Meeting Notes, SEA Change, February 10, 2013

Meeting was held at Jack B’s house and was facilitated by Janet, with Mary S taking notes, Isa keeping time, and Ellen as “Town Crier”.  It was well attended and began at 6:30 after a half hour of socializing over appetizers.

Following is a summary of the items covered and decisions made.  If there are any questions, comments, or corrections they can be submitted by email to seactivists@gmail.com.  Thanks to Mary S for these great notes!

News about SEA members work since last meeting.

Ellen, as Town Crier for the meeting, reported that:

  • Karen, Janet, and Ellen submitted 8-9 more comments and Mary M. mailed in a written letter to the co-lead agencies on the EIS (Corps of Engineers,WA Dept of Ecology, and Whatcom County) on coal train scoping issues before the comment period closed on January 22, 2013.
  • Jack, Mary M., and Isa attended the last Sierra Club monthly meeting (every third Thursday) where the February 17, 2013, anti-coal train rally and march were planned. The event starts at 11:30 a.m. at Golden Gardens. Members who attend are asked to wear red, bring noise makers, and meet up at the south end of the bathhouse at 11:30 a.m.
  • Mary M. spent an hour or two inputting data for the Power Past Coal campaign through the Sierra Club to ensure that all who oppose coal exports are in the database for use in future coal train alert issues. Anyone who wants to help can contact Robin Everett at the Sierra Club 206 378-0114 ext 308.  Dave offered to help.
  • The Dashboard on the SEA Change website indicates 3,700 hits and 41 comments. The best day had 87 views.

NOTE: Members are encouraged to post any volunteer activity they do to address climate disruption on the SEA Change blog under SEA Info:SEA Waves.  This will help others know what kind of things can be done to take an active role against climate change.   The Town Crier will give a shout out at each meeting to give recognition, as well as an opportunity for others to ask about such actions.

Divestment News:

  • Mary D. talked with members of her church, St. Paul’s Episcopal, about divesting church funds now invested in oil stocks, which total about $2,000,000 for the whole diocese. Mary D. and other church members met to discuss how to do this and prepared a letter to the church rector and vestry asking them to initiate divestment for all churches in the fund. Mary D. hopes this will progress to divestment of church oil stocks on a national level. Dave suggested that Mary D. talk to other churches about what her group is doing and offered to provide names of churches that may be receptive.

Update on SEA Change blog posts:  Jack had suggested that there be a summary of additions made to the SEA Change blog since the last meeting to highlight what can be found there.  Mary M provided the following highlights:

  • “SEA Info” as the page to find most informational articles, such as Mike’s posting on Bill McKibben’s fossil fuel divestment campaign on college campuses, and to check what things are coming up.
  • A Cross Cut article from the Wenatchee World Susan noted was saying that public support for coal exports had grown.  However, Mary M. and Susan said the article was misleading because the headline didn’t reflect the facts included in the article.  See the SEA Info post titled “Red Herring” for more information.
  • The plastics book Janet identified at the last meeting is listed on the blog under the menu item SEA Info.  Notes from meetings and info about upcoming meetings can be found under the menu item: SEA Meeting.
  • Anyone who wants periodic alerts from SEA Change can register on the RSS feed.  Go to the Help page for instructions.
  • Sightline Institute is doing research on PR and law firms that claim to be “green” and “eco conscious” but consistently represent clients who are neither.  There will be posts found on this under SEA Info.

Proposal to Add New Agenda Items:   Mike presented a proposal to add two new regular agenda items:

1.  Featured Event Proposal:   

    • The first was to have a “featured event” each month, such as the Sierra Club anti-coal train rally and march for February, so members had an action to they could take during the following month.
    • This would not limit members doing other actions or obligate all members to participate in the “featured event” but it would highlight one event around which members could engage as a group and build community.  Members supported this, and Janet offered to check with Robin at Sierra Club to see what SEA Change could do to help raise the impact of the February 17 event.
    • Janet and Karen discussed ensuring accurate media coverage of the event, and Dan encouraged members to write to Governor Jay Inslee to ask him to attend the event as consistent with the environmental support he previously has provided. Mike mentioned that there was a related event on Wednesday, February 13, 2013, at Town Hall to discuss Powder Basin coal.
    • Mike asked members to bring ideas to the next meeting for events to feature for March and April, and suggested Earth Day as the “featured event” for April.   Janet suggested a meeting with City of Seattle and King County Council Members and/or sustainability staff about energy efficiency issues.

2.  Action At Each Meeting Proposal:

    • Mike’s second proposed new agenda item was that members take some environmental action at each monthly meeting.
    • This would generally be to write a letter to a public official on some issue currently pending to weigh in and influence them, and let them know that their constituency  is watching their decision on it.  It doesn’t need to be a long thought out letter such as letters to the editor or EIS comment letters, but sending a handwritten letter stating one’s position succinctly on an issue will carry a lot of weight.
    • He suggested writing to Secretary of State John Kerry to ask him to reject the Keystone XL Tar Sands Pipeline. Mike brought a short video on the pipeline and some writing paper, and Mary M. brought envelopes, so after watching the video, members wrote letters about the Keystone pipeline to Secretary of State Kerry. Karen provided stamps for many letters.

Bruce’s emergency preparedness item:   

Being ready for any emergency with neighborhood groups can build the community network that will also help address climate disruption and its prevention and response.

  • Bruce said that many neighborhood groups were preparing block-by-block for emergencies, such as an earthquake, so that neighbors could provide one another with mutual support. He said groups were coordinating to identify individuals and families who might be vulnerable in an emergency so they could be checked on, and working with local groceries and other neighborhood resources on how they could help.
  • Susan said this was a good fit with existing neighborhood watch groups who already have contact information for residents and provide support. Bruce asked to post this information on the blog so members could be aware of what groups are doing, which members supported.

Meeting Action Item:  Letter Writing to Secretary of Interior Kerry.  The group spent 20 minutes to write letters to the Secretary to not approve the Keystone XL Pipeline permit, put them in envelopes, addressed and stamped them, ready to mail!

Next meeting:
The next meeting is scheduled for 6:00 p.m. on Sunday March 10, 2013, at Karen’s house in Maple Leaf.   Roles will be:  Mike – facilitator, Isa – timekeeper, and Mark – notetaker.

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