Beer and Baseball

Dear Friends,

Before I tell you this crazy dream I had last night about beer and baseball, I’ve got three requests:

1. Bold Iowa operates on an impressively tight budget. Our funding comes mostly from the grassroots, i.e., you! Please donate to help us  close out the year in the black.

2. Purchase my memoir, Marcher, Walker, Pilgrim (click here). All proceeds go to Climate March. Columnist Rekha Basu writes, “Fallon’s account … won’t be some scientific analysis of why we have alternating droughts and floods, and occasional July winters and December summers. … His book is more of a tribute to the natural world as he and some 35 to 50 walkers experienced it in their quest to ‘wake people up to what’s going on before it’s too late.'” (Read Rekha’s column here.)

3. Ask three friends to sign up for our weekly blog/update, which I send out either from this address or ed@fallonforum.com. E-mail is our best tool to build the organizational foundation needed to accomplish real change. We won’t inundate you, and we never share or sell our list to anyone.

Mike Gegenheimer on Twitter: Skip Bertman and #LSU present former Southern Baseball coach Roger Cador with a rocking chair in honor of his retirement.

So, about this dream. I was playing major league baseball (yeah, only in my dreams). I came to the plate and struck out four times (ok, that part’s realistic). After my last strikeout, I sauntered out to center field where I was surprised to find my rocking chair. I sat down and prepared to watch the rest of the game.

The other team’s leading slugger stepped up to the plate. Suddenly, the fans rose to their feet while children poured onto the field. Led by a seven-year-old girl standing at the pitcher’s mound, everyone raised a beer to toast the slugger, singing, “We like beer, yes we like our beer.” The girl and other under-age kids raised cans and bottles of soda pop instead.

Little boy drinking unhealthy bottled soda.

Why am I sharing this dream? Mostly for entertainment value. But I also ask you to consider how corporations such as Coke and Pepsi addict our children at an early age to what has been called “liquefied diabetes.”

I thought about how other corporations (not all, but a lot of them) lie brazenly to get filthy rich. Just as Exxon knew about climate change in the 1970s, yet lied to its own shareholders, Coke and Pepsi know their products are, basically, poison. Our challenge with Big Pop (and Big Ag, Big Oil, etc.) is to sort fact from fiction so we aren’t duped into paying through the nose for what’s against our best interest and the best interest of the planet.

There’s no better time to ponder this than the annual holiday shopping extravaganza known as “December.” That said, I hope — in the midst of buying, receiving, and returning gifts — you and your family carve out space these next few weeks to enjoy a peaceful and pleasant respite from the chaotic cacophony of commerce.

And sure, let’s welcome the New Year and promise to do everything we can to make it better than 2018 (I know, low bar). Toast 2019’s entry with a beer, glass of wine or sparkling water. But please, give the kids milk, pure fruit juice or water instead of soda pop.

Finally, let me reiterate that among the many things our Bold Iowa Team is grateful for is your support and involvement over the past three years. Onward to a more sustainable 2019!

Ed Fallon

P.S. Please check out this week’s Fallon Forum. You’ll enjoy some of the conversations, maybe even all of them.

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Early feedback on “Marcher” encouraging

Dear Friends,

In Marcher, Walker, Pilgrim (click here to purchase the book), I describe “the torture chamber of Catholic grade school” and write about beatings by nuns “too old to teach and too senile to care.” These experiences were pushed out of my mind long ago. Yet walking and writing brought them back to the surface.

Sharing those reflections before 85 people at the book launch on December 2 in Des Moines was difficult. Really difficult. It brought me to tears. I had to pass the book off to Sarah Spain, who kindly finished reading that page for me.

Sharing other excerpts from the book — the discomfort of walking so far, challenges faced by other marchers, my failure in love, witnessing climate disruption as we walked, even roadkill — made my voice crack. That’s rarely happened before, not during hundreds and hundreds of speeches I’ve given on disturbing and emotional issues.

Faith Meckley and Jeffrey Czerwiec lead the Great March for Climate Action in New Mexico.

The Great March for Climate Action  — the journey itself, writing about it, and now sharing it publicly — has been an immensely formative experience in my life. I didn’t know how the book would impact me. I also didn’t know how it would be received by others, yet I’m gratified at the responses I’ve received:

“Not being an avid reader I was amazed at how hard it was to put the book down.”

“Great insight on the struggles of environmental activism. … Loved hearing about the people you encountered in your travels.”

“I thought it would be boring, but it’s actually really, really interesting.”

“… profoundly thought-provoking and very entertaining.”

“Ed boldly faces the stings of loneliness, lost love, extreme pain and discomfort, unpredictable weather, and attempted mutiny as he leads Climate Marchers across the United States.”

Most important, I hope Marcher, Walker, Pilgrim helps fuel the growing sense of urgency about climate change — before it’s too late. During the next year, I’ll hold over 100 book readings across Iowa and the US. If you’d like to schedule one in your community, please contact me at ed@fallonforum.com.

