Your Weekend Reading

Interview with youth activists today on KSFR. Trump protest (Monday), the General Strike on the 20th, and examination of a New Yorker article by Jonathon Franzen on the climate crisis with a “counterpoint” response from Intelligencer.

Retake Our Democracy on KSFR 101.1 FM, Saturdays, 8:30 am – 9 am.  This week I will be interviewing two youth climate activists from Youth United for Climate Crisis Action (YUCCA) Yang (full name) and Artemesio Romero y Carver. Joining them will be Bianca Sopoci Belknap, Co-Director of both EarthCare and New Energy Economy. YUCCA is the youth-directed group organizing the Santa Fe General Strike on Friday, Sept. 20.  In the show, we discussed their motivation for activism, how YUCCA was formed and plans for the General Strike. If you want to find out what will be happening on the 20th and why, listen in.  General Strike: Friday, Sept. 20, 11:15-1:30, East Side of the Roundhouse.  For more information, to RSVP and to invite others, click here. 

Trump Protest Update, Monday, September 16. To be clear, Donald Trump has every right to come to NM to campaign, as we still have some semblance of a democracy. But we also have a right to let him know we vehemently oppose his policies, his demeanor, his twitter barrages, his absence of a moral center, and his utter disrespect for anyone offering an opposing view. Sandoval County has made it possible to protest at the Santa Ana Star Center, the Trump venue. But, from the Nob Hill Indivisible Facebook page:

THIS EVENT IS NOT ENDORSED BY INDIVISIBLE NOB HILL !!! We are only sharing the information provided by Sandoval County. Please attend at your own risk. For a safe and fun event we are recommending that you attend the event Tiguex park.

The blue area is reserved for protesters (see site map below). The green area is reserved for parking. Once parking is full they will turn away attendees. This means for every car load of protesters there is one less car load of attendees! Parking is $10.00 per car. Gates open at 6:00 am. Come early and bring plenty of food and water. This is intended to be a non violent protest. I would say that if you can’t be there by 3:00 or 3:30, I would plan on attending the event at Tiguex park. Be safe, have fun, and let’s let the world know we are a solid Blue here in New Mexico!!!

Frankly, I think there are a good many things that could go wrong at the Santa Ana venue, things that Trump could use to his own advantage. Retake is not endorsing or recommending attendance at the Santa Ana Star Center event. But it is a very sad day that voicing your opposition to an elected official is broadly deemed as dangerous–yet another of the ever larger conditions that have subtly become part of “the new normal”

The Democratic Party of NM is also holding a family friendly rally in ABQ. It is 20 miles from the Trump venue and with the number of non-profits with music, song, and political speakers (Haaland, Lujan, Toulouse Oliver). U had planned on attending the Santa Ana venue event, but have decided that there are too many warning signs that it could be dangerous or counterproductive. My advice: Climate General Strike Sept. 20.

Democratic Party of New Mexico on Monday, September 16th from 4:30-7:30pm at Tiguex Park (1898 Mountain Rd. NW) in ABQ for a day of peaceful cultural resistance and celebration. Grassroots, community organizations are coming together to create a space where families and individuals feel safe and empowered, and to stand against Trump and his harmful policies.

Family-friendly event with music, speakers, cultural performances, and a closing vigil to honor the resistence of our communities. Register to vote on-site and plug-in to local initiatives to continue to organize and grow the power of our movements.

Hosted by the Democratic Party of New Mexico, El CENTRO de Igualdad y Derechos, Albuquerque Center for Peace & Justice, Equality NM, Native American Voters Alliance, NM Dream Team, NM Native Vote, NM Women’s March, Planned Parenthood Votes NM, ProgressNow NM, and Strong Families NM. 

Sept 20 General Strike Details

Here is the info on what will transpire at the Sept 20 General Strike

11:15am: School Buses Arrive with

11:30am: Opening

11:35am: March/Demands to fossil fuel supporters

  • Monopoly Utilities @ the PRC
  • State Land Office
  • Oil & Gas Association
  • Permian Basin Petroleum Association

12:15pm: Back at the Roundhouse – Rally, Songs, Collective Action

1:00pm: Youth Inside Roundhouse for Final Closing Action. Adult Allies outside for Final Closing Action.

1:30pm: End of THIS action. To be continued… We will be back.

1:45pm: Student Buses Depart to Return Students to School

Here is what you can do this weekend and next week to ensure we have a crowd that will be impossible to ignore. To achieve a massive turnout, we need you to do more than just show up.

I read a stunning statistic yesterday: Only 38% of Americans think that change or sacrifice is necessary to prevent a climate crisis. You are among that 38% and it is our collective duty to help awaken the slumbering. The General Strike is a good way to begin that work and no one will do it, but you. Here are some ideas.

  • If you use Facebook, go to the Events page for the General Strike. Click here. Look for the Share button on the right. Click and then you can: invite friends, share the event to a post on your page or, share through FB Instant Messaging.
  • Make an email list of your friends that live in and around Santa Fe. Send a group email to that list asking that you make a plan to all attend together. Begin with your own personal reason for why this is so important. For those who reply, designate a place to meet at the Roundhouse, perhaps the West Side entrance, as there won’t be thousands of people on that side. The rally forms on the East Side of the plaza across from the PRC.
  • If you have friends in Farmington, ABQ, Las Cruces, Silver City or El Paso, contact them and encourage them to attend the strikes in their communities.
  • If you have friends anywhere. And I mean anywhere, send them notes and encourage them to locate a General Strike near them. As the map at the end of this post illustrates, Strikes are being organized literally everywhere on earth. click here for a map of protests. And Send it to your friends.
  • Write a letter to the editor TODAY so it gets published before Friday. Simply state why you feel it is urgent that all adults raise their voices now and then provide details on the event, date, time, where and what will happen, stressing that this will be an entirely peaceful protest. If many do this, some may well be published next week but not all will be published. But the New Mexican, the Journal and other papers will realize what a big deal this is and be sure to cover it. Click here for instructions for writing letters to the editor to the ten newspapers in NM with the largest circulation. Link includes advice on writing a good letter, as well as word limits, contact info and how to submit for each of the ten papers.

