Earth Day Live 2020

Join award-winning journalist Anna Day, Afghanistan Member of Parliament Mariam Solaimankhai, and Fmr. State Representative and President of Code Blue – Water Security Conflicts and Solutions on the climate crisis and water security at 3:07 Eastern today, April 24th.

April 22
April 23
April 24

Opening Ceremony (Thomas Lopez Jr.)

Musical Performance by Jack Johnson

Yoga with Nicole Cardoza

We Are Greater Chaco (Mario Atencio, Daniel Tso, Kendra Pinto, Samuel Sage, Jonathan Nez, Julia Bernal)

Interfaith Call for Care and Resilience (Rev. Fletcher Harper, Benki Piyãko, Swami Dayananda, Imam Saffet Catovic, Rev. Leo Woodberry, Rabbi Jennie Rosen)

Musical Performance by Michael Franti

Parliament of the Worlds Religions Opening (Dianne Dillon-Ridgely, Mindahi Bastida, Hanadi Doleh, Swami Ishatmananda, Kaleb Nyquist, Rabbi Rachel Mikva)

Musical Performance by Graham Riley

Yoga with Kathryn Budig

Flint Water Crisis with Katie Fahey

Message From Chelsea Handler

Our Lady J

Dear Mother Earth. Love, Your Children (Maggie Munday Odom, Q Sharaf, Lily Hi’ilani Kim-Dela Cruz, Mounira Elsamra, Molly Francis, Joao Rodrigues Victor, Calling from Maine, Saphira Rosen, Bella Callery)

Musical Performance by Jesse Jo Stark

Imagine the Future (Xiye Bastida)

Cooking with Natalie Portman

Defending the Defenders

Message from Danni Washington

Climate Therapy: Facing the Climate Emergency (Margaret Klein Salamon, PhD, David Wallace-Wells, Mary Annaïse Heglar)

Message from Kerri Russel

Morning Flow with Gustavo Padron

Message from Norman and Lyn Lear

Stories from the Earth (Lyla June Johnston)

Chase, Climate Destruction & the Frontlines of Resistance (Bill McKibben, Tara Houska, Joye Braun)

Message from Kristen Vangsness

Stories from the Earth (Ayisha Siddiqa)

Packing a Punch: Pass Your Own Damn Bill (Anissa Pemberton, Hridesh Singh, Jade Lozada)

Message from Stella McCartney and Friends

This Land is Our Land Remix (Monica Garcia-Medina, Bien Minosa)

Musical Performance by Emily Wells

Climate Therapy: Facing the Climate Emergency (Continued)

A Closer Look at Nature with Louie Schwartzberg and Grace Yang

Mixed Media: A Panel On Just Representation by Extinction Rebellion Youth United States (Fiona Jarvis, Krissy Oliver-Mays, Cynthia Leung)

Message from Bekah Hinojosa

Musical Performance by Aloe Blacc

Thich Naht Hahn Poem (Devendra Banhart)

Tim Heidecker Performance

Meditation Moment with Elena Brower

Wall Street, Rainforest Destruction, and the Climate Crisis (Hana Heineken, Pendle Marshall-Hallmark, Helena Gualinga)

Musical Performance by Siva Kaneswaran

Leading Environmental Advocates Reflect on 50 years of Progress and the Path Forward (Gina McCarthy, Ayana Elizabeth Johnson, Annie Leonard)

In Conversation: Secretary John Kerry and Youth Climate Activists (Shiv Soin, Sophie Anderson)

1 Minute Meditation (Lisa Brooks)

Musical Performance by Nahko Bear

Message from The Social Good Club – Inspiration in Isolation (Kati Morton, Mario Rigby, Haifa Beseisso, Elle Mills, Luke Korns, Matt Santoro, Roberto Blake, Borja Vázquez (Luzu), Gabbie Hanna, Amanda DuPont, Kristen Zarrabi, Justine Ezarik, Louis Cole, Raya Encheva, Peter Diamandis)

Getting to the Roots of the Green New Deal with Zero Hour and the National Children’s Campaign (Khristen Hamilton, Ethan Wright, Zeena Abdulkarim, Zanagee Artis)

Angelique Kidjo Performance

Por La Tierra – A Spoken Word Piece (Marlow Baines, Sierra Robinson, Maya Lazzaro)

Conjuring for the Climate with Cyril the Sorcerer

Our House is On Fire: Florida Youth Confront The Climate Emergency (Gabriela Rodriguez, John Paul Mejia, Mia Kim)

Importance of Green Stimulus with Mark Ruffalo (Rep. Deb Haaland, Michaela Ciovacco, Tokata Iron Eyes)

Interview with Greenfaith Executive Director at BlackRock HQ in NYC (Rev. Fletcher Harper)

Message from Rosanna Arquette

Message from Favianna Rodriguez

The Both with Aimee Mann and Ted Leo

How Mass Movements Win with Erica Chenoweth

Message from Ronen Rubinstein

Message from Patrisse Cullors

Message from Amber Tamblyn

Musical Performance by Phum Viphurit

Message from Jumaane Williams

Hit First, Hit Hardest: Why Communities of Color Are On The Frontlines of Modern Day Crises (Mustafa Santiago Ali, Rep. Lauren Underwood, Kaylah Brathwaite, Introduction by Mayor Lori Lightfoot)

