DNC Shuts Down Climate Debate Compromise
The Democratic National Committee (DNC) will not let 2020 primary candidates share the stage in a debate devoted to the climate crisis, the party voted Saturday during its summer meeting in San Francisco.
The DNC resolutions committee had already voted against holding a party-sanctioned debate on the topic Thursday, but it did approve language that would have allowed candidates to speak face-to-face on the issue at a third-party sponsored event. That compromise was voted down 222-137 Saturday, CNN reported. CNN and MSNBC both plan to hold climate forums in September, but the candidates will have to speak separately and will not be able to engage each other.
"This decision is as baffling as it is alarming," candidate and former Texas Representative Beto O'Rourke tweeted of the decision. "Our planet is burning—the least we can do as a party is debate what to do about it."
This decision is as baffling as it is alarming. Our planet is burning— the least we can do as a party is debate wha… https://t.co/hGDrjzNhnk— Beto O'Rourke (@Beto O'Rourke)1566682905.0
Climate activists like the youth-led Sunrise Movement have been mobilizing for a climate-specific debate for months, and most of the candidates have said they would participate, but top DNC officials, including Chair Tom Perez, have argued that it is unfair to single out one issue for discussion over others, The Mercury News reported.
"We want to make sure we don't change the rules in the middle of the process," Perez said Saturday, as The Mercury News reported. "We have a North Star principle: We want to be fair to everyone."
But others argued that the climate crisis is not just another issue.
"If an asteroid was coming to earth, there would be no question about having a debate about it," Kansas DNC member Chris Reeves said, as The Mercury News reported. "But with this existential crisis facing the world, we all sit and wring our hands."
The debate at the meeting Saturday was interrupted by protesters chanting "We can't wait" and "Failure of leadership."
"The Democratic Party needs the energy, motivation, and organizing capacity of young people to defeat Trump in 2020. But Tom Perez keeps shooting the party in the foot by rejecting that energy and turning it away," the Sunrise Movement said in a statement Saturday.
STATEMENT ON #ClimateDebate VOTE. The Democratic Party needs the energy, motivation, and organizing capacity of y… https://t.co/odtrQgBORQ— Sunrise Movement 🌅 (@Sunrise Movement 🌅)1566682521.0
After Thursday's vote, The Sludge suggested one reason why the DNC might be hesitant to endorse a climate debate. Perez put forward a resolution, approved in 2018, that allowed the DNC to take donations from fossil fuel employees and their political action committees. That resolution weakened an earlier ban on taking money from fossil fuel PACs. The Sludge laid out how the change has impacted the party's finances:
Since January, the DNC has taken at least $60,750 from owners and executives of fossil fuel companies. The DNC's fossil fuel industry donors include George Krumme, owner of Krumme Oil Company, who contributed $20,000, and Stephen Hightower, president and CEO of Hightower Petroleum Company, who contributed $35,500. Other donors include Duke Energy President CJ Triplette, Crystal Flash Energy executive Thomas Fehsenfeld, and Southern Petroleum Resources President David Simpkins.
However, the climate debate fight is not necessarily over. Presidential candidate Rep. Tim Ryan (D-Ohio) put out a call for fellow candidates to defy the DNC and join him for a climate debate in Youngstown, Ohio, The Toledo Blade reported Sunday.
The DNC got it wrong. We need a climate debate. Let’s have one in Youngstown. My statement: https://t.co/5ANTcuiciG— Tim Ryan (@Tim Ryan)1566697587.0
"It's truly a disappointment that the DNC denied our party the opportunity to show America that a strong agenda that reverses climate change means high paying manufacturing jobs for American union workers and solid profits for American farmers," Ryan said in a statement. "Voters deserve a chance to know that we take this issue seriously and are going to be very proactive in reversing climate change, unlike the current administration."
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By Jessica Corbett
A leading environmental advocacy group marked Native American Heritage Month on Wednesday by urging President-elect Joe Biden, Vice President-elect Kamala Kamala Harris, and the entire incoming administration "to honor Indigenous sovereignty and immediately halt the Keystone XL, Dakota Access, and Line 3 pipelines."
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Returning the ‘Three Sisters’ – Corn, Beans and Squash – to Native American Farms Nourishes People, Land and Cultures
By Christina Gish Hill
Historians know that turkey and corn were part of the first Thanksgiving, when Wampanoag peoples shared a harvest meal with the pilgrims of Plymouth plantation in Massachusetts. And traditional Native American farming practices tell us that squash and beans likely were part of that 1621 dinner too.
