Action

With individual cities banning fracking across New York state--most recently Syracuse and Albany!--we need to continue pressuring Governor Cuomo more than ever for a statewide ban.

There is something easy you can do RIGHT NOW to help pressure Governor Cuomo to ban fracking, which will take less than a minute of your time: post this video on Governor Cuomo’s Facebook pages.

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This entry was originally posted at Community Cucina, the local food blog that I write (and reference in this post).

I just got off an amazing phone call. It was an environmental organizing phone call about the tar sands and how to stop the Keystone XL pipeline from growing any further. I heard from Kandi Mossett of the Indigenous Environmental Action Network, several members of the Energy Action Coalition, students taking time off from school to organize the climate movement, and Bill McKibben who is one of my long-time heroes and founder of 350.org. I'd forgotten how much hope and energy a single phone call, one in which you're one of 145 and don't say a single word, can bring. I used to get on these calls a lot as an organizer in college, but I'd taken a step back for awhile to work on my writing and pursue different things. I took my first step back into the fray tonight and it was awesome.

And horrifying. Just as I forgot how much hope we can generate, I'd forgotten a little about the despair. It's easy to overlook if your life is pretty comfortable, as mine is. I'd forgotten just how much work there is to do and how quickly we need to do it.

But what does that have to do with a cooking blog?

Well, the roots of this blog are in sustainability. I look to local farmers, foragers, and cheesemakers as much as I can as a way to celebrate the bounty of where I live and as a way to feed myself and those I care about clean, healthy food. Food that is essential to life, the food that nourishes us, makes us strong, helps us heal when we're sick, food whose origins I can trace, food that is safe. But we can't have safe, clean food without safe, clean water, which leads back to clean energy, with the tar sands and fracking foremost on my mind tonight.

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A Call to Action

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September 4, 2011

There is a movement arising. Are you not aware? Do you not care?

If you answered yes to either of these questions, you are indeed a part of the problem. It does not take much more than a simple search on the nearest social media outlet to realize that there are a number of people who are fighting against the institutions that oppress the common man and rape vast amounts of land. You are not free; you are not living in a world that cares for clean air, water, or soil.Human and life needs are being suffocated in the name of profit. You are shackled to unforgiving laws, silenced by the corporatism of our government and subjected to land grabs that are exacerbating the change of our climate, poisoning the air and water, and killing indigenous peoples that have lived off the land for hundreds of years.

Dumbed down and numbed by TV, industry-driven music, and media controlled by crooks, the powers-that-be have you exactly where they want you. No need to worry about us challenging their power and tired ways; we are too busy making sure we catch the most recent episode of Jersey Shore. But there are indeed a number of us awake, fighting, and hopeful.

To those looking to put your passion, skills and desire to test—THIS IS YOUR CALL TO ACTION.

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IMG_0742The day before yesterday, on August 4, 2011, one year after the President of our United States stood on national television and said that 75% of the oil that had spewed into our Gulf was gone, I was booked into the New Orleans Parish Police lock-up with the charge of Criminal Trespassing.

The day before, I had been called by the Louisiana State Police Department to come to a meeting with them to discuss the Non-violent Direct Action Protest that myself and a united group consisting of environmentalists, community organizers, fishermen and clean-up workers, had organized in front of the British Petroleum offices, which are on the 13th and 14th floor of 1250 Poydras in NOLA.

At that meeting, I was told that we were allowed on the sidewalk only. That there would be plain clothed officers among us, and that if we crossed a certain line, which runs from the building to the parking lot, we would be arrested. The detectives, very nicely, drew us a map to explain the exact whereabouts of that line.

When we got to the event, which at the beginning had nearly 100 in attendance, I made the announcement that I was going to cross that line. And that I was doing this in protest of the so many lines that BP has crossed, in my mind, concerning the cleaning up of their mess, the spraying of toxic chemicals in our water, the murder of 11 of our energy providers, the disrespect and economical damage to our fishermen and residents, and the denial of and lack of response to health issues and claims since April 20 of last year.

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On June 12, 2011 hundreds of students and approximately 50 community members stood together in solidarity protesting, Representative John Boehner, who was picked to speak at spring commencement for The Ohio State University. The protesting of Boehner was sparked by his recent decisions for push forward the Ryan budget that is loaded with cuts that will be a burden to the young graduates.

The students participated in the demonstration by donning stickers on their caps that read, "Don't Cut Our Future" and "O-H-I-O, John Boehner, Oh Hell NO!", and turning their backs to him when he got up to speak. Aiding the momentum of the event community members gathered with signs and banners accompanied by OSU students that were not graduating. Some of the protesters were able to get large banners into the ceremony portraying the graduates sentiments on a larger scale, "Don't Cut Our Future", which were dropped on the westside of the stadium. Overall, the protest was powerful demonstration that Ohioans are dissatisfied with Representative Boehner current voting forms.