Musical Performance by Tank and The Bangas

Visualizing Political Empowerment: How Artists Impact Social Justice & Civic Engagement (Luisa Martinez, Jammal Lemy, Ashley Lukashevsky, Santiago X)

Musical Performance by Griffin Oskar

There’s No Such Thing as Not Voting with Eric Liu

Musical Performance by Linda Perry

Youth Organizing in a Conservative State (Shiva Rajbhandari, Emma Palmer, Petra Hoffman)

Artists as Allies with Matt McGorry (Lily Gardner, Kevin Patel, Danni Washington)

Stories from the Earth Performance (Theresa William | Ojibwe, Oglala Lakota, Santee Dakota, and Northern Cheyenne)

Message from Rainn Wilson

Mindful Moment (Lisa Brooks)

Musical Performance by Jason Mraz

Big banks, the Gwich’in Nation, and the fight to protect the Arctic Refuge (Lena Moffitt, Bernadette Demientieff, Councillor Cheryl Charlie)

Let’s Takeover Over Chase – Online

Youth vs. Apocalypse: No One Is Disposable Music VIdeo Release

Gardening with Amber Valletta

Message from Gabriel and Ini

Being a Disabled Activist (Izzy Laderman, Alexia Leclercq, Doran Walters)

Message from Kat Taylor

Higher Education: Complicit or Leaders in Climate (Kyle Rosenthal, Ari Bortman, Marley Wiest, Abby Kleiman, Laís Santoro, Elly Ren, Sydney Barron, Calistra Triantis)

Musical Performance by Låpsley

Claim Your Power At The Ballot Box: How To Overcome Barriers To Voting (D’Aungillique Jackson, Evan Malbrough, Amaya Fox, Tamia Fowlkes)

Message From Dylan Penn, Hopper Penn, and Robin Wright

Musical Performance by Billy Bragg

Message from Troian Bellisario

Chef José Andrés – World Central Kitchen

Musical Performance by Willa Amai

Message from Aisha Tyler and Kristen Vangness

The Kids of the Broadway Green Alliance Musical Performance – Led by Sydney Lucas and over 30 of Broadway’s youngest performers

Youth Climate Strike Coalition Demands Overview (Esperanza Garcia Soledad, Kaylah Brathwaite, Naina Agrawal-Hardin)

Blackness, Feminism, and the Climate Emergency with Ilyasah Shabazz (Khristen Hamilton, Kym Allen)

Blackness, Feminism, and the Climate Emergency with Patrisse Cullors (Kym Allen, Khristen Hamilton, Patrisse Cullors)

Message and Musical Performance by Rain Phoenix

Earth Uprising Spotlight

A Pandemic Doesn’t Stop Big Oil: Pipeline Construction Across Turtle Island

Message and Musical Performance with Kelcey Ayer from the Local Natives

What Does The Coronavirus Teach us About the Climate Crisis?

Indigenous Women Divestment Delegation (Michelle Cook, Osprey Orielle Lake)

Message from Emily Robinson

Message from Marisol Rivera, 14-year-old Superstorm Sandy survivor

Poetry with Dominique Crenn

Participant presents: A message from Paul Watson, Marine wildlife conservationist on the ecology of viruses

Marina Performance

Message from the Frontlines with Tamara Toles O’Laughlin

Message from The Social Good Club – Imagining New Normals (Louis Cole, Raya Encheva, Kati Morton, Mario Rigby, Haifa Beseisso, Elle Mills, Luke Korns, Matt Santoro, Roberto Blake, Borja Vázquez (Luzu), Gabbie Hanna, Amanda DuPont, Kristen Zarrabi)

Stop The Money Pipeline Song Montage

In Conversation: Jane Fonda and Vanessa Nakate

Musical Performance and Message, Cody Simpson

Building Power By Lowering The Voting Age (Catie Macauley, Caleb DeBerry, Alik Schier, Noah Friedman-Kassis, Brandon Klugman)

Plant-based cooking segment with Alejandra Schrader

Changing the Narrative: A Conversation on Activism, Climate Change, and Frontline Communities (Reverend William J. Barber II, Rev. Dr. Liz Theoharis, Andrea Manning)

Message from Roger Waters

Roger Waters performs John Prine

The Link Between COVID-19 & The Climate Emergency (Moby , Joaquin Phoenix, Dr. Sweta Chakraborty, Dr. Michael Greger, Haile Thomas)

Stop The Money Pipleline Political Townhall (Jamie Henn, Moira Birss, Iris Zahn, Tara Houska, Bolaji Olagbegi, Sulakshana, Rep. Rashida Tlaib, Sen. Ed Markey, Sen. Jeff Merkley)

Money Matters: Youth and Elders Unite for A Fossil-Free Future (Lolita Jackson, Hridesh Singh, Anna Seigel, Lynne Nittler, Clara Vondrich)

