SEA Meeting Minutes, August 18, 2012

Reported by Mary D.

Mark started the meeting at 6:30, with a series of updates from members.

Mike described the Seattle City Council Tar Sands initiative, which SEA initiated (Hurray for us!!!!!!!!) via Forest Ethics. Councilmember Mike O’Brien’s office has now drafted a resolution to be introduced in September, when we will jump into public support mode along with a powerful coalition now carrying things forward, including an early outreach to labor.

Janet: Proposes a day for County Exec Dow Constantine and Mayor McGinn, as well as non-governmental local businesses, to collect employee and citizen ideas on specific energy saving ideas, with a cash prize and good pr as rewards for the best ideas. Janet, Jack, and Mark will refine this idea for presentation and action at our next meeting. Climate Solutions may be a good resource, it was noted.

Mike: Let’s set up a big-picture review session for a coming meeting. Mike, Ellen, and Mary D will refine this idea for our next meeting.

Jack: Reaffirmed his interest in making election season an activism priority.

Then, Mike Dash gave us a precis on Bill McKibben’s recent Rolling Stone article:

Three essential numbers:

*2.0 celsius increase in planetary temp is actually too high, though we’re already at .8 and carbon already burned is expected to take us to 1.6.

*The carbon budget to keep us below 2.0 is 560 gigatons.

* However,  oil/gas company reserves equal 2795 gigatons, worth $27 trillion.

It’s serious! And Seattle is Stop One on McKibben’s post-election tour. We need to plan how to be involved and effective on that Nov 7.

Do read Mike’s posts about (a) McKibben’s description of the stark reality of climate change in his Rolling Stone article and (b) the reluctance of humans to respond to long-term threat  or “Why It’s Hard for People to Take Global Warming Seriously” in the research article entitled Tragedy of Cognition. An idea for a campaign: “What will you miss most in ten years?”

(Question from Mary D: Are the coal and tar sands exports we’re opposing representing the 560 gigs, or are they part of the overload?)

Janet briefed us on how to be effective when demonstrating, based on her experience at the Kalamazoo spill anniversary demo. (These are volunteer efforts, and we can help make them succeed.)

* Consider your audience: Dress/act/appeal accordingly, make sure your signs are readable and professional-looking.

* Be available to explain the demo to the deep crowd. People fear coming close, and respond to someone who will interpret the action to them.

* Have good simple handout materials and/or a table, using something like Mike’s game as well.

* Get the media there.

Mary Manous spoke about Power Past Coal coalition activities. There have been 32 community Coal Hard Truth forums so far in communities along the rail route from the Powder River Basin to ports in Washington and Oregon.  She has found tabling to be effective and empowering; you work in twos, you teach and you learn. Why aren’t more SEA people there?

Mark reported on the Sierra Club coal train task force meeting.

* Scoping: mid-September is now the anticipated start of comment period.

* The Sierra Club participated in Stakeholder meetings with CH2MHill, the hired contractor for the scoping and environmental assessment work and urged that the scoping meetings be held in 5 cities, including Seattle, and not just Bellingham.

* The Sierra Club is still pushing the Army Corps of Engineers to accept an area-wide EIS Scoping for all the Northwest cities that are proposed coal terminal sites, not just for Bellingham. There has been no positive response from the Army Corps on this but the Sierra Club have a lot of elected officials backing them up on the proposal.

* HUGE NEWS: Grays Harbor terminal proposal is dead; squashed. Partly because of great grass-roots organizing by Washington Environmental Coalition, but also because of Sierra Club DC & Corporate lobbying. RailAmerica, which is the Rail Company that had made the Grays Harbor proposal acknowledged that there would be better projects (read: less popular resistance) to aim for.  RailAmerica is expected to bought out by another rail company in the near future, which could lead to new proposals but that is not clear as yet.

* Mark shared an excellent letter against coal trains by the Pierce County executive, Pat McCarthy.

* The Sierra club has been activley doing outreach to Medical and Health Care organizations.

To Do:

* Canvassing is scheduled for Sep 22, 10-2 pm, in Ballard, Interbay, etc, ending with a party at Millie’s. Mark will have more details when they become available.

* Small business outreach: Contact Mark if you have contacts with affected businesses (he had handout).

* Sierra Club needs data-entry and display board crafting volunteers this week and next (through Aug. 29th at least). Email Mark and he can give you Robin Everett’s office phone & email.

Mark: Re political campaigning this fall:

Sunday night phone banking at Connie’s in Wallingford — ask Mary M about this.

Janet checking Inslee needs.

Mike: Video Night?

Ideas: 5-min Joanna Macy video could be part of regular meeting. Jack got us a Meaningful Movies list; Isa proposed that we watch a great movie on Mountain top removal mining in Appalachia. We would take this as perhaps the first in a series of an occasional — quarterly? — evenings devoted to movies. Date to be decided at the next meeting.

Mike: Seattle Times failing to connect the dots! Recent articles on heat and forest fires fail to mention climate change basis. Mike encourages us to speak up about this and will even draft Letters to editors for our review and signature.

Next meeting: 4-6 pm at Ellen’s, Sep 16. (This meeting will include 30 minutes on optimism/pessimism, big picture, and questions of how much difference we can make.)

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