Wednesday, January 31, 2007
Tricounty DFA Update: Vigil Thanks, Meetup Next Week, more
First, sad news comes tonight that every liberal and progressive's favorite columnist, Molly Ivins, died today in Texas. Some people are not replaceable, and Molly Ivins was one of them. The world will be a sadder place.
In This Update:
1. Vigil Thanks
2. Meetup Next Week
3. War Fever?
4. Climate Change
5. Circular Letter
6. Friday Night Film Fest
1. Vigil Thanks
Thanks to everyone who came out of the cold and wind last Saturday, or were with us in spirit, for another successful vigil against the escalation of the war in Iraq and to bring our troops home.
I think we owe special thanks, also, to Frank Grassia, the late Pvt. Nathan Brown's Social Studies teacher for his eloquent words to the Post Star, and also to the paper for their coverage and Bonnie Naumann for her fine article.
Bit by bit we are all making a difference.
2. Meetup Next Week
A week from today, February 7th, is the first Wednesday of the month and time for our DFA meetup. As usual we will be meeting at the Rockhill Bakehouse Cafe in downtown Glens Falls at 7pm.
On the agenda this month will be reports on the demonstration in Washington, discussion of more actions, the War Tapes video DFA National in Burlington is proposing, the Circular Letter on Global Climate Change and we may get around to a special video on windpower.
3. War Fever?
The Bush White House continues to push ahead with escalating the war in Iraq. There's a petition from the DSCC tonight urging a halt to the escalation: http://www.dscc.org/makeadifference/petitions/20070111_Reid_Escalation.htm
There are also several bills now before both the House and Senate to limit and/or withdraw American Forces from Iraq. Bernice, who went to the demonstration in Washington, tells me all the discussion there was of House Resolution 508, which would begin a staged withdrawal.
Martha sends this very disturbing piece along about what may really be behind the escalation-- a smokescreen and defense for a totally new war on Iran http://www.consortiumnews.com/Print/2007/013107.html
I Congress doesn't act quickly to restrain the President and not merely protest, it may be too late to avoida much larger and worse war. Sen. Russ Feingold is going to introduce legislation in the Senate to start withdrawing the US from Iraq: http://www.truthout.org/docs_2006/013007T.shtml
4. Climate Change
There is no question the issue of Global Climate Change/Global Warming is definitely heating up, no pun intended. Watch the news Friday for a major report from an international conference studying Global Climate Change.
Salon.com thinks we may have approached a tipping point in opinion on Climate Change:
A tipping point does seem to have been reached. Here's four links from Truthout that came in just yesterday alone:
Millions to Go Hungry by 2080
Rising temperatures will leave millions more people hungry by 2080 and cause critical water shortages in China and Australia, as well as parts of Europe and the United States. By the end of the century, climate change will bring water scarcity to between 1.1 and 3.2 billion people as temperatures rise by 2 to 3 Celsius (3.6 to 4.8 Fahrenheit), a leaked draft of an Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) report said.
US Urges Scientists to Block Out Sun
The US wants the world's scientists to develop technology to block sunlight as a last-ditch way to halt global warming. It says research into techniques such as giant mirrors in space or reflective dust pumped into the atmosphere would be "important insurance" against rising emissions.
Global Warming: The Vicious Circle
The effects of man-made emissions of carbon dioxide are being felt on every inhabited continent in the world with very different parts of the climate now visibly responding to human activity.
Indonesia May Lose 2,000 Islands to Climate Change
Indonesia could lose about 2,000 islands by 2030 due to climate change, the country's environment minister said on Monday.
Hope none of your were looking forward to vacation on a tropical island paradise.
5. Circular Letter
That brings back around to the Circular Letter on Climate Change and the coming Presidential primaries coming up. I received suggestions and feedback on the letter (all are positive so far, with some suggestions). Special thanks to Nancy for proofreading. I am going to paste a revised version at the bottom for everyone to review again. Please let me know what you think of this and if you have any suggestions, alterations or additions! We will be discussing this at our meeting next week.
6. Friday Night Film Fest
The Rockhill Bakehouse Cafe's Friday Night Progressive Film Festival continues this week at 7:30pm with:
Feb 2 MALCOLM X: MAKE IT PLAIN (1994) Orlando Bagwell 139 min.
This film chronicles Malcolm X's remarkable journey from his birth on May 19, 1925 in Omaha, Nebraska, to his assassination at the Audubon Ballroom in New York City on February 21, 1965. His compelling story is told through the memories of people who had close personal and working relationships with him and included is extensive archival footage of Brother Malcolm,
speaking in his own words at meetings and rallies, and in media interviews."Make It Plain" presents an intimate portrait of the controversial black political leader and militant. The interviewees include many members of the Nation of Islam, Maya Angelou, Ossie Davis, Alex Haley, Mike Wallace, Malcolm's wife Dr. Betty Shabazz, daughter Atallah Shabazz, and brothers Wilfred and Philbert Little.
Thanks Everyone! Check out the Circular Letter below!
