December 2015
 All Eyes on Paris 
ECA Steering Committee Member Geri Freedman (right) and friends at a Fort Lauderdale demonstration calling for action in Paris to address climate change.
As this edition of the ECA Newsletter comes out, the attention of all who want to preserve a livable planet for the grandchildren and future generations is on the Climate Summit in Paris.  ECA has signed on to letters that are being delivered to world leaders in Paris, and a great many of us have signed petitions that will also be delivered to the delegates.

There is hope that a significant agreement will emerge from these talks, but everyone is clear that the threat of climate disruption will not be eliminated in the process.  Whatever the agreements are, they will be a first step toward a serious global response, and more significant steps will have to follow.  And, of course, the countries that make commitments in Paris will have to follow through and actually keep those commitments.

So Paris at best will be an important step, and the importance of climate advocates organizing and calling for action will grow, not diminish. regardless of the specific agreements.

For those of us in the United States, ahead are the critical battles to defend the EPA greenhouse gas regulations that President Obama is taking to Paris to demonstrate the good faith of our nation. Some members of Congress are working hard to kill these regulations (see below).

Members of Congress Move to 
Kill EPA Greenhouse Gas Regulations

President Obama went to Paris pointing to commitments by the United States to address greenhouse gas emissions, primarily through the Clean Power Plan (CPP), (which for the first time regulates carbon dioxide emissions from existing power plants and which went into effect this fall), and through new regulations on methane emissions which are currently under development by the EPA.

Methane emissions are much less plentiful than carbon dioxide emissions, but methane is a vastly more powerful greenhouse gas, and all the fracking for natural gas is resulting in increased methane emissions.  The EPA has issued draft methane regulations, and is now considering comments that have been submitted.  The timeline will allow for official promulgation of the methane rule while President Obama is still in office.

Sadly, some members of Congress are working to undermine these crucial steps to reduce greenhouse gases going into our atmosphere by killing these regulations.  The Senate has passed a resolution that would negate the CPP, but fell short of the votes that would be needed to override a Presidential veto, which Obama has promised to do.   See how your Senators voted.

Meanwhile, the House is expected to vote on a similar resolution to kill the CPP any day, which will not make any difference in the outcome.

And the House has proposed legislation in the works that would prohibit the development of methane regulations by the EPA. 

Although these resolutions will not be successful because they will be vetoed, the sad thing is that they send a message to the representatives of other nations that the US commitment to act on climate is shaky, and may not survive under a different President.

Polls show that the American public supports regulation of greenhouse gases, but those of us who are committed to preserving a livable planet will have to continue to advocate vociferously for these regulations as the fossil fuel industry will continue to pour money into defeating them. 

A recent analysis showed that big polluters have given $52 million in campaign contributions to those 49 Senators who co-sponsored the resolution to kill the Clean Power Plan.

Meanwhile, the House is expected to vote on a similar resolution to kill the CPP any day, which will not make any difference in the outcome.

And the House has legislation in the works that would prohibit the development of methane regulations.  

The image of fiddling while Rome burns comes to mind!

The Road to Paris

National Resources Defense Council delivered a letter to the White House on behalf of more than 70 civil rights, development, environmental, faith, human rights, justice, and science organizations including Elders Climate Action. You can add your name personally to tell the world leaders to take bold action at the Paris Climate Summit. Sign the petition here

Will Indonesian Fires Spark Reform of Rogue Forest Sector?

Lisa Palmer, Yale Environment 360, November 5, 2015

Massive fires in Indonesia caused by the burning of forests and peatlands for agriculture have shrouded large areas of Southeast Asia in smoke this fall. But analysts say international anger over the fires could finally lead to a reduction in Indonesia's runaway deforestation. Learn how palm oil, now in many "healthy" products, is a contributor to the current problem in Indonesia.