Thank you. — Ed

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Time for a Green New Deal

Dear Friends,

Protesters line the hall outside of Congresswoman Nancy Pelosi’s office in Washington, DC.

If you ever feel hopeless about the climate crisis, yesterday was a real shot in the arm. Nearly a thousand young people occupied the offices of US Representatives Nancy Pelosi, Steny Hoyer, and Jim McGovern, demanding action on the Green New Deal.

Over 150 participants were arrested at Pelosi’s and Hoyer’s offices. In an affirmation of the power of nonviolent direct action, Rep. McGovern came out of his office to talk with protesters and agreed to sign on to the Green New Deal!

The action was organized by the Sunrise MovementClick here to watch the livestream.

Congresswoman-elect Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez

The Green New Deal is an ambitious, comprehensive, and realistic proposal to move America to an economy powered by 100 percent renewable energy within ten years. It’s already supported by 22 members of Congress.

Congresswoman-elect Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez is leading the charge. In a recent broadcast, she said, “This is going to be the New Deal, the Great Society, the moon shot, the civil-rights movement of our generation.”

And not a moment too soon. The recent United Nations report on the alarming severity of the climate crisis indicates we have 12 years to figure this out — or pay consequences so dire we’re looking at the possibility of humanity’s last hurrah. Check out the UN report here.

What these impassioned young climate warriors are doing is inspiring. More members of Congress need to sign on to the Green New Deal. To date, no member of Iowa’s congressional delegation is on board.

Let’s change that!

Who’s ready to tell Abby Finkenauer to sign on? Dave Loebsack? Cindy Axne? And yeah, why not — Steve King?

Let us know if you’re willing to help convince your representative to get behind “the New Deal, the Great Society, the moon shot, the civil-rights movement of our generation.” Incrementalism is no longer an option. The existential threat of climate chaos demands an all-out, full-scale mobilization.

Time is running out on humanity’s game of climate roulette. We need our elected leaders to step forward NOW and support the Green New Deal. Remind them it’s not just the right thing to do politically, it’s essential to our continued survival.

Thank you!

The Bold Iowa Team

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Bakken oil flows through Iowa to China

Dear Friends,

First, to folks living close to Davenport, Iowa City, or Cedar Rapids, I’ll discuss my just-released book, Marcher, Walker, Pilgrim at three separate events in eastern Iowa this weekend. Please come, and visit the Bold Iowa website for details about the book and tour schedule.

Rural Iowa can’t catch a break with President Trump. The trade tariffs threatened to inflict a $2.2 billion hit to Iowa’s economy. Farmers dodged that bullet, only to learn this week that China wants to resume importing US crude oil.

That’s bad news for landowners living along the route of the Dakota Access Pipeline (DAPL). Energy Transfer Partners (ETP) wants to expand capacity along the route. With expanded capacity comes greater risk to Iowa’s soil and water — and to Earth’s climate.

That fact was driven home emphatically last week by the National Climate Assessment, which warned of catastrophic impacts to our health and economy as the climate crisis worsens. Maybe President Trump considers the thirteen federal agencies that put together the Climate Assessment purveyors of fake news. They’re not, of course, and here’s a related, irrefutable slice of non-fake news:

ETP lied when it told Iowans DAPL was for domestic consumption!

Farmers and landowners remember that lie. Native communities along the route remember. The rest of us who fought against the pipeline remember. We presume the Iowa Utilities Board remembers, too.

Corroboration of ETP’s deception is abundant, as indicated in this story from September 1, 2016, by The Intercept: “The company claimed in a presentation in Iowa, a state that granted approval for the project this year, that the pipeline will feature ‘100% domestic produced crude’ that ‘supports 100% domestic consumption.’”

Over 200 march in Des Moines in frigid conditions on December 14, 2016, in support of the landowner/Sierra Club lawsuit.

The Intercept’s story goes on to say, “The domestic energy claim, which has been touted by company brochures and a pro-pipeline website, has also been used to criticize hundreds of demonstrators in North Dakota who say the Dakota Access endangers drinking water and threatens sites that are sacred to a number of Native American nations and tribes.”

It’s crystal clear that ETP all along intended DAPL to serve its private interests, not the public good. The claim that DAPL is “critical infrastructure” is, like ETP’s domestic consumption pledge, a bald-faced lie.

Keith Puntenney and Carolyn Raffensperger speak at a rally after the Iowa Supreme Court hearing on DAPL, September 12, 2018.

It’s time for Governor Reynolds, Iowa lawmakers, and especially the Iowa Utilities Board to call out ETP for its destructive, costly ruse. Hopefully, too, the Iowa Supreme Court understands that DAPL’s permit was granted under false pretenses. The Court’s ruling on the landowner/Sierra Club lawsuit against the misuse of eminent domain to build DAPL could be issued soon. Stay tuned.

— Ed Fallon

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