It's simple, really. Speaker John Boehner does not support higher education. He wants to cut Pell grants - grants for higher education. Yet he was speaking at the largest institution for higher education in the country. I thought it hypocritical of him and of my institution to sponsor him when he wants to make it more difficult for students to attend college. It's already difficult - I have friends and acquaintances who worked every spare minute so they wouldn't have to take out quite so many loans. I've worked for years - in high school and college - to help pay for my education. Yet when my six-month grace period is over, I will still have huge loan payments to make, and it's only getting worse for future students. I could not sit idly by as the man behind the grant cutting tells me to work hard, and everything will turn out ok. I have worked hard; I still am working hard. Hundreds of thousands of students across the country are working hard. Cutting our funding is not the answer. Making things more difficult for future generations is not the answer.

Speaker John Boehner has repeatedly turned his back on Americans. In supporting Wisconsin governor Scott Walker, Speaker Boehner turns his back on the working-class, on teachers, firefighters, police officers, and many more. In trying to cut funding for Planned Parenthood and attempting to change "rape" to "forcible rape" in regards to taxpayer funding for abortions, Speaker Boehner turned his back on women. Speaker Boehner turned his back on young people; he would like to undo President Obama's healthcare plan (so young people could not stay on their parents' insurance plan) and cut thousands of Americorps jobs, which overwhelmingly go to young people. He mentioned in February that he would not be upset if his spending cuts resulted in job losses, turning his back on unemployed Americans. In voting to ban same-sex marriage and not to support prohibiting job discrimination because of sexual orientation, Speaker Boehner has turned his back on the GLBT community.

I could go on, but I think you understand. There aren't many people Speaker Boehner has not turned his back toward, so I thought it not only fitting, but necessary, that I turn my back on him.

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A while back, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) proposed the first ever standards for mercury and other air toxics emissions from coal-fired plants. When I first heard that these pollutants had never been regulated before, I was shocked! Surely they were limited under the Clean Air Act? So I decided to do some research, and what I found was pretty scary.

The first thing I found was the laundry list of severe health effects pollutants like mercury and arsenic can have, even when present only in small amounts. These toxins are extremely harmful and have been linked to cancer, heart disease, neurological damage, birth defects, asthma attacks and even premature death.

Mercury, a neurotoxin, is particularly harmful pollutant because it settles from the air onto our lakes, rivers and forests, polluting the environment and accumulating up the food chain as fish and wildlife consumes the contamination. Most Great Lakes States have posted warnings about eating the fish due to mercury contamination.

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Guest Post by Denise Giardina

Ninety years ago, in 1921, thousands of coal miners marched from Marmet, West Virginia to Blair Mountain in Logan County. They were West Virginians from a variety of backgrounds, standing up against coal companies for their freedom and basic human rights. They tied red bandannas around their necks and marched to throw out local politicians who had aligned themselves with coal companies. They marched because they were dying from unsafe working conditions, because they were being cheated out of their rightful pay. They marched because they were being denied the right to join a union, because their families were living in terrible conditions and dying from ill health, because coal company thugs subjected them to violence, because the companies and state government were taking away their basic civil liberties.

When these brave miners reached Blair Mountain, they found coal company forces and state police arrayed against them with rifles and machine guns. The standoff lasted for several days and ended when federal troops with not only machine guns, but also poison gas, and airplanes with bombs, arrived on the scene. The Battle of Blair Mountain was one of the most stirring and important events in labor history in the United States. For several days it commanded the top headlines in newspapers such as the New York Times. The immediate aftermath was the crushing of the United Mine Workers throughout the region for the next twelve years, but with the election of Franklin Roosevelt in the 1930s, the hope of Blair Mountain was realized. The United Mine Workers of America began the long process of improving the lot of American coal miners.

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Send a Mother's Day E-CardA few weeks ago, Glenn Beck warned his Fox News audience of a grave new threat: you!

Beck cautioned his viewers that the 10,000 young people organizing for a clean energy future at Power Shift 2011 were “radicals” being brainwashed to “kill their parents”. Naturally, we were alarmed, but after carefully reviewing the Power Shift agenda we concluded that no workshops on Matricide were secretly added to the program.

Send your mom a Power Shift e-card to wish her a radical Mother’s Day!

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This afternoon, hundreds of youth climate activists shut down a BP gas station with people power. The flash mob contrasted a joyous and cheerful celebration of the beauty of the Gulf Coast — beach balls, beach chairs, and palm trees — with the devastation caused by the BP oil disaster. In an exclusive interview with ThinkProgress during the protest, Tulane University student Stephanie Stefanski explains why she drove 20 hours from Louisiana to the 2011 Power Shift conference to help to shut down BP and make them pay to restore the Gulf:

There’s still oil on our coast. I saw it two weeks ago, I touched it, I smelled it. It’s still causing massive die offs with dolphins, sea turtles, crustaceans and fish. It’s causing public health issues. I’m here to tell everyone this problem is still here one year later. The beaches are still oiled. They’re trying to “make it right” by paying off the community, but it’s still destroyed. The fisheries are damaged. There’s no money in, people still don’t trust the seafood. They’re not paying up for their damages.

 

Stefanski is with the Gulf Restoration Network, which has a national petition to hold President Obama accountable and implement the Oil Spill Commission recommendations to ensure Louisiana and its sister states come back stronger.