A Week with Our Grandson, What Newborns Face, Our Governor’s Just Released Climate Strategy & What We Must Do

The Governor’s report makes it clear: she will drill & drill & drill til we stop her. We must change our mindset, our assumptions, and our systems and above all we must act boldly to force the needed changed. This is an emergency.

Click here for information about our Retake radio show this morning on KSFR, the YUCCA planning event this afternoon, Senator Sedillo Lopez’s Monday evening meeting in ABQ to discuss a fracking moratorium bill, and more.

What Newborns Could Face & What We Can Do

Plus a brief look at the Governor’s new Climate Strategy offers an idea of what bold action doesn’t look like underscoring our need for escalating direct action.

He trusts me. I need to earn that trust.

Before we get to what we can do to challenge the powers that be and force meaningful action on the climate crisis, I want to alert you that the Governor’s Interagency Climate Change Task Force has released its much anticipated report. Retake is working with others to formulate an analysis and response, but suffice to say it illustrates why escalating direct action is needed.

There was no mention of a climate emergency, just much fanfare and cheering for the Energy Transition Act, methane rules, energy efficiency and charging stations. While all of these, save the ETA, are good things, they only focus on the energy we use without a single reference to our production and export of gas and oil, only the promise that: “Recently, the extraction boom in the Permian Basin has enriched New Mexico, and the oil and gas industry is expected to grow and continue supporting our economy in the future. “Support our economy; destroy our future, what a plan.

Click here to read the report. We will have our report on the Governor’s report next week.

I took a powerful mental journey when I found myself confronting what my grandson faces as he grows up. While in Cleveland, I read a Truthdig article, Climate Change is Threatening New Born Babies. I think all of us realize that we face a terrible challenge, but placing that in the context of my six-week old grandson made the reality of this article far more profound and personal. So while I held Torrey and looked in his eyes, my mind reflected on what I’d read.

This is what Truthdig shared:

Today’s world is not a welcoming place for babies, who – across the globe – face multiple climate health risks. On present trends, any new-born today is likely to live in a world 4°C hotter than it has been all through human history. On present trends, climate change will affect infant health by reducing the yield and nutritional value of maize, wheat, soybean and rice, to stunt growth and weaken immune systems. “

Truthout: Climate Change is Threatening New Born Babies

Weakened immune systems will not couple well with the anticipated increase in climate-related diseases.

Older children will be at increasing risk from climate-related diseases such as cholera and dengue fever, and adolescents will be at increasing risk from toxic air, driven by fossil fuel combustion and ever-higher temperatures.”

Truthout: Climate Change is Threatening New Born Babies

All of this will, of course, be compounded by weather-related floods, storms and heat. When you read about what scientists are telling us, you can become numb, but then when you hold a six-week-old infant and look into his eyes, the numbness recedes, the sorrow surfaces, and then the fury. As I sat on the plane returning home, I read yet another Chris Hedges article, but this one was entitled, How to Save the Planet and Ourselves. I thought to myself, at last a Hedges article that promises to offer more than doom. Even if his perspective is so very hard to dispute, it is also hard to face.

So, I buckled up my seat belt and read. It didn’t take long for Hedges to underscore the urgency of the moment. He focused on Common Sense for the 21st Century: Only Nonviolent Rebellion Can Now Stop Climate Breakdown and Social Collapse, a new book by Roger Hallam, co-founder of the Extinction Rebellion. Hedges recommended Hallam’s book as the only book that should be on your reading list right now. The link above takes you to the publisher, where you can order the book for $10 and avoid Amazon. Hedges quotes from Hallam’s book:

Let’s be frank about what ‘catastrophe’ actually means in this context. We are looking here at the slow and agonizing suffering and death of billions of people. A moral analysis might go like this: one recent scientific opinion stated that at 5°C above the pre-industrial mean temperature, we are looking at an ecological system capable of sustaining just one billion people. That means 6-7 billion people will have died within the next generation or two. Even if this figure is wrong by 90%, that means 600 million people face starvation and death in the next 40 years…. This is what our genocidal governments around the world are willingly allowing to happen. The word ‘genocide’ might seem out of context here. The word is often associated with ethnic cleansing or major atrocities like the Holocaust. However, the Merriam-Webster dictionary definition reads ‘the deliberate and systematic destruction of a racial, political, or cultural group.’ ”

Common Sense for the 21st Century

At this point I paused and stared into space until thoughts of Torrey floated into my head and I began to cry, not so quietly, with two passengers squeezed tightly on either side. It took awhile to regain my composure, and I hesitated to return to Hedges until I recalled the title of the article — How to Save the Planet and Ourselves. What I needed most at that moment was direction about what we need to do to avoid a 5°C increase in temperature. Hallam continued:

Recent science shows permafrost melting 90 years earlier than forecast and Himalayan glaciers melting twice as fast as expected. Feedbacks and locked-in heating will take us over 2°C even before we factor in additional temperature rises from human-caused emissions over the next ten years…. In short, we are fucked—the only question is by how much and how soon? Do we accept this fate? I suggest we do not.” 

Common Sense in the 21st Century

Hallam may have suggested the need to resist this fate, but I was still not seeing what that might look like and how we might get there. He continued:

This is not a matter of one’s political party preferences. It is a matter of basic structural sociology. Institutions, like animal species, have limits to how fast they can change. To get rapid change they have to be replaced with new social systems of policy, practice and culture. It is a terrible and painful realization, but it is time to accept our reality.”

