Rally for Climate Change, Jobs Draws Crowd

by Melinda Tuhus, New Haven Stands with Standing Rock

This article was sent to PAR from the author Melinda Tuhus. It was originally published in the New Haven Independent on Sept. 10, 2018. The full article can be read at www.newhavenindependent.org/index.php/archives/entry/climate_change_jobs_rally_draws_crowd.

A diverse crowd gathered on the (New Haven) Green Sunday afternoon, Sept. 9, for Connecticut’s own version of Rise Up for Climate, Jobs, and Justice.

It was one of 800 similar actions held around the world over the weekend ahead of a critical conference of provincial, state, municipal government and business leaders from around the globe convened this week by California Gov. Jerry Brown to push forward solutions to the climate crisis.

Traditional folk singers alternated with young rappers, Wes and Q, from Hartford in revving up the crowd, which also witnessed a “battle” between a 60-foot-long “fossil fuel dragon” and an “earth hero” armed with a sun shield and wind turbine sword, played to the hilt by young climate fighter Sam Rosenberg.

City Engineer Giovanni Zinn welcomed people to New Haven on behalf of Mayor Harp and urged everyone to check out the 97 elements of the City’s Sustainability Framework and sign up to help usher them into reality.

Jen Siskind with Food & Water Watch urged everyone to call their member of Congress to support the OFF Act (Off Fossil Fuels for a Better Future Act, H.R. 3671). Of Connecticut’s five reps, only Rosa DeLauro has signed on so far.

“Climate change is the most crucial issue facing all of us for the rest of our lives,” John Harrity, retired president of the State Council of Machinists and chair of the CT Roundtable on Climate and Jobs, said. And it’s happening now. “We all know that the fossil fuel economy can’t be sustained, but fossil fuel workers need a just transition to green jobs and new employment.”

The inclusion of “justice” in the day figured into several short speeches. Connecticut Puerto Rican Agenda member Alex Rodriguez related two recent disasters that befell the island.

“My mom and grandmother were caught in the storm,” Rodriguez told the crowd. “For two weeks, my family was immensely frightened by the possibility that they may be dead. When we made contact, we had to pool all of our resources together to bring them home a month after the destruction took place. The CT Puerto Rican Agenda calls on the federal government to provide more housing vouchers to the many families barely surviving without a roof over their head. We also call for our debt to be eliminated, because the PROMESA bill signed into law in recent years makes it impossible to pay back debt owed to the United States and give government services such as healthcare and education back to our people.”

“We know that the struggle against climate change is ultimately a struggle against injustice, and we definitely have to stand together,” the Rev. Scott Marks of New Haven Rising said. “The people that experience the cost of climate change are poor people and people of color. If that is the case then poor people and people of color must take the front and help to lead this movement. So many things are coming together to have us be divided, but I’m telling you, the environment is a great thing to bring us all together.”

PACE to Host Forum on 100% Renewable Energy Nov. 8

by Mark Scully, President, PACE

On Nov. 8, People’s Action for Clean Energy (PACE) will host a forum on transitioning to 100% renewable energy with the foremost scientific expert in the country on the topic as well as a panel of local experts. Stanford University professor Mark Z. Jacobson has written extensively about transitioning society to 100% renewable energy from wind, water and solar. PACE will honor Prof. Jacobson with the Judi Friedman Lifetime Achievement Award for his ground-breaking research that shows the way to a clean energy future.

Following Mark Jacobson’s keynote address, the focus will turn to Connecticut with a panel of local experts including:

  • Claire Coleman of CT Fund for the Environment;
  • Katie Dykes, Chair of the Public Utilities Regulatory Authority (PURA);
  • John Humphries, Founder of CT Roundtable for Climate and Jobs; and
  • Mary Sotos, Deputy Commissioner of the Department of Energy and Environmental Protection (DEEP)

The meeting will take place on Thursday, Nov. 8 from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. at 224 EcoSpace, 224 Farmington Ave. in Hartford. Reserve your ticket today online at www.pace-cleanenergy.org. Tickets: $25, students $10. Each ticket incudes a catered lunch and parking.

