company that wants to build a $1 billion fracked gas and diesel oil burning power plant in Burrillville.

“The proposed gas-fired power plant is a serious threat to local Rhode Island communities and our climate.  The Providence Water Supply Board needs to join the Conservation Law Foundation‘s lawsuit and work to prevent the improper resale of water for use in this harmful project.,” said Providence City Councilor Seth Yurdin (Ward 1) about his resolution, being introduced tonight.

The resolution seeks to realign the positions of the City of Providence and the Providence Water Supply Board (PWSB) from defendants to plaintiffs in the case of Conservation Law Foundation (CLF) v Clear River Energy and the Town of Johnston.

This is a little confusing, but basically, it could be part of a strategy for blocking new fossil fuel infrastructure in RI, which is (part of) what we want. Show up TONIGHT at 5:30 pm, at Providence City Hall (City Council Chamber, 3rd floor) with signs!

Some sign ideas:

Be good neighbors / Protect air and water / Reject Invenergy

RI Needs Clean Water & Clean Energy / NOT Fossil Fuels

Good Jobs in Healthy Communities

 

 

 

 

Rally for Action on Climate Change at Governors’ Meeting, TODAY 12:15pm

The governors of 30 states, and also Elon Musk and Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, are meeting in downtown Providence. Let’s tell them we need urgent, swift, effective action to reduce carbon emissions. Meet us at the corner of Sabin and Mathewson Streets (across from the convention center)–look for the big blue banner–at 12:15pm today. Details here.

This is the banner we’ll carry–a Portable Sea Level for 2100.

IMG_2838

No LNG in PVD: Public Information Session Thursday 7/15

National Grid wants to build a liquid natural gas processing facility in a flood zone, near the homes of people who are already suffering from environmental injustice, and increasing Rhode Island’s commitment to fossil fuel infrastructure. The people who live near the proposed site–Fields Point, Allens Avenue and South Providence–have been fighting to keep National Grid from building this facility.

National Grid, under community pressure, has agreed to hold a meeting about this on Thursday, 7/13, 6-9pm–but is holding it at the police station, where many people in the community most at risk from this project feel unsafe.

It would be very good to show up and show strong, numerous community objection to more fossil fuel infrastructure, even if it’s not in “your” neighborhood. If you are one of the people who has spoken to me about feeling helpless in the face of climate change–this is a concrete thing you can do to help there be less of it, and to stand with your neighbors.

You can RSVP here and learn more about why Providence doesn’t need or want this facility. Hope to see some of you on Thursday.

Climate Anxiety Counseling at the Providence Energy Fair AND in Burnside Park!

I’m doing double shifts with the Climate Anxiety Counseling booth today.

The first one is 10-1 at the Providence Energy Fair, where you can also sign up for energy audits of your living quarters (I think renters can do this, not just property owners?), learn about renewable energy options in Rhode Island, help keep unnecessary and dangerous fossil fuel infrastructure out of the state with the Burrillville Land Trust and No LNG in PVD, and eat things from trucks. (My feelings about food trucks are mixed, but I’ll probably get a sandwich.) There’s childcare available for the talks and workshops.

The second one is my ordinary shift downtown in Burnside Park, across from Kennedy Plaza, 2-6pm. If anyone feels like coming and being an audience plant–that is, standing and talking to me to demonstrate that other people can do that, too–I’d be very grateful.

Actual History: Refusal 10 (May Day)

May Day as International Workers’ Day has its origins in the Haymarket Affair of 1886, a double display of state violence: on May 3rd, the third day of a general strike for an eight-hour work day, police protecting strikebreakers fired into a crowd of striking workers. At a mass meeting the following day, someone threw a bomb into a group of arresting officers, and the ensuing police raids and arrests ended with eight men sentenced to death. The state hanged four and later pardoned two; one took his own life in prison. Meanwhile, labor organizers continued their work, and in 1889 the Second International declared May 1st International Workers’ Day.

I also want to talk about another day in May.

Starting–but more about that in a minute–on May 1st, 1867, striking workers in Chicago shut down the economy of the city for a week to close loopholes in a law calling, already for the eight-hour workday. Industries in and around Chicago at that time included meatpacking, garment manufacturing, shipping, lumber processing, iron molding–so we can guess that fewer components were poured and fewer cuffs and collars sewn, that cargo ships sat at their moorings and that meat rotted on the packing lines. A week of people earning no money, drawing from the strike fund if they could. A week in which a city that bragged about how much it could produce, how fast it grew, couldn’t hold onto that pride and had–if only for a week, after which the strike collapse–to admit who made that pride possible.

The strike itself started on May 1st, but the work of making it possible started long before: in conversations, in the nurturing of loyalties, in meetings, in the gathering of resources, in the asking of questions, in the distribution of knowledge, in arguments, in shared meals, in the washing of clothes and the tending of children, in corners, in quiet, under the cover of machine sounds.

The fight for the eight-hour workday is a fight to be owned less than entirely. It says: we won’t let you use us up. It says: we are more than fuel.

*

My attention keeps turning to the failures to refuse in the May Day origin story: the police who, on May 3rd, didn’t have to but chose to fire into a crowd of striking workers. The jury. The hangman. Someone would probably have punished them, or tried to, if they refused, but that’s not identical with not having a choice. Examine your promises: who do they require you to hurt?

The May Day march in Providence starts at 3pm today, in Burnside Park. I’ll be walking with the Climate Justice and Just Transition bloc. Come too.

Actual History: Refusal 6

Last night, the New York Taxi Workers Alliance called for a work stoppage–no JFK Airport dropoffs or pickups between 6 and 7pm–in solidarity with people being detained via the president’s “Muslim Ban”. Here is their full statement.

This is how we need to act, and how we can act, together.

*

If you have money to share, you can share it with the New York Taxi Workers Alliance, or with the National Lawyers Guild, who provide legal observation and monitoring to protect protestors’ rights.

If you live in Rhode Island and have time to spare, come to the State House today.

Here’s a list of protests in other places in the US.

Alternate History: Refusal 5

The next day, truckers spoke over the radios, recalculating their routes, passing the word along. Air traffic controllers refused to let planes land. No one who drove a truck or flew a plane or ran container shipping in the Gulf would bring any concrete or rebar or wire or cable or steel or cement or construction equipment or surveillance electronics to anywhere at all in California, Arizona, New Mexico or Texas.

Companies in these states that made or used or sold these materials and tools made haste to sell their products, at a discount, to people and companies building anywhere else–other states, overseas. Ann Arbor and Vladivostok both took big deliveries of cranes, for some reason, and a lot of materials went to Haiti and Georgia.

People who worked large-scale construction in those states knew that the government would probably bring in prison labor anyway, but just in case, they went to visit relatives in other states if they could, or picked up work far from home. The unions passed the word along.

On the border, men with guns and men in suits stood with no power to move or build anything more than a handful of dirt.

*

Rhode Islanders can see if Dorcas International needs volunteer help. Anyone can call their city’s or town’s mayor and ask what they are going to do to protect and accommodate their immigrant and refugee neighbors.

This refusal is for everyone who was murdered trying to make the crossing, and for my students, who are still alive.