Politics: Steyer sinks as Iowa women rise

Dear Friends,

I caught the tail end of Tom Steyer’s bait-and-switch press conference yesterday. With great flair and grandiosity, Steyer announced he wasn’t running for President. Instead, he’ll invest his time and money pounding the impeachment drum.

Tom Steyer

I’m ambivalent about whether Steyer runs for president. But if Steyer could have picked a more poorly conceived cause than impeachment, I’m not sure what it would have been (maybe opposing continental drift?). If Democrats in the US House want to impeach President Trump, fine. But there’s not much any of us can do to impact what is largely a procedural undertaking.

Do I believe Donald Trump deserves impeachment? Absolutely! That and more. I occasionally find myself uttering the phrase “lock him up,” relishing the delicious irony of that prospect. But remember, if Trump is removed from office, the Democratic nominee for president will likely face Mike Pence — a far more formidable opponent who is brighter than Trump yet likely to advance the same regressive, pro-corporate agenda.

Despite all its flaws, our democracy has survived two years of Donald Trump. We can probably hang on for another two years. If Democrats are smart enough not to nominate another status-quo candidate, Trump could soon be refining his golf game at Mar-a-Lago instead of creating constant chaos in the West Wing.

What’s saddest about Steyer’s shift is that he’d carved out such an important niche for himself. People knew him as “the rich guy who cares about climate change.” Why would he abandon his cutting-edge work on climate for any other priority, especially one as short-sighted as impeachment? Hopefully, Steyer will spend a couple hundred thousand of his vast fortune to hire consultants to give him better advice — or he can save his money and take my advice for free.

Cindy Axne

In other news, congratulations to Cindy Axne and Abby Finkenauer — Iowa’s newest members of Congress, and the first two women ever elected to the US House from Iowa. Both unseated Republican incumbents in competitive contests, helping assure the Democratic takeover of the US House and setting up a roadblock to some of the worst proposals coming out of the Trump administration.

Abby Finkenauer

Now the real work begins — not just for Axne and Finkenauer, but for us at the grassroots. If the favorable rhetoric we heard from Finkenauer and Axne on climate change during the campaign is to be matched by action, they need to join the 45 other House Democrats who have signed on to the Green New Deal. This proposal, championed by Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and a broad, growing coalition, is the most far-reaching and comprehensive solution yet. As the urgency of climate change grows, we’re beyond the days when small steps and half-measures made sense. America needs an all-hands-on-deck strategy that fully mobilizes the power of government, business, and the grassroots to tackle the existential crisis of our times.

Randy Feenstra

Across the state, supporters of Bold Iowa are talking with the three Democratic members of Iowa’s congressional delegation about the Green New Deal. I’d previously suggested we not waste our time lobbying Steve King. But now that King has a Republican primary opponent — State Senator Randy Feenstra — Iowans living in the Fourth District should approach both candidates about the Green New Deal.

I’ve had great feedback from some of my readers on conversations they’ve had with our congressional delegation. One thing is clear: We have a lot of work to do. None are yet on board. Let’s change that. — Ed Fallon

Please like & share:

A snowless hike in December

Dear Friends,

Lettuce, spinach and arugula sprout in our cold frame in January 2019.

If you work the land, it’s impossible not to notice that our climate is changing dramatically. Here’s a photo taken today (January 3) of the cold frame Kathy and I planted in mid-October. Normally, the seeds sprout a little bit, then the young plants hunker down until early March. The way they’re growing this year, we’ll be eating fresh greens later this month.

That’s wonderful on one level — and deeply disturbing on another.

Farming is one way I connect with the land. Another is walking. Sundays are often my long-trek day, and I’ve found that regular 10-20 mile hikes do wonders for my mental and physical well-being.

Preparing to skip a stone across an ice-free Raccoon River, December 23, 2018.

It’s hard not to love a December rich with snow- and ice-free walking conditions. Hiking through Brown’s Woods on December 23, I was struck by the complete lack of ice on the Raccoon River and the occasional clumps of greenery not normally seen in the dead of winter.

In 2018, humanity witnessed the wrath of Earth’s changing climate through unprecedented storms, fires and droughts. The photos in this blog show the kinder, gentler face of the New Climate Era.

Enjoy — but don’t be lulled into complacency. Over the next decade, all of us will have to work with extraordinary vigor and diligence if we are to stave off the worst impacts of climate change.

Wild greenery in December 2018.