Portland Oregon Recently Passed the Strongest Resolution Against Fossil Fuels In The Country

Natasha Geiling, Think Progress, November 13, 2015

Even if there's not much momentum on the national level, we can still take action on the local level. In this article, you'll learn how activists in Portland, Oregon succeeded in getting their city council to pass a resolution that opposes any new infrastructure that would transport or store fossil fuels within the city or its adjacent waterways.
More Americans Perceive Harm from Global Warming, Survey Finds.

Yale Project on Climate Change Communication, Yale School of Environmental Studies

The Yale Project on Climate Change has just conducted a new national survey," Climate Change in the American Mind: October 2015". This report details results from the latest national tracking survey about global warming beliefs, risk perceptions, conversations and perceived ethical dimensions. It indicates that there is an increase in the belief that global warming will harm people, however the data also shows a decrease in the belief that humans could reduce global warming and that climate change will be successfully addressed. Read more.

Elders Climate Action Applauds the Youth from Our Children's Trust.

The purpose of Elders Climate Action is to address climate change in order to protect the wellbeing of our grandchildren and future generations. The youth from Our Children's Trust in Seattle, Washington have won a decided victory for the protection of the environment. The decision by Judge Hollis R. Hill clearly states that survival depends on the will of the Elders to act now. The eight youth petitioners, Our Children's Trust and Judge Hill should be applauded for their actions and we as elders must keep the momentum moving to assure the health of our planet for the children, grandchildren and future generations.
There are several similar cases supported by Our Children's Trust in other states and around the world. For more information about these cases, click on the map located on Our Children's Trust website. 

Citizens Climate Lobby

Going forward, in each issue of the ECA Newsletter, we will feature one of our partner organizations. 

(CCL) is an international non-profit, non-partisan, grassroots advocacy organization focused on combatting climate change through legislation to impose a fee on carbon emissions at the source and return the monies collected to citizens in the form of monthly checks.  The proposal is called Carbon Fee and Dividend.  

Elders Climate Action, during our formative process studied the different proposals which have been made to reduce carbon pollution from the United States, and were convinced that Carbon Fee and Dividend would be both the most comprehensive policy solution to phase out burning of fossil fuels and the only proposal capable of achieving support across the political spectrum.  

Citizen's Climate Lobby
(CCL) became our first partner in the lead-up to Grandparents Climate Action Day. They supported us in many ways including four on-line lobby trainings and a two-hour training session in Washington, DC the day before our Lobby Day. 

CCL approaches lobbying by nurturing friendly relationships with federally elected representatives, with respect, and appreciation for their service. CCL members also:
  • write letters to the editor and op-eds and meet with editorial boards to gain their editorial endorsement;
  • facilitate presentations and tables at events to promote CCL and introduce others to the Carbon Fee and Dividend proposal;
  • support volunteer chapters with monthly conference calls and the leaders of those chapters with weekly conference calls.
They believe that politicians do not create political will, rather they respond to it. And that citizens who are well-trained, organized by Congressional district, with a good system of support, can have a significant influence on the political process.

We wish to extend our gratitude to Citizens Climate Lobby for all of the help and support they have given us since the beginning of Elders Climate Action, and for leading the way to a comprehensive clean energy policy for the U.S.

To find out more, and to join CCL, go to their website: www.citizensclimatelobby.org

The Green Boat: Reviving Ourselves in Our Capsized Culture

by Mary Pipher
New York, NY: Riverhead Trade, 2013, 240 pages.

Review by Penelope Norton PhD

Hope is the thing with feathers
That perches in the soul
And sings the tune without the words...
- Emily Dickinson

Mary Pipher, like Emily Dickinson, was given solace, inspiration and renewal from the natural world; for her, it came from the prairie, hills and rivers of Nebraska. However, it also led Pipher to despair over the losses and potential losses in that ecosystem due to the accelerated human impact on the planet, global warming, and specifically the TransCanada Keystone pipeline.

