If you want to understand what is happening right now in Seattle’s housing controversy—the HALA-baloo—read this article carefully. What the Housing Affordability and Livability Agenda committee has done is to offer a plan that would lead the city out of the trap it is falling into and which San Francisco is already deeply ensnared in. (Vancouver, BC, too is ensnared, though the trap is not identical.) HALA sketched a fragile, new political coalition, too. The old, anti-development political coalition that has long united the far left with the city’s neighborhood preservationists is now pushing back hard. Seattle can and must engage in a long and thorough debate about exactly how to embrace growth and bend it toward inclusion—exactly what rules should be implemented for building what, where—but if we continue to err on the side of impeding housing, we will become San Francisco: a place only for millionaires and subsidiaries.
Ah, Margaret Atwood. I love you, but your science fiction writing and your this-sounds-like-science-fiction-but-it-is-real! writing about climate change terrifies me and makes me think maybe I should buy some guns. No, I’m not going to buy guns. But maybe I should… and dog food.
Environmentalists: you want to maintain solidarity with union workers, but sometimes it is hard when those workers are mining coal or cutting down trees, right? I know someone who can help: environmentalists, meet Basic Income. Discuss amongst yourselves.
What can organizations do to retain female talent? Offer them flexibility, yes, but more importantly, make sure they are valued and respected (which includes not forcing them to act like men.)
Some climate change humor of the darkest sort—click at your own risk.
And another New Yorker pick, my climate nonfiction goddess, Elizabeth Kolbert, on the new climate change danger zone:
The two-degree goal offered in the Copenhagen Accord is more a reflection of what seemed politically feasible than what is scientifically advisable. A group of prominent climatologists put it this way a few months before the accord was drafted: “We feel compelled to note that even a ‘moderate’ warming of 2°C stands a strong chance of provoking drought and storm responses that could challenge civilized society, leading potentially to the conflict and suffering that go with failed states and mass migrations.”
Need some vacation reading? Check out this rad Powell’s list of 25 women authors to read before you die. I’ve only read five or six of them (eep!), but since two of my all-time faves—Kolbert and Atwood—are among them, I plan to pick up several more.
If you missed John Oliver’s take on food waste in America, it’s well worth a watch:
From New York Magazine, a fascinating short history and discussion of the plastic bag ban debate and its perhaps surprisingly deep cultural significance.
And two interesting polling-based reports on climate change perception worldwide. First, Pew Research Center saw climate change dominate as the publicly perceived greatest global threat, especially in Latin American, African, and some Asian countries. US, European, and Middle Eastern countries named ISIS as their top concern, though. Second, a report out of Nature Climate Change finds, “Worldwide, educational attainment is the single strongest predictor of climate change awareness,” and “improving basic education, climate literacy, and public understanding of the local dimensions of climate change are vital to public engagement and support for climate action.” Hear, hear, on the importance of localizing and making culturally resonant the education and engagement efforts!
Finally, personally (and anecdotally), I just returned from a two-ish-week-long trip to Bosnia, where I met my younger sister’s husband’s wonderful family. Temps there were 90s+ the entire time… and humid. I straight-up melted on a daily basis. Anyway, pretty much everyone we talked to there said it wasn’t normal, and that they were worried for their gardens or farms. Even in a country known for its rich water resources, the tap went dry one afternoon in a small mountain town we visited. It just reminded me of how frustrated I am with the continued future and conditional tense discussion of climate change impacts, when the impacts are already very much here and now, and some are feeling them well more than others.
A new poll shows that Californians see that the drought they are weathering is climate-related. No wonder nearly 80 percent think climate change is a serious threat to the state’s future and quality of life. Even more exciting for us policy nerds: robust majorities favor both AB 32, the 2006 state law that requires reducing greenhouse gas emissions to 1990 levels by 2020, AND an even more ambitious new bill—SB 32—that would require the state to reduce greenhouse gas emissions to 80 percent below 1990 levels by 2050. Blacks, Latinos, and Asian voters’ support for these policies outpaces whites.
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And they’re not quite like Cali, but voters in key US swing states are with the Pope on climate.
On the 47th anniversary of Medicare, Bill Moyers reminds us that it should be available to every American.
This is random: how billiards brought us plastic. It’s worth a look for the historical documents, photos, and old film footage.
The fight against Big Oil—what Sightline calls the Thin Green Line—is happening right now in the Northwest, and it is incredible. This morning it Portland, protesters dangling from the St John’s Bridge actually managed to turn back Shell’s ice breaker as it tried to leave port. In British Columbia, the Unist’ot’en clan of the Wet’suwet’en nation is literally constructing obstacles to resist ill-conceived oil and gas pipelines across their land.
Seattle city Council Member Mike O’Brien has an open letter to Warren Buffet to put public safety before profit and prioritize oil train regulation.
Former Cascadian Craig Benjamin has a great opinion piece on the energy choices facing his new home state of Wyoming and the ways in which its excessive coal orientation mimics the coal-rich country of his forebears, South Africa.
Speaking of coal exports, Greenpeace just published a report detailing the market risks of the major coal firms connected to new mining and export proposals.
Register now for Summer of Our Power: Just Transition Assembly on August 13th-15th in Bellingham, WA. Learn about and support the priorities of impacted communities of color when it comes to climate justice and building the next economy. A great opportunity to engage in dialogues around climate, race, class, gender, and ending interlocking oppression.