Aggressive Climate Action Needed Right Now

Aggressive Climate Action Needed Right Now

My family and I went camping this summer in an area full of beetle-killed trees. Many of these beetle-kill areas were also burned by wildfires, because dead trees provide excellent fuel for an errant spark or lightning strike. The forest used to be beautiful—thick and green. Now, it was clear that in the forest, only the campground area had been saved from the insects and the fire. The only reason we were able to camp amongst green trees was because the campground trees are sprayed with insecticide and firefighters worked to save the campground. Colorado could not afford to lose this tiny bit of forest that brings in revenue from camping reservations. This green oasis exists because people don’t want to camp amongst burned tree corpses. Once the trees are lost, it takes YEARS for new trees to take their place. And even with this human intervention, all through the campground were signs of beetle-killed trees that had been cut down in order to try to save the adjacent trees. This level of intervention is not possible for the thousands of square miles of national parks, state parks, and forests in Colorado alone. 

The people in charge of protecting our parks have begun removing protections that have stood for many years, and allowing drilling for the very fossil fuels that have caused the forests’ demise.

I sat on the shore of the lake, with the healthy pines at my back. The pines provide home and cover for birds, chipmunks, caterpillars, longhorn beetles, deer, and many other species. On the other side of the lake was a hillside covered in the unrelenting light brown of dead trees. No birds called from that side. No deer stepped down to drink from the lake, since there was no tree cover for them. The ecosystem had fallen apart. The National Park Service has worked for over one hundred years to preserve the ecology of its parks. This work is being undone by the very government that is tasked with the parks’ protection. By that argument, this country’s citizens are seeing their own health and well-being undone by the government in exacerbating and accelerating climate change.

Humans are Breaking the Environment

Those who argue that wildfires are natural need to know that the conditions that have led to extensive beetle kill are due to climate change. Bark beetles have lived here for thousands of years. The area’s cold winters have traditionally kept the beetle’s population in check by killing some eggs and larvae. But higher temperatures fail to keep the population in check and low precipitation weakens the trees’ response to the invaders (trees can expel invaders or their eggs with sap flow). The last ten years has seen a massive infestation and the resulting devastation of our forests. https://www.nps.gov/romo/learn/nature/mtn_pine_beetle_background.htm

We Must Stop Enabling Climate Change

I find the idea of opening up previously protected lands to obtain fossil fuels repugnant. In essence, taxpayers pay subsidies to oil companies.  https://www.nytimes.com/2016/08/06/upshot/do-oil-companies-really-need-4-billion-per-year-of-taxpayers-money.html. The oil companies then sell fossil fuels back to us to do our part to irretrievably change our environment—increasing the number and severity of natural disasters and continue in our complacency of this reckless global experiment in greed and apathy.

I know that it is too late to reverse these effects on our environment. I know that these dead trees are the least of our worries. But why are our elected government officials NOT looking out for our national wonders AND their constituents’ health and well-being? Climate change and the weather changes it’s bringing are affecting us all—killing or displacing many of us.

Elect Climate Change Champions

It’s time to elect officials who understand the effects of climate change and will not serve the corporations who have the most to gain short term, but instead help protect the health and well-being of the voters they represent. It’s time to divorce money from politics so representatives can do the right thing. When you vote in the upcoming election, please take into consideration who the candidates are beholden to and which candidates take climate change seriously. Our lives and our beautiful world depend on candidates willing to say no to dirty money.

 

 

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September 11th – Remembering All That Was Lost

September 11th - Remembering All That Was Lost

As we all remember September 11th, it’s important to not only remember the horrific events of that day, but what it meant to us as people, as a country, and as a world.

September 11th hits me the hardest in this way, for a brief flash I saw the very best of humanity. When the horrific events unfolded I not only saw my fellow Americans, by my fellow humans putting aside differences to come together in one worldwide call of humanitarianism. I saw true outpouring of human love and empathy from all corners of this globe. I am still awestruck to this day of the potential I saw in humanity during this brief flash of remarkable humanity.

However, over the days, months, and years that followed I watched as the goodness of humanity faded through fear. I watched bigotry explode from our hate. I watched evil flourish as we let our worst traits take over. It became ok to take advantage of each other. A smile on our faces as we let our hate, anger, and fear take over while we deceived ourselves through false justifications.

Now I look at this world almost two decades later, I can see how the worst of us has shaped us. I can see how our fear defeats us. I can see how our bigotry turns our family, friends, and neighbors into our enemies. I see how we use hate to justify our amorality. I see too many embracing the worst parts of us for their own personal gain.

