‘A is for Activist’ introduces toddlers to people and ideas on the left

‘A is for Activist’ introduces toddlers to people and ideas on the left

Imagine my surprise when I opened a 5.5-inch square children’s board book at the home of my niece and her husband and my grandnieces Naomi, 2, and Valerie, 1 week old, and found myself (along with at least one cat) on virtually every page! Activist—Environmentalist—Grassroots—LGBTQ—Radical—Unionist—and all the way down the alphabet to Z for Zapatista. (I guess I don’t personally qualify for that one, except in spirit.)

A is for Activist is a bestseller by Innosanto Nagara that is at least one person’s answer to the age-old question, How to raise socially conscious children? Born and raised in Jakarta, Indonesia, Nagara moved to the United States in 1988. In the San Francisco Bay Area as a recent college graduate, he did graphic design work for social change organizations, then founded the Design Action Collective, a worker-owned cooperative design studio in Oakland.

Nagara wrote and illustrated A is for Activist for his young son, observing the lack of a “pro-activist, pro-social justice, pro-gay, pro-labor, pro-diversity, progressive ABC book.” After he received supportive approval from friends and from a social media funding campaign, he published it privately and sold and mailed out over 3000 copies as a one-man operation. Then in 2013, he found a commercial publisher in Triangle Square Books, an imprint of Seven Stories Press.

Siete Cuentos, the Spanish-language side of Seven Stories, published an edition with musician Martha Gonzalez’s translation, A de Activista, in 2014. There is now also an audio version recorded by radical guitarist and activist Tom Morello.

More than 125,000 copies of his book in print make Nagara a children’s bestseller according to the New York Times. This books joins a trend of many recent children’s books on social issues that parents are clearly seeking out to add to their children’s collections of fantasy and fairy-tale themes.

“Full of wit, beauty, and fun,” say Naomi Klein, author of The Shock Doctrine, and filmmaker Avi Lewis; “we can think of no better way to learn the alphabet.” MORE

Major German union urges members to join climate protests

Greta Thunberg
In this photo taken on Friday, July 26, 2019, Greta Thunberg stands next to Swedish parliament in Stockholm. Thunberg, the Swedish teenager whose social media-savvy brand of eco-activism has inspired tens of thousands of students in Europe to skip classes and protest for faster action against climate change, said Monday, July 29, 2019 that she plans to take her message to America the old-fashioned way: by boat. (AP Photo/David Keyton)

One of Germany’s largest unions is calling on its members to join a worldwide protest calling for action on climate change next month.

Verdi head Frank Bsirske told the WAZ newspaper on Monday he was calling on the union’s 2 million members to take part in the Sept. 20 protest that’s being organized by the group “Fridays for Future.”

The group, which was inspired by Swedish teen climate activist Greta Thunberg, has attracted thousands to its weekly protests in cities across Europe and elsewhere in the world over the past year.

Many are students who skip school to join the protests.

Bsirske says he’s not calling for union members to walk off work but to join in after their shifts are done.  SOURCE

Latest Sisson Mine approval leaves First Nations, conservation groups uneasy

“It’s unfortunate but the economic arguments in favour of large mining projects almost always outweigh the environmental damages that projects like the Sisson Mine will do” — Lois Corbett, Conservation Council of New Brunswick

Tailings pond for proposed mine north of Fredericton requires damming two fish-bearing brooks


The proposed mine project includes a tailings pond and ore processing plant, covering 12.5 square kilometres of Crown land.(Northcliff Resources Ltd.)

For two years, Nick Polchies of Woodstock First Nation and his dog Arizona have been waking up in the woods, on land that someday — and for centuries to come — could be a toxic tailings pond.

Polchies initially went to the site, about 80 kilometres northwest of Fredericton, to help the Wolastoqi grandmothers already camping out there to protest the proposed Sisson Mine.

Northcliff Resources Ltd., a Vancouver-based company, says its open-pit tungsten and molybdenum mine would create 500 jobs during construction and 300 jobs for the 27 years it is expected to operate.

The $579-million mine near the community of Napadogan would also have a storage pond for toxic waste that would last for many years after the mine is abandoned. The waste facility would require the damming of two fish-bearing brooks.

