For the next week, we all need to put all our energy into pushing hard for the many bills that remain teetering between extinction and law and last week sheds light on how best to do this, but today I want to plant a seed as to what may lie ahead. We have seen that our state legislature as constituted is too dominated by gas & oil to respond adequately to climate change and so that means…
Donate to Retake Today! Back in February we put out the call for donations as our printing costs for flyers at the Roundhouse were killing us. And many of you responded and so we have been delivering flyers to legislators every day on the bills that for which we are advocating. As a result. with every one of our bills, we provide legislators with counter arguments to lobbyists like NM Oil and Gas Association, the NRA and pro-lifers. We feel this has been one of the most effective tools for countering misinformation designed to secure ever greater profits at the expense of our communities. Please help us keep going this last week and into the future. Post session we will be producing a Report Card and traveling the state to meet with Retake supporters to organizing canvassing and conversations on issues to plant seeds for the 2020 election and the 2021 session. If you don’t like to use PayPal, please just mail us a check: Retake Our Democracy, P.O. Box 32464, Santa Fe, NM 87594. And a hearty thanks to all of our volunteers. There must be well north of 50 of them who are working on a daily basis and almost 1300 others who are writing and calling our legislators. Go Team.
We are in our final week for our 2019 legislative session and many have asked for a complete update on the status of our MUST PASS bills. I would love to spend 4-5 hours tracking down where each bill is, but frankly that time is better spent focusing on the immediacy of today and tomorrow and what bills are about to be heard. We have only five days of hearings and votes, as Saturday is historically ceremony and floor sessions passing whatever remaining bills have reached the finish line. So while I can’t give you a complete breakdown today, I will try to do so tomorrow.
What I can say is that two of our priority bills have moved on to the Governor SB-4 Campaign Finance and SB 8 Background Checks (signed into law). We have many other bills seemingly poised to pass along the same path and we have only had one bill killed irretrievably: HJR1 Permanent Funds for Early Childhood. Another bill SB 186 Oil Conservation Powers and Duties Act was also killed, but with, HB 680 a companion bill introduced by Rep. McQueen being heard by House Energy, Environment and Natural Resources on Tuesday, there is a glimmer of hope.
But while many of our MUST PASS bills are moving along and seem likely to become law, a disturbingly large number of bills are hung up, important bills. The best way to track those bills is to sign up to receive our alerts that are sent daily with info on what bills are being heard and when. We are also beginning to feature what do do about some of our bills that are hung up in committee. Click here to sign up to receive the alerts. Roxanne has been putting together the alert every evening after the legislature updates its schedule for the following day. Her alerts include times and locations of hearings, contact info for legislators and links to bill summaries and speaking points.
Retake’s message is clear: Even if you have never been to the Roundhouse before and even if you have never written or called a legislator, this is a week when you are badly needed. Because the even numbered years there is only a 30-day session, largely focused on budget, we have two years until we will again be able to advance so many important bills. So your presence or your call is so important right now and can be the difference between a dead bill and another good law advancing justice in NM.
Yesterday, Roxanne and I took a day off from the Roundhouse….if you call writing alerts and this blog, taking a day off ;-). But we went to Collected Works to hear from three inspiring Santa Fe youth, Hannah Laga Abram, Vivian Avery and Josh Hauer, who are burgeoning young activists. I will have one of them on my radio show right after the Roundhouse session ends. They were so articulate, passionate and committed. They described how the students in Santa Fe are planning a student strike on Friday and then a sit in at the Roundhouse Rotunda. Since you will be at the Roundhouse in the morning to advocate and push hard to get our bills to the floor and the governor, you can go to the Rotunda at noon to join their protest. Details on the protest are on the left.
One of the points made by Hannah Laga Abram was that they were tiring of adult compromises and words like “we are doing our best.” One of the youth made the point that “maybe that best isn’t really the best you (and we) can do.” I could not agree more. We have a crisis of epic proportion and so it is past time for incremental change. It is past time for many of us to be involved, “as we can.” We need to transition into crisis mode where we do other things “as we can” and we advocate constantly.
I have been so inspired by how many people, have been at the Roundhouse, not as they can, but when it is important. One example from Saturday was Michael Sperberg McQueen who had already been to the RH for most of at least 3-4 days this week. And at 8am when Roxanne and I arrived at 8, there he was again, cheerfully noting that he had to promise his wife to leave by 11 so they could attend to things. He was still cheerful when we spoke around 3pm as he was getting ready to leave. He had stuck around to speak eloquently in support of HB 386 a bill that would reduce the cap on small loans from 175% to 36%. He wasn’t advocating “as he can,” he was dealing with his real world tasks, as his advocacy permitted. Thank you, Michael.