Abundant Harvests<p>Historically, Native people throughout the Americas bred indigenous plant varieties specific to the growing conditions of their homelands. They selected seeds for many different traits, such as <a href="https://emergencemagazine.org/story/corn-tastes-better/" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">flavor, texture and color</a>.</p><p>Native growers knew that planting corn, beans, squash and sunflowers together produced mutual benefits. Corn stalks created a trellis for beans to climb, and beans' twining vines secured the corn in high winds. They also certainly observed that corn and bean plants growing together tended to be healthier than when raised separately. Today we know the reason: Bacteria living on bean plant roots pull nitrogen – an essential plant nutrient – from the air and <a href="http://www.tilthalliance.org/learn/resources-1/almanac/october/octobermngg" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">convert it to a form that both beans and corn can use</a>.</p><p>Squash plants contributed by shading the ground with their broad leaves, preventing weeds from growing and retaining water in the soil. Heritage squash varieties also had spines that discouraged deer and raccoons from visiting the garden for a snack. And sunflowers planted around the edges of the garden created a natural fence, protecting other plants from wind and animals and attracting pollinators.</p><p>Interplanting these agricultural sisters produced bountiful harvests that sustained large Native communities and <a href="http://dx.doi.org/10.1353/eam.2015.0016" target="_blank">spurred fruitful trade economies</a>. The first Europeans who reached the Americas were shocked at the abundant food crops they found. My research is exploring how, 200 years ago, Native American agriculturalists around the Great Lakes and along the Missouri and Red rivers fed fur traders with their diverse vegetable products.</p>
Displaced From the Land<p>As Euro-Americans settled permanently on the most fertile North American lands and acquired seeds that Native growers had carefully bred, they imposed policies that <a href="https://doi.org/10.1086/ahr/87.2.550" target="_blank">made Native farming practices impossible</a>. In 1830 President Andrew Jackson signed the <a href="https://guides.loc.gov/indian-removal-act" target="_blank">Indian Removal Act</a>, which made it official U.S. policy to force Native peoples from their home locations, pushing them onto subpar lands.</p><p>On reservations, U.S. government officials discouraged Native women from cultivating anything larger than small garden plots and pressured Native men to practice Euro-American style monoculture. Allotment policies assigned small plots to nuclear families, further limiting Native Americans' access to land and preventing them from using communal farming practices.</p><p>Native children were forced to attend boarding schools, where they had no opportunity to <a href="https://doi.org/10.5749/jamerindieduc.57.1.0145" target="_blank">learn Native agriculture techniques or preservation and preparation of Indigenous foods</a>. Instead they were forced to eat Western foods, turning their palates away from their traditional preferences. Taken together, these policies <a href="https://kansaspress.ku.edu/978-0-7006-0802-7.html" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">almost entirely eradicated three sisters agriculture</a> from Native communities in the Midwest by the 1930s.</p>
Reviving Native Agriculture<p>Today Native people all over the U.S. are working diligently to <a href="https://www.oupress.com/books/15107980/indigenous-food-sovereignty-in-the-united-sta" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">reclaim Indigenous varieties of corn, beans, squash, sunflowers and other crops</a>. This effort is important for many reasons.</p><p>Improving Native people's access to healthy, culturally appropriate foods will help lower rates of <a href="https://www.cdc.gov/vitalsigns/aian-diabetes/index.html" target="_blank">diabetes</a> and <a href="https://www.apa.org/pi/oema/resources/ethnicity-health/native-american/obesity" target="_blank">obesity</a>, which affect Native Americans at disproportionately high rates. Sharing traditional knowledge about agriculture is a way for elders to pass cultural information along to younger generations. Indigenous growing techniques also protect the lands that Native nations now inhabit, and can potentially benefit the wider ecosystems around them.</p>
By Jake Johnson
Amid reports that oil industry-friendly former Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz remains under consideration to return to his old post in the incoming Biden administration, a diverse coalition of environmental groups is mobilizing for an "all-out push" to keep Moniz away from the White House and demand a cabinet willing to boldly confront the corporations responsible for the climate emergency.
Anger, anxiety, overwhelm … climate change can evoke intense feelings.
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