Polchies’s resolve to fight the project only deepened when the mine and the tailings pond proposed for the unceded Wolastoqey land got approval this summer from Environment and Climate Change Canada.

“Basically, my mind kind of went to an old meme,” said the frustrated Polchies. “It’s like ‘how many times must we teach you this lesson, old man?’ Like it’s not going to happen, we’re not going to allow it to happen.” MORE

RELATED:

New Brunswick tungsten mine passes federal authorization hurdle
Wolastoqey Chiefs condemn decision to dump mine waste into two rivers

CHIEFS SAY THEY ONLY LEARNED ABOUT THE DECISION FROM MAINSTREAM MEDIA

Canada: Accumulating mining problems at Macehcewik sipohsisol

CAMPAIGN FOR 1000 KITCHEN TABLE CLIMATE CONVERSATIONS – LAUNCHED! JOIN US!

 

We invite you to be part of a project that will take place over the summer and fall of 2019, involving as many people in Ontario as possible, in ‘kitchen table climate conversations’. 

Our inaugural Kitchen Table Climate Conversation (KTCC) training day was held on June 22nd in Toronto. More than 70 participants from across Southern Ontario were trained in facilitation and communications skills for discussing the climate emergency, as well as tips for handling eco-anxiety.  These skills, coupled with key science visuals and information on health risks associated with the climate crisis, have readied us to hold conversations and face the climate challenge head on.

We desperately need to increase the understanding of the climate emergency across our province, but also the positive future that is possible as we work together. We suggest that an ideal “conversation” communicates the crisis clearly, but leaves the bulk of the time to discuss potential actions and solutions. Kitchen Table Climate Conversations are a means to inform our friends, neighbours and co-workers, and to galvanize them to take on personal and political change to turn this emergency around. Join us! 

Research shows that change takes place in group discussions, especially those with a trusted communicator.  We encourage you to set up these “conversations” for small groups of friends, relatives, and neighbours to share hopes and concerns, and consider steps forward to meet the climate challenge.

The KTCC toolkit, including a “Timed Agenda for Facilitators,” is posted HERE for you to use if you’d like, and will be regularly updated.  We hope to track these conversations with the goal of at least 1000 climate conversations this summer and fall.  We can only make this happen if at least 100 people participate as hosts, resource people and/or facilitators.  You are needed!

We encourage everyone in Ontario to be part of this initiative.  If you want to have your conversations included in a province wide map please, sign up onthis form.  We will soon have a map online to post where the conversations are happening.  Whether you want to be mapped or not, we are here to support you in whatever way we can, and ask that you contact us for tips, moral support, or anything else you may need for your KTCC.

The climate crisis is an emergency that needs immediate action.  With the appropriate policies and supports at the government level, we can achieve this.  But, it will take the wider community – not just a small group of engaged citizens – to get there.

Let us know if you would like to be involved.  We are considering additional training with experienced climate activists and facilitators, so let us know if that interests you.  Or use the materials provided on this website and keep in touch.  We welcome your feedback.  We are also here with support for your questions, outreach, or any challenges you anticipate or encounter. Let us know how your conversations went by sending us a quick email at ktcc@climatefast.ca or filling out this input form.

Lyn Adamson, lyn@climatefast.ca

‘You can’t drink money’: Kootenay communities fight logging to protect their drinking water

In Glade, where clear-cutting could begin any day, determined residents are pulling out all the stops in an effort to protect their local creek — even though a judge ruled they have no right to clean water

Glade Watershed Kootenay logging Heather McIntyre Louis Bockner
Heather McIntyre and her grandson Carmi Restrick collect water samples and record the temperature of Glade Creek. This daily community monitoring program began two years ago and is an effort to provide hard evidence should the proposed logging go ahead and the community’s water is negatively affected. Photo: Louis Bockner / The Narwhal

Four years ago, on a morning hike with her husband, Heather McIntyre spotted red and white flagging tape near a creek that supplies much of the drinking and irrigation water for her village of Glade in a pastoral Kootenay valley.

