Month: January 2020

KARENNA GORE ON THE MORAL FIGHT AGAINST CLIMATE CHANGE

Flashback to 2018… Karenna Gore interviewed by LINYEE YUAN.

LinYee Yuan is the founder and editor of MOLD. Through original reporting, MOLD explores how designers can address the coming food crisis by creating products and systems that will help feed 9 billion people by the year 2050.

“When we frame [climate change] as a moral and spiritual problem, it’s about caring for the most vulnerable, and it’s also about our own integrity. Are we able to look at the real costs? Just because costs aren’t measured does not mean they don’t exist.” – CEE Director, Karenna Gore

Read the full article here…

Catherine Coleman Flowers: A Rosa Parks Day “Catalyst for Change”

At the Rosa Parks Commemoration in Huntsville, AL guest speaker Catherine Coleman Flowers, CEE’s Senior Fellow, spoke on how Environmental Justice and Climate Change are Civil Rights issues. Catherine was among those honored as a “Catalyst for Change” including the youth winners of the “I am Rosa Parks” essay contest.

The Commemoration was celebrated over many days and included the keeping open of the first seat on every bus, voter registration hours and the Declaration of Rosa Parks Day – December 2nd. Visit the Rosa Parks Day Huntsville/Madison County facebook page for more photos and videos from the event!

Watch Video of Catherine speaking at the event with many thanks to the League of Women Voters of the Tennessee Valley.

Read the Transcript below:

“The environmental issues are human and civil rights issues because there primarily – you see the people on the front lines are people of color, are people that are marginalized.  I had the opportunity to go West Virginia and I saw in West Virginia, Kentucky and Tennessee I saw white people there reminded me of people in Lowndes County – they were poor.  Some of them were still using outhouses and that was recently.  That was part of the new Poor Peoples Campaign.

I had the opportunity to go down to Cancer Alley which is between New Orleans and Baton Rouge where multi-national corporations were allowed to come to the United States and poison the air and poison the water.

and on the way there I was riding with the General some of you know, who became well known because of Katrina, General Russell Honoré who is now an environmental activist.

and General Honoré was taking us there. We passed by plantations and sugar cane fields that were out there and these home were inhabited by people that were descendants of former slaves and they have some of the highest cancer rates in the country.

and if you go to East L.A. and find out where they are putting these oil rigs, they’re not putting the oil rigs where these wealthy homes are burning up every time there’s fires in California cause they’re dealing with issues too but they’re doing that because they can afford to be places where most people cannot afford to be and shouldn’t be there.

but in terms of East L.A. we see high asthma rates and a lot of illnesses associated with being near oil rigs.

It’s a human rights and a civil rights issue because that’s where these dirty plants are put, they are put in communities where people cannot speak for themselves because they are either poor, or they simply don’t care because they are people of color.

The reason that we should all be concerned about it – look at the movie Dark Waters. That community that DuPont poisoned was white.  It’s getting to the point now we have people in office that don’t care about environmental protection rules and after awhile it’s not going to stop –

Water doesn’t stay in one place – it moves!

And we’re seeing fishkills here in Alabama.  We’re seeing – I saw one story where in south Alabama divers were in Mobile Bay doing something there in the Mobile Bay and had to move to another area because the water’s contaminated.

I just shared an article on Facebook where on military bases now the water is contaminated.  I mean we have to all be concerned because if you don’t care about it being in Cancer Alley, if you don’t care about it being in Lowndes County, or the Mercury that’s poison, Uranium poisoning people in Navajo nation sooner or later if there are no rules in place we are all going to be suffering because we only have one world.  And I’d like to segue into something if I might.

It’s that one of the other issues that I’m very involved in is Climate Change.

The people that are suffering right now that are on the front lines are the poorest communities. In the black belt for an example, I know that Daniel Tate is here in the audience.

Daniel Tate, I know I’m getting ready to say something very unpopular, it’s something that we all need to be aware of.  All over the state of Alabama we have more sunshine than anywhere else but we have a tax on solar in this state that needs to be removed. (Read Catherine’s Op-Ed in the Montgomery Advertiser) People should have the right to control what they would put on their homes and they should be able to generate their own power.

And if we don’t do that, if we don’t switch to renewable energies and have a Green New Deal we are all going to suffer.

I think it’s ok for us to reflect and talk about the past, but I’m concerned about 7 generations to come. We keep doing what we’re doing right now and the Earth will not be able to be inhabitable by our great great great grandchildren and I’m very concerned about that.

We’re not a point in our lives right now where we can say “oh that’s happening in Lowndes County so I don’t care about that.”  We need to be concerned.

And if Jane Fonda who is on my board can get our there every Friday for #FireDrillFridays at the age of 82 because she has a 3 month old grandson… She’s concerned about her grandson’s future. I think we all need to take a stand

It shouldn’t just be the children – the child have always lead but it’s time for us to lead too and get out there and make sure that we become servant leaders.

And that we also make sure… my grandson about to graduate from Troy University about to graduate in Resource Management.