That’s why I find September 11th so hard. I see how we squandered that glimpse of goodness. Instead we allowed the hate, fear, anger, and despair into our lives. In doing so we have made this world an uglier place then it was on September 10, 2001.

In my view, terror won that day. Hate’s still winning. Fear has had a grip on us for nearly an entire generation. Along with those lost, we need to also remember the lessons lost.

This is not to say that we humans are lost. We can choose hope over fear. We can choose understanding over anger. We can choose compassion over bigotry. We can choose peace over violence. We can choose good over evil.

When you take a moment to remember September 11th. Remember that flash of goodness and humanitarianism. We can choose to shine again like we did that fateful day, every day.

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I Think Less Of You

This saying of “Think less of you.” has been around for a bit over a year, but it really does sum up my sadness and helps to tamp down the ager I feel towards others. I think it sums up my thoughts on our political opponents and current situation.

Think Less of You Shareable Image Meme

Text Version of Think Less of You

I am not mad at you that Clinton lost. I am unconcerned that we have different politics. And I don’t think less of you because you vote one way and I vote another.

No …

  • I think less of you because you watched an adult mock a disabled person in front of a crowd and still supported him.
  • I think less of you because you saw a man spouting clear racism and backed him.
  • I think less of you because you listened to him advocate for war crimes, and still thought he should run this country.
  • I think less of you because you watched him equate a woman’s worth to her appearance and got on board.

It isn’t your politics that I find repulsive. It is your personal willingness to support racism, sexism, and cruelty. You sided with a bully when it mattered and that is something I will never forget. So, no … you and I won’t be “coming together” to move forward or whatever.

Trump disgusts me, but it is the fact that he doesn’t disgust you that will stick with me long after this election.

Feel free to share this. #resist #persist

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Donald Trump Grabs America

Trump Grabs America – 45th President

people-politico-america-just-got-grabbed-by-the-pussy-full-color

Trump grabs America in a black and white version for scaled readability. 

Please Post These Everywhere – Trump Grabs America

Donald Trump Sworn in as America's 45th President of the United States

Use this, and any other means at your disposal, as a form of non-violent protest. Now, more than ever, the citizens of this country need to stand up and shout out against evil, corruption, sexism, misogyny, sexual assault, bullying, anti-intellectualism and general lack of morality that is sweeping into acceptance with Donald Trump’s win. His swearing in is an all too real sign of the trouble that America, and the world, is in. 

Our world just got grabbed by an absolutely awful individual. He now has the power to actually ruin it instead of just being a stain on it. So fight to take it back. Anyway you can.

Post this image everywhere on social media. It is a small step. But we must keep telling the world and those in power that we are not ok with a president that was just sworn in even though he was caught on tape bragging about sexually assaulting women. 

We can’t continue down this path. 

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What the world thinks of Trump Voters

This great video sums up the thoughts of so many voters that were shocked that Donald Trump won. Things have somehow progressed well beyond basic policy ideas. They have transcended into basic human rights and decency. This quick video does a great job of summing up our thoughts.

 

 

Thanks!
Credit: Tess Rafferty.
Video shared by Occupy Democrats

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Fight the Hate

People Politico

We must all come together and fight the hate that has taken root! Add this profile picture to all your social media. Share it with your friends and tell the world you will not sit idly by while hate takes over. 

Fight The Hate!

Fight the Hate

Do not sit by and let America repeat the horrific mistakes of the past. Fight the Hate. Fight the Fear. Call it out and do not tolerate it anymore. Our complacency has let it take root. 

FIGHT THE HATE!

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Time to Toss the Turd-tastic Trump

Time to Toss the Turd-tastic Trump - Political Poem By a Pondering PunditThere is a nasty little foul orange turd,

that throws childish fits and wants to be heard.

It had such aspirations, a president to be,

which terrified most people, even across the sea!

It shouted, insulted, degraded, and mocked,

and people all over gasped and balked.

Unfortunately now, we see that few,

thought the turd was great, a leader they’d choose.

The hate, the loathing, the anger that churned,

so awful and mean, it should have be spurned.

The turd it’s terrible, an unstable king,

and worse, it’s not a bright little thing.

Its grotesque tiny hands, its swoop for a hat,

some people want a leader like that.

It boggles the mind, more than a little,

that this slimy turd didn’t make these folks piddle.

