Five Reasons We’re Joining the People's Climate March
[Editor's note: Can't make it to NYC for the People's Climate March? Watch it on EcoWatch here, tomorrow, Sunday, Sept. 21 starting at 10:30 a.m.]
On Sept. 21, we join tens of thousands of people from across the country in the historic People’s Climate March in New York City. We’re thrilled to be marching alongside a diverse spectrum of Americans to demand meaningful action on climate change—the pivotal issue of our time and one on which millions of lives and future generations hinge.
People will be marching with a wide range of views and agendas, but as we prepare for this momentous and powerful event, here are five reasons the two of us will hit the streets of New York on Sunday.
Sandra Steingraber and Wenonah Hauter at a Cove Point rally in July.
1. Climate change requires bold, immediate action from political leaders.
Studies indicate we are now fast approaching climate tipping points, after which extreme changes in global temperatures will no longer be preventable, setting us on a collision course with disaster. Temperature increases, for example, trigger dust storms and sooty Arctic wildfires that are darkening the snowfields of Greenland. In turn, darker snow absorbs more heat, and further increases air temperatures, triggering even more dust storms and wildfires. The result is a feedback loop of runaway warming. We can still intervene and avoid many such tipping points, which lie just ahead, but we can’t do so via delays, half-hearted efforts, or individual lifestyle changes alone. Current climate science warns that to have a “good” chance—that is, somewhat better than 50-50 odds—of keeping warming below 2 degrees Celsius requires a very rapid, system-wide transition off all fossil fuels, leaving most coal, oil, and gas underground. On Sunday we’ll be marching to call on our elected leaders—at all levels of government—to take bold and decisive action in line with the science before it is too late.
2. President Obama needs to be a climate leader – and climate leaders don’t promote fracking.
We appreciate President Obama’s recent decision to use executive action to address climate change, but the initiative he recently proposed—a set of U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) rules to regulate power plants—are not nearly ambitious enough to solve the problem. Because these rules promote a switch from coal to fracked natural gas, they may even be counterproductive. Studies show that drilling and fracking operations leak methane, a super-charged greenhouse gas. So do pipelines and all the other pieces of infrastructure that process and carry the fracked gas. At best, only 40 percent of these leaks are fixable. A rapid build-out of fracking means an exponential increase in methane leaks, making natural gas at least as bad for the climate as coal—and maybe even worse, particularly in the critical short term. Further, the proposed rules also are overly modest in the goals they set for carbon dioxide reduction. These small cuts aren’t enough to make any substantial progress. On Sunday, we’ll be taking that message to New York City. We have also launched a petition with actor and activist Mark Ruffalo telling President Obama that any climate change solution cannot include fracking.
3. New York is a base camp for the fight against fracking and climate change.
For the last four years, we’ve both been deeply involved with the state-wide coalition, New Yorkers Against Fracking in the efforts to ban fracking in New York. We have seen the movement grow—following the lead of grassroots groups who first sounded the call for a ban—from a place where fracking was all but inevitable to a place where Governor Cuomo recently acknowledged us as the most powerful mass movement in the state. It continues to be a David and Goliath struggle, but we’ve shown we can change the outcome through organizing, persistence and holding elected officials directly accountable for their actions. Those are the elements of our slingshot. When people come together, our collective power can beat back corporate interests, even big oil and gas. On Sunday, we’ll be marching to celebrate the power of organizing and to encourage people across the country to carry the never-give-up fighting spirit from New York’s anti-fracking movement to communities across the country.
4. The solutions to the climate crisis are within our reach. We seek to build the political will to implement them.
We often hear that we need to work within the system on incremental reforms in order to allow time for solutions to be developed, and that bold change is not feasible. Meanwhile, according to this worldview, natural gas obtained via fracking can serve as “bridge” or an “exit ramp” to allow time to transition to renewables. We are marching on Sunday to say that we don’t have time for metaphorical construction projects. And none are required. We can and must make the transition to renewable energy now—not 10 years from now, not 20 years from now – but now. That’s what the science mandates. The Secretary General of the United Nations World Meteorological Organization has warned, “The laws of physics are non-negotiable. We are running out of time.” By that, he does not mean “let’s build bridges out of fracked gas.”
Here’s the good news: an economy based on renewable energy is both economically and technically feasible. Solar is growing exponentially, wind resources are vast, and we possess the know-how to become more energy efficient. Professor Marc Jacobson at Stanford University and The Solutions Project has outlined a national plan to make this happen and state plans are in the works for all 50 states.