PACE is a public health and environmental organization formed in 1973 by a group of concerned Connecticut citizens to promote the development of alternative, renewable sources of energy, encourage the efficient use of energy, develop a spirit of conservation among Connecticut residents and challenge Connecticut’s commitment to nuclear power and nuclear weapons. Through its 100PercentCT project, PACE works with towns across the state to develop plans to transition to 100% renewable energy. For further information on PACE, go to www.pace-cleanenergy.org.

Judi Friedman led PACE for forty-three years and was a passionate and tireless advocate for clean energy. This award is given in her memory.

Download the event flyer here.

Earth Day 20th Anniversary Approaching

Dear Friends of Earth Day,

The 50th anniversary of Earth Day in 2020 (April 22, 2020) comes at a time in history when we must confront complex and critical environmental challenges. Earth Day 2020 presents a unique opportunity to unite people across social, geographical, and political boundaries to catalyze a new era of social transformation. Earth Day Network (EDN) is reaching out to you and other leading organizations around the world to ask you to join us in making Earth Day 2020 a defining environmental moment.

In 1970, groups fighting against problems as diverse as air and water pollution or the loss of biodiversity and habitat realized they shared common values. The first Earth Day convinced the public that a healthy environment is vital to our well-being. It led to the immediate creation of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the rapid passage of landmark environmental legislation. It also inspired others around the world, and a global environmental movement was born.

Thanks to the tireless work and commitment of thousands of organizations like yours, incredible social and environmental advances have already been achieved.

Nevertheless, we all recognize the need to engage a much larger percentage of the world’s population if we are to elevate environmental issues to the top of the political, social, and economic agendas.
On Earth Day 2020, we can all act together and take bold steps to raise the sustainability bar for the planet and our communities.

For more information, go to earthday.org or email info@earthday.org or phone (202) 518-0044.
Earth Day Network, 1616 P St. NW Suite 340, Washington, DC 20036.

Rise Up for Climate, Jobs and Justice, Sunday, Sept. 9

by Melinda Tuhus, New Haven Stands with Standing Rock

With the global impacts of the climate emergency all around us – forest fires, heat waves, droughts, floods and more – people around the world are rising for climate action in September.

In Connecticut, we will gather on the New Haven Green on Sunday, Sept. 9, at 1 p.m. and Rise Up for Climate, Jobs and Justice. Representatives of labor, environmental justice, the faith community and more will speak and singers and rappers will perform. After the rally we’ll march to sites of progress as well as struggle, like the Sanctuary church, Chase Bank (biggest US funder of both oil and gas pipelines and private prisons and immigrant detention centers), State Street train station (trains and bike share), Omni Hotel (with its organized workforce), the City Hall fuel cell, and a war memorial to make the connection between climate destruction and the military.

Be inspired by grassroots leaders and musicians to take the next step in protecting our only home and fighting for jobs and justice for all. Groups are welcome to come at noon and set up information tables or put your information on tables that will be set aside for multiple groups. For more information, visit our Facebook event at 350ct.org or www.facebook.com/events/1741045752677608.

Chris Schweitzer, Director, New Haven/León Sister City Project, adds that on the weekend of Sept. 8-9, global grassroots organizations 350.org and the Peoples Climate Movement are planning thousands of rallies in cities and towns around the world to build awareness and support for the Global Climate Action Summit to be held in San Francisco on Sept. 12-14. Delegates to the Summit will celebrate the best work being done at all levels and then ratchet up those efforts to achieve net decreases in yearly greenhouse gas emissions by 2020 and net zero emissions by 2050 or sooner.

Reflections on the Past Green Year

by Owen Charles, Shoreline Green Party

A little over a year ago, we obtained official chapter-hood for our Shoreline Green Party. It was a joyous thing, springing forth from a rather unjoyous series of disappointments. Many were dismayed by the weakening of democracy in America, the championing of corporate interests by both major parties, and the 2016 election with its home-grown election fraud.

So we came together to see if the grass was greener on the other side—and it was!—Fertile with ideas and fresh perspectives, and inquisitive minds;— Open to citizen participation, running for office, and a shared and self-determined people’s agenda.—Not your typical political party owned, operated, bought and sold by large corporate interests.

On Feb. 26, 2017, we launched with the aim to “start preparing to run candidates, get involved an important issue and legislation advocacy and upturn the status quo of a troubled political system as an official regional chapter of the Green Party!”

