Category: Climate Change

Interfaith Vigil for Climate Crisis

Pam Arifian, my colleague and Director of the Northeast Environmental Justice Center of the United Church of Christ, brought to my attention last week that People’s Climate Movement is trying to spark 100 vigils in the first 100 hours of the new administration to draw attention to the climate crisis so many of our elected officials are hoping to ignore (or, worse, deny). GreenFaith is helping interfaith groups organize a program that is nonpartisan and rooted in faith. Peaceful, faithful protest.

Something clicked in my head, and I volunteered.

She and I were able to pull together representatives from a number of local faith organizations, and we are putting on not one, but two vigils over inauguration weekend.

The first will be Friday, Jan. 20, from 6-8 p.m. in the center of Amenia, outside Four Brothers restaurant.

The second will be Sunday, Jan. 22, from 11:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. on the lawn of The White Hart inn in Salisbury.

Follow our Facebook page or visit our website for all the details.

I am really heartened by the enthusiastic response I’ve received from our faith communities. It gives me hope when a bunch of very diverse people from very different backgrounds can come together on an issue that should never have been politicized in the first place. Climate change is real, man-made, and something we can address through level-headed government policy.

If you are local, please join us!

Day 2

I thought today I would focus on what Trump plans to accomplish in his first 100 days. I heard something about it on my local NPR station after I dropped off the baby this morning. Let me write about that, I thought.

And then I looked it up. Whoa. That is a lot to tackle. I can’t do that in one blog post.

And then a friend posted a link to a White House petition on Facebook. The petition calls to reject Myron Ebell as head of Trump’s EPA transition team.

Here’s how White House petitions work: Anyone can create a petition on the White House’s website. If the petition amasses 100,000 signatures in 30 days, the President’s office has to respond to it.

I admit, I’m not really sure what President Obama can do about President-Elect Trump’s proposed transition team, but it is a way to get some attention.

Scientific American has a really good story about why Myron Ebell is a really terrifying choice to lead anything having to do with the environment. In a nutshell, he’s an outspoken climate change denier who wears that label as a badge of honor. We as a species are at a really critical crossroads in terms of human-caused climate change. Four years of policy that contributes to climate change rather than attempting to mitigate it could have a devastating effect on our future. If you think I’m exagerating, check out this chart of global temperatures since the beginning of Earth to see how quickly we can have an effect.

Then, because I don’t often spend my energy on environmental concerns (not that I ignore them, but I’ve been focused most recently on social justice issues, specifically on racial justice issues), I decided to make that the day’s theme and to place a call to the White House about the Dakota Access Pipeline.

If you don’t know about the DAPL, there are plenty of resources to get background. What’s most concerning to me, however, is that the police are using military tactics like pepper spray and dogs on the demonstrators. Those camped out on Standing Rock land are preparing to hunker down for the winter.

I had a vision today of those protesters being mowed down by bulldozers or bullets or napalm when President Trump gets tired of them.

So I called the White House for the first time ever. The White House has a comment line: 202-456-1111. Anyone can call and make a comment on anything. I asked if they wanted my name, and was told no, we don’t collect personal information. So I told the volunteer who answered that I was calling to urge President Obama to find a peaceful solution to the conflict before Trump takes office.

And I might call again tomorrow. I called at lunch time and had to wait on hold for a little while, but I was able to continue working while I waited.

That’s what I did today to combat the despair. And I think it helped a little bit.

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