Jan 2014 – SEA Minutes

SEA Meeting held Jan. 19, 2014 hosted by Isa.    Attendees included: Mark (facilitator), Rich (timekeeper), Susan (notetaker), Ruth and Jim (new), Emilia (new), Karen, David W..d, Connie, Basilia, Mike, Mary M, and Isa.

Mark began by mentioning the usefulness of the SEA Waves section of the SEA blog site to learn about member activities.  He highlighted activities listed for since the Nov meeting, including that Mary and Isa are working on a community climate calendar where all organizations and individual events can be accessed that will be used collaboratively for facilitating people in Seattle to take action on the climate.  Of the many SEA member activities since the last meeting, Mark mentioned Isa and Mary’s meeting in Bellingham, the UW lecture, the SEA holiday party, etc.  Click here to see the highlights of all the activities and to contact those who participated for more information about participating in the future.  

Upcoming events will be sent out by Mary via Sea Alerts.  Coming soon is the January 20th Plant for the Planet event 10:00-2:-00 and the Jan 25 XL Pipeline meeting.  Mary appealed to everyone to contact Congressman McDermott to urge him to vote NO on the Fast Track proposal for the TPP (see email for details).

Next meeting:  David’s house with Facilitator will be Basilia, Note Taker Karen, and Timekeeper Isa.

Agenda and time allotted for each was approved.

1. Mike reviewed the Dec. holiday gathering and asked for feedback.  This included:

  • There was only a few guests who signed up for SEA Alerts emails even though many were interested in being involved,  so SEA members were encouraged to ask friends/contacts if they would like to sign up for it.
  • Mike suggested we may have been overly cautious in recruiting new members; Mary and others agreed that asking friends personally to sign up for alerts, attend meetings would be a good initiative to take.
  • The two visitors to the meeting said they had expected more people at the 1/19 meeting, and had assumed that SEA was much bigger, since there were so many people at the holiday gathering. SEA members responded that there are different attendees every month.
  • All agreed that the meeting notice each month should include an invitation to include visitors.
  • The video room, with 2 videos, at the Holiday party was enjoyed by many.
  • Mike suggested that keeping track of our initiatives and measurable outcomes would be beneficial, and should be mentioned at each meeting.
  • Basilia suggested having the business portion of the meeting nearer the beginning of the holiday (or any special) meeting.  All agreed that next year a separate planning session would be helpful in making such improvements.

2. Mike brought up his idea for a new Google group and channels for group discussions.

  • SEA Alerts is used to send out only a couple of critical announcements per month.
  • As the blog still is not accessed regularly by the general membership (or if they do access it they don’t use it for discussions through the posting of comments etc.),  Mike suggested a SEA Discussion Group.  General group discussion: need to keep easy, low-tech, link to e-mail, etc.  The group voted to try the Discussion Group, but continue on with the blog, since via the blog we are building up a good library on many topics.

3. Mike brought up for discussion the idea of having meeting time for discussion of books or articles, with the caveat that the meetings not become just discussion groups.

  • Mark said it was a good idea, if time for this at the meetings is limited and the topic/book is also posted on the blog.
  • Mary suggested the presenter give a short synopsis at the meeting and move the longer discussion, if enough interest, to another time/venue.  This synopsis would be listed as a short agenda item.
  • David asked if there were any other environmental book discussion groups in the Seattle area, and that it would be a feature on the blog, email, to draw in new members.
  • Karen suggested the possibility of a separate “extra” SEA meeting each quarter for article/book/issue discussion.
  • Mark added that these discussions groups could spin off topics mentioned in meetings.
  • David clarified that any book reports given in meetings should be short, then spin off into occasional discussion meetings occasionally.

4. Mike mentioned 5 major issues and actions on the horizon for the coming year:

  1. Tar Sands/Keystone XL pipeline
  2. Coal Trains & Oil Trains (Will Puget Sound become a “carbon super-highway”?)
  3. Carbon Tax
  4. Trans Pacific Partnership
  5. Plant for the Planet

1. Credo is leading the effort for national resistance to Keystone XL.  Once the EIS is published, there is a 90-day period for the Administration to do a “national interest determination”—2 steps: Pres. Obama gets to decide if the pipeline is a) in the national interest and/or b) bad for the environment.  If he decides it is in the national interest, Pres. Obama then has 2 weeks to approve it—it is at this point that there will be national actions of civil disobedience.  A meeting on this issue will be 11-1 on 1/25 at Plymouth Church. (see blog, SEA Alert).

2. Mike said that there is an effort under way to meet with new City Council Member Kshama (“k” is silent) Sawant on issue #2, the coal/oil train traffic through Seattle.

3. Rich gave a special report on Carbon Tax vs. Cap and Trade.

4. On the TPP, the Fast Track vote in Congress is coming up in Congress and Cong. McDermott needs to be encouraged to vote NO—the Slow Track, with complete transparency is essential. Wikileaks has a draft of the TPP agreement (Mike will send info on the specifics).

5. Plant for the Planet was discussed later in the meeting.

Mike summarized that, broadly, for the coming year the perspective is that, “Climate change is coming—it is up to us to determine how bad it will be.”  The UN has said that we have est. 15 years max. to take action.  Issues such as fracking, which uses huge amounts of water at a time when serious droughts are affecting many regions, need to be faced.  Mike quoted Emily _____??, “If you are looking for a meaningful struggle, we’ve got one!”.  David reminded members to pronounce Kshama Sawant’s name correctly when meeting with her, and to use the appropriate terminology (“BP Oil Disaster”, not “Gulf Oil Disaster”) when discussing the issues.

5. Rich reported that Plant for the Planet is working on keeping the 190 Academy(ies) graduates active. They are planting trees on MLKing Day (see blog) from 10-2.  At a meeting with founder Michael Foster, it was decided that they need a video to help the organization to “go national” or to collaborated with groups such as the 4H or the Scouts.  The group is working on making a “kit” for other areas that want to copy Seattle, which is the center of US activity.

6. Maddy Buchman, a senior at the Waldorf School at Seattle Center, presented her senior project, which is to achieve a City of Seattle ban on gas-powered leaf blowers.  See her blog: Ban Leaf-Blowers Seattle for some great information and a link to a Move On Petition.  These are already banned in Israel, Los Angeles and 20 cities in California and 100+ cities in the U.S.  Leaf blowers pollute more than cars, a fact on her Fact Sheet, handed out for distribution.

She hopes to get 1000 petition signers, and so far has 228. Maddy handed out letters for SEA members to sign and mail in, and to give to friends.

7. Rich presented a summary of Carbon Tax vs. Cap and Trade, based on information from a Coursera online course. Due to strong interest by the group, Rich agreed to lead a separate discussion on the topic. There are other links to other organizations and details on this issue on the blog.  Connie also recommended David Suzuki’s blog.

8.  David agreed to present on greenhouse gas emissions at the next meeting, Feb. 16 at David’s.  The address will be provided by an email to the SEA Alerts group.

The meeting was adjourned at 8:10 PM.

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