Greta changed the conversation but now some adults, governors, presidents, and CEO’s need to act forcefully and quickly. It will require sacrifice, no doubt. Here is a plan for how NM could be first to lead the way.
In brief–Actions and Events
There are an array of actions and events coming up this week and next including:
- August 21, 6pm, a 1420 Cerrillos Rd, Santa Fe. Bailamos Unidos (Let’s Dance As One) for Democracy and Immigrant Rights, a benefit for Somos Un Pueblo Unido, Santa Fe Dreamers Project, and the Democratic Party of Santa Fe.
- August 24, 12:30-2:30pm, EarthCare and the Youth United for Climate Crisis Action Team (YUCCA) is convening a working meeting.
- Saturday, August 24, 1-4pm. August 24, 1-4pm, Community Solar Now, Central/Unser Library (Just 10 minutes from downtown), 8081 Central Avenue NW, Albuquerque, NM.
We Need $800 in Donations For a Very Specific Purpose
We are working to develop a statewide organization, but this is impeded by our not being able to reliably stream our meetings to other parts of the state. We are investing in a MEVO camera and Booster that will enable us to stream our monthly meetings live onto Facebook or YouTube. We will also use MEVO to stream panel discussions sponsored by others.
We will change the format of our monthly meetings to offer a series of important speakers, presentations, panels and discussions that then can be broadcast statewide. We will not conduct our Action Team breakouts at the monthly meetings, as that makes including those in other parts of the state impossible and including these breakouts at our monthly meetings limits the scale of presentations we offer while also limiting the time available for breakout discussion.
So, instead Action Teams will meet on their own schedule and use Zoom technology to enable those from other parts of the state to participate. Together these two shifts will enable Retake to stream important information statewide while holding small Zoom meetings to strategize, small meetings that can include people from Taos, Farmington, Las Cruces, Silver City and wherever we have a base. The cost is $800. We don’t like to push for donations. We are all volunteers, operate from homes and so we have no costs that go to salaries or offices. But to build a statewide base will require your investment. Please make a donation today by clicking the “donate” image above left. You can also donate, by sending a check to Retake Our Democracy, P.O. Box 32464, Santa Fe, NM 87594. . Thanks so much. Paul and Roxanne
Join Me on a Somewhat Twisted Path Leading to an Inevitable Conclusion
This thought process began with reading a Facebook post by my son, Jesse, who had been an activist in high school and college but who during his last three years out of college, has fallen away from that activism. In his post, he acknowledged this to his FB friends, acknowledged his feeling guilty, but without saying it explicitly, said in effect, he had lost hope and saw no path forward that made sense.
That was hard enough to read. But then one comment after another from his FB friends stated essentially the same thing. All folks with histories in activism of some sort, all young, all “woke,” but all frozen, feeling no action or sacrifice they could make would make any difference. Until at last one mentioned the Sunrise Movement and took the thread in a more positive direction.
While none of the FB comments said this, I will. These youth and so many millions more are frozen in apathy because they see no one in power doing any of the right things, no one treating the climate crisis like the emergency it is, and hence no point of entry into engaging in struggle. And this is not just Trump and his cronies, but Pelosi, Schumer, Biden, and most everyone in NM Democratic Party leadership. This thought process led me to reflect upon what Roxanne and I are doing, what Retake Our Democracy is doing, what so many other social, racial, economic, and climate justice advocates are doing and what our legislators are doing.
While engaging in efforts to pass a minimum wage increase, advocating for Community Solar and Community Choice Energy and lobbying for abortion decriminalization all are worthy efforts, all of these ultimately mean almost nothing seen from the lens of looming climate catastrophe. We are merely moving the deck chairs around into pretty configurations while the Titanic steams toward extinction. And if you do not think we are on the Titanic, read this excerpt from a Resilience post published just Tuesday morning.
As I see things, there are three broad possible futures that lie ahead:
* This civilisation could collapse utterly and terminally, as a result of climatic instability (leading for instance to catastrophic food shortages as a probable mechanism of collapse), or possibly sooner than that, through nuclear war, pandemic, or financial collapse leading to mass civil breakdown. Any of these are likely to be precipitated in part by ecological/climate instability, as Darfur and Syria were. Or
* This civilisation (we) will manage to seed a future successor-civilisation(s), as this one collapses.Or
* This civilisation will somehow manage to transform itself deliberately, radically and rapidly, in an unprecedented manner, in time to avert collapse.
The third option, at which XR [Extinction Rebellion] aims, is by far the least likely, though the most desirable, simply because either of the other options will involve vast suffering and death on an unprecedented scale. In the case of (1), we are talking the extinction or near-extinction of humanity. In the case of (2) we are talking at minimum multiple megadeaths. But (2) would obviously be hugely preferable to (1), and thus the ultimate importance for us of getting our societies not only to mitigate but also to adapt, deeply.
