Towards a New Paradigm of Creative Revolution — Part One

by Owen Charles, environmental, peace and community activist

We are in a time of great innovation, some say, mostly speaking of computer technology, “AI,” microparticle physics, genetic science, and other man-made detritus.

We are in a time of great crisis, meanwhile, as we soak in a toxic environment and begin to experience looming climate destruction borne of man-made garbage–hydrocarbons, plastics, pesticides, and other technologies.

It is time to recognize that we are in a downward spiral. As a species, we are clearly incapable. That is why it is up to SOME of us to recognize we are in a downward spiral… and do something about it.

No, not come up with some technological solution or grand design that will “save the world” but independent, creative, revolutionary ways of disconnecting from and unplugging from the destructive dystopia around us, so that we may build a new future. Tapping into our own creative revolutions, inviting and engaging, and welcoming those around us.

Is this a revolutionary idea? – YES and NO. YES, in that it is the answer towards upending the Existing Order (Capitalism, carnism, consumerism, etc.) that will likely implode as destructive forces it has unleashed grows in Tsunami fashion and drowns (most of) us all.

NO, in that it is already late to be getting to the party. Revolutionary work has started all around. Not cults of 150-year-old revolutionists or other political goings-on…. But, in the almost anonymous goings-on of growing autonomous movements — Bioregionalism groups, independent local movements of people living off the grid, tiny houses, living in vans & other vehicles, autonomous agricultural innovations, “gig economy” pursuits, bartering and new economies, and in the rise of cooperatives, collectives, and back-to-earth communalism–it is no longer enough to say “No”! In fact, it is counter-productive to spend much time doing this–opposing the facets and faults that in aggregate comprise the Existing Order.

While Bob Marley was right that “Total destruction is the only solution (no one can stop them now),” there will not be a turning point among humans to turn around the destruction of the planet (and each other) through our out-of-control hydrocarbonism, consumerism, and Capitalism… not until after climate destruction has so disrupted our lives that the great majority live in constant struggle to survive amidst the new environment of the planet. We ARE beyond… beyond the point of no return. Thus, we don’t say NO… We don’t say INCREMENTALISM. Thus, we say YES!

The clear answer for a monumental transition lies before us… lies in our embracing this, and saying “YES”.

Yes, to new paradigm.

Yes, to new ideas, ways of living, ways of helping each other, ways of creating anew.

Yes, to positive action.

Yes, to communes- bounding together to create new economies, new healthcare and educational possibilities, new ways of moving forward from where we are now.

And in this “new” paradigm there certainly may be echoes of the past… indigenous and ancient ways of basic, communitarian existence in a more balanced harmony with each other and with nature…

You can look at it as saying NO to the toxic culture and capitalism, and war, and… BUT it is important not to look at it this way and to instead approach it as SAYING YES.

Yes, first off to each other.

We need to unleash ourselves from the paradigm of individualism and that it is a dog-eat-dog world… and instead embrace that we are all IN THIS TOGETHER. This is one of the first rules used to sublimate us, is the rule of “divide and conquer”.

Thus fighting each other is abandoned as a mode of revolution, and in fact is Counter-revolutionary. Let’s continue to look around and find and support those who represent a new paradigm hidden in plain sight all around us!

We say YES to each other in the mode of improvisational group creation… “YES, And” … Your idea AND mine… “BOTH AND” (not Either / Or)… this way we do not tear ourselves apart and tear each other down, but we BUILD TOGETHER new ways, new organizations, new creative revolutions.

YES to cooperatives, YES to collectives, YES to unplugging and working, YES to more DOING and less TALKING, YES to CREATING, YES TO BIOREGIONALISM, YES to MUNICIPALISM, YES to YES to YES to YES to YES.

YES to down-sizing, YES to living more ruggedly with less, YES to helping others to do so (not shaming them), YES to creating ways to communicate independently YES to BEING the CHANGE we want to see. YES to worrying less about fear, division, disagreement, and looming destruction, and YES to focusing more on creative revolution to create the new ways of living that sustain us, save us, inspire us, give us some hope, some unity, and rebuild our interior and human goodness from the first step of the first individual, in a chain that has the potential to be unending, and free us from the chains of our dystopia.

Please reach out to us by joining our Facebook group @shorelinegreenparty or contacting me! Owen Charles at owencharles2003@yahoo.com

Sept. 20 Strike for the Climate

by Stanley Heller, Administrator, Promoting Enduring Peace

We are in a desperate situation, with awful climate news coming nearly every week and with just a decade or so to drastically cut exhausts of carbon in the air. At the same time, climate science deniers are at the helm in the U.S. and other major governments. City and state governments are trying, but it’s not nearly enough.