The tape marked logging boundaries and roads and was stamped with “KLC,” the initials of a local timber company, Kalesnikoff Lumber Co., which planned to log in the community’s watershed on the slopes of a low-lying Selkirk Mountain in the interior rainforest.

“We kind of panicked,” said McIntyre, who lives in a yellow strawbale house amidst a patchwork of fruit and vegetable gardens, in a community named Dolina Plodorodnaya by its Doukhobor founders, meaning “fertile valley.”

Glade Watershed Kootenay River Louis Bockner

The community of Glade sits on the banks of the Kootenay River near Nelson, B.C. The Glade Creek watershed has been at the centre of an ongoing dispute between community members and two logging companies — ATCO and Kalesnikoff Lumber Co — who have been given cut permits in the drainage. Photo: Louis Bockner / The Narwhal

“Everybody in the lower part of Glade gets their water from the creek and the logging flagging was right above the creek,” McIntyre told The Narwhal. “We’re using a lot of water in summer for irrigating and then there’s our drinking water.”

Since then, McIntyre and other Glade residents have been using their green thumbs to tap on the space bar of computer keyboards, writing long letters to politicians and organizing petitions and legal actions.

They have sought every possible recourse to stop logging by Kalesnikoff and a second local company, Atco Wood Products, on the grounds that Glade’s drinking water quality and flow could be affected by conventional logging, primarily clear-cutting, that is slated to begin as early as this summer.

B.C. Supreme Court judge finds no legal right to clean water

In April, after Glade residents sought a temporary injunction against the two companies, B.C. Supreme Court Justice Michael Tammen stated that any potential change to water quality caused by logging would not be “irreparable” because it could be remedied by additional water treatment.

If the injunction were granted, on the other hand, Tammen said the two timber companies would suffer “irreparable” injury due to “obvious economic harm.”

“Do you have a right to clean water?” B.C. Supreme Court Justice Mark McEwan said in court. “I’d suggest you don’t …  there just is nowhere in the law where you can look and say, ‘there it is — there’s my right. I have a right to clean water.’ ”

McIntyre said the ruling was “a kick in the gut,” hurting all the more because costs were awarded to the logging companies, compelling Glade residents to raise more than $10,000.

“You can’t drink money,” said Heather McSwan, a weaver and spinner who owns the Bee Glade nursery in the village of 300, reachable only by a 10-car cable ferry across the Kootenay River.

“This is our water that we’re talking about … We don’t get a second chance at this. When the timber’s gone the environment is impacted in a way that will result, somewhere down the road, in the degradation of the water, especially with climate change coming.”

 “That’s the wild card.”  MORE

RELATED:

New Old Growth Protections More Symbolic than Symbiotic, Environmentalists Say

Until Emissions Drop, Nothing Has Been Accomplished: The Climate Resistance Handbook Is Here.

A new guide to activism aims to inform and inspire a new generation of global climate campaigner

"People always tell me and the other millions of school strikers that we should be proud of ourselves for what we have accomplished," writes Greta Thunberg in the introduction to the new Climate Resistance Handbook. "But the only thing that we need to look at is the emission curve."“People always tell me and the other millions of school strikers that we should be proud of ourselves for what we have accomplished,” writes Greta Thunberg in the introduction to the new Climate Resistance Handbook. “But the only thing that we need to look at is the emission curve.”

Common Dreams editor’s note: The following excerpts are taken from the Foreward, by 16-year-old Greta Thunberg, and the Introduction, by 350.org campaigner Daniel Hunter, of the new Climate Resistance Handbook (Or, I Was Part of a Climate Action. Now What?)recently published online. If you’re wondering how to build a powerful, strategic movement that can make big wins for climate action, this is your guide (pdf). The excerpts are published here with permission from the authors. Learn more or get your copy of the handbook here.

From the Foreward by Greta Thunberg:

I don’t want your hope. I don’t want you to be hopeful. I want you to panic. I want you to feel the fear I feel every day. And then I want you to act.

Around the year 2030, we will be in a position where we set off an irreversible chain reaction beyond human control, that will most likely lead to the end of our civilisation as we know it. That is unless in that time, permanent and unprecedented changes in all aspects of society have taken place, including a reduction of CO2 emissions by at least 50%.

climate_resistance_handbook_greta_thunbeClick for more information or to download/purchase the handbook. And please note that these calculations are depending on inven‐tions that have not yet been invented at scale, inventions that are supposed to clear the atmosphere of astronomical amounts of carbon dioxide.

