Students Occupy Yale Investments Office, Demanding Action on Climate Injustice in Puerto Rico

[Below are excerpts from the press release PAR received on March 4 regarding the action at Yale]

Yale University police arrested and issued citations to 17 Yale students who held an occupation of the Investments Office [March 4] demanding that Yale direct its fund managers to cancel their holdings in Puerto Rico’s debt and divest the endowment from fossil fuel companies. A total of 30 students and New Haven community members participated in the sit-in lasting the entire afternoon. They have emphasized that they will continue returning to the Investments Office until the University takes action on their demands.

In the face of hurricanes, devastating California wildfires and the latest UN climate report, bold and comprehensive action is needed to address climate change. Climate change exacerbates existing economic inequity, as seen in Puerto Rico, where several “vulture funds” that hold Puerto Rico’s considerable debt are demanding to be repaid before the island can rebuild and support its poorest residents. Research has shown that the intensity of hurricanes like Maria, which struck the island in September last year, is being exacerbated by climate change.

“As Puerto Rico struggles to recover from a climate change-fueled hurricane and a massive debt crisis, Yale’s fifth largest fund manager Baupost is suing the island to be repaid first. Our demands for bold moral action from Yale have been met with silence. That’s why we’re continuing to take direct action to hold our university accountable to principles of climate justice,” said Adriana Colón, a member of Des-pierta Boricua, the Yale Puerto Rican students association. Yale’s CIO David Swensen sits on the board of Baupost.

For six years, student and community organizers have worked with the Yale administration to advocate for the divestment of Yale’s $29.4 billion endowment from fossil fuel corporations. Yale would join 998 institutions that have committed to divesting $7.2 trillion from the fossil fuel industry worldwide. Most recently, Middlebury College announced it will divest its $1 billion endowment from fossil fuel companies. For more information, please contact Martin Man at martinmi5@hotmail.com or call (845) 505-9281.

Stand Up for Climate Action, Energy Equity April 14

by Efficiency For All

Come to the State Capitol in Hartford on Sunday, April 14, 1-4 p.m. We are standing up for climate & energy equity! This is part of our collaborative call for policy which supports responsible energy policies as they relate to our economy, environment, health, climate, public transportation, and local jobs.

We want to reduce energy waste and increase clean energy production.

We are calling on our elected leaders to:

Stop the diversion of the Energy Efficiency (EE) and Clean Energy (CE) programs.
Lower energy waste, lower pollution, close the affordability gap and invest in our clean energy future. Expand all programs that reduce waste and lower carbon emissions including: efficiency, conservation, renewable energy, and clean public transportation.

We call on community leaders & advocates to join us in the fight for our future.

Desired actions:

  • Restore & expand our efficiency programs and renewable energy programs and create a path for increased energy equity!
  • Ensure programs have an equity lens, including transportation.
  • Include underrepresented communities at the table and empower them with information.

Efficiency. Environment. Economy. Employment. Equity. Education. Reliable, Resilient, & Safe Energy for All!

“There is room for everyone at the table and everyone should get a plate.”

Educate. Motivate. Unite. Take Action. The Time is Now!

www.facebook.com/events/1635681326534913

Sponsored by Efficiency For All, Connecticut League of Conservation Voters, Clean Water Action Connecticut, 350 Connecticut, Chispa Connecticut, Connecticut Chapter Sierra Club.

Update on Plastic Bag Ban

From our friends at Citizens Campaign for the Environment

SB 1003–An Act Concerning Single-Use Plastic and Paper Bags has received a public hearing and now must be voted out of committee before the 3/29 deadline. There is an Environment committee meeting scheduled for this Monday, but the agenda has not been posted yet. We need everyone to contact the Environment Committee leadership and urge them to vote this bill out of committee as soon as possible!