From her own experiences with despair and incapacitating knowledge, she - along with her family and other members of the community - began a grassroots effort to protect the sandhills. From their small committee they hosted potlucks and rallies, concerts and other fundraising efforts and political forays. They offered and delivered a homemade apple pie to Nebraska's governor in return for his help with the project. Read more

COOL IT, a Personal Perspective of the November National Geographic

by Renee Fisher

The November 2015 issue of National Geographic, 'Cool it.,' is about climate: the way it is changing, what those changes mean, and the positive response to such change that is appearing in countries around the globe. The photos are stunning, frightening, uplifting. They remind us that the earth is more powerful than we have imagined, and more fragile than we have believed.

The data has been overwhelming. As industrialization and population growth place higher and higher demands on the acquisition and burning of fossil fuels, the natural order of the planet has paid the price. For decades, predictions of how we are dooming ourselves had been met largely with either apathy or with denial.

As more and more people have now been waking up to the realities of climate change, governments around the world have been paying attention. China, Saudi Arabia, Germany, and others have made huge strides in lowering carbon emissions. Last year, for the first time in many years, global carbon emissions from fossil-fuel burning didn't increase.

Because the movement toward low-carbon economies has begun, it is more important than ever to protect that momentum and to keep it going. This is a small flame that can be snuffed out very quickly if we stop paying attention. Every personal commitment makes a difference. Every person who supports a climate change organization makes a difference. Every book, every newsletter, every magazine article makes a difference. Now, more than ever before, we have the opportunity to change the global conversation about climate change. Our time has come. Visit the November 2015 edition of National Geographic.

Reading With Your Grandchildren

As grandparents, especially grandparents who take a stand for the health of the planet, we have a unique opportunity when we buy books for and/or read to our grandchildren. We have the ability to not only show our grandchildren the wonders of the world, but to instill in them a respect for how we should treat the earth. Here are some new releases for 2015.

The Problem of the Hot World 

By Pam Bonsper and Dick Rink

Pre-school through age 7

Five forest friends notice they are in trouble. Their world is too hot. Plants and bees are disappearing and their beautiful trees are dying. Bear, fox, deer, mole, and owl set off on an action-packed adventure as they look for a solution to the problem. While the solution they find helps them, is it the best way to deal with climate change? Use this book to start the discussion and help children understand the impacts of global warming.

The Trees

By Stanley Lake

Suitable for elementary school

A tropical island, where the earth provides ample food and comfort for the island dwellers, where all are friendly with one another and where sharing the bounty from the earth is the norm. But one night a giant storm takes everything away from the villagers and they must learn, as a community, the best way to rebuild and replant. This is a story of looking past the present and finding the best road to the future.

Earth Patriot: Origins

By Howard Shapiro
Kindle edition
for grade 6 through high school

"Earth Patriot: Origins" is a young adult novel about a teenager who incorporates into his life the best of traditional Native Hawaiian culture with that of modern society. It also speaks about Hawaiian values and the importance of `ohana, family, as well as addressing a number of environmental issues including climate change, GMOs, and land and water rights. The book is appropriate for readers in grades 6 through high school.

The Story of Climate Change

By Earth Day Network & Michael Leifer
Interactive Book for Grades 5-8
Free from ITunes

This is primarily a textbook for middle school students. This free interactive digital textbook allows educators and students to witness our changing climate through animation, science videos, photographs, and field expedition stories, and check their progress with quizzes at the end of each chapter. The iTextbook not only provides the gripping imagery of our changing climate, but it also offers ideas for action and solutions!

New to the newsletter this month are some links which may be of interest to you. We will include new links each month.

Minecraft for Energy Wonks: This Game Puts You in Control of America's Climate Headaches, Energy Policy Simulator

In This Issue
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Elders Climate Action 
is  a Project of the 
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The Conscious Elders Network (CEN) is an educational, non-profit organization fostering a budding movement of vital elders, dedicated to growing in consciousness while actively addressing the demanding challenges facing our country.


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