Tricked by anger it made some people think,

a turd like this wouldn’t make us sink.

But the lack of reality and wealth of lies,

all it really does is attract the flies.

This silly little turd we took as a joke,

is a step away from making us choke.

The turd is a problem and way too serious,

the path that lead here is far too curious.

It’s time we do what we know is right,

grab the moist towelette and wipe.

No longer a joke, understand the danger,

then flush this nasty turd and dispose of anger.

It might be a nutty, interesting turd,

but it is something we shouldn’t have heard.

So flush that thing, and wash your hands clean,

of that which should not have been seen.

Find a leader on the ticket that’s true,

or write one in, it could even be you!

Then take a breath of clean fresh air,

and forget about the turd with fake hair.

So get out and vote, then on with your day,

the stink of the turd will soon go away.

Talk to your friends, your family, your spouse,

about how you banished the turd from your house.

No more hate, anger, or bigotry here,

we are all now better without its fear.

Now be a good person and make the right choice,

your most powerful weapon is a good moral voice!

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Primary or Caucus for Bernie Sanders Super Tuesday

Head out to vote in the primary or caucus for Bernie Sanders Super Tuesday. It is vitally important! Our power lies in our participation in the political process. One of the places where our vote still holds a huge amount of sway is in primaries and caucuses. It is arguably the place where the individual voter’s vote still has real, tangible power. Use it!

Find out how and where here: http://voteforbernie.org/

In some years the differences in candidates for president for each party is minimal. This year is not the case. In fact, the democratic candidates are remarkably different. This difference is will mean whether we have a chance to fix and correct our political system or if we remain in the embarrassing and dysfunction quagmire that is our corrupt political process and government functionality.

Here is the evidence that shows their differences and why voters need to mobilize and caucus for Bernie Sanders Super Tuesday.

Hillary Clinton & Bernie Sanders Super Tuesday Comparison

Issue Hillary Clinton Bernie Sanders
Super PAC Contributions $64 Million

(Many large corporate & banks)

NONE

 

TPP Changed from Support to Opposed

(Supported until started Campaign)

Opposed
Keystone Pipeline Recently Opposed

(No Stance for a Long Time)

Opposed
Campaign Contributions 18% Small/82% Large

(Corporations & Banks)

71% Small/29% Large

(Small Business and Individuals)

Presidential Polls against GOP GOP Consistently Wins

(She is very divisive)

Consistently Beats GOP

*Data from: http://presidential-candidates.insidegov.com/compare/35-40/Bernie-Sanders-vs-Hillary-Clinton

Primary or Caucus for Bernie Sanders Super Tuesday - Bernie Sanders vrs Hillary Clinton

*Chart from: http://www.businessinsider.com/hillary-clinton-vs-bernie-sanders-on-the-issues-2015-9

Primary or Caucus for Bernie Sanders Super Tuesday
As demonstrated in by the data above Senator Bernie Sanders has a much more progressive agenda with hopes and plans to continue to improve America. Bernie Sanders is pushing for further steps to tackle every major issue.

Much of what Hillary Clinton proposes is to stick with much of what we already have, such as healthcare and energy policies.

When looking at each candidate’s stance on issues both in the past and present, their outlined plans for American policy, and the drive they have to make a difference in the coming years the choice is clear.

  • Bernie Sanders is the best choice to advance American policy in meaningful ways demonstrated by his decade’s long history of fighting against the corporate takeover of America.
  • Bernie Sanders clearly has the majority of American’s people’s best interest in mind demonstrated by his empathy and vigor through demonstrating for civil rights.
  • Bernie Sanders is the best choice to bridge the gap between people in America demonstrated by his ability to compromise and find middle ground on long lists of passed legislation.

Vote or Caucus for Bernie Sanders Super Tuesday

Please take a little time out of your day today and head out to your local Primary or caucus and vote. It is a rich and rewarding experience. Your vote holds significant weight in the outcome of who will end up being the Democratic nominee for president.

Ask those around you if they would like to join you. Make a night out of! It will be fun and it is so very important to be involved in our democratic process. If we don’t use our democracy, we just might lose our democracy.

So get out there today and caucus for Bernie Sanders Super Tuesday!

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Climate Change Denial is Insisting the World is Flat

Climate Change Denial Must Be Addressed

Climate Change Denial is Insisting the World is Flat

Have you become a victim of climate change denial? Find out what it is and how you can learn to spot climate change denial propaganda.