Jonathon Franzen: Time to Prepare for Adaptation

Many people have told me that this article best captures where we stand in relation to the spawning climate crisis. As the article that follows illustrates, opinion is very divided on his most controversial perspective. Have a read and please provide your perspective by commenting below.

One of my very favorite novelists, Franzen does not approach the issue from the standpoint of climate science, but rather from the standpoint of geo-political will. He first focuses on how psychologically difficult it is for people to really to confront the climate crisis honestly. From Franzen:

Given a choice between an alarming abstraction (death) and the reassuring evidence of my senses (breakfast!), my mind prefers to focus on the latter. The planet, too, is still marvelously intact, still basically normal—seasons changing, another election year coming, new comedies on Netflix—and its impending collapse is even harder to wrap my mind around than death.” 

He then analyzes the geo-political realities of what is required to keep the temperature from rising 2 degrees Celsius and comes to this conclusion.

Call me a pessimist or call me a humanist, but I don’t see human nature fundamentally changing anytime soon. I can run ten thousand scenarios through my model, and in not one of them do I see the two-degree target being met. “

He then describes the ways in which humankind should adapt and react if this is indeed the reality we are facing. Click here to read the full article, relatively short by The New Yorker standards and aside from being very well written, it sheds light on a way of viewing our condition that needs to begin to be considered.

Jonathan Franzen’s Climate Pessimism Is Justified. His Fatalism Is Not.

Not everyone agrees with Franzen. Eric Letzer in his Intelligencer article validates most of Franzen’s assumptions but takes strong exception to his conclusions and Franzen’s position that investing heavily in a transition to green energy is appropriate, but not at the expense of preparing for societal collapse.

Letzer cites a number of sources that largely affirm that avoiding a 2 degree increase in Celsius is, indeed, highly unlikely and that some level of climate disruption will displace millions, cause catastrophic weather events, and extinguish species, but he insists that it is not an either/or proposition, that there are gradations of collapse and disruption and everything we do now will make a difference. Letzer cites climate scientist, Kate Marvel:

‘ The whole idea that everything’s going to work out isn’t really helpful, because it isn’t going to work out,” said Kate Marvel, a climate scientist at the NASA Goddard Institute for Space Studies. ‘Climate change is going to worsen to a point where millions of lives, homes, and species are put at risk,’ she said. ‘The only thing humans can do is decide how many lives, homes, and species they’re willing to lose due to climate change — how long they’re willing to allow their respective governments to stall on what we know to be technically achievable. ‘ “

Throughout the article Letzer argues that Franzen has posed a false choice, first that 2 degrees Celsius signifies complete collapse, an absolute limit that if exceeded leaves us only to prepare for chaos, strengthen our democratic institutions and build resilience. Letzer and others cited in the piece indicate that the Franzen offers another false choice: we can either advance policies like the Green New Deal OR prepare for some level of inevitable collapse. From Letzer:

In reality, stipulating that it is too late to avoid two degrees Celsius warming actually strengthens the case for prioritizing “renewable-energy mega-projects” over conservation; since there is no “point of no return” on climate (or at least, none that we can know in advance), the bleaker one’s assessment of the prospects for rapid decarbonization, the more committed one should be to reducing emissions by all practical means.


We don’t have 12 years to save the world. But we do have the rest of our lives to save as many of each other as we can. Franzen’s doomerism is for the birds. “

Click here to read the full article.

Well, what do y’all think? Prepare for the apocalypse or invest in trying to mitigate, delay or diminish what is coming? Franzen can’t come up with a geo-political modeling that reflects most all countries in the world making the changes required. Can you?

But the one thing we simply can’t do is give up. So please make plans to raise your voice on Friday, Sept 20. If you live in or near Santa Fe, meet at the Roundhouse at 11:30. If you live elsewhere in the state, click here for a map of protests. There are literally thousands occurring around the world with strikes in Farmington, Las Cruces, El Paso, Silver City, Albuquerque, and Santa Fe. If you are looking for a hopeful sign, click on this site and note the enormous number of countries with strikes planned, some with scores of them. ORGANIZE YOUR OWN GROUP AND JOIN A STRIKE.

In solidarity, Paul & Roxanne

2 thoughts on “Your Weekend Reading

  1. Franzen doesn’t go far enough. Sad to say. He briefly mentions that there are “various” heat-intensifying feedbacks, but is not aware of their great number & at what rate they are accelerating. The train is not only speeding toward 2 degrees Celsius heating but is accelerating & will go much further. Methane hydrates (frozen methane) under water are one of the big feedbacks. Methane is 20 times more potent than carbon dioxide. The Arctic will soon have a blue ocean event (BOE) which will heat up things fast, the dark open water absorbing more heat than white ice. Many more feedbacks are out there.

    To catch up to the accelerating train we need to accelerate even faster. We are crawling.

    At some point, there is no cure. Just as individually we will have to face that fact, as a human species we have to face it & love one another & do good till the end. I have been studying this for a long time. Put money into humanitarian relief, vote for compassion & find a spiritual way.

    Bird Thompson, author of Extreme Times: Diary of an Eco-Buddhist

Leave a Reply