We have be concerned about 7 generations to come.”

Also read Catherine’s Op-Ed Alabama Voices: Two million Americans are in a water crisis; some of them are your neighbors.

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Catherine Coleman Flowers

Catherine Coleman Flowers is Senior Fellow of Environmental Justice and Civic Engagement at the Center for Earth Ethics as well as the director of the Center for Rural Enterprise and Environmental Justice.

Learn More about Catherine’s work…

 

A Community Response to Climate Change

A problem with climate change is that no one knows what’s going to come next. Yes there are climate models – some from nearly 40 years ago – that accurately predict the moment we are in: record floods, incredible droughts, dwindling snowpacks, and a full ⅓ of the year consumed by fire.  

What is lost in these reports, though, are the realities of the communities that now must respond to the crises they create. They don’t tell the stories of those forced to relocate to Portland because their home went up in flames two years ago in Paradise, CA. These unwilling transplants never dreamed of moving to Oregon but are here now trying to make sense of their new lives. There are thousands of such in-migrants finding their way to Oregon either due to force of circumstance or because they can see the writing on the wall. 

Oregon has always been a popular destination for transplants but the numbers are being amplified thanks to climate change.  Already stressed and aging infrastructure in cities across the state are being asked to do more than ever before. Bend is expecting a ~40% population increase in the next decade leading city managers to wonder where to put them and how to allocate an already stretched water supply. In Portland, the housing crisis is only getting worse, to say nothing of the increasing traffic and decreased air quality that will come with it. 

For all of these reasons we are required to think differently about how we live in the now so that we’re prepared for whatever then presents itself. It’s why nearly 40 faith leaders from around Oregon gathered together at Willamette University December 4-5 for a training titled ‘A Community Response to Climate Change’. The training – hosted by the Center for Earth Ethics, the Claremont School of Theology at Willamette University, the Climate Reality Project, and Ecumenical Ministries of Oregon – was convened to hear how communities around the state are already being impacted and how faith leaders can best respond. 

 

One of the principle goals of the conference was to create a stronger sense of community for faith leaders working on climate in Oregon. Advocacy on climate can be an isolating experience for many faith leaders who don’t find allies within their peer groups or in their own communities. Yet though climate change remains a politically charged topic, the felt realities of climate change refuse to be ignored. Many pastors in the room shared how their congregations are increasingly impacted and of the emotional and financial toll climate change brings. And while those in the rooms came from very different contexts around the state several common themes emerged among the group: struggles to address mental health issues related to climate change, a desire for better disaster preparedness, responses to wildfire, and an ever increasing need to care for immigrants and in-migrants moving to the state. 

While the problems facing communities are becoming startling clear the solutions to them remain clouded and somewhat distant. Working groups to address each of the issues were created to identify and imagine how the faith community could respond especially in regards to the most vulnerable in Oregon. There is no doubt that frontline and historically marginalized communities are feeling them the worst. It was important that these voices were present as conference attendees but also as speakers to highlight the struggles many of these communities face. We were grateful to hear from Oriana Magnera of Verde NW, Pastor E.D. Mondaine of the Portland NAACP, and Jeremy Five Crows of the Columbia River Inter-Tribal Fish Commission. 

Ms. Magnera spoke to the need for better legislation to protect air quality, especially in low-income urban zones. It’s not by mistake that most bus depots and major thoroughfares are placed next to brown, black, and low-income neighborhoods leading to increased incidences of respiratory and cardiovascular diseases. It is a problem that needs to be addressed immediately and once solved, will have cascading benefits for surrounding communities and their environments. This message was echoed by Pastor Mondaine as well, who through his work at the NAACP, has fought for community water and housing rights and meaningful climate legislation.  One such piece of legislation is the Portland Clean Energy Fund that “will lift up a community-led vision that builds resilience and wealth in the face of climate change and federal inaction.” 

Jeremy Five Crows challenged the audience to look at the religious and cultural impacts of climate change through the lens of the  First Foods tradition of the Umatilla Tribe which serves as a reminder to local tribes to care for the First Foods – water, fish, game, roots and berries – that care for them. As climate change worsens, each of these elements are threatened differently and must be cared for in their own ways. If left unaddressed, these foods may be lost to history taking with them a cultural and spiritual importance of generations. 

The problems set in front of us are limitless. Even in a room of pastors whose day job is to help others find hope and purpose, the reality of climate change weighs heavy. Climate change asks us to truly look into the void of not only our own mortality but of the morality of every aspect of the world which grounds us and gives us meaning. It means articulating a future not of hope and happiness but of loss and unknown change. It’s an existential weight that bears down on each generation differently. For the old it’s a question of what have they done? How could they leave behind such an awful legacy? For the young it’s wondering how to come to terms with a dramatic harrowing future. And for those somewhere in the middle its severing the promises we were told in our youths and doing our best to prepare the way for ourselves and those younger generations we’re now accountable to in ways we never imagined.

