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Dear President Obama, The Clean Energy Revolution Is Now
By Oceans 8 Films
Dear President Obama, The Clean Energy Revolution is Now, narrated by 3-time Academy Award nominated actor Mark Ruffalo, calls on President Obama to ban fracking and join the “anti-drilling" majority growing across the U.S. Oceans 8 Films is excited to announce the film's premiere in Washington, DC on March 18, as part of the Environmental Film Festival, at the National Geographic headquarters, followed by a 30-day screening tour in March and April.
Executive produced and narrated by actor/activist Mark Ruffalo and produced by filmmaker and explorer Jon Bowermaster, Dear President Obama takes a cross-country look at drilling. Highlighting its variety of contaminations, the stories of its victims and the false promise of an economic boom, the film focuses on clean energy solutions that would allow us to proceed towards a future that does not rely on yet another dirty fossil fuel extraction process. Interviews with scientists, economists, health professionals, geologists and whistleblowers provide the core narrative of the film. Its producers hope to convince the current president and those that will follow to join the “anti-drilling" majority growing across the U.S. and call for fossil fuels to be kept in the ground.
“Though nominally targeting the current President," says Bowermaster, “the message of the film is aimed at every elected official in the U.S. 'Keep fossil fuels in the ground' should be the new mantra for them all."
Since 2008, under President Obama's watch, the drilling and fracking industries have boomed across the U.S. One result is that today, more than 17 million people live within a mile of at least one oil or gas well, putting their livelihoods, health and property values at risk. Every race, culture and socio-economic class has been impacted, from urban dwellers to the suburbs, rural America to its coastlines. Fracking supporters contended this rush would create a newfound American “energy independence." In fact, with oil and gas prices plummeting during the past year, all the boom seems to have done is slow progress toward investing in renewable energy sources.
"Our country is at a critical crossroads between continuing to make people sick and ruining the climate by drilling for fossil fuels or embracing the clean energy revolution," says Ruffalo.
“We can and must power our country with renewable energy from the wind, sun and water, which will reinvigorate our economy with jobs and prosperity. Dear President Obama tells the stories of the harm oil and gas drilling is causing Americans across the country and sets forth the importance of building a bright, clean energy future now. In his remaining time in office, we are asking President Obama to be a visionary clean energy leader and to help the millions of Americans hurt by drilling and fracking."
The screening tour was organized by Food & Water Watch and other environmental organizations across the U.S.
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Colorado River Has Lost 1.5 Billion Tons of Water to the Climate Crisis, 'Severe Water Shortages' May Follow
California is headed toward drought conditions as February, typically the state's wettest month, passes without a drop of rain. The lack of rainfall could lead to early fire conditions. With no rain predicted for the next week, it looks as if this month will be only the second time in 170 years that San Francisco has not had a drop of rain in February, according to The Weather Channel.
The last time San Francisco did not record a drop of rain in February was in 1864 as the Civil War raged.
"This hasn't happened in 150 years or more," said Daniel Swain, a climate scientist at UCLA's Institute of the Environment and Sustainability to The Guardian. "There have even been a couple [of] wildfires – which is definitely not something you typically hear about in the middle of winter."
While the Pacific Northwest has flooded from heavy rains, the southern part of the West Coast has seen one storm after another pass by. Last week, the U.S. Drought Monitor said more Californians are in drought conditions than at any time during 2019, as The Weather Channel reported.
The dry winter has included areas that have seen devastating fires recently, including Sonoma, Napa, Lake and Mendocino counties. If the dry conditions continue, those areas will once again have dangerously high fire conditions, according to The Mercury News.
"Given what we've seen so far this year and the forecast for the next few weeks, I do think it's pretty likely we'll end up in some degree of drought by this summer," said Swain, as The Mercury News reported.
Another alarming sign of an impending drought is the decreased snowpack in the Sierra Nevada Mountain range. The National Weather Service posted to Twitter a side-by-side comparison of snowpack from February 2019 and from this year, illustrating the puny snowpack this year. The snow accumulated in the Sierra Nevadas provides water to roughly 30 percent of the state, according to NBC Los Angeles.
Right now, the snowpack is at 53 percent of its normal volume after two warm and dry months to start the year. It is a remarkable decline, considering that the snowpack started 2020 at 90 percent of its historical average, as The Guardian reported.
"Those numbers are going to continue to go down," said Swain. "I would guess that the 1 March number is going to be less than 50 percent."
The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Climate Prediction Center forecast that the drier-than-average conditions may last through April.
NOAA said Northern California will continue deeper into drought through the end of April, citing that the "persistent high pressure over the North Pacific Ocean is expected to continue, diverting storm systems to the north and south and away from California and parts of the Southwest," as The Weather Channel reported.
As the climate crisis escalates and the world continues to heat up, California should expect to see water drawn out of its ecosystem, making the state warmer and drier. Increased heat will lead to further loss of snow, both as less falls and as more of it melts quickly, according to The Guardian.
"We aren't going to necessarily see less rain, it's just that that rain goes less far. That's a future where the flood risk extends, with bigger wetter storms in a warming world," said Swain, as The Guardian reported.
The Guardian noted that while California's reservoirs are currently near capacity, the more immediate impact of the warm, dry winter will be how it raises the fire danger as trees and grasslands dry out.
"The plants and the forests don't benefit from the water storage reservoirs," said Swain, as The Mercury News reported. "If conditions remain very dry heading into summer, the landscape and vegetation is definitely going to feel it this year. From a wildfire perspective, the dry years do tend to be the bad fire years, especially in Northern California."
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A warm day in winter used to be a rare and uplifting relief.
Now such days are routine reminders of climate change – all the more foreboding when they coincide with news stories about unprecedented wildfires, record-breaking "rain bombs," or the accelerated melting of polar ice sheets.
Where, then, can one turn for hope in these dark months of the year?