People always tell me and the other millions of school strikers that we should be proud of ourselves for what we have accomplished. But the only thing that we need to look at is the emission curve. And I’m sorry, but it’s still rising. That curve is the only thing we should look at.

Every time we make a decision we should ask ourselves; how will this decision affect that curve? We should no longer measure our wealth and success in the graph that shows economic growth, but in the curve that shows the emissions of greenhouse gases. We should no longer only ask: “Have we got enough money to go through with this?” but also: “Have we got enough of the carbon budget to spare to go through with this?” That should and must become the centre of our new currency.

I hope you will join me in acting. I hope this book helps give you a place to start and to keep going.

We have to act, to change the politics that allows this destruction to continue. We have to act urgently, because we simply have to find a way.

From the Introduction, by Daniel Hunter:

The sense of urgency on climate has never been higher than now. We are in a serious crisis. If humans want to have a planet like the one we have lived on for millions of years, we have to adjust. We have to change. We have to do it quickly.

Thankfully, we have a wealth of elders to learn from. Regular people have changed the course of history. They have overthrown iron-fisted governments, fought for inclusion, for more democratic and fair systems. While those in power resisted, those with less power used social movements to force change.

We can learn from them that change does not happen just be‐cause an issue is important. People have to wage a struggle to fight for the Earth’s climate. This is because the climate has an array of ene‐mies: governments, corporations, media sources, and at times our own consumption and behavior.

So we need to bind together to create the strongest movement possible. Movements win because they channel the feelings of ur‐gency, anger, fear — and our sense of this being wrong — into a force for change.

If you’re with me, then this book is for you. Let’s begin!

 

One earth, one vote

One Earth One Vote graphic - canoe

This election, who we vote for matters more than ever. Not just for our country, but for our children’s future and the health of our planet.

In the next five years, Canada and the world will face critical decisions about our future. As ecosystems fail and the planet warms dangerously, our collective well-being is deeply under threat. There is still time to chart a course to a safe future for all – but we must act urgently to uphold environmental protection, economic justice and human rights.

The good news is that solutions already exist. Together, we can turn the tide on climate change, we can nurture nature, and we can choose a healthier future. It all starts with one vote – your vote – for our one earth.

We’re asking you today to join the building wave of support and vote for the environment this October.

Will you take the pledge?

I DEMAND THAT ANY GOVERNMENT THAT REPRESENTS ME MUST:

  • Implement a strong climate action plan that meets our international  commitments to keep global warming below catastrophic levels
  • Establish economic equality and ensure social justice
  • Respect and promote the inherent rights of Indigenous Peoples outlined in the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples
  • Restore nature and prevent wildlife extinction
  • Ensure a livable planet for our children

Write to political party leaders to call for ambitious action for the environment

 

Green New Deal Victoria hosts picnic in the park

July 6 event in Beacon Hill Park will focus on environmental sustainability


Green New Deal Victoria will host a picnic on July 6 in Beacon Hill Park. (Black Press File Photo)

Environmental sustainability will be on the menu at an upcoming potluck-picnic in Beacon Hill Park. The People’s Picnic for a Green New Deal will take place on Saturday, July 6 from 2 to 6 p.m.

The event is hosted by Green New Deal Victoria — a coalition of local grassroots groups, two unions, a church and individual residents who are passionate about the vision of the Green New Deal. The goal of the picnic is to help build community and bring awareness to the Green New Deal, explains Emily Thiessen, one of the organizers.

Picnic attendees will also be invited to participate in canvasing training, says Thiessen.

She hopes to get people excited about canvassing to spread the message and “grow the movement to historical levels.”

The canvassing will take place door-to-door and thourgh events, she says. Thiessen admits that canvassing is outside her comfort zone, but she knows how important it is. MORE

The youth climate strike movement in Canada

The youth climate strike in Canada. Image: Used with permission of Sustainabiliteens Vancouver.
Image: Used with permission of Sustainabiliteens Vancouver.

