Archive for January, 2013

oilnstateGreetings Earthlings. No it’s not a typo on the header, it’s what’s the matter with our energy choices that’s dark. Looks like we are really stuck on the issues of bad choices in energy. Last week: fracking & coal. This week: tar sands oil, biomass, nukes…..jeez! aren’t there any GOOD choices out there?? Sarai Zelada, student organizer in Natural Resource Studies at UMass Amherst calls in with the campus perspective. We report back from the big tar sands pipeline action in Portland, Maine in The Enviro Show Echo Chamber and do some E-Valley-uation with Sarai. Also, a visit to the week’s Fool-on-the-Hill and yet another meet with the New Boss. All that and more (as they say), but first it’s time for….Revenge of the Critters! Warning: vultures circling above……..your car!

This week’s Fool-on-the-Hill isn’t a person, it’s a dysfunctional tactic: the disabled filibuster.  As Dave Roberts points out in his recent piece on Grist: “..unlike every other democratic institution in the damn world, including state legislatures, juries, and the judge’s panel on American Idol, the U.S. Senate now requires a supermajority. And that’s in an institution that is already corrupt, in which rural and fossil interests are already overrepresented, in which money is ubiquitous. It’s just an impossible bar to clear.” As we speak, progressive forces are hard at work trying to reestablish the filibuster as we know it. You can join the fray here and here.

We Meet the New Boss as he once again takes the oath of office and devotes three sentences in his Inaugural Speech to THE biggest crisis on Earth. The Boss didn’t just mention the CLIMATE CRISIS!!….(sorry)….he also wrote about it for a time capsule.  “Fifty years from now, I hope we have managed the balance between our energy needs and our need to preserve the planet”.  50 years. Right. Maybe YOU can convince him to ACT NOW!

In The Enviro Show Echo Chamber we’ve got lots of dirty energy (no, not that….well, maybe some but we don’t call THAT dirty) and this from Big Wind: Proposed Wind Farm gets OK to kill Bald Eagles! Back to the dirty stuff, remember fracking for oil in North Dakota?.  NPR (of all people) brought this to our attention: “There are now so many gas wells burning fires in the North Dakota night, the fracking fields can be seen from deep space.”   The piece goes on to say: “When oil comes to the surface, it often brings natural gas with it, and according to North Dakota’s Department of Mineral Resources, 29 percent of the natural gas now extracted in North Dakota is flared off”.  Let’s see now, frack for gas in the east and trash the water. Frack for oil in the Upper Mid-west and…….burn it off??  OK, time to go to the movies! Have you seen this one?  After our replay of the tar sands action in Portland we’ll move on to….

Our Enviro Show Quote of the Week we turn to climate scientist James Hansen: “If we were to fully exploit this new oil source [tar sands], and continue to burn our conventional oil, gas and coal supplies, concentrations of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere eventually would reach levels higher than in the Pliocene era, more than 2.5 million years ago, when sea level was at least 50 feet higher than it is now. That level of heat-trapping gases would assure that the disintegration of the ice sheets would accelerate out of control. Sea levels would rise and destroy coastal cities. Global temperatures would become intolerable. Twenty to 50 percent of the planet’s species would be driven to extinction. Civilization would be at risk.”
On that gruesome note we turn to our E-Valley-uation segment with Sarai Zelada and have a look at some local student organizing around these dirty energy issues.  Also some coverage of local tar sands actions. Then, maybe we’ll make a surprise call to an old acquaintance. Then it’s on to the Bus Stop Billboard:

Wednesday, January 30, noon to 1pm. In Celebration of the Peoples’ Payment to Shut Down Vermont Yankee outside Court House, Brattleboro, VT A Rally with singing, parade, theater, peoples’ podium.
Wednesday, January 30, 6:45 pm. “Atomic States of America” will be shown by Greening Greenfield in Greenfield, MA on at the Greenfield Gardens Cinemas, with a discussion following the film.. Co-sponsored by Safe & Green and Citizens Awareness Network. Questions? Contact Dorothy McIver 413-772-3747. http://www.safeandgreencampaign.org/events/

Weds., Jan. 30th, and Thurs., Jan. 31st, at 9 a.m. PUBLIC hearings before the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission will take place at the Great Falls Discovery Center in downtown Turners.  Please ATTEND!  The federal and state bureaucrats testifying at these hearings need to know that the public cares about the miserable conditions in the CT River below Turners Falls, and the federally endangered Shortnose sturgeon and American shad in the desolate section of Connecticut River below Turners Falls Dam. We want the RIVER fixed—not a power canal substituted for a river! For background info on what’s at stake: www.karlmeyerwriting.com.  Call 413-773-0006, for info.