Tell the Environment Committee to Pass a Bag Ban for the 21st Century! SB 1003 would ban plastic checkout bags in Connecticut, without addressing paper bags. This is a good first step, but it can create an unintended consequence—encouraging consumers to switch to paper bag use, which also adversely impacts our environment. The goal is not to switch from plastic to paper; the goal is to switch from single-use bags to reusable bags!

Additionally, we must push back against so-called “compostable” plastic bags! The Governor’s proposed plastic bag surcharge contained a loophole exempting “compostable” plastic bags from the charge. This is blatant green washing! ASTM D6400 compliant plastic bags are certified compostable in an anaerobic digester. This does not suggest that these plastics will ever break down if they escape into the environment. We must make sure that the committee does not create loopholes for this material!

Update on Offshore Wind

From our friends at the CT Roundtable on Climate & Jobs

Last week, the Energy & Technology Committee passed two bills that would strengthen CT’s commitment to offshore wind. As they were taking that critical step, legislators spoke out about the need for further improvements to the language before a bill moves to the floor of the House or Senate for a vote.

We were pleased that legislators specifically called out two of our priorities: (1) establishing a commitment to 2000 MW of offshore wind, and (2) making that commitment a “mandate” rather than just providing CT DEEP with procurement “authority.”

The revised committee bill (HB 7156) also includes strong labor provisions to ensure in-state jobs with good wages and safety standards, along with environmental protections designed to mitigate any negative impacts on wildlife and ecosystems, as well as the commercial fishing industry.

Liberty Community Services at New Haven Libraries

Liberty Community Services offers one-on-one consulta-tions at NHFPLs for those with basic needs (jobs, food, shelter, and health and wellness issues).
Ives Main Library, 133 Elm Street
* Mondays to Fridays, 11 a.m.-3 p.m.
* Saturdays, 11 a.m.-1 p.m.
Fair Haven Branch Library, 182 Grand Avenue
* Thursdays, 5-7 p.m. * Saturday, April 6, 10 a.m.-1 p.m.
Wilson Branch Library, 303 Washington Avenue
* Tuesdays, 5-7 p.m *Saturdays, April 13, 27, 10 a.m.-1p.m.

New Haven Free Public Library Tapped as Finalist for National Award

by Ashley Sklar, NHFPL Public Services Administrator

The Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS) announced that the New Haven Free Public Library (NHFPL) is among the 30 finalists for the 2019 National Medal for Museum and Library Service.
The National Medal is the nation’s highest honor given to museums and libraries for service to their communities. For 25 years, the award has celebrated institutions that demonstrate extraordinary and innovative approaches to public service and are making a difference for individuals, families, and communities.

“The 30 National Medal finalists showcase the tremendous ability of libraries and museums to serve as vital community resources,” said IMLS Director Dr. Kathryn K. Matthew. “The Institute of Museum and Library Services is honored to recognize these leading institutions.”

Open to all, the NHFPL is a community pillar of learning, exploration and inspiration. Through community engagement, inclusive growth, and equity of access to resources and opportunities, the NHFPL builds connections as one city with one future.

“We are honored that the New Haven Free Public Library is a finalist for the National Medal for Museum and Library Service, and appreciate the inaugural nomination by U.S. Sen. Chris Murphy of Connecticut,” said City Librarian Martha Brogan. “We proudly share this nomination as recognition of our home, the community and the City of New Haven.”

“Share Your Story” about NHFPL on social media. IMLS is encouraging community members who have visited the NHFPL to share their story on social media. Please visit www.facebook.com/USIMLS or www.twitter.com/us_imls and use #IMLSmedals and #myNHFPLstory.

National Medal winners will be announced later this spring. Representatives from winning institutions will be honored for their extraordinary contributions at the National Medal Ceremony on June 12 in Washington, D.C.

To see the full list of finalists and learn more about the National Medal, visit the IMLS website www.imls.gov.

Ashley Sklar, nhfpl.org, asklar@nhfpl.org, (203) 946-8835.

