Make climate the litmus test for presidential candidates

Dear Friends,

“It’s so easy to look at the big picture and get completely disheartened. … What we need to remember is what is my own personal moral obligation. When I wake up each day thinking about what I might do from that perspective … when I come at it from a deep sense of moral obligation, it really doesn’t matter what the results are. What matters is am I doing the right thing, and am I doing all I can right now at this time of crisis?”

That’s Dahr Jamail, author of The End of Ice, discussing climate change with Amy Goodman this week on Democracy Now. Much of their conversation is, frankly, depressing. When contemplating the irrefutable certainty of sea-level rise, species extinction, and other impacts of climate disruption, it’s easy to see how people might simply give up and wallow in despair.

Yet the moral path — and our path out of despair — is through action. Individual action is important. Collective action is essential. United, we are strong, and our prospects for achieving meaningful reform are greatly amplified.

Like Jamail, the question I frequently ask myself is, “What is the most important thing I can do right now to address climate disruption?” Sometimes, there’s no easy answer. In Iowa in 2019, the answer is obvious: BIRD-DOG PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATES!

Sid Barfoot questions Marianne Williamson on her stance on the Green New Deal.

Over the next 12 months, Iowans have a unique opportunity to transform the national conversation on climate disruption. Seventy-five of you already have signed up to bird-dog presidential candidates and make climate change the topic that no longer can be ignored by politicians and the media.

Yet, there are so many candidates, and so many events all across Iowa, that even with 75 volunteers we can’t keep up. Bold Iowa and the other groups grilling presidential candidates on climate need your help!

WE’RE AT 75 CLIMATE BIRD DOGGERS. LET’S REACH 100 TODAY! SIGN UP HERE.

Already, we’ve had an impact. Our bird doggers have talked with and questioned candidates about the urgency of the climate crisis, the promise of the Green New Deal, and the impact of the Dakota Access Pipeline on Native communities, farmers, and our soil and water. Check out some of our candidate interactions:

Andrew Yang
Cory Booker
Elizabeth Warren
John Hickenlooper
Marianne Williamson
Michael Bloomberg
Sherrod Brown

Over the next two weeks, we’re preparing to bird-dog Eric Swalwell, John Delaney, Kirsten Gillibrand, Amy Klobuchar, Julian Castro, Kamala Harris, and John Hickenlooper. So, yeah, we need your help!

Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez is lead sponsor of the resolution proposing a Green New Deal.

Regarding the Green New Deal … contrary to what the fossil-fuel-funded talking heads want you to believe, it does NOT ban cows and airplanes. In the process of moving America to 100% clean and renewable energy, the proposal creates livable-wage jobs, assures “that eminent domain is not abused,” and requires the “informed consent of indigenous peoples for all decisions that affect indigenous peoples.”

The resolution also contains language requiring government to work “collaboratively with farmers and ranchers in the United States to remove pollution and greenhouse gas emissions from the agricultural sector as much as is technologically feasible, including by supporting family farming; by investing in sustainable farming and land use practices that increase soil health; and by building a more sustainable food system that ensures universal access to healthy food.”

See, nothing in there about banning cows. That’s not to say there aren’t issues with methane emissions from cattle. But banning cows is not on the table, nor should it be. My hope is that the transition from corn-fed to grass-fed beef accelerates. Cows aren’t designed to eat corn. They’re a lot happier in a field than in a feedlot, and their environmental footprint is a lot lighter in a pasture than when force-fed corn.

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