It says something about how effective climate activists have been that our opponents’ efforts are becoming so bizarre. Look at the failed attempt to recall Gov. Newsom and select a replacement from a group of climate and pandemic deniers who were the epitome of California Crazy.
Locally we have the scheme to ship Rocky Mountain coal halfway across the continent, then down the Eel River canyon to fill Asia-bound ships in Humboldt Ba. Coal trains would roll down the crumbling route of the old Northwestern Pacific Railroad to supply power plants halfway around the world. The scheme came to light as plans were well underway to convert the abandoned rail bed to a hiking/biking trail.
Bizarre as these efforts are, they still require diligence to keep them from becoming reality. In the case of the coal trains, federal preference for rolling trains as opposed to other uses could give this long-shot an advantage. Click here for a petition (scroll down the page) by Humboldt Baykeeper and Friends of the Eel River asking the Humboldt Bay Harbor District to forbid coal trains from offloading at harbor facilities.
But we must do more than just stop bad projects — we have to convince decision makers to act for the climate. Locally, this challenge came up during a recent Arcata City Council meeting. Faced with deciding how to spend $4.4 million in federal pandemic relief funds, the council agreed to direct $500,000 toward measures that will reduce carbon emissions. It was far less than the $1.65 million 350 Humboldt and others had sought, but council members made clear they only agreed on the half million figure because they’d heard from constituents.
Acting to protect the climate is still tough to sell to many political leaders. Largely beholden to the oil and gas industry, many Democrats as well as Republicans in the California Legislature worked to defeat good bills this past session. But a few good bills passed. Now those bills face Gov. Newsom, who can veto them or sign them into law. The Governor also has a mixed record on climate action and still needs persuasion to do the right thing. Here’s an opportunity from 350 Silicon Valley to send a letter to the governor.
Maybe you’d like some training in how to up your skills in speaking for the climate? 350.org will present a series of two-hour virtual trainings on five Saturdays starting October 16 and going into December. Another global group of climate activists will present Climate Week, physically held in New York City but with virtual speeches and workshops covering a vast range of topics.
Just for fun, on Wednesday, September 22, Trevor Noah, Samantha Bee, Stephen Colbert and other late night TV stars will focus their frolic on climate change. Good luck to them! We need more of their humor.
Finally, if anything you’ve read here makes you interested in getting further involved in 350 Humboldt and its committees on legislation, art, local planning, offshore wind, social media, the book club, or other areas, reply to this News Flash! or join this Sunday’s evening letter writing group.
Thanks for your work toward a livable climate.
Pat Carr for 350 Humboldt