One of two resolutions I bring with me into the New Year is to mobilize for climate action as if our lives depend on it — because they do!

A great place to start is the Green New Deal. Iowa’s Democratic members of Congress need to sign on to it NOW! Ask Congressman Dave Loebsack, Congresswoman Cindy Axne, and Congresswoman Abby Finkenauer to join the 45 other House Democrats who agree we need a full-scale economic mobilization to fight climate change IMMEDIATELY. (At the national level, thanks to the Sunrise Movement and The Climate Mobilization for their leadership on Green New Deal.)

Ed’s shadow and walking stick lead him along a snow-free trail in Brown’s Woods on December 23, 2018.

Thank you for reading, and try to avoid sunburn the first half of January. Temps for the next nine days are forecast to range from 40° to 54°. For perspective, the average high temperature for Des Moines in January is 31°. As greenhouse gases proliferate, the deviation from what used to be normal is only going to become more and more pronounced.

We can and must do great things in 2019. Let’s begin today.

Ed Fallon

Please like & share:

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

Please like & share:

Eddie Mauro is strongest on climate

Dear Friends,

Do you like drums? I do. Here’s one you’ll hear me beat until America wakes up or slips into a climate-induced coma:

WE CAN STOP THE DAKOTA ACCESS PIPELINE!!

That’s right. The lawsuit filed by the Iowa Sierra Club and landowners along the pipeline route will be heard by the Iowa Supreme Court this fall. It’s a solid and potentially historic case.

An Irish Bodhran

But does the mainstream media notice or care? Apparently not. So we have to get the word out through the alternative press, social media, and creative actions.

2017 Climate Justice Unity March

Creative actions like the First Nation – Farmer Climate Unity March. Sign up to be part of this week-long grassroots adventure that fills the void left by the media. Let’s wake people up to the importance of the landowner/Sierra Club lawsuit. If the Court rules against the Iowa Utilities Board, as it should, crude oil flowing through Iowa will stop.

Speaking of the mainstream media, in the Des Moines Register’s editorial endorsing Cindy Axne for Congress, I was shocked to read this: “While all of the candidates say addressing climate change is a priority, Axne has hands-on experience directing the Culver administration’s clean energy program.”

Eddie Mauro

What’s shocking is that the Register suggests that climate change was a priority in its decision to endorse Axne, even though it never asked about climate in the hour-long interviews with Axne, Pete D’Alessandro, and Eddie Mauro.

Despite that, Eddie Mauro brought up climate change without being prompted. In his interview with the Register, at the 26:20-minute mark, Mauro says, “I would argue probably the most important issue that gets the least amount of play is climate change.”

Good for him! (Read Mauro’s full climate statement here.) And a thistle to the Register for failing to bring it up. Any community leader — whether in government, business, academia, or the media — who fails to prioritize climate change should be called to task.

Need more examples of the negligence of the mainstream media on climate? Consider three stories in the May 30 USA Today:

Flood-hammered Ellicott City faces a decision. Reporter Christal Hayes poses this question: “How could the unthinkable — a catastrophic flood —  happen again within two years?” Ok, good. Now go ahead, answer the question. I’m waiting. Reading through to the end of the article, the obvious villain — anthropogenic climate change — is never even mentioned.

Great Barrier Reef has survived 5 near-death events. Reporter David Carrig writes, “{S}scientists are not sure that the reef is resilient enough to survive the current crisis caused by rising ocean temperatures and coral bleaching.” Thanks, David, but “current crisis”? Can you say a little more? Oh, wait, the end of the article references “the pace of change caused by the many current stresses.” So, that’s the best you can do?

Hurricane Maria killed more than 4,600, not 64, report says. John Bacon writes, “Maria was one of three hurricanes in 2017 — Harvey and Irma were the others. All three are among the costliest hurricanes in U.S. history.” Yes, indeed. And why was that, John? I’m waiting. John, are you still there? Again, reading to the end of the article, there’s no mention of climate change.

It’s almost as if President Trump’s removal of climate change and global warming from many federal websites is now the accepted practice in the mainstream media as well. I guess there’s plenty of fake — and partial — news to go around.

Who will tell the truth? Who will talk about the severity of the peril we face with the mounting devastation caused by a warming planet on fossil-fuel steroids?

It’s up to you and me. Please, let’s wake up. Let’s wise up. Let’s put our minds to work and our bodies on the line before it’s too late.

Ed

Please like & share: