3 Easy Actions to Protect the Environment in the Trump Era

Today, Scott Pruitt was confirmed to lead the Environmental Protection Agency. Given his history opposing the EPA, it is likely he will want to gut existing regulations and squelch the agency’s influence. His confirmation is not good news for the planet and every living creature (including humans) inhabiting it. There are ways we can fight #PollutingPruitt and those who favor business over environment. Let me share a few things you can do to make sure your community is immune to changes at the Federal level.

A little background, in my day job, I am a Sustainability Manager. In that role, I work closely with federal, state, and local environmental regulations. These suggested actions are based on the knowledge I’ve gained working in this field.

Action 1: Get involved in your municipality’s environmental policy making. Attend City Council meetings, and be informed and vocal. First, it is important to understand that environmental policy is dictated by state and municipal governments as well as the EPA. In fact, it could be argued that state and local municipalities are even more powerful in shaping local environmental policy than the Feds are. Here is a real life example of how powerful state and local governments are in creating environmental policy.

Have you ever wondered why California has more stringent environmental regulations than other states? It’s because the state government and the local municipalities decided that protecting the environment and public health of its citizens were priorities. When the smog in L.A. was beyond healthy limits, they created the strictest air pollution policies in the country. The new regulations meant that if a car manufacturer wanted to sell in the California market, they had to build cars to conform to the California emission standard.  California law forced the automobile industry to change its manufacturing practices to be more sustainable. (Notice how I didn’t mention the EPA once in this example.)

Action 2: Vote With Your Dollars  The silver lining in all of this EPA mess is that consumers have a lot power here. Outside of the US, climate change is an accepted scientific fact. Therefore, business and industry across the globe have and are continuing to adapt to a market that values environmental security. Corporate sustainability and social responsibility are not a trend, they are the global expectation now regardless of what the American government decides to do next. Even more importantly, business has learned that sustainability is even more profitable than the old way of operating. Additionally, consumers demand that the companies they support be sustainable, and be transparent about their sustainability efforts. Just look at Toms or Warby Parker, for example.

You can help influence business sustainability and corporate social responsibility by being a conscious consumer.  Do a little homework on the brands you support and decide if they reflect your values. If not, chuck them in favor of companies that do and start purchasing those products. Tell your old companies why you’re ditching them, and let your new choices know why you switched over. Your almighty dollar carries more weight than anyone working for the government does.

Action 3: Tell Your Member of Congress to support our commitment to the Paris Agreement  As a leading producer of greenhouse gas emissions, the United States has a massive role to play in mitigating the effects of climate change. We have already committed to our allies around the world that we would adhere to the Paris Agreement goals. Be vigilant in telling your Member of Congress that we need to keep our promises. Call them daily about this issue. When they hold a town hall, go and ask them to commit to protecting the Paris Agreement. The lives of our children and grandchildren are literally at stake.

 

I hope these three actions give you a little encouragement and remind you that you do have power to influence environmental policy. I would argue that at this point, we, the people, are the planet’s best chance at enforcing the changes we must make before it’s too late.

To Die a Patriot

Americans spend a lot of time dying for their freedom. Our brave men and women in the Armed Forces risk their lives willingly for our freedom. They know the risks. They feel that sacrificing themselves in the most dangerous of circumstances for our freedom is worth it. This act of courage is absolutely the most noble act, and no American can ever repay the sacrifice of each of their fellow American service members.

But average Americans sacrifice their lives for freedom, too. Whether they are killed by a hate crime, murdered by a police officer, beaten to death by their husband, neglected by their parent, killed in the line of duty, or shot by a fellow student while at school, Americans die for their freedom every. Single. Day.

All the service people we lost over the last 200 years died defending the Constitution. The very First Amendment of the Constitution prohibits discrimination based on religion. This right is so important and intrinsic to America that the Founders made it (part of) rule number one. This principle is the very foundation of this country. It is exactly why the Puritans left England.

So, the Muslim ban happens and what the fuck, America? Have we completely forgotten who we are?

