Sunday, May 22, 2022

Take Action - Declare a Climate Emergency


There will be a public hearing for a resolution declaring a climate emergency, committing to policies opposing fossil fuel expansion and accelerating the clean energy transition, and endorsing the call for a global fossil fuel non-proliferation treaty. 

The City of La Crosse Climate Action Plan Steering Committee has recommended adoption of this resolution.

Please speak up to support this resolution at the Judiciary and Administration Committee Meeting on Tuesday, May 31 at 6:00 p.m. 

If you attend in person (City Hall Eagle Room - Council Chambers), you will be able to register to speak in favor of the resolution or just register in favor but not speak. You may also attend virtually using the link shown below, BUT you will only be able to "speak" by typing comments in the chat which may or may not be seen by all committee members.

Whether or not you attend, please email comments in support of the resolution to cityclerk@cityoflacrosse.org and cc: zzcouncilmembers@cityoflacrosse.org. You may also deliver comments to the City Clerk by using the drop box outside of City Hall or by mail: City Clerk, 400 La Crosse Street, La Crosse WI 54601

Streaming Link: https://stream.lifesizecloud.com/extension/1271327/e7506959-fe5d-44ac-805c-9016fb33bd90

RESOLUTION

Resolution declaring a climate emergency, committing to policies opposing fossil fuel expansion and accelerating the clean energy transition, and endorsing the call for a global fossil fuel non-proliferation treaty. 

WHEREAS, the city of La Crosse is impacted by the health and safety risks of fossil fuel expansion, and particularly citizens who face socioeconomic and health inequities, including youth, elders, Indigenous people, people of color, low-income people, those experiencing mental and physical disabilities, those experiencing homelessness, and people with health conditions; and 

WHEREAS, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s Sixth Assessment Report  warns that the continued installation of unabated fossil fuel infrastructure will ‘lock-in’ GHG emissions; and

WHEREAS, the construction of new fossil fuel infrastructure and expanded reliance on fossil fuels exposes communities to untenable risks to the public’s health and safety at the local and global levels; and 

WHEREAS, the economic opportunities presented by a clean energy transition far outweigh the opportunities presented by an economy supported by expanding fossil fuel use and extraction; and 

WHEREAS, our community is committed to a just energy transition and to appropriate investments that offset the impacts of evolving industries and employment as well as ambitious investments in the green infrastructure and industries that will create jobs, decarbonize our economy, and reduce future climate change; 

NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED, that the City of La Crosse Common Council declares that a climate and ecological emergency threatens our city, citizens, and environs; 

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the City of La Crosse Common Council opposes the rollback of climate policy and affirms its ongoing commitment to carbon neutrality by 2050; and 

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the City of La Crosse Common Council endorses the call for a global Fossil Fuel Non-Proliferation Treaty that will end new fossil fuel exploration and expansion, phase out existing production in line with the global commitment to limit warming to  1.5°C, and accelerate equitable transition plans; and 

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED the City of La Crosse Common Council intends to implement policies limiting or preventing fossil fuel expansion and promoting electrification because of the inherent dangers to the public’s health and safety in extraction, transport, storage, and combustion of fossil fuels; and 

BE IT FUTHER RESOLVED that the Environmental Planner is requested to explore and develop policy recommendations in keeping with our local law-making power that limit fossil fuel infrastructure expansion and promote electrification and a clean energy future in order to protect public health and safety.

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The EPA's biggest union is asking the Biden administration to declare a climate emergency as promised initiatives have withered away under the Republican and some Democrats' obstruction. The lack of urgency by this administration has led several groups to demand more resources for climate programs. Commentators have noted the disparity in war spending vs climate action in recent budgets. David Wallace-Wells recently counted the true, tragic cost of climate inaction.

Climate scientist and activist Peter Kalmus has come to the conclusion that, "It’s up to the leaders of the world to stand up to [the fossil fuel industry] and to say: 'A livable planet is more important than your profits. We are not going to allow this process of delay to continue.' What worries me is that, in this critical year between Cop26 and Cop27, every signal that we’re getting from world leaders is that fossil fuels will continue to expand.

"President Biden is begging OPEC to expand production. He’s opening new lands for drilling in the Gulf of Mexico and public lands of the US. Right now, what I’m seeing from world leaders, including Biden, is that they’re using the bully pulpit of their position to urge the expansion of fossil fuels. They’ve completely stopped talking about taking climate action."

We can take action. We can demand action. Declare a climate emergency.

Thursday, May 19, 2022

Food for people, not for profit


On Tuesday, the Coulee Region Sierra Club will host a "garden crawl," to learn about local community gardens on La Crosse's north side. Not only are community gardens important for getting locally grown clean food to people who need it, they are also a way to combat greenhouse gas emissions caused by shipping products across the country. The group will meet at 5 p.m. at the Logan High School north parking lot to start and then bike and drive to a cluster of other garden sites ending at the Hunger Task Force's Kane Street Community Garden. The event is free and open to all.