There’s always a way out of no way. There’s always reason to hope even if it’s not ready to be found. When we began the conference,  Rev. Michael Ellick of Ecumenical Ministries of Oregon reminded the room that we don’t have all the answers – and that’s ok. What we have is each other and the connections we make now are critical for dealing with tomorrow’s problems. We must grieve what is being lost while keeping ourselves open to the new life that emerges along the way. There’s always hope for the new. 

 

NYC Climate Speaks Youth Program Applications Due January 17th!

Want to inspire action on climate change? Register today for Climate Speaks 2020!

Announcing Climate Speaks 2020, a creative writing and performance program.

Students, sign up here to participate!

Registration Deadline: January 17th, 2020

Free program, spots limited, registration required.

Phase 1: Jan.–March

Phase 2: March–April

Phase 3: April–May

Workshops

Competition (Optional)

Performance

All students participate in climate justice and creative writing workshops

Interested students receive training and mentoring and can compete for a chance to perform

Selected students continue collaborating with teaching artists before a series of performances

Climate Speaks 2020 – Flyer and Workshop Dates

Climate specialists & teaching artists help students hone their voice to confront the climate crisis.

Open to all h.s. students in NYC metro area – No experience necessary!

Click here for information on program structure, dates, and locations.

“I am so grateful to have had this opportunity. It was a huge confidence boost, and has opened up so many avenues of involvement in climate action.”

Jade, Climate Speaks 2019 Performer

Follow @climatespeaks and @climatemusem on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter.

For highlights from the 2019 program, visit climatespeaks.org or climatemuseum.org.


Climate Speaks is presented by the Climate Museum and the NYC Department of Education Office of Sustainability. The museum would like to give special thanks to Urban Word NYC, The New York Public Library, the Brooklyn Public Library, the DreamYard Project, Snug Harbor Cultural Center and Botanical Gardens, and the Jamaica Center for Arts and Learning.

Successful Seminar “Indigenous Knowledge for Integral Water Management in Latin America and the Caribbean”

Report on “Indigenous Knowledge for Integral Water Management in Latin America and the Caribbean ” Manaus, Brazil August 8-9 from CODIA.  CEE’s Mindahi Bastida was pleased to participate (see photo below).

CODIA, September 6, 2019

Within the framework of the International Day of Indigenous Peoples, UNESCO convened leaders from Panama, Guatemala, Ecuador, Mexico and Colombia, as well as local communities in Manaus around the Seminar “Indigenous Knowledge for Integral Water Management in Latin America and the Caribbean ”(Manaus, Brazil August 8-9). The meeting focused on the discussion about the sociocultural, technical, legal, economic and political aspects that the native peoples of the region have taken in the area of ​​water management. Organized by the International Hydrological Program (PHI) of UNESCO together with the UNESCO Office in Brasilia and Quito, the Conference of Ibero-American Water Directors (CODIA), the Agência Nacional de Águas (ANA), with the collaboration of the Organization of the Amazon Cooperation Treaty (ACTO).

With the participation of Mr. Oscar Cordeiro Netto, Director of the ANA; Mr. César de las Casas, Executive Director of OTCA; Fabio Eon (UNESCO Brasilia); Ms. Karla Bitar, Superintendent of the Amazon National Historical and Artistic Patrimony Institute (IPHAN AM); and Mrs. Marcivana Rodrigues Paiva, Coordinator of the Coordination of Indigenous Organizations of Amazônia Brasileira (COIAB), opened the seminar “Indigenous Knowledge for Integral Water Management in Latin America and the Caribbean” in Manaus, Brazil on the 8th of August at 9:00 a.m.

The Seminar was promoted within the framework of the International Day of Indigenous Peoples as an instance to exchange on the Sustainable Development Goals and their approach in relation to the knowledge of the native peoples about water management with the aim of generating recommendations for international agencies, UNESCO, indigenous peoples, around this theme.

The relationship between indigenous peoples and water resources inspires an approach to water as a human right and a common good, as well as providing the search for new technologies and forms of organization that guarantee water supply to the continent. The inclusion and knowledge of indigenous practices and techniques used in the resolution of water-related conflicts is often important as valuable knowledge for government organizations, businesses and civil society.

The event had a wide regional call through the honorable presence of the Secretary of Water (Ecuador), Mr. Humberto Cholango, and indigenous leaders linked to the management of water resources of Panama, Guatemala, Ecuador, Mexico and Colombia, professionals from the water sector of Peru and Chile as well as from local communities in Manaus. In addition, the UNESCO Chair in Water and Culture (UdelaR, Uruguay) and the UNESCO Chair in Sustainability of Water Resources (San Carlos de Guatemala) joined this initiative.


About CODIA

The Conference of Ibero-American Directors of Water emerges as a response to the mandate of the I Ibero-American Forum of Ministers of the Environment (Spain, 2001)  in order to create a forum in Latin America in which the those mainly responsible for water management in the region will participate.The main functions of CODIA are to act as a technical instrument to support the Forum and to examine and implement cooperative modalities in the area of ​​water resources. CODIA is made up of a total of 22 countries.