The data about who commits these acts is not reflected in GOP policy. Close borders all you want, but it’s just a matter of time before another American male with a gun and mental health need commits the next act of domestic terrorism. Research the statistics and you’ll quickly see for yourself that they don’t match the narrative we’ve been force fed by the GOP for over a decade.

extremistkillings2015table1a

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Don’t be easily fooled. Ever since 9/11, the GOP has used the threat of terrorist attacks to instill fear in the populace and persuade us to give up our rights in the name of national security. I call bullshit. We will never be as safe as we were pre 9/11. The world is changed, and if our lawmakers continue to chip away at our rights under the guise of national security, then we won’t BE America anymore.

As an American citizen, I accept the possibility that when I go out in public, my safety is in jeopardy. I accept that I could be the victim of a random terrorist attack when I’m at the post office, or seeing a movie, or getting a Starbucks. What I do not accept is sacrificing my rights, rights that this country was founded on, and rights that the rest of the free world admires us for, in the name of some faux sense of safety. By doing so, WE FORGET AND NEGLECT WHO WE ARE.

If a terrorist attack occurs and I die, that is the price I am willing to pay for my Constitutional freedoms. That is the cost of being an American. It’s a cost I’m ready to pay. I would rather die a patriot than live as a loyal slave to a government that gradually steals my freedom from me.

All The Good We’re Doing

In the overwhelming noise of the first weeks and rapid attacks on the #Constitution, let’s take a sec to recognize the victories we won last week. We ARE winning some battles, and our protests are important! I was on a call with folks from the ACLU last night and they talked about how the airport protests are comforting to the immigrants and refugees who doubt that they are wanted here.

Here are the other wins:

  • Federal hiring freeze is reversed for VA (Veteran Affairs).
  • Court order Partial stay of the immigration ban for those with valid visas.
  • Green card holders can get back in country.
  • Uber pledges $3M and immigration lawyers for its drivers after #DeleteUber trends on Twitter.
  • Obamacare (Affordable Care Act) enrollment ads are still going to air.
  • The ACLU raised 24M over the weekend (normally 3-4Mil/year).
  • HHS, EPA, USDA gag order lifted.
  • EPA climate data no longer scrubbed from website.
  • More people of different career/religious/economic/race backgrounds are considering running for political office than ever before.
  • MOST importantly, since we live in a participatory democracy, the people are engaged.

Take care of yourselves and give yourself permission to step away and disconnect for a little while. While you’re gone, know that #TheResistance will be working and will be here to welcome a refreshed you back to work.

This is #WhyIMarch

There is a lot of talk about the participation of white women in the Women’s Marches tomorrow. I understand the need for intersectionality and respect that. The discussion made me question whether or not I had a place at the March. I wasn’t feeling exactly included, and that’s ok, because women of color have always been excluded. I was on the fence until this week.

But I wasn’t happy with the idea of staying home. The challenges I’ve faced as a woman first and foremost, know no color boundary. Do women of color suffer more and in many different ways than I do? Of course. Do I need to learn more about that, and how I can use my privilege to better help rather than harm or subvert their struggle? Abso-fucking-lutley.

Yet, we all struggle. And it’s those struggles that unite us as women that gives me a place at the March. This is #whyIMarch.

I march because my story of trying to pull my Dad off my Mom as he beat her when I was four years old is a story that can be found in all races.

I march because when my Mom was able to scrape enough money together to leave him (she wasn’t allowed to have a job), we ate nothing but cereal and she couldn’t support us. She wasn’t able to get assistance, and we had to go back to him to survive. The black eyes and almost nightly beatings continued.  Domestic abuse threatens the lives of millions of women and children every single moment of every single day.

I march because when we were finally able to break free from my father, my single mom worked her ass off to support me. I became a latch-key kid in the second grade. When Mom tried to get food stamps, she was told she made too much money (thanks, Regan). I remember the fridge being empty and going to bed hungry more than once. Sometimes people need a little help getting on their feet when they want to improve their lives.

I march because I was very sick with asthma as a kid, and it was hard for mom to get me the care I needed. She always found a way, but I knew it was a burden. It shouldn’t be that hard and scary for parents or kids.

I march because I in the 8th grade, I was “pussy grabbed” in the school hallway by a boy who I thought was my friend, a boy I thought respected me. We had been friends since 5th grade. He wasn’t punished by the school for this assault.

I march because I’m sick and fucking tired of being leered at, catcalled, followed, and insulted when I refuse a male’s attentions.

I march because I was almost raped by a male coworker and my boss. I barely escaped the situation and when I tried to report it, the business had up and disappeared. These guys were predators.

I march for my working deaf grandmother who fought for equal treatment, a decent wage, and a right to disability income. Every year she had to re-prove that she’d been deaf since infancy.

I march for my Latina half-sister who has different struggles than me.

I march because I want equal pay for equal work.

I march to end rape culture.

I march for reproductive freedom.

I march for my right NOT to believe in God.

I march because I cannot side by and watch a fascist destroy everything America means to me and the world.

I refuse to let our democracy die.

I will fight.

I won’t give up.

It starts today.

Tomorrow, I march.

 

#Action CALL TO ACTION AGAINST REPUBLICAN ATTACK ON THE OFFICE OF CONGRESSIONAL ETHICS

#Action CALL TO ACTION AGAINST REPUBLICAN ATTACK ON THE OFFICE OF CONGRESSIONAL ETHICS They’re voting on this *today,* so we need to make the calls ASAP.

House Republicans just voted to curtail the power of the Office of Congressional Ethics, an independent ethics office charged with fighting corruption in Congress. Today, the very first day of our new Congress, the Republicans will bring this up for full vote. Since Republican Representatives gave no time for debate, please flood the offices of your Representatives with calls first thing in the morning and let them know that you oppose this action against the Office of Congressional Ethics. We need to root out corruption in DC, not make corruption easier!

Script:

I oppose the move to restrict the power and independence of the Office of Congressional Ethics, and I expect (YOUR REP’S NAME) to do the same in today’s vote. This move would not help to “drain the swamp” in Washington, something ALL voters can agree on regardless of party. Please vote NO on this measure!

Please call:

Call your own Representative: Find your Representative’s Phone Number here:

http://www.house.gov/representatives/

Representative Goodlatte’s office. DC office: 202-225-5431.Roanoke Office:

540-857-2672 He is the Republican chairman of the House Judiciary Committee and is the one spearheading this action against OCE.

Speaker Ryan – 202-225-3031

House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy – 202-225-2915

Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi – 202-225-4965

Majority Whip Steve Scalise – 202-225-3015

Minority Whip Steny Hoyer – 202-225-4131

House Judiciary Ranking Member John Conyers 202-225-5126

House Judiciary Committee office 202-225-3951

Source:
http://www.npr.org/2017/01/02/507955013/house-gop-votes-to-strip-independence-from-congressional-ethics-office

What to Do This Week of December 25, 2016; Actions for Democrats, Independents, and Republicans of Conscience

(Reposted from Jennifer Hoffmann. Many thanks to her for putting together this amazing weekly actions list.)

 

What to Do This Week of December 25, 2016

Actions for Democrats, Independents, and Republicans of conscience

There are three weeks until DJT takes office

 

Due to the holidays, this message is shorter and has simpler actions than usual. The intention of this weekly document is to make clear suggestions for action backed with well-considered research. You don’t need to do them all–just the ones that align with your values and abilities. If an issue doesn’t affect you, consider whether you would support this issue on behalf of other Americans and act accordingly.

Although these topics have been well researched and are intended to be helpful, they are still subject to human error. Please do your own research!