La Crosse has several gardens, including the Kane Street garden, neighborhood Victory Gardens, school gardens, and community gardens funded by a grant from the FSPA. These help provide food for people who need food, as well as community, education, and exercise. 

If you can help garden, volunteer. Kane Street is open most days and welcomes volunteers. GROW La Crosse is signing up summer volunteers right now. And the community and victory gardens welcome volunteers, too. 

If you have a business or organization with a very nice (and not very environmentally friendly) lawn, consider making part of it into a food garden or food forest. I have always wondered, in a city where so many school families qualify for free and reduced lunch, why school lawn space is not school garden space. I don't mean the very important current, relatively small school gardens, I mean having big corn, squash, and bean fields at schools that are currently surrounded by manicured lawns.

If you have a yard that should be a garden but don't know how to make the transition, OR you'd like to help start a yard/garden sharing program, OR you might be interested in exploring starting a market garden using people's yards to grow, please email couleeprogressive at hotmail.com 

If you buy food, prioritize supporting local and regional farmers where possible. 

PBS Wisconsin has a very great and inspiring talk online featuring Laura Manthe and Lea Zeide, founding members of the Ohe*L├íku corn cooperative, talking about Oneida and Native food systems. They talk about the community garden, tended by everyone and producing for everyone. Indigenous food systems can be a model. The old ways served the people.

And please do not confuse food with animal products. Moving to a vegetarian or vegan diet saves money, improves health, and reduces greenhouse gas emissions.

Recently, when asked about the baby formula shortage in the United States, Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg said, in part, "Let's be very clear. This is a capitalist country. The government does not make baby formula. Nor should it."

Should the government make baby formula or should the government support regional public facilities that ensure people access to their fundamental needs? Or does, "this is a capitalist country," trump the right of a human to have enough food to eat? The baby formula shortage is the result of a corporate product delivery, monopoly system where the goal is not producing baby formula, it is producing profits. And, it's the result of a corporate work system where women are not supported as mothers, are not given sufficient time to be with their infants, and do not have sufficient opportunities and support to nurse. To be sure, there are many women who cannot breastfeed for medical reasons and there will always be a need for formula. But the support is just not there for those who would like to, and that exacerbates the problem.

Our current food system is not just bad for the millions of people who can't get enough food, but it's terrible for the planet. The average food item, according to this EcoWatch article, travels 1,00 to 1,500 miles before it gets to your table. And don't forget the waste. 



Check out the USDA Food programs page. Is this the sign of a healthy society? We have subsidies and assistance for children, women and infants, seniors, and more. If we really had an "of the people, by the people, for the people" system, why would we need all these supports for a fundamental human need? 

The school lunch program (USDA Food Service for Children) has devolved from a way to provide healthy food for kids and assistance for local farmers to a multi-million dollar honey pot for food manufacturers to market packaged, unitized food products wrapped in plastic and styrofoam.

People who don't earn enough at their jobs to afford food for their families must rely on donations of packaged and canned items that were probably grown, fertilized, picked, processed, packaged, stored, and shipped from hundreds of miles away. And the donation events are sometimes hyped and sponsored by the very corporations who are not paying their workers enough to buy the food in the first place.

Rube Goldberg couldn't have devised a less efficient food  system for the humans. Scrooge McDuck couldn't have devised a more delicious system for the capitalists.

Oh, yes, don't forget the plastic. 




Thursday, May 05, 2022

Saturday Stand with Planned Parenthood


1 p.m. Copeland Park Oktoberfest Shelter

If you are interested in speaking at the event, or if you are connected with an organization that would be interested in tabling, please email Jake ASAP.

Alternate event link: 

Tumbling toward 2°


"Emissions of greenhouse gases need to peak within the next three years if we are to stave off the worst effects of climate change. And even then, we'd still need new technology to suck carbon dioxide out of the skies by the middle of the century."


"Whether there's any future at all depends on what we do now. We know that for sure. If we continue emitting any greenhouse gases for any amount of time, we're done for."

"It's a collective denial that we're still in. How can we switch into emergency mode?"

Tuesday, May 03, 2022

No.

We will not go back.  Abortion is legal.

UPDATE: PPAWI is holding a meeting on May 12 to plan responses. Sign up at  https://act.plannedparenthoodaction.org/events/ppawi-la-crosse-roe-response-meeting

For those who have the ability to give financially, the Options Fund is an abortion fund serving Northwestern, WI, including La Crosse County. They are a volunteer run fund since 1992 who will need our support now more than ever: https://abortionfunds.org/fund/options-fund/

The fastest way to donate to them is via venmo: @options-fund

or checks can be mailed to:

Options Fund
P.O. Box 473
Eau Claire, WI 54702


Demand that Democrats codify women's rights to their own bodies. Right now. This is not a "campaign issue."

This article explains the frustration of inaction as campaign issue.