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.

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.

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.”

5-7:30 p.m. Friday March 29 — Art & Activism in the Face of Climate Change, New Haven

Where: Common Ground High School, Urban Farm, and Environmental Education Center, 358 Springside Ave, New Haven, Connecticut 06515

What: Art & Activism in the Face of Climate Change
A Film Screening & Art Exhibition

Who: Co-sponsored by Common Ground, the New Haven Bioregional Group, and the Rock to Rock Earth Day Ride

When: 5 p.m. – Art Exhibition & Potluck Dinner. Featuring paintings, graffiti, reclaimed art, and spoken word performances from Common Ground’s 10th Grade Integrated Core. Developed in partnership with local artists Kwadwo Adae, Mick Powell, JoAnn Moran, and Stefan Christensen. Bring a dish to share if you like.
6 p.m. – Screening of The Human Element. Sharing stories of everyday Americans on the frontlines of climate change, captured by environmental photographer James Balog.

Learn more at https://thehumanelementmovie.com.

Free & Open to the Public

Donations accepted to support Common Ground’s team for the Rock to Rock Earth Day Ride.
Follow the event on Facebook.

Frida Berrigan to Deliver the Mark Shafer Lecture

by Stanley Heller, Administrator, Promoting Enduring Peace

Promoting Enduring Peace’s big event for March will be the Mark Shafer lecture this year given by Frida Berrigan. Berrigan is a long-time anti-nuclear activist. Frida writes the Little Insurrections blog for Waging Nonviolence and is the author of “It Runs in the Family: On Being Raised by Radicals and Growing into Rebellious Motherhood,” a memoir of her childhood as their daughter and her adult life as an activist and a mother. She lives in New London with her husband Patrick Sheehan-Gaumer and their three children.

The event will take place on Tuesday, March 26 in the Great Hall of the Parish House of United Church on the Green at 323 Temple St. (by the corner of Wall Street). The event will begin at 7 p.m. It’s free. More details at PEPeace.net.

Berrigan comes from a distinguished family of activists. Her mother, Elizabeth McAllister, is in Glynn County Jail. McAllister took part in the Kings Bay Plowshare action in Georgia in 2018. Seven activists entered the nuclear sub base, with hammers and their own blood which they used to try to “convert swords into plowshares.” Incidentally, New Haven’s Mark Colville also took part in the action and is in the same lockup. The trial of the Plowshare activists will begin in March or April.

Frida Berrigan spoke for Promoting Enduring Peace last year at the Gandhi Peace Award event honoring Jackson Browne and got a spontaneous standing ovation. The Mark Shafer Lecture was started in 2013 in honor of peace activist Mark Shafer.

Earlier in the month PEP will have its Annual Meeting, looking at the past year and talking about world developments in peace and environment. It will take place on Thursday, March 7 starting at 6 p.m. in the Marrett Room of the New Haven Free Public Library on 133 Elm St. It’s open to all, but only active members can vote on internal issues.

Another March event of note is the “United Against Fascism and Racism” event in New York City. It’s part of an international effort. It’s happening at noon Saturday, March 16 in Foley Square.

Finally, we’re looking for volunteers to help plan an April conference about the climate crisis. Tentative title, “A Green New Deal and Other Ideas on Averting Climate Catastrophe.” Reach us at office.pepeace@gmail.com.

Tweed Airport and Climate Change: The Environment Is Both Local and Global

by Jeffry Larson, PAR Subscriber, CT Green Party member

Tweed Airport astride the New Haven-East Haven city line has long been an environmental concern to its neighbors because of the noise and pollution it creates. So they have organized a group, stoptweed.org, to limit the airport’s adverse impact. Unfortunately, they have been dismissed as NIMBYs by the corporate and academic jet-setters who find Tweed a convenient amenity.

The City of New Haven has recently abrogated its agreement to limit the length of the runways at Tweed Airport, and, with the state’s permission, plans to increase air traffic there. So, in addition to more local noise and pollution, there will be an increase in the amount of jet fuel emissions–one of the worst greenhouse gases–being poured into the atmosphere.

Tweed is a low-lying shoreline facility, vulnerable to rising sea levels: this would be one of the risks of a proposal hastening catastrophic climate.

Last fall the UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) issued another report on the state of climate change. Denialists predictably dismissed it as “alarmist.” Even climate change activists take its conclusions as somehow assuring us that we have 12 more years to mend our fossil-fuel ways. But the IPCC has been severely criticized by actual researchers for being consistently overly cautious and loath to emphasize the real urgency of our plight. We do not have a guaranteed 12 years to forestall or mitigate climate change. Some leading scientists even believe we’ve already passed the carbon budget turning point.

Apparently, no environmental group or politician or journalist has expressed concern about this. They need to join with local grassroots groups. It is the jet-setters who are the NIMBYs here. As the director of Transport & Environment, one of the mainstream anti-aviation groups in Europe, says, “Air travel is the fastest and cheapest way to fry the planet.”

Ask your local elected officials, environmental groups or reporters why they are not raising questions about this proposed increase in our carbon footprint.

jeffrylarson73@yahoo.com

What You Can Do About Climate Issues I

by Chris Schweitzer, New Haven León Sister City Project

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. Also, 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.

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