In May, millions of students took part in a school strike for the climate. Friday, Sept. 20 will hopefully be a renewal of that kind of action along with strikes and other kinds of action from other sectors in the global society.

We are learning from Puerto Rico and Hong Kong that mass mobilizations are the way to get things done. In Connecticut, the Connecticut Climate Crisis Mobilization (C3M) is organizing a week of actions starting Sept 20. There will be a demonstration in Hartford 12-3 p.m. at the Capitol Building, 210 Capitol Ave. More info at actionnetwork.org/events/ct-climate-strike. The best way to reach C3M is by email: C3Mobilization@gmail.com. Also see the site www.350ct.org.

The New Haven Climate Network is organizing an event later in the day, 3 p.m. on the New Haven Green, 250 Temple St. Look for them on Facebook (New Haven Climate Movement).

Trade unions worldwide are taking action in support of Sept. 20. See pepeace.org/climate-and-nature-work for details and the website of Connecticut Roundtable on Cli-mate and Jobs at ctclimateandjobs.org. If your union is planning anything bring it up with union officers or at a union meeting.

Visit the tables of Promoting Enduring Peace (PEP) and the Sierra Club at the CT Folk Festival/Green Expo, noon to 5 p.m. on Saturday, Sept. 7 at Edgerton Park in New Haven. Entrance to the festival is free.

PEP will be talking about its bold new calls for:
1) worker/community takeovers of fossil fuel industries, and
2) planning the economy for a smokestack-free future.

Read about it at www.PEPeace.org.

We Have a Climate Emergency!

by Wendy Hamilton, New Haven Mayoral Candidate

This is part of a letter I sent in reply to a form letter from the New Haven Climate Movement.

We have already gone over that cliff called climate change.  It has changed, and many will die from it.

Oil, gas, coal, timber, and cattle corporations currently run the world their own way and humans continue to breed in overwhelming numbers despite climate change, bad politics, dire poverty, and growing pollution.  Try telling your fellow humans to stop reproducing or to just cut back.  I wouldn’t try either.

Essentially, we are doomed as a species to suffer massive losses and very soon. Disease, coastal flooding, mass extinction, loss of diversity, dangerous weather threaten us. I have read many books about these global problems. Also, this country, the most violent and the most weaponized, continues to arm psychopaths and sociopaths of which there is a multitude. As poverty grows, so will crime.

But you ask what I will do as mayor in the here and now —

  • I will fight the utility companies and promote solar power.
  • I will support Planned Parenthood and parenting education.
  • I will encourage mass transit and bicycles.
  • I will work with the state to improve bus routes and schedules.
  • I will demand more jobs and service from YNHH.
  • I will publicize our disastrous air pollution.
  • I will create more parks and gardens.
  • I will take over blighted lots and buildings for the city.
  • I will increase home inspections by LCI.
  • I will increase hazardous waste removal and recycling service and improve the city dump.
  • I will demand more $$ from Yale Corp. as well as more academic participation in trying to save NH
  • I will improve city schools as education is key.

Energy Fund Raids Have Stopped, But Industry Says The Damage Has Been Done

by Christine Stuart, CT News Junkie, July 30, 2019

The General Assembly adjourned this year without restoring $67.5 million to clean energy funds that had been swept as part of the budget in 2017.

The $67.5 million was part of a larger $145 million in energy fund sweeps the General Assembly approved under former Gov. Dannel P. Malloy to close a budget deficit.

Environmentalists and energy-efficiency businesses pointed out that the legislature and Gov. Ned Lamont could have used the budget surplus to restore some of the funds, but they decided against it and failed to restore them before the session adjourned June 5.

Hartford Mayor Luke Bronin said Monday that he doesn’t know how to measure how much more progress his city could have made in improving its rankings on a clean energy scorecard if those funds had been available.

For more on this story, visit: Energy Fund Raids Have Stopped, But Industry Says The Damage Has Been Done | CT News Junkie

 

Environmental Wins at the CT State Legislature

This past legislative session saw two significant clean energy victories. The synopsis below is from information from the Connecticut Roundtable on Climate and Jobs. For more information about the legislation, and for regular notices from the Connecticut Roundtable on Climate and Jobs, please visit https://ctclimateandjobs.org.

Offshore Wind Energy Development – After months of effective advocacy, the Connecticut State Senate passed HB 7156, mandating solicitations of 2000 MW of offshore wind by 2030. The unanimous vote of 36 to 0 echoed the earlier overwhelmingly bipartisan 134 to 10 approval in the House.

