HUDSON VALLEY ACTIVIST CALENDAR
JANUARY 8, 2013, Issue #665
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MAJOR ENVIRONMENTAL PROTEST
The Sierra Club and Bill McKibben’s 350.org are organizing a major demonstration in Washington next month. They report: On Presidents Day weekend, Feb 17, 2013, we'll be taking to the streets of Washington, D.C., with thousands to form a massive human pipeline, and to tell the President that we expect leadership on climate change, beginning with a rejection of the Keystone XL tar sands pipeline. President Obama has just four years left to provide the leadership we need to stop climate change that is causing extreme weather like Hurricane Sandy, and Keystone XL is the first test of whether he's up for the job. Information, http://action.sierraclub.org/site/PageServer?pagename=nat_signup_feb17.
Last week McKibben issued the following sharp statement about government inaction:
…. Faced with a Congress bought off by the fossil fuel industry, a realistic approach [by Obama] would be to do absolutely everything he could on his own authority -- new Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) regulations, for example; and of course, he should refuse to grant the permit for the building of the Keystone XL tar sands pipeline, something that requires no permission from John Boehner or the rest of Congress.
So far, however, he’s been half-hearted at best when it comes to such measures. The White House, for instance, overruled the EPA on its proposed stronger ozone and smog regulations in 2011, and last year opened up the Arctic for oil drilling, while selling off vast swaths of Wyoming’s Powder River Basin at bargain-basement prices to coal miners. His State Department flubbed the global climate-change negotiations. (It’s hard to remember a higher profile diplomatic failure than the Copenhagen summit.) And now Washington rings with rumors that he’ll approve the Keystone pipeline, which would deliver 900,000 barrels a day of the dirtiest crude oil on Earth. Almost to the drop, that’s the amount his new auto mileage regulations would save….
The president must be pressed to do all he can -- and more. That’s why thousands of us will descend on Washington D.C. on President’s Day weekend Feb. 17 in what will be the largest environmental demonstration in years. But there’s another possibility we need to consider: that perhaps he’s simply not up to this task, and that we’re going to have to do it for him, as best we can.
If he won’t take on the fossil fuel industry, we will. That’s why on 192 campuses nationwide active divestment movements are now doing their best to highlight the fact that the fossil fuel industry threatens their futures.
If he won’t use our position as a superpower to drive international climate-change negotiations out of their rut, we’ll try. That’s why young people from 190 nations are gathering in Istanbul in June in an effort to shame the UN into action. If he won’t listen to scientists -- like the 20 top climatologists who told him that the Keystone pipeline was a mistake -- then top scientists are increasingly clear that they’ll need to get arrested to make their point.
Those of us in the growing grassroots climate movement are going as fast and hard as we know how (though not, I fear, as fast as physics demands). Maybe if we go fast enough even this all-too-patient president will get caught up in the draft. But we’re not waiting for him. We can’t.
UPCOMING: LOCAL ACTIVIST EVENTS
Wednesday, Jan. 9, ALBANY: Demonstrators are coming from various locations across New York State to attend an 11 a.m.-3 p.m. anti-fracking rally organized by the New Yorkers Against Fracking coalition. The event will take place at Empire State Plaza near where Gov. Andrew Cuomo will be delivering his annual State-of-the-State address. (The location will be the Plaza’s indoor Concourse Level via the State St. entrance to the Egg.) We’re told, “The rally is considered by many to be the final push to prevent fracking from commencing in New York State…”
• Buses may still have seats from several towns, including:
New Paltz, http://bit.ly/S7fSQI, Kingston: http://bit.ly/ZkYZ7j, and Saugerties: http://bit.ly/ZkYZ7j.
• Directions to the rally: http://www.albany.com/hotspot_esp.cfm.
• Information, http://www.nyagainstfracking.org, Daniel Morrissey (518) 285-1990, Rita Yelda (716) 507-2077, Renee@FrackAction.com.