UCONN Third Annual The Solution is Socialism Conference April 6

by UConn Youth for Socialist Action and Socialist Action CT

It is finally here! Socialist Action and the UConn Youth for Socialist Action present the third annual The Solution is Socialism Conference! Come Saturday, April 6, 9 a.m.-6 p.m. to the University of Connecticut Storrs Information Technology Engineering Building, Room C80. Join with students, workers, and activists to learn about the burning issues of today in labor, LGBTQI+ rights, ecosocialism, Marxist economics, feminism, anti-imperialism, anti-racism, and more! Capitalism can only continue to hurt working people; it’s time we take control!

Speakers include:

  • Holly Lewis, professor at University of Texas Austin, author of The Politics of Everybody: Feminism, Queer Theory, and Marxism at the Intersection.
  • Bryan Palmer, Professor Emeritus at Trent University, author of James P. Cannon and the Origins of the American Revolutionary Left and Revolutionary Teamsters.
  • Fred Moseley, professor at Mt. Holyoke College, author of a wide range of books and articles on Marxist economics, most recently Money and Totality: A Macro-Monetary Interpretation of Marx’s Logic in Capital and the End of the ‘Transformation Problem’.
  • Doug Greene, independent Marxist historian, writes deeply and accessibly on history and theory, including Communist Insurgent: Blanqui’s Politics of Revolution, as well as an upcoming critical biography of Michael Harrington, and the article Gramsci for Communists.
  • David Pijoan, a revolutionary socialist leader from France.
  • Donald Jean-Marie Bellman, shop steward, volunteer Executive Committee member of Unite Here! Local 217, a tirelessly energetic organizer inside and outside the Haitian community in Connecticut.
  • Lupita Agrado, blazing new meanings and pathways of rank-and-file militancy, shows how the leadership of women is central in efforts to organize hotel workers. A 20-year banquet server, she was a key leader in the drive to organize her own shop at the Hilton and the Sheraton in Stamford, CT.
  • Joe Hutchinson, a front desk agent and leader in the newly organized Sheraton Stamford hotel, will discuss his first-hand knowledge of worker-to-worker organizing and how it connects with the labor struggles that defined the 1930s.

Info: www.facebook.com/events/375671613279496/?ti=ia

Eventbrite: www.eventbrite.com/e/third-annual-solution-is-socialism-conference-tickets-57932794548

Additional questions can be directed to our Facebook:
www.facebook.com/SocialistActionCT. Or you can text or call Ernie: (860)967-9836

Coalition For People Annual Meeting, April 17

The annual meeting of the Greater New Haven Coalition For People will be on Wednesday, April 17, from 4:45-7:30 p.m. in the Program Room, lower level of the New Haven Free Public Library, 133 Elm St., New Haven.

Coalition For People through the years

Coalition For People led the successful campaign to have the downtown bus stops restored around the New Haven Green; demanded the hospitals adhere to the Hill-Burton Act and provide free health care to people who could not afford it; promoted universal, comprehensive single-payer health care; organized in neighborhoods to curb drug dealing and violence; won guarantees of jobs for New Haven residents at projects and businesses receiving city assistance; and worked with many other organizations in the New Haven area on issues of justice, racism, welfare rights, peace and the environment.

This past year we have taken on such issues as New Haven’s lack of affordable housing, the rights of the homeless, “hospital-dumping” of patients to the street who have no where to go after they are discharged from the hospital, lack of disability access to public places, and development of a program to provide resources for people with behavioral issues who would otherwise be put through the court system for creating a disturbance or other minor infractions or misdemeanors.

We are honored that our guest speaker will be Rev. Bonita Grubbs, Executive Director of Christian Community Action. Music will be performed by Flint Ladder. Our meeting and light dinner are free.
We invite you to become a member of Coalition For People and join our board. Annual dues are $5. Only members are eligible to vote during the business portion of the meeting.

RSVP is necessary. Please call (203) 468-2541, or e-mail coalitionforpeople@hotmail.com.