Thursday, January 31, 7:00 p.m., The next steps in the Beat Back Fracking campaign will be high up on the agenda at the next meeting of the Pioneer Valley Green Rainbow Party in Agawam Public Library, 750 Cooper St.  Come along if you would like to hear news from the American Ground Water Trust conference at UMass and from the student-led counter-conference.

February 17th and make Presidents Day the biggest climate demonstration yet. Our goal for Presidents Day is to form a massive human pipeline through Washington, and then transform it into a giant symbol of the renewable energy future we need – and are ready to build, starting right away. Go to: act.350.org/signup/presidentsday/ . We are told Andrew and Meredith Kurowski in Heath are local bus organizers. Email:  andrew.kurowski@gmail.com.  Greenfield bus will leave from Greenfield on Saturday, Feb 16th in the morning, make a stop in Northampton, and arrive in D.C. in the evening around 5 pm.  If full, the seats will be ~$75. There are about 14 seats left (out of 54). Contact George at geogruven@gmail.com. Other possible bus options contact Mary at: info@climateactionnowma.org

Saturday, February 23, 7 – 11pm. Power Shift II: party for a nuke free future.  Stone Church, Brattleboro. Three Bands Plus Food, Speakers and More, to celebrate the shaky state of affairs for Entergy, and pump us up for more action.  This is a work in progress – to get involved, email Court court@crocker.com

SOLAR PANEL RAFFLE III – Citizens Awareness Network’s (CAN) most popular, and most success­ful fundraiser raffle of four 240+ watt solar panels with inverters will conclude on March 23, 2013. Only 350 tickets will be sold at $20 per chance! Buy your tickets from a CAN representative or call 413-625-6177 or buy online www.nukebusters.org

That’s all folks!…..until next time. Remember to listen to your Mother. She REALLY is talking to you.

frackingGreetings Earthlings. We’re back to not letting the corporados frack around in this valley (or elsewhere, for that matter). Peter Vickery of Mass Greens drills down on the details with us. Also, we delve into The Enviro Show Echo Chamber for more on this bad case of gas. We have a visit with the latest Fool-on-the-Hill and Meet the New Boss, as well as hear the Quote of the Week, but first it’s time for……Revenge of the Critters! Soooo, you think Kudzu is taking revenge on the Confederacy? How about Kudzu Bugs!

OK, if that didn’t creep you out, how about this: In The Enviro Show Echo Chamber we find massive methane leaks on Beacon Hill. We already knew a lot of what goes on up there stinks to high heaven, but we didn’t know they were busy destroying the planet in those parts!  (You may recall the climate change effects of methane in our atmosphere is 20 to 100 times stronger than carbon dioxide, right?).  Some folks in Boston however, are fighting the good fight. Checkout Students for a Just & Stable Future , working with a coalition of other groups, including 350.org, the Boston Tar Sands Patriots and Deep Green Resistance, to protest the Keystone XL tar sands pipeline. Their recent action where they locked & glued down in the corporado TransCanada’s Massachusetts office should be an inspiration to everyone in the Commonwealth. You want to be part of that you say? You can! On January 26. See the Bust Stop Billboard below for details.  And this: we find our old friends down in Nicaragua have come up with a very ambitious goal of 94% renewable energy by 2017. So, socialism doesn’t work?  We don’t see Nicaraguans going for planet trashing Tar Sands, right?

Speaking of trashing the planet, we agree with Bill McKibben that “the enemies of the planet are the oil companies (Exxon-Mobil, BP, Chevron, etc.) and coal companies (Severstal, BHP Billiton, etc.), but guess who carries their water?  That would be the U.S. Congress and this week’s Enviro Show Fool-on-the-Hill, Rep. David McKinley (Repugnican of West Virginia and a member of the House Energy and Commerce Committee) is right onboard with his nearly $400,000 in brib…err…contributions from the coal mining industry over the course of his questionable career.  Recently McKinley equated the departing EPA chief Lisa Jackson with the toppling of Libyan dictator Moammar Gadhafi. It seems he’s worried the next EPA head will be even more….um…uncooperative? McKinley sponsored bills that would curb EPA’s power to block mountaintop-removal mining projects and scuttle carbon emissions standards for new power plants. And that alone earns him a place among…. The Enemies of the Planet! (Maybe he doesn’t know 2012 was the hottest year on record? Nah.  UPDATE: A just released draft here from the National Climate Assessment and Development Advisory Committee, an inter-agency climate group. Read & weep….then ACT UP!

In our Meet the New Boss segment we find Professor Cornell West calling the Prez a “black mascot of Wall Street“. If you find that disturbing you best take it up with the Professor. What we find even more disturbing is the New Boss’s lack of attention to the fate of the planet. We are not alone in that sentiment. Checkout the hardly radical League of Women Voters’ ad directed at Obama here.