Connecticut becomes the first state to mandate project labor agreements and prevailing wages for all offshore wind projects. The bill also includes some of the strongest environmental protections for marine life, ecosystems and commercial fishing.

Solar Energy – a good fix to the faulty net metering language enacted in 2018 was included in HB 5002 and will help put CT’s residential and commercial solar energy on track for continued growth. (HB 5002, which was originally the Green New Deal bill, was otherwise unremarkable.)

Building a coalition around a climate action 1-3 p.m. Sunday June 30

At a recent day of discussion for 350 CT, we decided to make an effort to build a wide-ranging coalition around a climate action on Sept. 20 in support of the global climate strike led by the millions of school strikers around the world.

There will be a meeting on June 30 from 1-3 pm at the Unitarian Society of Hartford (50 Bloomfield Avenue) to make a plan. I hope that some PAR subscribers can attend. Thank you!

Note To the Environmental Community | Ralph Nader, Consumer Advocate

[Reprinted from CounterPunch, May 6, 2019: www.counterpunch.org/2019/05/06/note-to-the-environmental-community]

In 2003, political strategist Frank Luntz wrote a confidential Republican Party memo on what he called “the environmental communications battle.” In that memo, Luntz advised Republicans to change the words they used to meet their ends. “The scientific debate is closing but not yet closed,” he wrote. “There is still a window of opportunity to challenge the science,” Luntz proposed using the phrase “climate change” instead of “global warming.” His reasoning: “[W]hile global warming has catastrophic communications attached to it, climate change sounds a more controllable and less emotional challenge.”

Like it or not, Frank Luntz had a point. When I was growing up in New England, “climate change” meant the changing of the seasons: spring, summer, autumn, and winter. Today, in the midst of increasingly alarming scientific studies and giant storms, the necessary response has been diminished by this widely-accepted softening of the words we use to describe the dangerous reality that stands before us. Language matters!

I recently reached out to two leading and widely respected ecologists, Paul Hawken and Bill McKibben, to get their input on the mainstream usage of the benign phrase “climate change.” McKibben now uses the far more potent phrase “climate chaos.” Hawken believes the proper term is “climate volatility.”

One thing is abundantly clear―it’s time to change the words to meet the peril! As Confucius said: “If language is not correct, then what is said is not what is meant; if what is said is not what is meant, then what must be done remains undone; if this remains undone, morals and art will deteriorate; if justice goes astray, the people will stand about in helpless confusion. Hence there must be no arbitrariness in what is said. This matters above everything.”

Would you join us in replacing the use of the all-together benign phrase “climate change” with variations of more grave language? Consider the following alternatives: climate crisis, climate catastrophe, climate disruption, climate upheaval, or even global warming. Whatever choice of words, we should stop using “climate change.”

Sincerely, Ralph Nader

Sinking land could ground Tweed airport expansion plans | New Haven Register

Since 1931, Tweed New Haven Airport has sat on a spit of what was once salt marsh and wetlands straddling the East Haven border. It is wedged between New Haven Harbor where the Quinnipiac River empties, the Farm River mouth separating East Haven and Branford, and Long Island Sound. It is transected by other waterways — Tuttle Brook and Morris Creek.

And it floods.

Recent morning thunderstorms left water rimming the runways and pooling in adjacent residential roads.

It will only get worse.

Source: Sinking land could ground Tweed airport expansion plans – New Haven Register

Tweed New Haven Airport Redux

[Extracts from Yale Daily News article 4/23/19 by Natalie Bussemaker and Siddsrth Shankar]

For years, city and state residents and officials have debated whether or not to expand Tweed-New Haven Regional Airport. But despite numerous pleas from local city government, no substantial progress has been made on the issue due to state and local laws that prevent the expansion of the airport’s runway from 5,600 feet.

In January, Mayor Toni Harp unilaterally terminated New Haven’s 2009 Memorandum of Agreement with East Haven, which limited the runway length, arguing that the restriction was illegal. And last month, the Connecticut General Assembly’s Transportation Committee passed a bill that would end the state’s legal restriction on Tweed’s runway length. Still, the bill needs to be approved by the full Connecticut House of Representatives and Connecticut Senate and signed by Gov. Ned Lamont SOM ’80 to become law. According to state Senate President Pro Tempore Martin Looney, D-New Haven, the chances that the bill will make it into law this legislative session — which closes in just over a month — are slim….

Looney said a “necessary precursor” for him to support any legislation that would repeal the statute restricting Tweed’s runway length is the development of a “community benefits plan.” According to Looney, the plan would address soundproofing, noise concerns and traffic reconfiguration, as well as mitigate the environmental impact of the changes to Tweed.