Environmental Film Festival at Yale April 3-6

The Environmental Film Festival at Yale is one of America’s premier student-run environmental film festivals. For 11 years now, EFFY brings incisive and ground breaking films that highlight the environmental and social issues of our time. Join us April 3-6 in downtown New Haven for this iconic movie experience. In addition to highlighting the brightest environmental storytelling of the past year, cele-brated directors and creatives from past festivals will return for discussion of how we move forward constructively as environmental storytellers. Films will be shown at various locations: Burke Auditorium, Kroon Hall, 195 Prospect St.; Criterion Cinemas, 86 Temple St.; Ives Main Library, New Haven Public Library, 133 Elm St. Please check the website for films, times and locations: https://effy.yale.edu.

Three Things You Can Do About Climate Issues

by Chris Schweitzer, New Haven/León Sister City Project

Earth Day celebration.
On April 27, 1,200 cyclists will travel between West Rock and East Rock, with celebrations on both sides of the city. Along the way, they will eat tasty food, hear great music, and explore the city’s parks. In 2019 there will be five rides: the 5-mile family-friendly parade/ ride; a 12-mile adult ride; the 20-mile ride; the 40-mile ride; and a metric century (60+ miles), all traveling through scenic and park filled routes in the New Haven region. Live music at various stops and at the end at East Rock will be provided and include performances by local musicians. The event closes with a state-wide Climate Rally organized by 350 CT. All proceeds from Rock to Rock support over 25 high-impact environmental groups and projects. For more information go to www.rocktorock.org.

Sign the New Haven resolution endorsing the declaration of a climate emergency to restore a safe climate:
“I am very concerned that global warming has already set in motion disastrous changes to the Earth system, including accelerating ice mass loss from the Greenland and West Antarctic Ice Sheets, melting of the Arctic and thawing of the permafrost, ocean acidification, accelerating species extinction, and year-round forest fires. In addition, 19,000 scientists in the 2nd Warning to Humanity (2017) agree that the only way to avoid “vast human misery” is to greatly change our quality of stewardship to the earth. As a result, I am asking New Haven to join with other cities across the country and declare a climate emergency–entailing the mobilization of programs to offer mitigation, resilience, and education on global warming.” Full resolution and petition at: newhavenclimatemovement.org/emergency-resolution.

Join Climate Week today!
Climate Week is for teachers and students to learn about climate impacts and actions to cut greenhouse gases, improve health, and reduce energy use and expense.

We hope you and your school will take part in the movement towards climate solutions and participate in this Climate Week in 2019 from April 27-May 4. Climate Week is a project of the Climate Health Education Project, a year-round online climate education resource. For more information, visit https://www.climateeducationnh.org.

An Invitation to a Liberation Seder April 27

Mikveh Warshaw, Mending Minyan and Jewish Voice for Peace

Join us for our second annual community liberation seder, hosted by Mending Minyan and Jewish Voice for Peace, New Haven (JVP) on Saturday, April 27 from 4:30 to 9 p.m. It will be held in the Congregational Church North Haven, 28 Church St. North Haven. Guests are asked to donate $15-$25, but no one will be turned away for lack of funds. After costs are covered excess funds will be donated to a local charity.

During Passover, we recall the story of Exodus where the ancient Hebrew people were liberated from slavery. The night is filled with story-telling, ritual, song, and delicious food! For centuries Passover has been used by communities, Jewish and non-Jewish, as a time to build connections across movements and commit to celebrating liberation struggles. This year, as we read stories of the past, we connect the teachings to our current struggles for a more just world.

This event is hosted by Mending Minyan and JVP. Mending Minyan is a group of Jews and friends of Jews in the New Haven vicinity who are practicing deeply-rooted and joy-based Jewish ritual decoupled from Zionism and in service to building radical Jewish practices in support of struggles against white supremacy and colonization. JVP New Haven is a diverse community of activists inspired by Jew-ish tradition to work together for peace, social justice, and human rights in Palestine, Israel, the U.S., and globally. This event is hosted in the spirit of the liberation for all people, and thus we will be centering the experience of Black and Brown, Queer, Trans, Women, and working-class and other marginalized Jews and non-Jews. This event is open to people of all or no faiths and to children of all ages!