The second option is very difficult to envisage clearly, but is, I now believe, very likely. Unless we are incredibly lucky or incredibly determined and brilliant (or almost certainly both) then we are facing, almost certainly, changes around the world which are going to bring an end to this civilisation. So we need to think about what comes after it. We need to think about it now, and we need to start to work toward it; because there are many sub-possibilities within possibility two, and some of them are very ugly.Why I Say This Civilisation is Finished, by Robert Kaulfuss https://www.resilience.org/stories/2019-08-20/why-i-say-that-this-civilisation-is-finished/
That puts things in frightening perspective. Shuffling deck chairs on the Titanic, indeed. It is time to take a stand for something that might make a difference. Community Solar would be tremendous, Community Choice Energy even better; increased royalties on gas and oil and taxing carbon are like compromising with the enemy to get the best deal short of our own surrender. Even methane capture is a very modest proposal. We can no longer do modest proposals. That we focus on things like the Energy Transition Act and the produced water bill and call those victories should only tell you how misguided our priorities are.
I have been fielding emails from an odd but diverse array of folks over the past two weeks. These emails had been rumbling untethered in my brain until they began to coalesce with the thinking reflected above. These emails were not from leadership of organizations but rather people leadership at environmental organizations would recognize as the advocates who show up at the Roundhouse, at rallies, at Chaco. They write the letters and emails drafted by people like Sierra Club, New Energy Economy, Conservation Voters, and Retake.
They are saying three things: 1) we are in unimaginably perilous times with the window of opportunity closing by the day (as evident in the excerpt above); 2) our democratic state leadership unilaterally feels we can and should drill for another 5-10 years because NM’s impact on the looming climate catastrophe is relatively miniscule when put in global context and gas and oil revenues can be used to address over a decade of neglect for the working families and children of our 50th ranked state; and 3) because of 1 and 2, we need a different plan, an urgent plan for transitioning from gas and oil dependence in NM. And we need to assemble the power to insist this plan is created and used.
Democratic leadership is playing politics, which is what they know how to do. They see the G&O boon as a way to fund every worthwhile project that has been stalled for over a decade. That is understandable under most circumstances. And Speaker Egolf was correct when he stated on a recent Retake radio broadcast, that what NM does by way of ceasing oil production is relatively unimportant in a global context.
But that is true of every single jurisdiction in the world, including India and China. We can only avoid what is laid out in the Resilience article if all of those relatively insignificant jurisdictions in the world pivot 100% almost immediately—with “almost immediately” meaning not in 2030 but now. And someone needs to go first, to lead. Why not NM?
That led me to this thought: What if NM created a plan that:
- calls for the end of NM gas and oil production by 2025;
- acknowledges a short-to-mid-term reduction in state revenues of perhaps 30%, a formidable challenge that while daunting pales when compared with extinction;
- calls for strategic investments from the permanent fund to both backfill our revenue shortfalls and to seed an array of industries whose production will slowly build a new state revenue base that is sustainable and clean; and
- passed a Memorial for the 2020 session to create a multi-sectoral panel to oversee an 8-month planning process that could produce a road map to a just and immediate transition.
No, this will not change the global forces that drive the world toward a 2 degree increase. But just as Greta has shown how a single actor on the stage can shift the conversation irreversibly, NM could demonstrate how a major jurisdiction can move beyond conversation and create the requisite plan, the requisite sacrifice, the requisite commitment. We would not be saving the world, but we would be charting a path for how the world could be saved.
Someone, some country, some state, or some province needs to be first, needs to take the step, as Greta did, and say we are prepared to make steep sacrifices and now.
Unfortunately, in NM there is currently a lack of political will to achieve this grand vision, this immediate and just transition. But that is what elections are for: selecting leadership that will implement the will of the people. And if protecting a woman’s right to choose is a major issue in NM in 2020, then preserving a future for your children and grandchildren certainly deserves to be on the table, as well.
The needle needs to move and move quickly. We need to demonstrate to the millions of youth who, like my son, have lost faith in us, our institutions, our leaders and their future. We need to give them hope and inspiration, so that they can get them back in the game. In short, we must lead.
My son’s note shook me to the core. It made me realize that I am one of the adults in the world letting him down. I need to demonstrate to him that there are still reasons to continue to fight.
I am not sure where this leads. I have spent much of Tuesday on the phone talking with legislators, advocates, and friends who see the same need for a dramatic, immediate and just transition. And the first step in that process is a transition plan. It seems to me, we need to force our Democratic leadership to create funding for a real plan for that transition and that needs to happen in 2020.
More later, but if you’d like to be part of an effort to make this happen, please let me know: firstname.lastname@example.org. And please share this post with others. The New Mexico Oil and Gas Association will not be happy and they have clout. It is going to take enormous pressure to get this done. You are the pressure.
Paul & Roxanne