Common Sense for the 21st Century

This is a reality — the need to create utterly new systems and transform our culture — something Retake has been advocating for some time. Use the search engine on the RetakeOurDemocracy.org home page to find a long list of articles about the need for new systems to address current problems. But I was still waiting for this article to give me the “how.” How do we achieve this?

Not surprisingly, Hallam, as a co-founder of Extinction Rebellion, recommends non-violent civil disobedience, with tens of thousands taking to the streets in the style seen in London, where protesters paralyzed the city and disrupted business as usual. He emphasizes non-violence, but also acknowledges that such disruption will not be tolerated, with many being arrested. He goes on to assert that those who are arrested need to continue their disruption in court by defying the judge and speaking out about the climate crisis even after the judge has demanded silence. This will precipitate a contempt charge and certain jail time. His rationale is that when some are sent to jail, perhaps with sentences extending weeks or even months, that sacrifice will trigger broader media coverage and more resistance.

I sat with this a while. Jail time. While jail time for the 21 of us arrested in support of YUCCA was always viewed as possible, it was not a likely outcome. But as I sat on the plane, thinking of this and of Torrey, I realized I may have to take this path at some point, a decision that is not solely mine, but a decision shared by Roxanne and me.

As I write this post, I realize that Hallam is correct, that more of us need to hit the streets, more of us need to risk arrest, and more of us must risk jail time. Petitions to the neo-liberal establishment have proven entirely ineffective, even before Trump.

On Dec. 12, 6:30-8:30pm, at 1420 Cerrillos Rd. in Santa Fe, Retake will host a discussion of what non-violent direct action could look like in New Mexico. We have invited representatives from YUCCA and the emerging Extinction Rebellion chapter in Santa Fe.

This will be a pot luck — Retake will provide pizza and we ask you to bring salad or dessert and your own beverage. Also bring friends, and be prepared to talk together about our options. There will be roles for those who are willing to risk arrest and those who are willing to participate in direction action that does not risk arrest.

2020 is beckoning and we simply must begin making plans for applying pressure on our legislators and our Governor. A methane rule would be nice, so would community solar legislation, but we need more than that from our leadership. We need a plan for a just transition and a moratorium on fracking to name a few more steps. Petitions and calls have not been enough. So join us Dec. 12.

Click here to RSVP by Facebook or by writing to us directly at RetakeResponse@gmail.com. Please RSVP so we know how many pizzas to buy… I hope we need lots!

I leave you with two quotes from two of our supporters. They offer hope and direction, because it is not enough to say no, we must also begin to envision what “yes” looks like.

The old material mindset no longer works. The mechanical mind of exploitation and control is dying and evolving into the emergent mind, where all of life is holy and man’s purpose is seen to become co-creators with nature, suffused with intelligence. What is seeking to be born is a radically new consciousness that no longer subscribes to creeds managed by priests, experts and strongmen outside oneself but an inner knowing that humans are charged with a sacred destiny to restore the earth, to honor Gaia as alive, to see the connectedness of all things, to cooperate for the benefit of all, to grant to the other what we grant to ourselves such as sovereignty and respect, and to no longer support those institutions who seek domination and power over us and over nature. “

Richard Welker


I believe that we were born for these times, that we each were meant to be here now and that we each have a role to play. If we stay in touch with our inner knowing, our spiritual guidance, we will know what is the next step that we have the power to take. The guidance we seek can come from anywhere – from our inner knowing, from the mouths of friends and children and even the internet. And all of us working together, each in our own way, have already accomplished much and will accomplish more.

I believe that indigenous people (especially the women) the world over, who have been less influenced by Western civilization and who live closer to their spirituality and knowledge of how to live within the natural world, are the ones who will lead the way of how to survive the crisis of climate change and create a new (old) way of living.

Pelican Lee

These thoughts point to the incredible opportunity we have before us, to force our government and our culture to forge a new path, a sustainable path, a path that is in harmony with nature and where we no longer treat each other and nature as just another commodity to be exploited. Lets’ forge that path. We can do it. We have no choice but to do so.

In solidarity,

Paul & Roxanne

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3 replies

  1. I suggest that we plan a day or week or month of protest at the Round House! This must be an aggressive action which may include disrupting the Legislature as they are in session. We cannot achieve this type of change without a major show of force and a continued presence which will attract the media. This, as you say correctly, is a call to action and that means physical action. Marches organized in every City we can have adequate representation, Schools closing via walk outs and not just for show.

    We are seeing that although we have a Democratically controlled State, nothing os substance is happening and it mirrors the National Government in that way. Bring Sanders and Warren here! Let them be here the first day of a mass State wide protest! Let them speak or at least one of them. We need to think bigger and out-of-the-box and also with a more aggressive model or nothing will happen and the next election cycle will see Republicans back in office!

  2. remember the 5 stages of dying by Kubler-Ross: 1.denial & isolation, 2. anger, 3. bargaining, 4. depression, 5. acceptance

  3. If we want to search for realistic solutions to our present and future climate deadly and destructive changes, we may want to first listen to Jem Bendell, and also read his paper. And maybe everything else related to his approach to life in the 21st century.
    We have not and will not ‘survive well’ the crisis of climate change because this crisis is not going to disappear any time soon. Climate catastrophe has been happening, is happening and will continue to happen for a long long time, for many generations.
    The flip side of Global Warming is the poisoning of the earth. Which is not stopping but, actually, it is increasing and also do not seem to stop.


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