Weather Channel Taking Active Climate Change Stance

Here is a promising sign. This article, distributed by the Associated Press appeared in the “Hollywood Reporter on 6/22/2015″. Here is a link to the Weather Channel Climate 25 videos

The message is consciously designed to reach people who may be doubters about the causes of global warming.
weather_channel_anaridis_rodriguez_-_h_-_2015NEW YORK (AP) — The Weather Channel is looking beyond cold fronts and summer showers with a project featuring the voices of 25 prominent people talking about the need to take action on climate change.

The network says its “The Climate 25″ series is about science, not politics. But its message is unmistakable, and is consciously designed to reach people who may be doubters about the causes of global warming.

U.S. Army Gen. Charles Jacoby, Unilever CEO Paul Polman, former Environmental Protection Agency administrator Christine Todd Whitman and former Treasury Secretary Hank Paulson are among the participants. The 25 are filmed in black-and-white speaking directly to the camera about their perspectives on climate change.
Continue reading

Climate change, cancer are surprisingly similar

This Guest Opinion from Barbara Schlachter was published in the Iowa City Press Citizen

schlachterEarth Day and Mother’s Day have come and gone. We can forget about our Mother the Earth for almost a year, if we choose. This year’s observances have been extremely poignant for me. When you are diagnosed with ovarian cancer, you do not automatically assume you will have many more years to celebrate your relationship to our Mother Earth, or your children.

I continue insofar as I am able to be active in action related to climate change, and it has given me pause to realize how cancer and our runaway reliance on fossil fuels are so similar to each other. Cancer is, by definition, cells that multiply against the best interests of their host. They threaten to take over and destroy if not stopped. In spite of other ways we can provide energy to our world, carbon emissions continue to rise, even with the knowledge that their continued proliferation will result in temperatures that will no longer be conducive to many forms of life, including human life. Capitalism and corporate control of our government almost make it impossible to stop the continuation of our mining, transporting and burning every last bit of carbon in the earth, without consideration for what happens next. Globalization and the fossil fuel industry’s heavy influence have put most decisions out of the control of the people most affected by them.

When I received my diagnosis, I was shocked. But thank God, surgery and treatment were offered to me. I am hopeful that they will result in an extended stay on this earth, and so I have endured and will endure whatever it takes for this possibility. If this cancer had asked if it could spread through my abdomen, you can bet I would have said an emphatic “No.” Yet here we are in Iowa with the possibility of the Bakken pipeline cutting diagonally through our precious state, looking somewhat like the weird scar on my abdomen, and we have to go through a long process of protest with no guarantee that it will not be built. It would mean 570,000 barrels of flammable crude oil running through Iowa every day, compromising our soil and our streams.

I wish someone had told me that if you have breast cancer, you have greater odds of getting ovarian cancer. I wish I had been told by my breast oncologist and my primary care physician to watch for certain signs. I wasn’t. I can claim ignorance and bad luck, as one of them put it. But none of us can claim we didn’t know what we were doing to our atmosphere and what would happen if we continued to do it.

Joanna Macy refers to Robert Jay Lifton, the psychiatrist who pioneered the study of the psychological effects of nuclear bombs. The refusal to acknowledge or respond to actual or impending disaster is “part of the disease of our time. … It divorces our mental calculations from our intuitive, emotional, and biological imbeddedness in the matrix of life. That split allows us passively to acquiesce in the preparations for our own demise.”

The words “climate change” have been disallowed in several states, giving it the status of “the C-word,” like cancer used to be when polite people didn’t talk about it or admit to having it. George Marshall, in “Don’t Even Think About It,” refers to Seth Godin, a communications expert who wonders whether calling it “Atmosphere Cancer … might produce more alarm.”

My alarm resulted in action. Hopefully when you read this, I will be halfway through six chemotherapy treatments. The chemo drugs I receive are paclitaxel and carboplatin. They are referred to by those in the trade as “carbotax.” That is pretty ironic considering I have been working for the past four years for Congress to pass a fee and dividend on carbon, often referred to as a “carbontax.” “Make my body a prayerstick for the world,” to quote Meinard Craighead.