We will be having pot-luck style food so that we can share our wide tradition of dishes we cook for Passover. Please sign up to bring a dish if possible. We are also looking for volunteers to help with setup, break-down, and childcare. Contact us at mikveh.warshaw@gmail.com.

Combating Climate Collapse, Combating Fascism

Stanley Heller, Promoting Enduring Peace

To top off a month of climate action, Promoting Enduring Peace and other groups will be holding a forum on Sunday, April 28 called “A Green New Deal and Other Ideas on Avoiding Climate Catastrophe.” It will be held in the early afternoon at the Bridgeport Islamic Community Center, 703 State St, Bridgeport, CT. Details are being worked out so check at pepeace.org during the month.

Readers of the Progressive Action Roundtable surely know that the consensus of U.N. scientists has concluded that we must cut back carbon dioxide emissions to nearly half by 2030. That is a massive undertaking. The purpose of the forum is to debate what it will take to overhaul production and consumption so drastically in just 11 years. The Green New Deal popularized by Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez calls for meeting all our power needs with “clean, renewable, and zero-emission energy sources,” increasing electric car pro-duction, expanding rail lines and guaranteed jobs for all. Richard Smith, an ecosocialist who will be speaking at the event, says that to do a Green New Deal the government will need to nationalize energy and transportation systems, ration power use and plan the U.S. economy. Winona LaDuke has talked about an Indigenous-led Green New Deal that will not let the land and animals be taken as mere things to be used for human benefit. Anarchist Wayne Price talks about Revolutionary Ecosocialism which he sees as out-and-out anti-capitalist and a system based on decentralized planning. We hope to discuss all these ideas at the forum.

PEP is continuing to expand its archives on its newly designed website, pepeace.org. The archives are on climate and nature, Ukraine and Russia, anti-nukes, Korea and the struggle against fascism. Of note is a link to an article about India where a Hindi superiority party rules and the country is rocked by atrocities against Muslims. PEP urged a big turnout at the New York City demonstration “United Against Racism and Fascism.” Hundreds rallied and marched on March 16. TSVN covered the protest. See video on TheStruggle.org.

CT Green Energy News

News and events for advocates of clean energy, energy efficiency, and climate action at the state and local levels, focusing on Connecticut. Brought to you by People’s Action for Clean Energy (PACE) and Eastern CT Green Action (ECGA).

*Editorial: Pipelines not a part of state’s future
New Haven Register. “…the state must eliminate a law that would put all citizens on the hook to pay for a new pipeline importing natural gas. There is not currently a plan for a pipeline, but according to legislation passed several years ago, the state can make such a move and charge the people for it.”

*Lawmakers want to amend 2018 energy bill
CT Post. “The Energy & Technology Committee overwhelmingly approved a compromise with Gov. Ned Lamont that solar supporters said will continue to foster the commercial and residential solar-energy markets…”

*Millstone deal reached, set to run for another 10 years CT Mirror. “The shutdown of the plant would have exposed the New England region to a nearly 25 percent increase in carbon emissions, increased risk of rolling blackouts, billions of dollars in power replacement costs, and the loss of more than 1,500 well-paying jobs.”

*Lowering your energy bills Fox News 61. Video interview of energy-conservation expert Leticia Colon de Mejias giving quick tips on how to lower your energy bills.

*Future of the gas tax? Running on empty.
CT Mirror. “The gas tax is at the core of the argument about whether to bring tolls back to Connecticut highways. But this story is not about tolls – it’s about the tax, its nexus with climate change, and what that means for the state.”

*The costs and benefits of shared solar are tough to calculate
CT Public Radio. “One big policy behind shared solar, especially looking at the low income community, is to limit barriers to participation.”

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