5. We can’t stop in New York—we need to take action in communities across the nation.
Finally, we’re marching to recruit people into the anti-fracking wing of the climate change movement and to encourage marchers to take what they’ve learned in the streets of Manhattan back home with them. We can only achieve bold, meaningful action to address climate change if we organize and build power in our communities and use that power to confront fossil fuel projects, challenge their investors and pressure our elected representatives to act on our behalf. The energy and inspiration we siphon from the People’s Climate March can help us continue the hard but critical work of organizing in frontline communities. There are anti-fracking measures on the ballot in multiple communities across the country and literally hundreds of state and local efforts happening across the country. And on Oct. 11, we’ll have a second opportunity to reunite. That day, people from around the globe will come together to call for a ban on fracking and a swift energy transition as part of third international Global Frackdown, the international day of action to ban fracking.
No matter how fracking and climate change impact you and your community, let’s march together in New York, take inspiration and energy back home, and work together to fight for a sustainable and vibrant future.
YOU MIGHT ALSO LIKE
EcoWatch Daily Newsletter
By Jeff Masters, Ph.D.
Tropical Storm Josephine Also No Threat to Land<p>Meanwhile, the season's record-earliest tenth named storm, Tropical Storm Josephine, was also struggling with high wind shear as it traced out a path over the open ocean.</p><p>At 5 a.m. EDT Saturday, Josephine was located about 310 miles east of the northern Leeward Islands, moving west-northwest at 15 mph with top sustained winds at 45 mph. Josephine is expected to bring one to three inches of rain over portions of the northern Leeward Islands, the Virgin Islands, and Puerto Rico over the weekend. Josephine will encounter steadily rising wind shear through Monday, peaking at a very high 30 – 35 knots. This high shear is likely to destroy Josephine's circulation by Monday, before the storm can affect any other land areas.</p><p><em>Reposted with permission from <a href="https://yaleclimateconnections.org/2020/08/tropical-storm-kyle-forms-unlikely-to-affect-land/" target="_blank">Yale Climate Connections</a>. </em><em></em></p>
By Ute Eberle
In May 2017, shells started washing up along the Ligurian coast in Italy. They were small and purple and belonged to a snail called Janthina pallida that is rarely seen on land. But the snails kept coming — so many that entire stretches of the beach turned pastel.
The Ligurian coast has been swept by snails turning its color pastel.
A World Between Worlds<p>The neuston comprises a multitude of weird and wonderful creatures. </p><p>Many, like the Portuguese man-of-war, which paralyzes its prey with venomous tentacles up to 30 meters long, are colored an electric shade of blue, possibly to protect themselves against the sun's UV rays, or as camouflages against predators.</p><p>There are also by-the-wind sailors, flattish creatures that raise chitin shields from the water like sails; slugs known as sea dragons that cling to the water's surface from below with webbed appendages; barnacles that build bubble rafts as big as dinner plates; and the world's only marine insects, a relation of the pond skater.</p><p>They live "between the worlds" of the sea and sky, as Federico Betti, a marine biologist at the University of Genoa, puts it. From below, predators lurk. From above, the sun burns. Winds and waves toss them about. Depending on the weather, their environment may be warm or cool, salty or less so.</p>
Sea snails can make up the neuston.
Velella velella jellyfish living on the surface of the ocean.<p>But now, they face another — manmade — threat from nets designed to catch trash. A project called <a href="https://theoceancleanup.com/" target="_blank">The Ocean Cleanup</a>, run by Dutch inventor Boyan Slat, has raised millions of dollars in donations and sponsorship to deploy long barriers with nets that will drift across the ocean in open loops to sweep up floating garbage. </p>
Collecting With the Current<p>"Plastic could outweigh fish in the oceans by 2050. To us, that future is unacceptable," <a href="https://www.dw.com/en/green-entrepreneur-sets-sights-on-great-pacific-garbage-patch/a-38855785" target="_blank">The Ocean Cleanup</a> declares on its website.</p><p>But Rebecca Helm, a marine biologist at the University of North Carolina, and one of the few scientists to study this ecosystem, fears that The Ocean Cleanup's proposal to remove 90% of the plastic trash from the water could also virtually wipe out the neuston.</p><p>One focus of Helm's studies is where these organisms congregate. "There are places that are very, very concentrated and areas of little concentration, and we're trying to figure out why," says Helm.</p><p>One factor is that the neuston floats with ocean currents, and Helm worries that it might collect in the exact same spots as marine plastic pollution. "Our initial data show that regions with high concentrations of plastic are also regions with high concentrations of life."</p>