I’ll briefly reflect on what we have done in a year, with pride and congratulations to a smart, vibrant, friendly, hard-working, dedicated, growing Shoreline Green Party team! Many more details can be found on our Facebook @shorelinegreenparty and website shorelinegreenparty.org.

  1. Visibility and Activism: We organized gatherings and protests (net neutrality, immigrants rights, May Day and others), marched in the Guilford Parade. Website, Facebook, Twitter, Youtube videos (check it out at Shoreline Green Party on Youtube).
  2. Inspiration and Solidarity: Our first annual Songs of Solidarity in Oct. 2017 at the Guilford Library was standing room only (70+), amazing performances and sing-alongs with a line-up of incredible local artists (stay tuned for “Second Annual!”). We sponsored a showing of “Requiem for the American Dream” at Guilford Library.
  3. Local Democracy in Action: Organized public support to stop privatization and development of the Academy School in Madison, ban fracking waste in a number of towns, and stop the development of a waste dump in Clinton.

Our first four candidates in 2017, in Clinton and Madison, each had impressive showings with over 1,100 votes. We now have four local candidates for this Nov. 6! with key campaign support and volunteering from dozens of people.

Clinton members have led the way in getting appointed to Town commissions and boards.

If you are interested in these kinds of actions, please join with us in the Shoreline Green Party! We welcome participants from all surrounding areas including New Haven and environs and are working with other local groups and welcome doing that more.

Please reach out to us by joining our Facebook group @shorelinegreenparty or contacting me! Owen Charles owencharles2003@yahoo.com or shorelinegreenparty@gmail.com; phone (203) 421-1094.

Free Admission at Mystic Aquarium for SNAP Households

Connecticut SNAP benefit households will receive free admission to Mystic Aquarium through December 2018.

Mystic Aquarium is focused on engaging communities throughout Connecticut in ocean conservation.

Connecticut SNAP EBT card holders simply have to show their EBT card and valid, matching personal identification to receive free admission for themselves and up to four guests. Also, card holders may buy tickets for $5 each for up to three more guests at the time of their visit. All children in the party under age 5 will be admitted for free.

55 Coogan Blvd, Mystic, CT 06355 · (860) 572-5955

www.mysticaquarium.org

Grammar School Students Who Already Challenge and Change The World

by Frank Panzarella, community activist

The Green Wolves, fourth-grade students at Elm City College Preparatory Elementary School, came up with that name for their own wonderful and imaginative adventure in becoming young activists.

Their teacher, Kurt Zimmermann of their Expeditions class, saw the PAR newsletter on-line and invited us to do a training for young people on things to think about when becoming an activist.

While some were still shy, others were bursting with ideas and questions. They surprised us right off by quoting suggestions from our own notes before we even began.

These kids were very interested in environmental issues and showed us their current great campaign. They raised money to replace all the teachers’ disposable coffee cups with lovely ceramic mugs that had the teachers’ names printed on them, so the teachers would reduce their paper waste.

We were thrilled to meet this group of engaging and endearing students and thank Mr. Zimmermann for the opportunity. We thought PAR readers would be interested in the notes we left the students with.

An Activist Guide List – Questions to Ask Yourself

  • “Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed it’s the only thing that ever has.” Margaret Mead
  • “Doing something is better than doing nothing.”
  • “My way is not the only way.”

Passion

  • What are the issues you feel strongly about? What would you like to accomplish or change? What do you need to study and understand?
  • Are there other people you know concerned about these issues? Who can you talk with?

Organize

  • How can you educate people about why your issue is important?
  • What are your short term and long term goals? What would you like to see happen in relation to your cause?
  • Who is it you would like to reach on your cause?
  • Are there people or groups who might be allies in reaching your goals?

Action Plans

  • What kinds of actions are appropriate for your cause?

Educational events

  • Write letters, articles, and petitions.
  • Use social media.

Rallies and demonstrations

  • Picket lines
  • Speak at hearings or local government meetings.

Create a plan to advance your cause and build support

  • Call a meeting to plan your actions if necessary.
  • Figure out a group process.
  • Be aware of your members and their ideas.
  • Promote democracy in action – listen to all and learn to resolve differences.
  • Respect the rights of others to have different views.
  • Struggle for a programmatic unity on issues — in other words, something everyone in your group can agree on to take some action.
  • Have a summation meeting. Meet again after your action to figure out what worked and what didn’t. What do you think could have been better? Decide if you will do something next, and pick a date for another meeting to figure out what it will be.
  • Have fun doing good things for the benefit of everyone.