Water Security and the Climate Crisis (Anna Day, Alex Cornell du Houx, Mariam Solaimankhail)

Alex Cornell du Houx, Mariam Solaimankhail, Anna Day Earth Day Live 2020


Musical Performance by Other Lives

Service Workers Story Slam To Demand Action (Saru Jayaraman, Treya Lam, Heather Mankedick, Sarah May, Guadalupe A., Fred Shaw, Ali Baker)

From Standing Rock to Black Lives Matter to Climate Strikes: What It’s Like to Lead a Movement (Jamie Margolin, Nupol Kiazolu, Jasilyn Charger)

Cooking with Rachael Ray

We Rise Music Video Premiere (Ashlyn Woods, Aditi Anand, Iris Zhan, Gabrielle Zwi, Laís Santoro, Lilia Wolf, Kori Malia, Andrea Manning, Arielle Martinez Cohen, Kendall Kieras, Ishi Shah, Nick Diaz)

When Kids Fear Rain: A Conversation on Climate Disasters (Devin Guevara, Julia Lewis, Chanté Davis)

Patricia Arquette Interview with Robby Romero

BlackRock: Making the financial giant tackle the climate emergency (Luke Korns, Matt Santoro, Roberto Blake, Borja Vázquez (Luzu), Gabbie Hanna, Amanda DuPont, Kristen Zarrabi)

Virtual Choir with the Peace Poets (Lu Aya, Frank Lopez)

Message and Musical Performance by Smiles Davis

Youth Climate Activism in the Global South: Allyship, Solidarity, and Movement Building (Jessy Musaazi, Ashangwa Harrison, Winny Puteri, Adegbule Wole)

Meditation with Marti Nikko and DJ Drez

Message from Stacey Abrams

Immigration Justice is Climate Justice (Juliana Macedo do Nascimento, Josue De Luna Navarro)

One Minute Meditation (Lisa Brooks)

Endangering Generations: How Climate Change is Putting Our Kids at Risk (Jonah Gottlieb, Genna Reed, Dr. Mustafa Santiago Ali, Dr. Mona Hanna-Attisha, Levi Draheim, Nsedu Obot Witherspoon, MPH)

Message from Al Gore

Musical Performance by Nuka

Together We Thrive: What it Means to Make Intentional Space for Young People of Color (Aissa Dearing, Abraham Gonzalez)

Women Leaders on the Climate Frontlines with Sharon Carpenter, Luke Baines, and Oxfam (Sharon Carpenter, Luke Baines, Ana Maria Mendez Libby, Ruth Santiago)

Participant Presents: A Conversation with Mark Ruffalo and Mark Favors on the Frontline of the Pandemic and Vic Barrett on Climate Justice.

Dark Waters Follow-Up with Rob Bilott (Mark Ruffalo)

Monica Dogra Spoken Word Poem

Indigenous Leaders On The Frontlines of Fossil Fuel Resistance (Samantha Arechiga, Makasa Looking Horse, Ta’kaiya Blaney, Jasilyn Charger)

A Song for the Climate from 9-year-old, Emunah

Performance by Amanda Palmer

Earth From Above — Conversation between Chille Bergstrom and Dr Shawna Pandya

No One is Disposable: Youth vs Apocalpyse Music Video Release

Musical Performance by Mumu Fresh

Restoring Indigenous Ocean Stewardship to California’s Central Coast (Katherine O’Dea, Valentin Lopez, Alexii Sigona, Steven Pratt)

Spill the Tea with AOC: A Conversation on the Green New Deal (Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Saad Amer)

Social Good Club: Activating New Normals in Our Own Lives (Louis Cole, iJustine, Peter Diamandis, Anjali Mitra)

Message from Zazie Beetz

Meditation Momement with Seane Corn

Message from Lil Dicky

United in the Fight: Making the Connections Between the Labor and Climate Justice Movements (Mary Kay Henry, Kate Walton, Renata Kamakura, Adriana Alvarez, Markita Blanchard)

Musical Performance by Ziggy Marley

Youth Pledge Video – “Divest!”

Message from Xiye Bastida from Chase’s HQ

Musical Performance by Mumu Fresh

Social Good Club: Using Storying Telling to Accelerate Change (Louis Cole, Sophia Esperanza, Kip Andersen, Nadia Nazar)

Insure Our Future, Not Fossil Fuels

Vote Party (Ethan Asher, Jennifer Carroll Foy, Jacques Colimon, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Emily DaSilva, Katie Eder, Melody Klingenfuss, Jamil Jackson, Melody Klingenfuss, Xiuhtezcatl Martinez, Alicia Novoa, Naomi Oliver, Thania Peck, Andi Pringle, Tony Revolori, Mario Revolori, Yara Shahidi, Vien Truong, James Wenz, Andi Pringle, Ilyasah Shabazz, Rosanna Arquette, Tom Steyer, Aimee Mann, Ted Leo, Jumaane Williams and more surprise guests!)