“There’s a number of environmental advocates in the neighborhood who are raising issues about what the environmental impact of airport development would be given the predictions of rising sea levels over the next 20 years, concerns about wetlands [and] concerns about flooding,” Looney said. “All of that would have to be addressed in any plan.”

Expansion proponents note that New Haven is one of the most underserved air travel markets in the nation and that a longer runway will open the door to flights to major cities.

Currently, Tweed only offers daily service to Philadelphia and once-a-week service to Charlotte, N.C. According to a Yale press release supporting Tweed’s expansion, expanding the runway would add 1,000 jobs in the region, generate $122 million in revenue and increase the state and local tax base by $4.5 million. According to Kevin Rocco, the chief executive officer of BioRez, Inc. — a medical device start-up in the city — the stalled progress on Tweed enhancements has come at the expense of efficiency and growth for businesses in the region….

“The responsibility is going to be with [Lamont] to help move a plan forward with a commitment of state resources and broad-based inclusion of community input, because the city’s had an opportunity to do so for several years and has not,” Looney said.

[For more about the environmental hazards of Tweed Airport expansion, see our March 2019 issue, par-newhaven.org/2019/02/26/tweed-airport-and-climate-change-the-environment-is-both-local-and-global]

Is Your PAR Subscription About to Run Out?

by PAR Planning Committee

The Progressive Action Roundtable newsletter publishes from September through June. Subscriptions from many of our readers will expire with the June issue.

We hope you enjoy your subscription and value the PAR newsletter as a community resource. To see if your subscription is due for renewal, please look at your address label. If “201906” is printed on the label to the right of your name, your subscription ends next month. Please send in $13 for 10 issues (Sept. 2019-June 2020) so that you can continue to read about what local organizations are doing and you can submit articles about your own organization.

The Progressive Action Roundtable was started in January 1993. After several months, this community Newsletter became the main activity of PAR, giving New Haven area organizations an opportunity for networking and for advertising their activities.

We hope to hear from you.

Students Disrupt David Swensen Talk and Occupy Investments Office

(contributed photo)

NEW HAVEN, CT – Student demonstrators interrupted a public talk given by Yale Chief Investments Officer David Swensen and NPR correspondent Chris Arnold on Tuesday, calling on Swensen to meet the demands of students who were occupying the Yale Investments Office for the third time in the past five months. For more information visit https://www.facebook.com/FossilFreeYale.

Half an hour into the financial advice presentation described as “teaching students to invest like Yale does”,” more than 40 members of the Yale Endowment Justice coalition stood up, holding banners reading “Yale is Complicit” and “Inaction is not an option.”Lorna Chitty YC’20, a member of the Yale Democratic Socialists, interrupted Swensen to inform him that earlier that afternoon, 20 students and community members had begun a third sit-in in the Investments Office. She asked when Swensen would respond to the years of student activism calling for fossil fuel divestment and cancelling Puerto Rico’s debt.

As Swensen sat without replying, Arnold urged the protestors to bring their complaints at another time.. Chitty responded: “We have gone through all of your administrative channels, we have written countless reports, we have delivered our demands to your door, and you remain invested in the climate crisis that threatens all our futures and is already impacting the people of Puerto Rico.” The student organizers marched out of the lecture hall, chanting “Cancel the Debt,” leaving only about half of the original attendees. .

This isn’t the first confrontation between Swensen and student organizers. In March 2018, Yale’s legendary investments manager faced backlash following an email exchange with the Yale Daily News, in which Swensen called the editor-in-chief a “coward” and wrote, “Don’t you understand simple English?”

Students point to Yale’s holdings in the Puerto Rican debt crisis as an example of investments that aren’t consistent with Yale’s stated commitment to 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-Adorno YC’20, a member of Despierta Boricua, the Yale Puerto Rican students association. Yale’s CIO David Swensen sits on the board of Baupost.

Fossil Free Yale has been working with the Yale administration for six years to divest the university’s $29 billion endowment from fossil fuels, but students’ frustration with administrative stalling and inaction has led them to take more drastic actions like disrupting an event. “Nonviolent direct action is a necessary and just response to a rigged and fraudulent democratic system of representation,” says Ross Pennock, DIV ’21, a member of the Endowment Justice Coalition.

While the students were walking out of the lecture hall, the Yale Police Department was issuing citations to 20 more students and community members for refusing to leave the Investments Office until Yale agreed to meet their demands. This sit-in follows a December action at which 48 students were arrested, the largest university fossil fuel divestment direct action in history, as well as a March sit-in at which 17 students were arrested. The activists promised they would continue to hold Yale accountable to principles of climate justice.

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!

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