Wednesday, Jan. 9, KATONAH: The impact of Hurricane Sandy on the ecosystem of the Hudson River is the topic of a free public meeting, 7-9 p.m., at Katonah Memorial House, 71 Bedford Rd. the speaker will be Riverkeeper's Hudson River Program Director Phillip Musegaas. The host is Bedford Audubon Society. Information, (914) 232-1999, http://www.riverkeeper.org/news-events.
Sunday, Jan. 13, WOODSTOCK: A meeting to honor Martin Luther King’s birthday will take place 3-5 p.m. at the Woodstock Jewish Congregation, 1682 Glasco Turnpike. The theme is “The New Jim Crow – Raising Jewish Awareness,” with key speaker Rev. Modele Clarke and reflections by Rabbi Jonathan Kligler.
Wednesday, Jan. 16, POUGHKEEPSIE: A forum on PCB contamination in the Hudson River will be held 3-6 p.m. at the Marist College Boathouse. The free public event is sponsored by the Hudson River Sloop Clearwater, Natural Resources Defense Council, Riverkeeper and Scenic Hudson. It’s endorsed by CRREO, Hudson River Fisherman's Association, Hudson Valley Smart Growth Alliance, and Sustainable Hudson Valley. Pre-register at http://www.surveymonkey.com/s/HR_PCB_Forum. Information, Jeremy Brettholz (845) 641-7701, firstname.lastname@example.org. Register at http://www.surveymonkey.com/s/HR_PCB_Forum.
Friday, Jan. 18, KINGSTON: Academy Green Park is the venue for a weekly vigil in opposition to fracking (weather permitting). The park sidewalk faces a heavily trafficked street and it’s prefect for carrying signs. The location is 200-238 Clinton Ave. at Albany Ave and Maiden Lane. Information (914) 489-7973, email@example.com.
Sunday, Jan. 20, WOODSTOCK: For the 23rd year in a row, local residents are holding a “Birthday Tribute to Dr. Martin Luther King jr.” This year the theme is “King says NO! to the new Jim Crow.” The lively event begins at 2 p.m. at the Woodstock Community Center, Rock City Rd. Keynote speaker Theo Harris — a criminal justice consultant, author and singer — will discuss the New Jim Crow (based on Michelle Alexander’s book), linking it to Dr. King and the Civil Rights Movement. Harris’s newly published autobiography “Blessed and Highly Favored, Memoirs of a Multiple Felon,” has been acclaimed. Also speaking will be Pam Africa of the International Concerned Family and Friends of Mumia Abu Jamal; Ismail Shabazz, community activist; Maggie Williams of Move to Amend; and Woodstock Town Supervisor Jeremy Wilber. Sponsors of this free public gathering include Martin Luther King Jr. Planning Committee, Haitian People's Support Project and Town of Woodstock. Information (845) 679-7320.
Monday, Jan. 21, AMERICA: Today is the national holiday honoring Dr. Martin Luther King. His birthday was Jan. 15, 1929, and he was assassinated by a white racist on April 4, 1968, at the age of 39. He hated war, especially imperialist war, as well as the Jim Crow segregation he fought to eliminate. A year before he died he said: “A nation that continues year after year to spend more money on military defense than on programs of social uplift is approaching spiritual death.”
Wednesday, Jan. 23, POUGHKEEPSIE: Take part in a free reading group focusing on Michelle Alexander's controversial and best-selling 2010 book "The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness." The group meets 6-8 p.m. on the second and fourth Wednesdays at the Sadie Peterson Delaney African Roots Library, Family Partnership Center, Suite 218, 29 North Hamilton St. The readings are organized by the End the New Jim Crow Action Network. Information, (845) 452-6088, ext. 3343, firstname.lastname@example.org.
Friday, Jan. 25, MILLBROOK: Harvard botanist Peter Del Tredici will discuss “Forests of the Future” in a 7 p.m. meeting at Cary Institute auditorium, 2801 Sharon Turnpike (doors open at 6:30 p.m.). He will focus on how northeastern forests are being shaped by urbanization, invasive species, acid rain, and climate change. Copies of his new book, “Wild Urban Plants,” will be available for sale. Information, (845) 677-7600, ext. 121, http://www.caryinstitute.org.