Waste collection in the Pacific Ocean heralded by The Ocean Cleanup.<p>The Ocean Cleanup says Helm's concerns are based on "misguided assumptions."</p><p>"It's true that neustonic organisms will be trapped in the barriers," says Gerhard Herndl, professor of Aquatic Biology at the University of Vienna and one of project's scientific advisors. "But these organisms have dangerous lives. They're adapted to high losses because they get washed ashore in storms and they have high reproductive rates. If they didn't, they'd already be extinct."</p><p>Helm says they just don't know how quickly these creatures reproduce, and in any case recovering from passing storm is very different from surviving The Ocean Clean Up's systems which could be in place for years.</p>
Communication Breakdown<p>The Ocean Cleanup invited Helm to a symposium on the topic in December, where both sides presented their points of views and didn't seem to find much common ground. Since then, direct communication between them has stopped, says Helm. "They're not interested in talking to me anymore."</p><p>Both sides agree that much is still unknown about the neuston. But one thing that has been established is that most of the oceans' fish spend part of their lifecycle in the neuston. "More than 90% of marine fish species produce floating eggs that persist on the surface until hatching," Betti says.</p><p>The Ocean Cleanup has undertaken one of the few studies into this ecosystem, collecting data on the neuston on the relative abundance of neuston and floating plastic debris in the eastern North Pacific Ocean during a 2019 expedition to the Pacific Garbage Patch, an area where plastic pollution has accumulated on a vast scale. But it is not yet sharing what it has found. The information was being prepared for publication in an as of yet unspecified journal, probably some time next year, an Ocean Cleanup spokesperson said. </p>
Inshore Solution?<p>Helm believes the best way to tackle the marine plastic problem would be to position the barriers closer to land — across river mouths and bays — to catch garbage before it reaches the sea.</p><p>"Stopping the flow of plastic into the ocean is the most cost-effective — and literally effective — way to ensure that it's not entering our environment," she says. </p><p>As for the plastic already floating in open waters, she does not believe it is worth sacrificing parts of neuston and wants to see more research first. </p><p>The Ocean Cleanup has made barriers across rivers a part of its mission. But it is also going ahead with its original vision of pulling trash from the open water. In late 2018, the project deployed a 600-meter, u-shaped prototype net into the <a href="https://www.dw.com/en/environment-conservation-plastic-oceans/a-54436603" target="_blank">Great Pacific Garbage Patch</a>. </p><p>The system ran into difficulties, failing to retain plastic as hoped, and needing to be brought shore for repairs and a design upgrade, after which Ocean Cleanup says it gathered haul of plastic that it will recycle and resell to help fund future operations.</p><p>Over the next two years, the project hopes to deploy up to 60 such barriers to collect drifting flotsam. Helm isn't the only one concerned about these plans.</p><p><span></span>"We should think twice about every action we take in the sea," Betti says. "In nature, nothing is as easy as we think, and often, we've done a lot of damage while trying to do a good thing."</p><p><em>Reposted with permission from <a href="https://www.dw.com/en/environment-conservation-plastic-oceans/a-54436603" target="_blank">Deutsche Welle</a>.<a href="https://www.ecowatch.com/r/entryeditor/2646992655#/" target="_self"></a></em><em></em></p>
By Hope Dickens
Molly Craig's day begins with feeding hungry baby birds at 6 a.m. The birds need to be fed every 15 minutes until 7 at night. If she's not feeding them, other staff at the Fox Valley Wildlife Center in Elburn, Illinois take turns helping the hungry orphans.
By Douglas Broom
"Forests are the lungs of our land, purifying the air and giving fresh strength to our people," said former U.S. president, Franklin Roosevelt.
So the FAO is using Twitter to remind the world of these five hidden benefits of forests.
A Michigan bald eagle proved that nature can still triumph over machines when it attacked and drowned a nearly $1,000 government drone.
- Judge Rules Against Trump's Attempt to Log in America's Largest ... ›
- Trump Admin Guts Endangered Species Act in the Midst of Climate ... ›
- 17 States Sue to Stop Trump Admin Attack on Endangered Species ... ›
A professional cycling race in Australia is under attack for its connections to a major oil and gas producer, the Guardian reports.
- Burning All Fossil Fuels Would Lead to a 17 C Rise in Arctic ... ›
- All Renewables Will Be Cost Competitive With Fossil Fuels by 2020 ... ›
- G20 Nations Spend $77 Billion a Year to Finance Fossil Fuels ... ›
- People Eat 50,000+ Microplastics Every Year, New Study Finds ... ›
- Microplastics Are Increasing in Our Lives, New Research Finds ... ›
- Sharks Are Polluted With Plastic, New Study Shows - EcoWatch ›
- 73% of Deep-Sea Fish Have Ingested Plastic - EcoWatch ›
- Scientists Launch Groundbreaking Study on Health Risks of ... ›
- 25% of Fish Sold at Markets Contain Plastic or Man-Made Debris ... ›