Have we missed out on some of the important information, stories, experiments, studies, and catastrophes? There are so many events that have contributed to the indisputable fact, humans are changing the environment.

You can look at the many places in nature humans have made differences. With each road we create, we kill animals and block their paths. With each city we change the temperature and wind flow in the area, and with each piece of trash we throw away we pollute a little more of our planet. These are all climate change. Humans do this. Our combined human race does huge amounts of damage every day.

But don’t ask me, I’m just trying to make the world a little better. I’m not a climate scientist. I’m not a politician. I’m just an American trying to make America better. However, at this pace we are ignoring and exacerbating the problem. This has to stop for us to have any chance at a future.

Like I said, don’t ask me. Ask these thousands of scientists, organizations, and nations that can teach you what you need to know to make a better world. Let’s gets things started with a few massive collections of climate change data.

Climate Chance Consensus

Scientific American

NOAA

Wikipedia

Environmental Protection Agency

NASA

Things don’t really get any more black and white in our modern world. With overwhelming consensus we are observably and repeatedly damaging the one place we have to live. We must do something about it. We must make the change now for us to have any hope for humanities future. Climate change denial is one great social diseases we have the knowledge and power to cure. Climate change denial must be addressed immediately.

If you have any other great sources of scientific information regarding climate change please post them below.

 

 

 

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Government Employees Bear the Burden of Cutbacks

Government Employees Bear the Burden of CutbacksWhen I was in elementary school, and teachers would ask us what we wanted to be when we grew up, the answer was usually “an astronaut!” and then we would get asked what ELSE we would want to be in case the space career didn’t work out. Then the responses were fire fighter, police officer, or teacher.  All of which are government employees. When we got older and realized there were a whole lot more choices out there, it was still understood that a job with the government would provide good pay, good benefits, and a good future with job security.

Government Employee Salaries

Things have definitely changed. A career in law enforcement and elementary school teaching will require a degree and hold average salaries of $52,374  $53,842, respectively. The average salary for a fire fighter is $43,208, with need for specialized training and/or a degree.

The benefits that used to accompany public sector jobs can no longer be taken for granted. When the government needs to save money fast, they tend to aim for the low-hanging fruit: government employees. Whether they are laid off, their wages are frozen for years, or they are furloughed, it is now understood that government employees tend to be the collateral damage of political maneuverings.

Overlooking Government Employees

Taxpayers tend to forget that a large part of their taxes go toward paying government employees’ salaries, who may be sharing in their own hardships when times get tough. However, chasing away talented employees from government jobs is a recipe for substandard service, as is demoralizing those who choose to stay.

When companies defend the exorbitant pay of their CEO’s, they say they need to offer these large paychecks to stay competitive and attract the best talent. It’s really the same with any job: in order to attract and keep good employees, companies need to pay them well, offer good benefits, and make it a job that people will want to do.

Now consider police officers. We have municipalities that can’t afford enough officers for the number of people they are expected to serve and protect, and those they can afford won’t get raises so governments can meet their budgets. What kind of morale do officers have when they cannot get the equipment they need, are overworked, overstretched, and haven’t seen a decent raise in years? What happens when the people they are sworn to serve and protect do not support them on a basic level of fair compensation for what is expected of them? Don’t we want to attract the best candidates to this career?

Teachers’ starting salaries are terribly low, yet the competition is fierce. The profession attracts those who want to make a difference to children. There is always talk about how a good teacher makes a difference in a child’s life and a bad teacher can be devastating. Imagine the candidate pool if a teacher’s salary would actually be enough to begin to pay back a graduating student’s loans? Imagine school districts with budgets big enough to afford more teachers to make the student to teacher ratio more favorable?

Government Employees Keep America Going

When we worry about pollution, what is in our food, about climate change, about our health, do we realize our taxes go to pay salaries for employees of the EPA and FDA? That scientists make breakthroughs due to funding from government grants? Private companies cannot regulate or provide oversight to private companies. Oversight must be done by a neutral party, and the government is the only choice to administer to the public good.

No matter the political affiliation, it is important to remember the people who may be affected most by government cuts ultimately is ourselves: standing in line at the DMV, sitting dazed at the side of the road after a car accident, scared and confused after a robbery, sitting in a restaurant wondering when it was last inspected by the Health Department, and sitting with our child’s teacher at parent-teacher conferences.  When we cut taxes, to the detriment of government employees, we are hurting ourselves.

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