July 2013 Meeting Notes – Next Meeting on August 25th.

Note:  August SEA Meeting will be on the last Sunday, August 25th (due to conflicts on the third Sunday) at David Ward’s home with Ellen facilitating, Bruce taking notes, and Mark timekeeping.

Meeting Notes for SEAChange, July 21, 2013

The meeting was held in Mary M’s garden. There were 15 members, and guest speaker Louise Stonington of 350.org and Citizens Climate Lobby, attending. David was the facilitator, Mark was the town crier, Bruce was the time keeper, and Mary S was the note taker.  Attendees included Susan, David, Connie, Rich, Mike, Mark, Ellen, Bruce, Dan, Mary M, Mary S, Jack, Catherine, and Louise.

Meeting agenda:  David provided a detailed written agenda for the meeting to each member. This was the first time we had a written agenda, and everyone thanked David for this. The written agenda listed meeting speakers and topics, direct action and volunteer opportunities, news of interest, and ways for people to get involved in various actions. David and Mike noted that Bill McKibben was in Vancouver on July 17th, but will not be at the July 27 Direct Action at Vancouver, WA/Portland.

Town crier: Mark encouraged members to post actions they’ve taken on climate change on the SEAChange website under Sea Waves. He provided a few highlights from the activities that SEA members had engaged in over the past month.  Mary M, Bill, and Carol participated in the Fremont Solstice Day Parade with 350.org, Backbone, and the Sierra Club; Bruce and Janet tabled at the Solstice Day Fair; Isa and Mary M met with the Sierra Club; Mary M and Carol met with 350-Seattle Coal Workgroup; Bill was involved with 350-Seattle Climate Candidates; and Mary M, Connie, and Isa attended a conference on the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP). Dan said he talked with Congressman Jim McDermott about keeping fossil fuel in the ground, and the congressman was supportive.

Direct action: Mike discussed 350.org’s Summer Heat Campaign for a summer of intense actions to keep fossil fuel in the ground and respond to climate issues. Mike encouraged people to attend the 350.org flotilla demonstration on the Columbia River on July 27 which is being led by 350-PDX. He said the demonstration will include people in boats, on surf boards, and standing on the bridge to symbolize blocking the river. Mike will post information on the SEAChange blog and said that, on July 17, Bill McKibben spoke in support of the July 27 action as critical to stopping the use of the Columbia River as a carbon highway.

Mike said the Backbone Campaign while locally based organization has a national reach and works to pressure politicians to have a “backbone” on environmental issues. He noted that Dan was wearing a Backbone T-shirt, and said Backbone will use art, activism, and civil disobedience to facilitate change.  A week of activist training will take place on Vashon the last week of July/first week of August, and there will be a Polluter Tour on August 5 by bicycle along the downtown waterfront. The tour is open to the public, and Mike will post details on the SEAChange website.

Mayor McGinn’s re-election campaign: Connie encouraged people to get involved to support of Mayor McGinn’s re-election. She said Bill McKibben and many others had endorsed Mayor McGinn because of his commitment to divest the City of fossil fuels, which no other Mayor has done. Connie and others said Senator Ed Murray has been endorsed by The Seattle Times, but that he has not shown a strong commitment to environmental issues. Connie identified volunteer opportunities for Mayor McGinn’s re-election, and other opportunities are listed on the back of David’s meeting agenda.

David encouraged people to volunteer to support City Council Member Mike O’Brien’s re-election, and said he’d post details on the SEAChange website. David and others discussed that Albert Shen, who was endorsed by The Seattle Times, is corporation-oriented, and that 68% of his campaign contributions have come from China, Hong Kong, and California. In contrast, David said Mike O’Brien has been very supportive of environmental and social justice issues, and that 80% of his contributions are from small individual donors in Seattle.

Coal trains: Mary M said there will be four scoping hearings for the proposed coal terminal in Longview, WA. The first is on September 17 in Longview or Vancouver, WA, and the last is in Tacoma on October 17. The Sierra Club hopes to organize carpools to get at least 250 people from Seattle to the Tacoma hearing. Interested people can contact Robin Everett at the Sierra Club. Mary M said there also are volunteer opportunities to table on coal train issues in the Central Area on August 17 and at the Tilth Festival on September 7. Mary M also invited people to attend Beyond Coal strategy meetings at the Sierra Club at 6:30 p.m. on the third Thursday of every month, with free pizza and beer.

The Washington Fair Trade Council and the Sierra Club are working together to oppose the Trans Pacific Partnership, which has been described as “NAFTA on steroids.” The TPP is being negotiated in secrecy and appears to be set up to allow international corporations to sue in WTO courts on labor and environmental issues that could adversely impact corporate profits.  Congress is considering fast-tracking the legislation, which is a bad idea as it will result in there being less opportunity for the press and public to look at the terms in any detail and it will be more likely to be approved.  Rep Jim McDermott has come out in opposition to fast tracking the trade agreement.  These links provide more information about the agreement:

It was also discussed that The Stranger had reported that the FBI interviewed climate activists and tried to get names of others involved in climate actions and protests here. David said Mary M was contacted by Mother Jones about this, and he asked that people let Mary M know if they were contacted by the FBI. Mike said people should agree to speak to the FBI, but only with an attorney present. David said the ACLU might be interested in representing people on this because of the freedom of speech, assembly, etc., issues involved. A link to FBI issues is on the back page of the meeting agenda.

Next meeting: Ellen said some members can’t make the next meeting date, so everyone agreed to hold the next meeting on August 25. The meeting likely will be at David’s home. Ellen will be the facilitator, Mark will be the time keeper, Mary will be the town crier, and Bruce will be the note taker. Ellen suggested the next meeting agenda include a discussion of our vision for SEA for the future.

Guest speaker: Louise Stonington of 350.org was our guest speaker. As background, she talked about how she got involved in climate action with the Citizens Climate Lobby (CCL) and said CCL was founded by Marshall Saunders of Results to help increase food availability and decrease starvation around the world.  She said there are now 102 CCL chapters in the U.S. and Canada.

Louise encouraged people to engage in “laser” talks with others about climate issues whenever and wherever possible. She said laser talks are subject-specific talking points that can be used to talk with anyone at any time about climate change issues to raise a groundswell for sustainability. She provided detailed talking points in a handout called Climate Change Responses in a Nutshell. The talking points address how to respond to climate change denial, questions about the causes and seriousness of climate change, and whether it can be stopped through individual actions. The handout includes a resource section with authorities, action organizations, news, books, videos, and other links. Louise corrected one resource site, http://wwwsketpicalsince.com, to say that it’s http://www.skepticalscience.org.

Louise also talked about the need to get op-ed pieces in newspapers and to talk with reporters and encourage them to do better reporting on climate change issues. She also discussed a fossil fuel tax that would be market friendly because of gradual increases in taxation that could benefit both businesses and individuals, and she encouraged people to work with Anne Enstrom of CCL to lobby individuals in the Washington State delegation on these issues.

Louise then answered lots of questions, and when time was up, many members stayed after the meeting to continue discussions with Louise and one another about climate and TPP issues.

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manager of SeattleEnvironmentalActivists' blog
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