DAPL Protester Vic Lancia Arrested and Fined A Year After Wells Fargo Lock-Down

by Dan Fischer, Dragonfly Climate Collective

This an update and thank-you message for those who have supported our friend Vic Lancia. Almost one year after Vic shut down a Wells Fargo branch in Middletown in April 2017, Vic was arrested in February 2018 and fined in March 2018.

On April 7 of last year, Vic, then about to turn 77 years old, locked himself to concrete barrels blocking the entrance to a Wells Fargo branch in Middletown during a protest against the bank’s funding of the Dakota Access Pipeline and other fossil fuel infrastructure. Vic’s lockdown shut down the branch for nearly two hours. Meanwhile, nine Wesleyan University students blocked the drive-through ATM. Police were unable to extract Vic from the barrels and made no arrests.

At the time, Vic offered the following statement: “Wells Fargo is a major funder of the Dakota Access Pipeline. It’s full speed ahead for fossil fuels even as the destructive consequences of their use become more and more evident by the day. Their ONLY concern is profit! This is corporate tyranny! We, the people, will not continue to ignore this to the peril of the young, our planet, and its inhabitants. And that’s why I am here today disrupting business as usual at Wells Fargo. I am here to say no to profiting from climate destruction. We are part of a worldwide movement TAKING A STAND against greedy and parasitic people. We need to get in their way and tell them: ‘NO!'”

The demonstration was organized by Wesleyan Coalition for Divestment and Transparency, Students Against the Fossil Fuel Industry, and Dragonfly Climate Collective.

According to Vic’s attorney, Wells Fargo appears to have requested police action, and this explains why almost a year later on Feb. 20, 2018, a police officer approached Vic on the street, pulled out a badge, and arrested him. The arrest warrant found probable cause for four violations of Connecticut General Statutes: Breach of Peace in the Second Degree, Disorderly Conduct: Obstructing Free Passage, Trespass in the Second Degree, and Interfering with a Police Officer. [youtu.be/UckxZO1ZEr4]

Ultimately, the state attorney chose to charge Vic with the first three of these violations. As a result, Vic faced a maxi-mum penalty of nine months in jail and $2000 in fines. At Vic’s first court appearance on March 1, 2018, the state attorneys said they would get get in touch with the so-called “victim,” Wells Fargo.

At Vic’s second court appearance on March 26, the State offered Vic two non-criminal infractions as a plea deal, which he accepted: A non-criminal trespass (fee: $90) and a non-criminal Creating a Public Disturbance (fee: $90) with costs and fees imposed (amounting to a total of slightly over $2,000). Vic has raised just enough to be able to cover his fines. Anyone who was looking to contribute might instead donate to a number of ongoing sites of resistance against fossil fuel infrastructure. For example, at this link you can donate to the L’eau Est La Vie (Water is Life) Camp resisting the Bayou Bridge Pipeline: bit.ly/nobbp. capitalismvsclimate.org/2018/04/dapl-protester-vic-lancia-arrested-and-fined-1-year-after-wells-fargo-lock-down.

Rain Barrel Workshops to Harvest the Rain

by Lynne Bonnett, NH Bioregional Group

The New Haven Bioregional Group is hosting rain barrel workshops periodically throughout the summer and fall months, usually once a month on a Saturday late morning in the Edgewood neighborhood of New Haven. Bring a picture of the area where you want to install your rain barrel. We will give you a donated rain barrel with parts and show you how to install it at your home. The rain barrels with kits are provided by a volunteer from the GNH Water Pollution Control Authority. You can harvest rain water to use out-side in your garden and help keep our rivers and harbor clean from storm water runoff from your property — a win-win for everyone.

Email: rainbarrelsnewhaven@yahoo.com or call (203) 865-6507 for more information about the next workshop.

