November 2013 Meeting Notes

The meeting was held at Ellen’s home.  Attendees included Ellen,  Susan B, Mieko, Jack, David W, Bruce, Dan, Mark, Susan S, Rich and Connie, Karen, and Mary M.   Bruce facilitated, Mark served as Town Crier, Mary took notes, and Ellen was the timekeeper.

Town Crier:  Reports of recent activities by SEA members

 Coal Trains: The comment period for the Longview Coal Terminal EIS Scope will end November 18th, i.e. tomorrow.  The link to submit comments was provided for people who wish to do so online.

Plant for the Planet:  Rich, Bruce, Jack, Basilia, Mike, Ellen, Isa, and Alan were involved in helping with two Plant for the Planet Academies occurring on October 26, one at Jane Addams school and the other at Martin Luther King.  Most attended training on October 5.  Collectively they were involved with various aspects of the events, from food to name tags to tree-planting to leading small groups of children attending the academies.  Michael Foster had expressed a desire to come to thank the SEA members and talk about what to do next, but regrettably did not, in fact, come.  Rich gave a summary of the training events and said that they went well, but that the tree planting event the next week was cancelled due to weather and future plans are not clear.  There is to be a volunteer meeting at Beppo’s on December 1st from 1:00-3:00pm.   Susan S had happened to talk to the parent of a child who attended the training and felt that while well motivated, it wasn’t well organized and her child did not feel like they had learned anything.  She gave her contact information to Rich so that he or Michael could contact her for more direct discussion of how the event could be improved in the future.

Fossil Fuel Divestiture:  Mary D has been recognized by the Episcopal Diocese for her initiative to have the diocese divest itself of investments in fossil fuel companies.   Her efforts were mentioned in a sermon on September 22.  Mary began these efforts at the grass roots within her own parish.  Joel Connelly of the Seattle PI wrote a recent article on the Episcopal divestment initiative.

EPA Public Listening Session on Existing Power Plant Guideline Development:   Rich, Connie, Karen and David, Dan, and Mary attended this listening session and Rich and Dan both spoke to the panel of EPA regional representatives, including the Regional Administrator Dennis McLaren.  They are looking for the best means to reduce or curtail the emissions from existing power plants, primarily coal fired power plants.  Rich gave a short update of his testimony on why, based on the lasted IPCC report the new regulations need to reduce all emissions of CO2 so that they level off globally by 2020 and then steadily decline through 2070 if we are to avoid the catastrophic effects of a 2 degree increase in climate temperatures.  [See separate posts on Rich and Dan’s public statements under SEA Waves or SEA Info.]   EPA will be accepting input and suggestions through the end of November at:  carbonpollutioninput@epa.gov.

Action Opportunities

Climate Legislative Executive Workgroup (CLEW):  This group, convened by Governor Inslee, is holding a hearing on October 23 to hear what the public thinks the State of Washington should be doing to address climate change. The Climate Legislative Executive Workgoup (CLEW CLEW Website. ) is developing recommendations for how WA can reduce its carbon pollution targets.  You can support Governor Inslee by coming to the hearing, whether you are able to speak or wish to submit written comments.

November 18 is the last day to submit comments regarding the proposed Longview port.  See the link on the SEA blog .

Earth Music Seattle will perform on Nov 24, from 3:00-6:00 at Plymouth Congregational Church downtown.  The concert is an opportunity for climate activists and their organizations to come together and network for more collaboration on climate change.

Town Crier Discussion:  The group discussed how to best share what members of SEA have done each month as easily and effectively as possible.  It was decided that the Facilitator each month will take on this responsibility of (a) asking people to let them know prior to the meeting what they have done related to climate action, and (b) check the SEA Waves page for postings of any members that will then be highlighted at the meeting.

Carbon Tax v. Cap and Trade:  Mary M reported that links have been posted to the SEA Change blog under SEA Info/Climate Change that will provide the reader with information on these two alternative approaches to making the true cost of using fossil fuels reflected in its price.   It was stated in most of these that either method can work, but that there may be some savings in administrative costs by using the carbon tax rather than the Cap and Trade approach.  Either can be effective and either can be “gamed” if not done properly.   Thus, it is important to be supportive of either approach when opportunity arises and not to undermine one over the other.  Currently there are two organizations that are seeking to get legislation passed that will implement a fee/tax and dividend on fossil fuels at their source which will then be returned through either a dividend (Citizens Climate Lobby) to all citizens or reduction in taxes (Carbon WA).   The former is working nationally and the latter is seeking to have an initiative campaign in 2014 in Washington State.  British Columbia has a carbon tax and dividend system and California has a cap and trade approach.  There was an interest by the group in learning more about both of these options, and Rich volunteered to provide some information at the January meeting based upon information from a Coursera course he took recently.

Holiday Party

The group further planned the holiday party to be held on December 8, from  5:00-8:00 at Karen and David’s.  The emphasis will on socializing, and with only a short meeting to review what SEA has done in the past year and what the upcoming year might bring.  It was suggested that a short video might be included as well.  SEA members are encouraged to reach out to others who might be interested in learning about our activities.  Jack is developing an invitation that will be sent out to SEA participants that they can use to invite their friends.   SEA will use this as an opportunity to share food and conversations with friends as well as highlight what has been accomplished through our grassroots community-building approach to climate activism!

Monthly Meeting Structure:  It was proposed that there be a substantial portion of time at every other meeting to learn about and discuss a particular topic related to climate change.  The action opportunities to write letters in the last half hour of the meeting will be available every other month, but with opportunities to write letters at home highlighted whenever they arise.  This will be tried out in January and is subject to further discussion.

January 2014 Meeting

When: January 19, 6:00-6:30 socializing; 6:30-8:00 meeting

Where: Isa’s home

Facilitator: Mark A

Time keeper: Rich

Note Taker: Susan

Agenda: possible topics

    • Education/Discussion Topic:  Carbon Tax vs Cap and Trade
    • Report out on Plant for the Planet events and ongoing progress.

Submit any additional topics for the coming agenda to Mark or in the comments below.

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