And there have been many, many others who have been at the Roundhouse day in and day out. Susan McGrew coordinator all of our floor coordinators damn near every day of the session, Lynne Fischer Greg and Greg Corning attending dozens of hearings, David Thompson coordinating researchers while working full-time and then attending hearings each weekend.Thanks to all of you. And many, many others who have been so active appearing at hearings several times a week. We are building a cadre of volunteer advocates who are here day in and day out. But we need many more of you, especially this week. If you sign up for alerts you will know when hearings are being held and there will be Retake coordinators at the door to give you flyers with speaking points and aRetake button. We need you. Hannah needs you.
Before, our usual Monday summary of posts from the week prior, I wanted to share the poem that Hannah Laga Abram read to close the student presentation. .
and grant the churches and cloisters two.
And those that labor—let their work
grip them another five hours, or seven,
before you become forest again, and water,
and widening wilderness
in that hour of inconceivable terror
when you take back your name
from all things.
Just give me a little more time!
I want to love the things
as no one has thought to love them,
until they’re worthy of you and real.
Rilke could not have realized how poignant his plea for a little more time would be today as that is precisely what we have in 2019, “just a little more time.”
Much to Learn from a Most Instructive Week
Last week’s three posts can be read from top to bottom and provide our readers with thorough analysis of why we have climate change and why we are making far too little progress in addressing it. We begin with a look at how greed and utter disregard for the “forest again, and water, and widening wilderness” (Rilke, above) is propelling us into an age of extinction. It describes how an economically depressed region can gleefully welcome massive plastics manufacturing plants that rely upon fracked coal to operate, when we are so painfully aware of how plastics and extraction are sending us into the age of extinction.
The second blog, a guest blog from Julia Adeney Thomas, provides with great eloquence and precision the full scope of humankind’s contribution to our nearing an age of extinction. The article underscores the point made in the first blog on plastics: it is human decisions that do not account for their impact on our future, but focus almost exclusively upon economic gain, growth, jobs and personal convenience at the expense of the impact on our future. This piece points to how addressing climate change alone is not enough. That is certainly a crisis. But without addressing the myriad ways in which man impacts the earth, its botany and biology, we are never going to achieve the kind of balance with nature that is required.
The final post focuses on why we, the majority of America, have long thirsted for different forms of justice, from climate justice to health justice, to tax justice, and how despite that thirst, our government continues to quench the thirst of government’s most important constituent: Wall St. and the corporatocracy. While the majority may march, call and vote, the changing actors in Washington and in state houses across the nation, are more beholden to those with power and money.
Taken together the three blog posts tell us where we are. Once the legislative session is over, we will all turn out attention to how we address this mess. There are no easy fixes and what will be required will not be for any of us to be active “as we can” for a march here and petition there. We all need to make a commitment that makes advocacy front and center in our lives or I am not sure how we can look Hannah in the eyes.
Plastics in Appalachia Is the Next Coal—Just What Our Needs Another Coal
Tuesday, March 5. Last week I wrote about how we need to vastly reduce our use of one-use plastics in part due to our inability to recycle plastic and in part due to plastic’s reliance upon fracking. Click here for the post on how plastics are no longer being recycled and are choking our landfill and seas. And then Roxanne sent me this Inside Climate News article on a series of massive plastics plants being planned along the upper Ohio River. Anything for a profit, Ohio River be damned. The post describes plans for four massive plastics manufacturing plants along the upper Ohio River, their projected impact and the underlying implications as relates to our lack of any kind of national commitment to the crisis we face. Click here to read the full post.
Our Biggest Challenge Is NOT Climate Change, But Rather Humans and Their Thirst for More A Powerful Guest Blog
Thursday, March 7. Retake has reiterated the need for new systems that will facilitate a just transition to a no-growth economy. This guest blog by Julia Adeney Thomas lays out clearly how a new innovation or technological solution is not going to address the complexity of impacts from human misuse and overuse of resources. This article is not uplifting, but it very clarifying. A must read. Click here to read the full post. It is an extremely important post, as it outlines how our planet’s survival depends upon far more than strategies narrowly related to climate change.
If You Are Wondering Why Our Government Doesn’t Deliver on Policies and Legislation We Support, This Post Lays It Out Clearly in Text and Video
Sunday, March 10. This blog includes news on a nationwide student strike on Friday with students calling for appropriate and sustained action on climate change. As noted above, we have an action planned here in Santa Fe with Santa Fe strikers who spoke at Collected Works at 11am today leading the way. The post also includes information on hearings for two critical election reform bills being heard today (Sunday) in Senate Rules. The majority of the post, however, focused on a NY Times Op-Ed and two very compelling video depicting why we don’t get what we want from our government. Very worth your review. Click here to read the full post.
Paul & Roxanne