Support Environmental Action. Ride Rock to Rock Earth Day Ride

by Chris Schweitzer, New Haven/León Sister City Project

On April 28, 2018, 1500 cyclists will travel between West Rock and East Rock, with celebrations at each. Along the way, they will eat tasty food, hear great music, and explore the city’s parks. They will travel along the Farmington Canal Trail and official city bike lanes, pass through many of the city’s beautiful neighborhoods, and make stops at parks. There will be five rides: the 5-mile family-friendly ride – a parade this year!!!; 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. Music at various stops and at the end at East Rock will include performances by local musicians. For more info call (203) 285-6147 or go to www.rocktorock.org.

Rock to Rock News and High School Energy Awareness Programs

by Chris Schweitzer, New Haven/León Sister City Project

It’s time to get excited about the 10th Annual Rock to Rock Earth Day Ride. We are joining forces with Green Drinks to put on a Pint Night to benefit Rock to Rock Wednesday, March 14, 6-7:30 at Patagonia, 1 Broadway (corner of York St.), New Haven. We will have beer from Blue Point Brewery, wine, refreshments, live music from Andrew Biagiarelli, and our ever-popular raffle. Admission: $5 donation to Rock to Rock.

Rock to Rock is New Haven’s biggest Earth Day celebration. Here’s how it works: You and about a thousand of your neighbors travel by bicycle from West Rock and East Rock, with celebrations on both sides of the city. Along the way, eat tasty food, hear great music, take on environmental service projects, and explore our city’s parks and neighborhoods. Info: info@rocktorock.org or (203) 285-6147.

Climate Health and Energy Week (CHEW) is an opportunity–April 30 to May 5–for New Haven-area high schools to broaden climate change awareness and engage in concrete action to cut greenhouse gases, improve health and reduce energy use and expense. CHEW organizers are researching and developing–with educators and school administrators–a variety of program/activity options to be available to individual teachers, departments, grade levels, schools, or the entire school district. The range of options will enable educators to meet the specific needs and realities of their school. Other non-school youth and community organiz-ations can also participate.

Check out the website  www.climateweeknh.org or contact Margalie at Margalie Belizaire mbeliza32@gmail.com or call (203) 562-1607.  Also please submit good climate education activities!

Teach-In Feb 24: Explore the Toughest Questions Facing the Climate Movement

by 350CT and Sierra Club

On Saturday, February 24, noon to 6 p.m. at the Ernest O. St. Jacques Auditorium, Elmwood Community Center, 1106 New Britain Ave., West Hartford (entrance via South Quaker Lane and then to Burgoyne Street) come to a Teach-In: For a Livable World! Climate Justice Now! Hear experts and activists exploring some of the toughest questions facing the climate movement. Speakers include:
Jacqueline Patterson, Director of the NAACP Environmental and Climate Justice Program. Coordinator & co-founder of Women of Color United since 2007. She is also a researcher and program manager, working on women‘s rights, violence against women, HIV&AIDS, racial and economic justice.
Anne L. Hendrixson, Director of Population and Development Programs at Hampshire College. She has examined the gendered and racialized ways that environmental thinkers have framed population in relation to resource scarcity, food insecurity, conflict and violence, environmental degradation and climate change.

Sean Sweeney, Director of the International Program on Labor, Climate & Environment at the Murphy Institute, City University of New York and coordinator of Trade Unions for Energy Democracy, a global network of 42 unions from 16 countries.

Martha Klein, Chapter Chair of the Sierra Club of Connecticut, and a leader in the fight to stop the use and transport by pipeline of climate-wrecking fracked gas in our state.

Alexis Rodriquez, Fairfield representative of the Connecticut Puerto Rican Agenda and an advocate of decolonization. He has been involved with hurricane relief efforts and the campaign against coal ash dumping in Penuelas.

Cynthia Jennings, environmental and civil rights attorney and a councilwoman in Hartford. She has brought the issue of environmental justice in Hartford to national attention.

Workshops include: Become a Citizen Lobbyist for the Spring 2018 Legislative Session; What Would an Independent Mass Action Strategy Look Like?; The Fight for a Green, De-Colonized Puerto Rico; Fight for Green Affordable Mass Transit; Nuclear Power is NOT Renewable!; Get Your Town to Commit to 100% Renewable This Year!

For more information: 350CT at (203) 350-3508 or email organizers@350ct.org.

Sierra Club of CT 860-542-5225 or connecticut.chapter@sierraclub.org.

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