 

If you’d like to subscribe to this weekly action list, please go here:

http://jenniferhofmann.com/home/weekly-action-checklist-democrats-independents-republicans-conscience/

 

 

Simple actions this week

Sign the petition insisting that President Obama declassify the CIA’s report on torture. djt promises to do worse to the people our country detains, and this documentation shows it doesn’t work.

https://www.standtallforamerica.com/petition/torture-report/e/

 

Sign Senator Ron Wyden’s (D-OR) petition demanding that all cabinet appointees release their tax returns so that senate committees can vet them for conflicts of interest.

https://www.signherenow.org/petition/cabinet-tax-returns/wyden/

Due Dec 30: Write an email or letter supporting access to independent legal for Standing Rock water protectors.

https://www.ndcourts.gov/_court/notices/20160436/notice.htm

 

Protect the rights of LGBT citizens by protesting FADA, the discriminatory bill that refuses to die.

https://attritioncoalition.org/protest-the-first-amendment-defense-act/

 

Bonus action:

This mosque has been vandalized twice in a month. Send them a love note to remind them of who we are as Americans.

http://www.mapsredmond.org/2016/12/18/how-you-can-help/

Their address is: MAPS Redmond 17550 NE 67th Ct, Redmond WA 98052.

 

Action update! Last week, you helped Oregon recognize a police officer killed in the line of duty instead of Ammon Bundy. Thank you so much for your help!

 

Recommended reading

The four following articles present well-formed ideas on how to address djt & co. Note strategy overlaps as you read–definite themes emerge.

Three congressional staffers wrote Indivisible, with specific advice on how everyday citizens can oppose djt & co. It is worth the 15 minutes read.

Two very good big-picture plans for dealing with djt for the next four years.

Finally, how to stop helping djt unintentionally:

https://georgelakoff.com/2016/12/15/how-to-help-trump/

 

Note: Next week, the most important agenda item will be to express powerful and strategic opposition to the corrupt, least qualified presidential cabinet appointments our country has ever seen. Hearings start mid-month (before the inauguration), so get ready to make your voice heard.


In the meantime, take a break and rest up.  Wishing you a happy new year!

Protecting Our Civil Liberties in the Trump Era

As I’ve often done in my life, I’m giving a shout out to the Universe for the fact that I was born in one of the bluest places in the Rocky Mountain west. Not only it is beautiful here, but we are blessed with a very progressive mindset and culture. There are so many resources here for folks who oppose the new administration and want to be part of #TheResistance.

Recently, the ACLU Colorado in partnership with 1 Act a Day, held an open discussion about “Keeping Civil Liberties Alive & Well In a Trump Era”. Nathan Woodliff-Stanley, Executive Director touched on many areas of concern during the discussion. Here are the biggest takeaways.

 

  1. Nathan repeated this several times throughout the evening: so most importantly, DO NOT LET FEAR SILENCE YOU. A few loud dissenters can be silenced, but millions of us cannot. DO NOT be silent, complacent, or numb to what is going on. Our strength is our voice, and if we don’t use our right to protest, it’s that much easier for them to take that right away. We must exercise our rights, and exercise them often.
  1. We need to watch for attacks to liberty to come in phases. First, be on the lookout for challenges to free press and the right to protest/dissent. These are already under attack as evidence by the PEOTUS’s disparaging, threatening tweets to the press, his refusal to hold a press conference “on the record”, or have a White House Press Corps. The first tweet he sent out after being elected was an attack on protesters, claiming that if they burn the flag, they should be imprisoned and have their citizenship taken away. (Flag burning is protected by the First Amendment under free speech.)
  1. Right now, our courts are in pretty good shape, but they will begin to deteriorate as time goes on and Trump appoints more judges throughout the court system. There is a big push to get cases through the courts before this begins to happen. It’s more important than ever to pay attention to ALL local elections and get involved at the local level. Be prepared for the fact that battles will get harder to fight and there may be fewer victories as the courts become more conservative. If you can, support organizations like the ACLU or Planned Parenthood with donations or volunteer for them.

 

We are still #strongertogether. Don’t be silent, don’t be afraid. You are not alone when you speak up, when you protest, and when you speak to your representatives. This is the beginning, but we are on this road to tote this load together.