Our Quote of the Week concerns fracking, but also overthrowing the corporate mindset:

“It’s time to use our municipal governments to demand an end to all activities and policies that are harmful to our communities and the natural communities upon which our lives depend. It’s time to undo a structure of law that authorizes corporate minorities to run roughshod over community majorities.” – Paul Cienfuegos

Tom Neilson‘s “There’s a hole in the ground” takes us our interview with Peter. Then we move over to the Bus Stop Billboard:

On Sunday January 20, from 3 to 5 pm, and on Wednesday January 23, from 12:30 to 1:30pm, rallies to protest the proposed Tar Sands Oil pipeline between Montreal and Portland Maine will be held on the sidewalk near the ExxonMobil gas station at 399 Northampton St., on Rt. 9 in Hadley, 1 mile west of Amherst. More info:  John Berkowitz   413-325-4533 or johnpberk@gmail.com

Tuesday, January 22, 7pm. Eyewitness Report from Fukushima by Chiho Kaneko. Centre Congregational Church’s Parlor, 193 Main Street, Brattleboro. The event is free and donations to defray costs will be gladly accepted.

Wednesday, January 23 at Noon. GreenWork Roundtable, “Everything You Wanted to Know About the Western Massachusetts Climate Action Plan”.   Guest Speaker: David Elvin, Pioneer Valley Planning Commission. Bring a brown bag lunch and join the discussion. Pioneer Valley Central Labor Council, 640 Page Blvd., Springfield. For more information call Mary Vogel at 413-237-5507 or Jon Weissman at 413-827-0301.

Wednesday, January 23, 3 to 6pm.  350 New England No Pipelines Solidarity Action at the Amherst Mobil Sation in the center of town, 161 N. Pleasant Street. Part of regional actions in New England. Email: srzelada9@gmail.com

Saturday, January 26th, All day. Massive March and Rally in Portland, Maine to oppose the proposed Northeast Tar Sands pipeline. ExxonMobil is gearing up to move dirty tar sands oil east through Ontario and Quebec into New England to reach a shipping port in Portland, Maine. But the people of eastern Canada and New England have their own plan and are are forming a wall of opposition to keep the east tar sands free. Portland Maine is where the pipeline that would carry tar sands ends and from where Canadian tar sands would be exported to global markets.  How ’bout we put a stop to that, OK?  Go to: http://350ma.org/2012/12/350ma-takes-action/ or Email sophie@350ma.org

Wednesday, January 30, noon to 1pm. In Celebration of the Peoples’ Payment to Shut Down Vermont Yankee outside Court House, Brattleboro, VT A Rally with singing, parade, theater, peoples’ podium.
Wednesday, January 30, 6:45 pm. “Atomic States of America” will be shown by Greening Greenfield in Greenfield, MA on at the Greenfield Gardens Cinemas, with a discussion following the film.. Co-sponsored by Safe & Green and Citizens Awareness Network. Questions? Contact Dorothy McIver 413-772-3747. http://www.safeandgreencampaign.org/events/

Thursday, January 31, 7:00 p.m., The next steps in the Beat Back Fracking campaign will be high up on the agenda at the next meeting of the Pioneer Valley Green Rainbow Party in Agawam Public Library, 750 Cooper St.  Come along if you would like to hear news from the American Ground Water Trust conference at UMass and from the student-led counter-conference.

Weds., Jan. 30th, and Thurs., Jan. 31st, at 9 a.m. PUBLIC hearings before the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission will take place at the Great Falls Discovery Center in downtown Turners.  Please ATTEND!  The federal and state bureaucrats testifying at these hearings need to know that the public cares about the miserable conditions in the CT River below Turners Falls, and the federally endangered Shortnose sturgeon and American shad in the desolate section of Connecticut River below Turners Falls Dam. We want the RIVER fixed—not a power canal substituted for a river! For background info on what’s at stake: www.karlmeyerwriting.com.  Call 413-773-0006, for info.

February 17th and make Presidents Day the biggest climate demonstration yet. Our goal for Presidents Day is to form a massive human pipeline through Washington, and then transform it into a giant symbol of the renewable energy future we need – and are ready to build, starting right away. Go to: act.350.org/signup/presidentsday/

SOLAR PANEL RAFFLE III – Citizens Awareness Network’s (CAN) most popular, and most success­ful fundraiser raffle of four 240+ watt solar panels with inverters will conclude on March 23, 2013. Only 350 tickets will be sold at $20 per chance! Buy your tickets from a CAN representative or call 413-625-6177 or buy online www.nukebusters.org

That’s it. You have your assignments. Now get out there and save the world…..literally! And, while you’re at it: listen to your Mother!