Musical Performance by Dave Matthews

Voting, Climate, and Guns (Tatiana Washington, Daphne Frias, Thandiwe Abdullah, Manju Bangalore)

Clapping for Frontline Workers

Honoring Healthcare Heroes: Lisa Edelstein Interview with Frontline Healthcare Workers (Carol Lightle, Pat Sheran Diaz)

Reimagining US: The Fight for a Green New Deal During COVID-19 (Varshini Prakash, Emma Lockridge, Rhiana Gunn-Wright, Lenore Friedlaender, Naomi Klein)

Artists, COVID-19, and the Climate Emergency (DJ Spooky, Shepard Fairey, Amanda Palmer, Liam Neupert)

Musical Performance by Ani DiFranco

Women on the Frontlines of the Climate and COVID-19 Crises: Struggles and Solutions (Monique Verdin, Jacqui Patterson, Rupa Marya, Casey Camp Horinek, Osprey Orielle Lake)

Staying Unified During a Crisis in Philadelphia (Lorraine Ruppert, Mitch Chanin, Dwight Dunston, Montgomery Ogden, Cameron Powell, Avery Broughton, Enya Xiang)

A message from Dallas Goldtooth

A message from Doctors Without Borders

The People’s Bailout: What a Just COVID-19 Response Should Look Like

How to Advocate to Congress for a Green Future (Charlie Jiang, Sanah Niazi)

Musical Performance & Message by Adam Gardner from Guster

Message from Angela Rye

Musical Performance by Will Anderson of Parachute

Message from Barbara Boxer

Message from The Social Good Club – Future Priorities (Louis Cole, Raya Encheva, Kati Morton, Mario Rigby, Haifa Beseisso, Elle Mills, Luke Korns, Matt Santoro, Roberto Blake, Borja Vázquez (Luzu), Gabbie Hanna, Amanda DuPont, Kristen Zarrabi)

Musical Performance by KT Tunstall

Message from Keith Mestrich

Musical Performance by Maxi Priest

Trash is for Tossers: A Conversation About Minimizing Your Environmental Footprint (Lauren Singer, Chasten Harmon)

Madame Ghandi Performance

Lissie Musical Performance

Save the Post Office! Save Our Democracy (Debby Szeredy, Cortney “CJ” Jenkins, Teresa Marie Oller, Tamara Twinn)

Evan Greer Musical Performance

Promise to Keep Striking from the Peace Poets

Message from Reverend Lennox Yearwood

The Census: The Game Behind The Game (Justin Kwasa, Rachel Spector, Nicole Morales, Sen. Brian Schatz, Mayor Michael Tubbs)

Message from Riz Ahmed

Closing Ceremony

Dance Party with Soul Clap

DJ QuestLove Performance

Dance Party with Beverley Bond

Dance Party with Talib Kweli

Dance Party with Sofi Tukker

Dance Party with Blondish

Dance Party with Flying Lotus

Joe Michaels, Iheart Radio, Feb. 14, 2020 — Hundreds of the state’s elected officials are calling on California Governor Gavin Newsom to phase out fossil fuel production. More than three hundred officials have signed a letter urging the governor to enact a comprehensive climate emergency plan.

Mayor Randell Stone of Chico: We have to start pertaining energy from sources that are renewable sources. What we’re asking that the governor to do is to take the supply-side initiatives and start to curtail by mandate our dependence on fossil fuels.

Joe Michaels: Chico mayor Randall Stone says the effort is also focusing on making incremental changes in local communities.

Mayor Randall Stone: What we did in the city of Chico was first we declared a Climate Emergency and immediately moved to found a standing committee to look at all of the city’s policies from community development, to police, to fire, to public works. What is the impact of the things that we’re doing today and how can we have a greater impact on our greenhouse gas emissions and climate change initiatives by changing this action. So it’s literally reviewing everything that the city does for municipalities standpoint and that hopefully is going to curb some of that demand that’s driving more and more fossil fuels to be produced in this area.

Joe: Davis Mayor Bret Lee says it’s well many cities have taken action. The climate crisis demands action at all levels of government, and it’s time for the state to step up.

Mayor Bret Lee of Davis: We want to make sure that across the board the state of California is moving towards greater use of sustainability, sustainable sources of energy and things like that. I think we’re making good progress but given the absence of leadership at the national level, really the weight of this falls on California.

Joe: Among m suggestions is getting PGA any officials to change their way of thinking.
Mayor Lee: PG&E right now as an investor-owned utility and their responsibility is to their investors. Given the past history of PG&E I think it’s time to think about a new model. A new model would put the customers and the state first and foremost not the distant Wall Street investors. I think it’s important because we have reliability issues we have safety issues and of California hopes to maintain its status as a technological leader we need to have a dependable electricity supply.

Joe: Alex Cornell du Houx, representing Elected Officials to Protect California, a bipartisan network calling for a fossil fuel phase-out, says the cost of not taking action is greater than that of making changes.

Alexander Cornell du Houx: The oil industry likes to put fear in people’s minds that all these catastrophic events will happen if you limit fossil fuel production. The reality is California is much more concerned about the fires, the droughts, and the health effects of having oil wells next to people’s houses, like what happened to Nielle. The way forward is preventing fossil fuels from creating these damages.

Joe: The officials say transitioning to a clean energy economy will grow jobs and stop what they call environmental health injustices that are happening disproportionately in low-income communities and communities of color. I’m Joe Michael’s.

Alex Cornell du Houx Elected Officials to Protect America – Code Blue Water Security Solutions

Published at:

Kyle Rempfer
December 26, 2019

Saber Guardian 19 is an exercise co-led by the Romanian Joint Force Command and U.S. Army Europe, was designed to improve the integration of multinational combat forces. (Lt. Alex Cornell du Houx/Navy)

Saber Guardian 19 is an exercise co-led by the Romanian Joint Force Command and U.S. Army Europe, was designed to improve the integration of multinational combat forces. (Lt. Alex Cornell du Houx/Navy)
The Army is gearing up for some new exercises.

The biggest one on the docket is Defender 2020. Secretary of the Army Ryan D. McCarthy said that it will be similar in size and scope to Exercise Reforger — a Cold War-era strategic deployment of a division or more to West Germany in annual iterations.

The new exercise, held from April to May, will move roughly 20,000 U.S. troops from the continental United States to Europe. But elsewhere in the world, Army leaders are planning other new and interesting training iterations to keep an eye on.

The Army component of U.S. Africa Command recently took the African Lion exercise from the Marine Corps and plans to make it the biggest on the African continent in spring 2020.

The Corps has owned the exercise for nearly two decades, but Army Africa is assuming responsibility for planning and execution when it takes place at the end of March and early April.

Army Africa commander Maj. Gen. Roger Cloutier plans to give the exercise more of a multi-domain focus, including strategic logistics planning, naval gunfire, special operations forces and even bombers out of Europe.

Army South is also planning to send a Stryker battalion to Chile for the first strategic deployment of that kind called Southern Vanguard in October 2020, according to Maj. Gen. Daniel Walrath, Army South’s commander.

“It will involve strategic deployment from the continental United States to Chile of a Stryker battalion out of the 81st Washington Army National Guard,” Walrath said. The battalion will conduct “combined live fire training with the Chilean Army for about a six-week period from beginning to end.”

Published at:

Nina Lakhani in New York
The Guardian
Wed 25 Dec 2019 02.20 EST Last modified on Wed 25 Dec 2019 02.22 EST —

Amid mounting frustration with political leaders, a number of community activists are running for office on climate and environmental justice platforms in local and state elections.

he climate crisis is hurting communities across the United States. Hurricanes, heatwaves and torrential downpours are on the rise, and have already exacerbated devastating floods, droughts and wildfires in communities from South Dakota to California, Florida and North Carolina in recent years.

The threat of environmental hazards is also increasing as the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) rolls back regulations on clean water, toxic coal ash, fossil fuels, air pollutants, pesticides, smog and vehicle emissions.

Such deregulation may benefit big business polluters, including some of Donald Trump’s biggest donors, but the public health threat disproportionately affects millions of black, poor and Native Americans and Alaskans.

But amid mounting frustration with political leaders, a growing number of community activists are running for office on climate and environmental justice platforms in local and state elections – and winning.

“This was about about my kid’s health, and my health, and I didn’t have the luxury of someone else taking care of that,” said Eric LaBrant, who was elected in 2015 as a commissioner of his local port authority in the Pacific north-west.

Such candidates “are deeply engaged because they have firsthand experience of climate and environmental issues in their communities”, said Alex Cornell du Houx, co-founder of Elected Officials to Protect America, a group working with local and state representatives on these issues

He added: “They learn quickly once elected and have the capacity to make a big difference.”

Extreme weather events and environmental injustice also exacerbate food and water insecurity, housing shortages, economic hardship and other inequalities.

We profile four first-term officials who used their experience as community organizers and alarm over inaction in combating the climate crisis to win public office.

Veronica Carter, 59, a retired military officer, was elected to Leland town council in North Carolina in November 2019.

Carter moved to Leland, a coastal town of 24,000, in 2003, where she joined a fledgling grassroots group to oppose a huge toxic landfill planned for neighbouring Navassa. This economically deprived, predominantly African American community already had a superfund site and six of the seven brownfields in the county. “This was my introduction to environmental justice violators and it was a textbook case,” said Carter.

And when Hurricane Florence churned over the Carolinas for 72 hours in 2018, causing widespread damage that left poor people stranded, Carter was on the frontline. She organised a distribution centre, and organized volunteer teams to deal with fallen trees, flood damage and urgent repairs.

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“Florence was the tipping point for me to move from activism to politics,” she told the Guardian.

“I realized that we needed to build for the next storm, and incorporate resilient methods and technology to improve our infrastructure and build affordable workforce housing … all this was swirling in my head when an opening came up on town council.”

Carter ran her campaign on safe air and water, infrastructure, climate resilience and workforce housing. She beat the incumbent by two points.

“I want to us see us build smartly, be more inclusive, and help our neighbours in Navassa get more attention in the state capital. I’m only one voice, but I will use my experience and ability to make sure every permit and ordinance the council considers is looked at through an environmental justice lens,” she said.

Eric LaBrant, 39, lives in Fruit Valley in Vancouver, Washington, a blue-collar neighbourhood with 1,200 residents and the Port of Vancouver located on the Columbia River. He was elected to the port authority and helped stop what would have been North America’s largest oil terminal.

Plans to construct the oil-by-rail terminal emerged in 2013 but the community couldn’t get straight answers from Texas oil giant Tesoro, or officials. “I had specific questions about the scope, scale, emissions and safety, but was ignored or got meaningless answers from the company and the port,” said LaBrant, who spent several years in his twenties working on offshore oil fields in Texas.

LaBrant, a member of the Fruit Valley neighbourhood association, trawled company documents and become increasingly alarmed at the risks posed by the exposure to carcinogenic contaminants, and the company’s environmental and safety track record. The project aimed to transport 360,000 barrels of crude oil by train to the port daily, ready for shipping to Asia.

But despite growing public concerns and numerous fatal derailments and accidents involving oil trains, the port signed a lease with the company. “It was discouraging to see how much money influences the political process, especially petroleum money, but this was about about my kid’s health, and my health, and I didn’t have the luxury of someone else taking care of that,” LaBrant said.

LaBrant was elected as a port authority commissioner in November 2015 after campaigning against the fossil fuel terminal, and for a sustainable green economy. Two years later, Don Orange, another anti-oil community activist turned candidate, was elected, too, giving those opposing the oil terminal the majority on the port authority. Soon after, the state recommended against the oil terminal on safety grounds, and the governor denied the necessary permits.

The port lease was cancelled, Fruit Valley had defeated big oil. Since then, the port has enacted a policy to not pursue fossil fuel terminals, and last June, set a record for the biggest shipment of wind turbine blades. “We’ve shown that ports don’t have to be polluters, they can be good neighbours, do business responsibly, and make money on green energy transition,” he said.

In Pennsylvania, Danielle Friel Otten, 42, was elected to represent the 155th district in the state house of representatives in 2018 after a race against the incumbent Republican who was largely defined by opposition to the Mariner East 2 pipeline project – a multibillion-dollar pipeline project to carry highly volatile natural gas liquids across Pennsylvania. The project is now subject to multiple criminal investigations and civil lawsuits.

“The gases are odourless, colourless and five times more combustible than traditional natural gas products, so there’s huge potential for mass casualties in undetected leaks. My property is within 50ft of the easement [pipeline] … I genuinely thought that people elected to represent us would protect our families, and not approve the project. When that didn’t happen, it blew my mind,” said Otten.

In 2017, Otten met with state representative Becky Corbin after drilling contaminated a water aquifer. “I was worried that the contamination could affect my son’s kidney condition … her reaction was cold. I started investigating publicly declared financial contributions and found companies directly involved in the project were donors to her campaign. That was my moment,” she said.

Otten helped two neighbours get elected as township supervisors before beating Corbin by 10 points. But the Republicans still control both houses, and the state governor is a “pro-fracking Democrat”. “We’ve not made much headway getting good environmental policies through the legislature this session. But for the first time in the history of the Democratic caucus, we’ve adopted the environment as a key pillar for our plan for Pennsylvania. It’s on the agenda,” he said.

“I do get down in the dumps sometimes because we are not making the big impact we so desperately need. No one person is going to be our saviour in this situation, but I bring up the pipeline and environmental justice at every opportunity, and offer tangible alternatives and solutions.”

Regina Romero, 45, was elected mayor of Tucson, Arizona, in November 2019 after campaigning on a climate crisis platform. She was elected alongside three council members who also ran on environmental and sustainability issues. In her first council meeting as mayor, the city signed up as an amicus brief in a lawsuit against Donald Trump’s promised border wall. “We took a position against militarizing our borderlands, separating our communities and environmental destruction by a border wall that will not make us more secure,” she said.

Romero is not new to local politics: she served three terms on the city council when she spearheaded an initiative by Pima county and Tucson officials to buy the 286-acre Painted Hills property on the foothills of the desert in order to curtail the urban sprawl and preserve it as green open space for the community and wildlife habitat.

“We love the desert, so taking care of our land and environment is essential for the survival of our community. I’ve seen with my own eyes the climate changing. Tucson is the third fastest warming city in the country, we have to do something,” she said.

Romero’s mayoral campaign was centred around a pledge to create a comprehensive climate action plan for the densely populated city, which is suffering its 21st year of drought.

Several decades of water conservation policies has meant the city has so far avoided rationing, but there’s more to be done amid dwindling water reserves and record high temperatures, including planting a million drought-tolerant native trees by 2030 and setting emissions reduction targets. “The first step is to create a climate action task force by January 2020 and start planting those trees,” she said.

Published at:

Kim Hjelmgaard

Alex Cornell du Houx USA Today

ABOARD A U.S. NAVY SHIP IN THE PERSIAN GULF — It’s a time for ritual, renewing family bonds, reminiscing and eating too many sweet potatoes.

But if you’re one of nearly 340,000 active duty U.S. Navy personnel deployed on 81 ships and submarines around the world this Thanksgiving, it’s about this: sailors looking after sailors.

“We’re a warship, 24-7, but every Thanksgiving I’ve had at sea is special,” said Cmdr. Jason Lester, the commanding officer of USS Farragut, a 500-foot destroyer deployed here to help maintain maritime security for one of the world’s busiest transit points for oil tankers.

“Full bellies and sound hearts make strong war fighters,” he said.

Preparations for Thursday’s holiday meal on USS Farragut began several days ago. There’s turkey, ham, roast beef, shrimp cocktail and pies, all made in super-sized pans, pots and ovens to feed 320 service members from every corner of America.

“Some of my guys have been working all night,” said Lt. Alex Xia, 34, from Anaheim, California, who is responsible for buying all the ship’s supplies.

“This is a big deal for all us – being in the middle of nowhere really. We’re away from our families, but we’re here with the Farragut family. It’s a huge morale booster,” he said.

Cmdr. Eric Meyers, the executive officer of the guided-missile destroyer USS Farragut, serves Thanksgiving dinner to sailors.
On Thanksgiving, the ship’s senior officers serve the entire crew.

“This is about us looking after our own,” said Lester, 42, who is from Georgia.

The ship’s mess hall had been made festive with decorations, including fall-colored streamers, paper leaves and pictures of pumpkins hung from USS Farragut’s intricate interior of steel panels, pipes and wires.

Alex Cornell du Houx USA Today 2

In one room, sailors had their pictures taken on Polaroid while standing in front of bunting that read “Give Thanks.” These will be mailed home, although it might take six to eight weeks to reach some locations.

“Whether I’m in the south Atlantic or the Arabian Gulf, the Navy family makes Thanksgiving a wonderful and enjoyable experience,” said Lt. Alex Cornell du Houx, 36, a public affairs officer who spent last Thanksgiving helping Argentina’s military search for a missing submarine.

At remote forward operating bases in Afghanistan, Iraq or Syria, America’s military can spend months planning for Thanksgiving meals and this year, the Department of Defense said that it delivered more than 300,000 pounds of traditional Thanksgiving fare to U.S. service members in the Middle East, Europe and Africa.

This includes: 4,925 whole turkeys, 66,741 pounds of roasted turkey, 80,546 pounds of beef, 43,648 pounds of ham, 44,384 pounds of shrimp, 27,605 pounds of sweet potatoes, 39,797 pies, 7,032 cakes and 5,804 gallons of eggnog, according to the Defense Logistic Agency, the Pentagon department that oversees the ordering and shipments.

The U.S. Navy has been celebrating Thanksgiving aboard vessels even before it became an official holiday, when President Abraham Lincoln proclaimed a national day of thanksgiving during the Civil War on Oct. 3, 1863. The menu has changed a little, however.

In 1917, “Mayonnaise Salad,” described as a “cold, layered sweet-savory dish that included mayonnaise, sugar and lettuce” was served on the the USS Arizona. “Oyster dressing,” a sauce that included the juice of shelled oysters, was a component of the Thanksgiving menu on the USS Case in 1929. Not that long ago, post-dinner cigars and cigarettes were available.

But no amount of turkey and cranberry sauce can substitute for being with friends and family on a day that has become synonymous with showing your gratitude for all that you have in life.

“It’s bitter-sweet. You have to make the best of it. You know you have to be here,” said Imani Bradley, 25, from St. Petersburg, Florida. Bradley is a signals analyst who monitors communication frequencies.

Back home in Florida, her three-year-old son is spending the day with his dad and grandparents. And, in a way, she’s keeping an eye on them, too.

“I miss them. But there will be more Thanksgivings. And I know what they’ll be doing anyway: stuffing their faces with food, and watching a lot of football,” she said.

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WASHINGTON — The Pentagon is requesting $4.5 billion in funds for the European Deterrence Initiative, the second straight year that the department has cut its request for the program.

190619-N-AX559-061 ROMANIA (Jun. 19, 2019). Saber Guardian 19 is an exercise co-led by the Romanian Joint Force Command and U.S. Army Europe, taking place from June 3-24 at various locations in Bulgaria, Hungary and Romania. Saber Guardian 19 is designed to improve the integration of multinational combat forces. (U.S. Navy photo by Lt. Alex Cornell du Houx/Released).

The EDI is a special part of the department’s Overseas Contingency Operations funding, focused on reassuring allies in Europe and deterring Russian aggression on the continent.

The Pentagon requested $4.8 billion for EDI in FY18, a request which grew to $6.5 billion in FY19. The FY20 request, however, dropped it down to $5.9 billion. Congress plussed up the funding to $6.5 billion, meaning the department’s request for this year would be a $1.5 billion cut.

Click here for more coverage of the FY21 budget rollout.

Funding will go towards rotational force deployment and the implementation of previously funded multiyear agreements. It will also support additional exercises in Europe and the prepositioning of U.S. equipment on the continent.

Two European officials contacted by Defense News downplayed concerns, with one saying that a drop in funding is normal given the number of infrastructure projects that are being completed.

Included in the EDI funding is $250 million for the Ukraine Security Assistance Initiative, which can be used to replace any “weapons or defensive articles” provided to Ukraine by the U.S. government. Such funding became a flashpoint in 2019, eventually leading to the impeachment of President Donald Trump, who was acquitted in the Senate last week.

In the last National Defense Authorization Act, Congress requested that the Pentagon submit a five-year plan for EDI in FY21.

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File photo of a U.S. Navy cable-controlled undersea recovery vehicle (CURV-21). (U.S. Navy/Lt. Alex Cornell du Houx)

PACIFIC OCEAN – A U.S. Navy salvage team aboard a contracted vessel completed its mission supporting search and recovery operations with the Japan Self-Defense Forces (JSDF) after locating debris from the downed Japan Air Self-Defense Force F-35A off the coast of Japan, May 8.

Working closely with JSDF forces, the salvage team deployed a U.S. Navy remotely operated vehicle, CURV 21, to survey the area where debris was located.

Prior to the salvage team mission, guided-missile destroyer USS Stethem (DDG 63) and multiple P-8A Poseidon aircraft joined JSDF-led search efforts from Apr. 9-17, covering more than 5,000 square nautical miles.

The aircraft first went missing 85 miles east of Misawa Air Base, April 9.

The U.S. Navy’s thoughts continue to be with the pilot’s family, friends and colleagues.

The close coordination and cooperation between the U.S. military and JSDF during this operation serves as a reflection of a strong alliance, forged over decades of mutual support and friendship.

Alex Cornell du Houx US Navy

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CounterPoint, A weekly public affairs radio program —

Interview with Alex Cornell du Houx, president of Elected Officials to Protect America and former Maine state legislator and Vice Mayor of Culver City, California, Meghan Sahli-Wells, who serves as co-chair of Elected Officials to Protect California and is also on the steering committee of Elected Officials to Protect America, conducted by Scott Harris

Alex Cornell du Houx and Meghan Sahli-Wells will discuss their group’s views on important issues addressed and unaddressed at the recently concluded COP 24 UN Climate Change Conference in Katowice, Poland.

December 17, 2018
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Check out my interview with Canadian Public Radio if you want to practice your French speaking skills 🙂

US forces to honor Afghan ceasefire

Tara Copp and Kyle Rempfer

The top commander of U.S. forces in Afghanistan said Thursday they would respect a week-long ceasefire with the Taliban in honor of Eid.

The holiday marks the end of Ramadan fasting and a ceasefire was called for by Afghanistan’s president Ashraf Ghani.

Gen. John Nicholson, commander of Resolute Support, visited community and military leaders in Farah on May 19, 2018, after Afghan National Defense and Security Forces defeated a major Taliban offensive here this week. (Lt. Alex Cornell du Houx/NATO)

“We will adhere to the wishes of Afghanistan for the country to enjoy a peaceful end to the Islamic holy month of Ramadan, and support the search for an end to the conflict,” said Gen. John Nicholson, U.S. Forces-Afghanistan and the NATO-led Resolute Support commander.

The holiday would run from about June 12 through June 19.

However, the ceasefire does not include U.S. counterterrorism operations in Afghanistan against the Islamic State or other terror groups, Nicholson said.

The U.S. decision came after Ghani said he would follow the decree of 3,000 Afghan religious scholars, the Ulema, calling for a cessation of hostilities between the Afghan government and the Taliban during the holiday.

The development seems welcomed by many Afghanistan policy experts.

Jarrett Blanc, former acting special representative for Afghanistan and Pakistan, wrote over Twitter that it is vital U.S. and NATO forces abide by the ceasefire, using the exception to strike other terror groups “as narrowly as possible, and ideally not at all.”

“I endorse this tweet by my former colleague,” Barnett Rubin, a leading expert on Afghanistan and South Asia at New York University, said in a message to Military Times.

“The U.S. cannot avoid direct negotiations with Taliban if it wants a political solution,” Rubin said. “This could be a way to back into them through a process led by the Afghan [government].”

Even if the US rigorously adheres to this brief cease fire, the Taliban will still (reasonably) doubt Government of Afghanistan control. If the US is cute about adherence, the Taliban will be entirely, maybe permanently convinced of the pointlessness of negotiating with Kabul.

Blanc explained over Twitter that the Afghan government has always insisted the Taliban negotiate directly with them. Meanwhile, the Taliban have always insisted that negotiations should first start between the Taliban and the United States — as it is international forces that do the most damage to Taliban fighters.

“Even if the U.S. rigorously adheres to this brief cease fire, the Taliban will still (reasonably) doubt Government of Afghanistan control,” Blanc wrote. “If the U.S. is cute about adherence, the Taliban will be entirely, maybe permanently convinced of the pointlessness of negotiating with Kabul.”

Regardless of where the peace process starts, it must include the United States in some way, according to Blanc.

“One point to remember: even if the Taliban and Kabul do start talking, the U.S. has security requirements that can only — only — be addressed in direct negotiations with the Taliban,” he wrote. “Our [counter-terrorism] demands in any peace process can not be outsourced to Kabul.”

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