Monday, January 29, 2007

Action Items for Today and Tomorrow

Today is the D.C. lobby day that follows up on Saturday's mass protest on the Capitol Mall. If you can't be in D.C. today to lobby congress to take meaningful, bold steps towards ending the war in Iraq (e.g., Impeach for Peace!) you can call your Senators and your Representative (capitol switchboard: 202-224-3121) or send e-mails right now.

Tomorrow is all about global climate change and energy independence in Minnesota, with one quick exception: Join SEIU 26 in a Rally for Justice! (we need to forge a stronger link between the peace community and labor within the DFL - Labor destroyed the peace candidates in the 2006 endorsement battles for US Senator and Governor) :

Please join SEIU Local President and former DFL State Executive Committee member Javier Morillo-Allicea along with labor, political, faith and community friends to support Twin Cities janitors in a rally for justice!

Tuesday, January 30, 11:30 am

Hennepin County Government Center
Corner of 5th Street S and 4th Ave S
Downtown Minneapolis


The BIG Climate Change and Energy Independence Event that everything is building to tomorrow is the unprecedented multicommittee hearing on Global warming on Tuesday, January 30, 2007 from 4 pm to 6 pm. This event will feature speakers including U of MN Professor G. David Tilman, who has done a lot of highly esteemed work on the long term survival prospects of native MN plants in the fragmented habitats that remain in MN, and on climate change and the survival of plant populations. Hopefully this will bring back one word to the publics easy reach vocabulary: biodiversity. Also, hopefully his part of the presentation will convince the public that the true, long term value of biodiversity to humans is the ability of genetically diverse species and populations to survive shocking, seemingly random events, like rapid climate change and the impacts of comets and meteors.

This hearing will be broadcast on Channel 17 and there is room available for members of the public to come to the capital! Public viewing will be accomodated in Rooms 217, 316, 123 and SOB 5.

While the linkage between climate change, habitat conservation and biodiversity is clear to me, it is even more clear in the expressed opinions of Minnesotans that the links between Climate Change, Energy Independence and the Iraq War are palpable, visceral, dangerous.

This sentiment was expressed by Dr. Bryan Schuman, one of the panelists of the UBS Forum - Confronting Global Warming, of last Friday night which is scheduled to be broadcast in edited form on Midmorning tomorrow.

My notes are rough and my memory is imperfect, but he credited the Iraq War (and earlier Gore's Inconvenient Truth movie) for bring a back-burner issue to the forefront of public consciousness. Iraq is a major conflict over energy, and it exposes just how dependent our society is on liquid fossil fuel and carbon-emitting technologies.

Tomorrow's hearing is another opportunity to stregthen that link and perception, and argue for getting out of Iraq and building peaceful, sustainable energy systems, that are carbon-neutral, like wind, solar, and biofuels, though there are hazards in biofuels to the environment (habitat loss, or trading food for fuel).

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