The Rev. Dr. Barbara Schlachter is a co-founder of 100Grannies for a Livable Future and a member of the Iowa City Climate Advocates, who are working with Citizens Climate Lobby to pass a fee and dividend on carbon.

Josh Skipworth: AFSC “Bird-dog” Training Video

Following up on the Jenna’s opinion piece published in the Press Citizen (previous post), here is a lightly edited video documenting the March 14 “Bird-dog” training session put on by CCL-Des Moines and featuring Josh Skipworth from the American Friends Service Committee (AFSC). “Bird-dogging” refers to the persistent effort to get out to candidates events around the state, ask questions, and get the issue of climate change into the political debate.

Attend events, ask candidates about climate change

This guest opinion by Jenna Hammerich was published in the Iowa City Press Citizen on April 21.

CandidateVisitsmIowans have a unique opportunity to make our voices heard during the election season, thanks to our first-in-the-nation presidential caucuses. With floods and droughts ravaging the Midwest and California’s agricultural system on the brink of collapse, we must use this opportunity to put climate change at the top of every candidate’s political agenda.

How? Easy. Attend a candidate event and ask a climate change question. When candidates hear a chorus of questions and concerns about climate change, they’ll see that the issue is important to voters and make it a plank in their platforms.
Continue reading

We can’t afford to delay Carbon Fee and Dividend

Peter Rolnick’s great letter to the editor In response to the Iowa City Press Citizen April 17, 2015 editorial posted below

I agree with the Press-Citizen’s excellent editorial supporting a Carbon Fee and Dividend. I’d like to clarify three misunderstandings.

One, the editorial says “great debate exists as to whether (climate change is) a man-made or natural phenomenon.” That climate change now happening is a result of human activity has been known for years, and is overwhelmingly supported by countless peer-reviewed scientific studies — there is no debate among scientists.

Two, the editorial says “passage of the Carbon Fee and Dividend … might result in very slow change on our climate.” In fact, Regional Economic Modeling, Inc., a non-partisan economic modeling organization, modeled the scenario outlined in the editorial, and showed that, if started in 2016, it will result in a 33 percent reduction in carbon dioxide emissions in 10 years.

Three, the editorial suggests that climate activists put more effort into preparing ourselves “for the inevitable, so to speak.” The inevitable if we do enact Carbon Fee and Dividend is not pretty, and yes, we should be preparing. The inevitable if we don’t enact a carbon fee soon goes way beyond anything we can prepare for — to think that we can adapt to a temperature increase of 6 degrees or more (which is where we are heading with “business as usual” — think NYC, Miami and New Orleans uninhabitable due to sea level rise) is dangerously misleading.

Peter Rolnick

Iowa City

Iowa City Press Citizen: Support carbon fee to help end climate change

PressCitizenThis editorial appeared in the Iowa City Press Citizen as a result of our meeting with the PC Editorial Board on April 8.

Wednesday is Earth Day, a day that marks the start of the modern environmental movement in 1970.

Of today’s pressing environmental issues — and there are many — the national Citizens’ Climate Lobby group is attempting to garner momentum, support and action on the issue of climate change. CCL is a nonprofit, nonpartisan, grass-roots advocacy organization focused on national policies to address climate change. Their goal is to effect change on a broader scale, they say, by doing more than getting individuals to switch to CFL light bulbs.

CCL, which has 257 chapters including Iowa City’s own Climate Advocates group, aims to make climate change part of the political discourse, especially during the upcoming caucus and presidential campaign season. They urge regular citizens to ask candidates a question as simple as “What are you going to do about climate change?”

On a grander scale, this group is lobbying for passage of the Carbon Fee and Dividend, a fee assessed to companies that extract fossil fuels from the earth. The fee would be based on the amount of carbon in a fossil fuel, such as oil, gas or coal.
Continue reading

Iowa, The United Nations, and Climate Change

JC Forum flyer final
The Iowa United Nations Association announces a community forum to be held Saturday, April 18, 9:30 AM – 2:30 PM at the University Club, 1360 Melrose Avenue, Iowa City, “Iowa, The United Nations, and Climate Change” More information is available at

If you are interested in participating as a panelist on Citizen Activism, please send email to: