Climate Change and the Urgency to Act

by Chris Schweitzer, New Haven Climate Movement

New Haven Climate Movement has launched a campaign to have the City of New Haven pass The Emergency Resolution to Restore a Safe Climate. The Resolution states, “New Haven declares that we face an existential climate emergency that threatens our city, region, state, nation, civilization, the natural world, and humanity.” The Resolution also states that: “New Haven officially commits to leading an emergency mobilization effort that, with appropriate financial and regulatory assistance from state and federal authorities, ends community-wide greenhouse gas emissions by or before Dec. 31, 2030, and immediately initiates an effort to safely draw down carbon from the atmosphere.” Please sign the petition at newhavenclimatemovement.org.

This Resolution is part of a growing national movement declaring that we are in a climate emergency and commit-ting cities to addressing it in time to avoid the worst outcomes. Local governments have become leaders of the climate emergency movement and are inspiring others to do the same. Los Angeles, Berkeley, Richmond, CA, and Hoboken, NJ, have passed emergency resolutions organized by the national organization The Climate Mobilization.  New Haven passed a Climate Framework in 2018 so it has a guide to follow. Beyond this, there are significant jobs and public health benefits of taking action now.

From The Climate Mobilization A Call for Safe Climate: To protect humanity, we need a massive transformation of our economy and society in a matter of years, not decades. We must rapidly direct our resources toward a singular national purpose: restoring a safe climate for our world.

From the Connecticut Governor’s Council on Climate Change: “With over 600 miles of coastline and 2.2 million people living in shoreline communities in Connecticut, the state’s residents and communities are extremely vulnerable to the impacts of weather and climate events. Connecticut residents are already beginning to experience such effects as climate change ramps up. For instance, in Connecticut alone, Hurricane Irene (2011) caused power outages affecting 754,000 customers and over $1 billion in damage, and Hurricane Sandy (2012) caused power outages affecting more than 600,000 customers and inflicted almost $2 billion in statewide damages. The latter forced thousands of Connecticut residents to evacuate, saw thousands apply for FEMA assistance, damaged roads and infrastructure, and took nine days for utilities to restore power. Many of Connecticut’s coastal communities and assets face an escalating risk of storm events exacerbated by climate change.”

For more information on the Resolution, or to get involved, contact Chris at nh@newhavenleon.org or call (203) 562-1607.

Working Together for 100% Renewable Energy in Connecticut Nov. 8

by Mark Scully, President, PACE

People’s Action for Clean Energy (PACE) invites you to a hands-on workshop to accelerate Connecticut’s transition to 100% clean, renewable energy. The event features a keynote address from Mark Z. Jacobson, Director of the Atmosphere and Energy Program at Stanford University. Mark’s career has focused on better understanding air pollution and global warming problems and developing large-scale clean, renew- able energy solutions to them.

After Prof. Jacobson’s address, the focus turns to CT’s transition to 100% with a panel of local experts to discuss the state’s progress to date, potential of offshore wind, grid modernization and legislative perspective. This panel comprises:

  • Claire Coleman, Climate and Energy Attorney for CT Fund for the Environment
  • Katie Dykes, Chair of the Public Utility Regulatory Authority (PURA)
  • John Humphries, Founder of CT Roundtable on Climate & Jobs
  • Mary Sotos, Deputy Commissioner of CT Department of Energy & 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. Ticket price includes a catered lunch and parking.

Lawsuit to Return the Clean Energy and Efficiency Funds

by Paula Panzarella, Fight the Hike

On Thursday, Sept. 13, I attended the hearing at the Federal Courthouse in New Haven regarding the legislature’s seizure last session of $155 million that was collected from United Illuminating and Eversource customers. The intention of the funds was to (as noted on the back of our electric bills) “promote energy conservation and efficiency” and to pay for programs that “promote the use of renewable (or environmentally friendly) fuel sources, such as solar power, wind, fuel cells, methane gas from landfills, biofuels, trash-to-energy, and water.”

The legislators voted to use these funds instead to put money into the State’s General Fund.

The Clean Energy funds must be returned. People depend on these funds for their jobs in the renewable energy sector. Consumers rely on the efficiency programs to save energy and money. These programs have helped people get low-interest financing for solar installations. Efficiency and clean energy save the state money, and people’s health is at stake because fossil fuels are increasing asthma rates and respiratory illnesses.

As of this printing, Judge Janet Hall has not yet made a decision on the legality of the legislators’ appropriation of the funds that were intended for clean energy and efficiency.

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.

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.
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