 

Emma Lim is 18 years old and is a high school student in London, Ontario. Rebecca Hamilton is 17 years old and also a high school student, and she lives in Vancouver, BC. They are organizers with Climate Strike Canada at both the local and national levels. Scott Neigh interviews them about what they are doing to build the Canadian wing of the international movement of young people periodically striking from school to demand meaningful action on the climate crisis.

Growing up in the 21st century means that the only reality you have ever known is life in the context of the growing climate crisis. Today’s guests — both born since the turn of the century — don’t remember a moment of learning, hey, there’s this thing called climate change and it’s a big deal. For them, it has always been there.

They have, of course, learned more about it as they’ve gotten older. As that learning has progressed and as the warnings from customarily understated and cautious scientists have taken on ever more apocalyptic dimensions, they have had moments of awakening to the true magnitude of what the crisis might mean for their lives, families, and communities.

Until recently, a lot of the most obvious options around them for taking action have consisted of standard school-based environmentalism, which mostly focuses on things like recycling and lifestyle change — in other words, on measures vastly inadequate to the scale of what we collectively face. And that meant that, in the autumn of 2018, when they started to hear about Greta Thunberg and youth in different places around the world going on regular strikes from school — walking out, taking to the streets, often gathering at some central point in their city — to demand climate action, they had another moment. It was a moment of, yes, finally, here we are being called to an action that might, if we draw in enough people, if enough people support us, begin to approach what is needed.

For Lim, she started out on her own — it was just her striking in London, by herself, with a sign. Hamilton — whose local climate strike organizing happens as part of Sustainabiliteens Vancouver — wasn’t quite on her own, but her first climate strike was a relatively small group of students who occupied the office of the B.C. minister of environment and Climate Change Strategy. And from there, both plunged themselves into organizing. They were constantly reaching out to other young people, having conversations about issues and logistics, making phone calls, holding meetings, and organizing more events — and, of course, more strikes.

Through the hard work of Lim, Hamilton, and many others, local organizing has grown and has coalesced into Climate Strike Canada. They have developed a common set of demands. School strike actions in recent months have involved hundreds of thousands of students in cities across Canada. As well, organizers have emphasized not only these periodic large-scale actions, but have intentionally built on the energy of those days to get growing numbers of youth going back into their schools and communities to engage in various forms of local climate action. For those at the centre of the organizing, like Lim and Hamilton, it has been an intense crash course in how to make a movement. MORE

SUNRISE MOVEMENT RALLIES OUTSIDE DEMOCRATIC NATIONAL COMMITTEE HEADQUARTERS OVER CLIMATE CHANGE DEBATE FAILURE


Members of Sunrise Movement gather outside the Democratic National Headquarters in Washington, D.C., on June 25, 2019. Photo: Aída Chávez/The Intercept

ABOUT 100 YOUNG activists with the Sunrise Movement rallied outside the Democratic National Committee headquarters on Tuesday, demanding the party to reverse its ban on holding a climate change debate among the 2020 presidential candidates.

Activists have been calling for a full presidential debate dedicated to climate change as the issue has become a top priority for voters, pushing candidates to develop and release detailed policy proposals in the process. In addition to the protest in Washington, D.C., they’re calling on supporters to sign a petition demanding a climate debate.

“It’s an emergency, and we need our leaders to act like it,” said Abby Leedy, a protester from Philadelphia, outside the DNC headquarters a few blocks from the U.S. Capitol.

The DNC is not only refusing to hold a debate but threatening to bar any candidates who participate in a third-party climate debate on their own from future DNC debates. DNC Chair Tom Perez said in a Medium post earlier this month that the party would not hold any issue-specific debates because it could not allow individual candidates to dictate the terms of debate. His position came in response to Washington Gov. Jay Inslee, who has made climate change the centerpiece of his presidential campaign and has called for a climate-centric debate.

“If we change our guidelines at the request of one candidate who has made climate change their campaign’s signature issue, how do we say no to the numerous other requests we’ve had?” Perez wrote. “How do we say no to other candidates in the race who may request debates focused on an issue they’ve made central to their own campaigns?” MORE