To our fellow DFA members
A Circular Letter On Climate Change
During the American Revolution it was a common practice for local Committees Of Correspondence, which were groups very much like ours, to compose circular letters to other groups and areas. These letters would pass on information, make observations, share opinions and propose new actions.
We propose this letter in a similar, revolutionary spirit.
Our community is located at the base of the Adirondack Mountains in upstate New York. Anyone who has watched weather maps of New York or New England over many years will know that Glens Falls is always one of the coldest and snowiest spots on the map. Glens Falls is an archetypal snow belt community. Winters here are normally five months long, and occasionally more. To live here is to live in winter.
However, December 2006 was the warmest December on record. Temperatures commonly hovered in the 40s all month long and sometimes broke into the 50s. There was no snow accumulation. At the beginning of January, grass was still green in Glens Falls. Lakes and ponds, which have always frozen hard by now, were free flowing. At their peak in early January, temperatures reached into the mid 60s.
We are all familiar with the lobster in the pot phenomena. If it is put in a cold pot and heated slowly, it will not attempt to escape. In a similar way, people who live in extreme conditions-- like Eskimos and polar bears-- or people like us in Glens Falls-- sometimes see changes others who live in less extreme circumstances will miss because they are more dramatic here.
If you live in Richmond, Virginia, or Little Rock, Arkansas, or Las Vegas, Nevada, where it doesn’t snow much, it might be easy to miss the fact that you are experiencing a significant warming in your winter weather. No snow is no snow. But when you live with snow on the ground five months of the year, as we do, have grown up with that and expect that, the sudden disappearance of snow comes as a shock.
Few people live in the Arctic or in the Antarctic or atop a glacier. That means there are few people in those places to bear witness to radical climate change.
We believe we are on the front line of climate change, are seeing directly for ourselves something others may not be picking up on, and must bear witness to the fact something very extreme and very deadly is happening to our planet.
Dangerous climate change is not a hypothetical event in the future. It is here now. We are sounding the alarm.
We also fear it will get much worse. Recent scientific studies have learned that vast quantities of methane gas, trapped for eons in the arctic permafrost of Russia and Canada, will be released as the permafrost melts.
Most of the climate change we have seen so far has been driven by carbon dioxide. However, methane gas in the upper atmosphere traps 23 times more heat than CO2. The release of methane will radically accelerate global warming. And it could be released in a very short period of time.
If that happens, an irreversible tipping point will occur. All the planet’s ice caps will melt, within a lifetime, possibly much less. The average ocean level will rise 30 feet, inundating all the world’s major coastal cities and shores. Whole regions like Florida, Cape Cod, Louisiana will largely vanish beneath the waves.
Concomitant with that rise will be a likely change in the world’s weather patterns. Specifically, the monsoon rains around the world will cease. The desertification we see now in Africa will spread around the world into South Asia, India, Southeast Asia, Indonesia and southern China.
Renowned environmental scientist James Lovelock, who created the Gaia hypothesis, that the world operates as a single regulating mechanism, now believes these events are all but inevitable. Lovelock has concluded that humanity will likely be driven to the polar regions in search of habitable terrain. There will not be enough arable land to feed the world’s population. He estimates that as many five to six billion people could possibly perish in a hundred years time.
This is the most dangerous crisis facing the human race since the Black Death killed 40-60% of the world’s population in the 1350s, or since imported diseases like smallpox killed as much as 90% of the people of the Americans after European contact in the 16th and 17th centuries.
For instance,after the arrival of the Black Death, the population of England was reduced in about three years from five million to two million.
Rapid climate change is not an inconvenience. It will have a similar lethality. Whatever the exact percentage, billions of human beings are going to perish. This is true even if prophets like Lovelock are only half right-- instead of four billion people perishing, two billion.
This may seem extreme. But one question has to be asked? What if Lovelock is right? What if he is only half right? Billions will still die.
The mass mortality of so many human beings is what makes this crisis the greatest event in human history.
What kind of actions are impelled upon us?
The first action is to seek appropriate leadership. Then we need to entrust them with
political power to address that crisis, the greatest crisis in at least 500-700 years.
We are now at the cusp of a Presidential election season. Many of us are upset about the Iraq War, civil rights, the war on the middle class, and many other issues. But Global Warming needs to be made the dominant issue of this selection process. It is a life or death issue for most of the human race. As horrifying as the Iraq War is, the long term judgement of history is likely to be that its principle consequence was that it delay our addressing the climate change crisis.
Accordingly, we believe as an organization we must insist on leaders who have several qualities:
*A solid commitment to dealing with the Global Warming/Global Climate Change issue.
*A specific plan of action.
*A solid and verifiable track record on Global Warming/Global Climate Change dating back over a period of years that can be inspected and adequately vetted.
*A record of integrity and standing up for issues, in other words, the strength to carry through. This specifically means not knuckling under to short term corporate pressure.
We would urge all candidates be required to meet this test first before even being considered for our endorsement and support.