climate

We post daily morsels of illuminating information and inspiration on The Green Spotlight’s Facebook Page. Anyone can view the page, even if you don’t have a Facebook account. If you do have an account, we hope you’ll click on the page’s Like button (if you haven’t already “Liked” the page) and Share the page with your friends.

Please visit the Page to get a sense of the various topics that it covers. We hope you’ll share some of our links. To make sure that Facebook will continue to show you our posts on your Facebook homepage/newsfeed, visit our page regularly and give a thumbs-up to (“Like”) your favorite posts.

Here’s a sampling of topics that we’ve highlighted on the page over the last month or so:

  • March for Science (April 22); and People’s Climate March (April 29)
  • Grist 50: The Fixers
  • Pueblo, Colorado commits to 100% renewable energy
  • New electric, hybrid, and fuel-efficient vehicles
  • Maryland’s Republican Governor calls for fracking ban
  • Bald eagles dying from lead-ammo poisoning
  • Project Drawdown’s list of effective climate strategies
  • Grid Alternatives’ Solar Spring Break projects
  • Solar in tribal communities
  • Quotations, graphics, photos, videos, etc.
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March 22, 2017
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Part I: Action Lists, Groups, Online Tools, and Other Resources

Many of us are seeking effective ways to take action, to counteract, offset, mitigate, neutralize, resist, and fight the impending damage that will be done by members of the DT/Pence Administration and their attempts to corrupt and dismantle U.S. democracy. Many of us recognize that “business as usual,” the status quo, and complacency aren’t going to cut it anymore. We need to redouble our efforts, go beyond the edge of our comfort zones, take some giant leaps, speak out, refuse to accept the unacceptable—to “be the change we wish to see in the world,” and become our own heroes, rather than expecting other people to step forward and save us.

To get through these dark times without losing our minds, we need to make it a regular practice to take care of ourselves and find constructive ways to cope, and also to offer and request support from our friends and loved ones. We have to recognize that we are not alone; we are all muddling through this together. But in addition—to maintain our self-respect and act as compassionate humans and citizens—we should also find some way(s) to support and protect people from vulnerable and targeted groups, and to protest and take positive actions within our neighborhood or community, our town or state, and our country and world.

sleeping giantsIn the next month or so, I will be adding a list of several specific steps and actions that you can take (in Part II, a separate post). In the meantime, please check out the existing tools and resources listed below. They include action lists, action campaigns, guides, articles, advice; as well as a list of trusted news sources; key organizations; people to follow online; and tools for staying sane and fostering hope.

Don’t feel obligated to explore all of these links. Just check out a few at a time; select a couple of them to follow or participate in, and if those end up not feeling useful to you after you’ve spent some time with them, pick a couple of other sites or groups (from this list or elsewhere) to follow or join. Note: I have not done a thorough vetting of all of these sites yet, so cannot vouch for every single one (and am not endorsing them), but I put a couple of my favorites in bold type. I’ll be adding more links regularly, as I discover new ones.

Useful articles

News sources

It’s important that those of who can pay something for real journalism actually do so, so that real news outlets can survive and not be entirely driven out by the world of profit-driven, sensationalist media (and “fake news” or lie-spreading websites). Choose at least one legitimate (truth-seeking, fact-checking, investigative) news source to subscribe to (as a paid subscriber), to show your support and to help keep them afloat. We can’t expect competent journalists and writers to work for free, and we don’t want them to be reliant solely on their major advertisers, who might expect publications to alter (or censor) their content to serve the advertisers’ special interests. Here are a few media sources that, to date, have regularly produced sound, informative journalism:

Key organizations

Here are some suggestions of the types of local, state, national, or international organizations that you might want to consider donating to, becoming a member of, or getting actively involved with.

Environmental:

Your state’s League of Conservation Voters; local and statewide renewable energy or climate initiatives (e.g., California’s Center for Climate Protection); local land conservation groups (e.g. a Land Trust in your county or region) and local habitat/wildlife protection groups;  Earthjustice, NRDC, Center for Biological Diversity, 350.org, Indigenous Environmental Network, Nuclear Information & Resource Service, Bold Alliance (Bold Iowa, Bold Nebraska, Bold Louisiana, Bold Oklahoma), Nature Conservancy, Earthworks, Greenpeace, Vote Solar, GRID Alternatives, Union of Concerned Scientists, Physicians for Social Responsibility, Fossil Free, WeForest, Rural Renewable Energy Alliance, The Greening of Detroit

Societal:

Local food banks, shelters, homeless/housing groups, child abuse prevention and foster care organizations, non-profit health clinics and mental health services, education groups, senior services and veterans services groups; ACLU (including state chapters), SPLC, Teaching Tolerance, National Lawyers Guild, Lawyers Committee for Civil Rights Under Law, VoteVets.org, Common Cause, PFAW, Children’s Defense Fund, NARAL, Planned Parenthood (including your state’s group or a PP in a “red” state), Population Institute, Global Zero, Ploughshares Fund, VerifiedVoting, Carter Center, International Rescue Committee, UN Refugee Agency, Center for Media and Democracy, International Center on Nonviolent Conflict (ICNC), Compassion & Choices, Meals on Wheels, MoveOn, Emily’s List, and California’s Courage Campaign; Democratic Legislative Campaign Committee (DLCC), DSCC, DCCC, and Democratic Governors Association; Animal Legal Defense Fund, International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW), International Anti-Poaching Foundation (IAPF), SPCA

Also, if you grew up in or currently live in a Republican-governed or Republican-leaning state or county (or a low-income state or county) and you have the means, please consider donating to (or volunteering for) local organizations in your home state or hometown that will help protect people there (and their health and their land/water/environment) from the state or local government’s regressive policies. And consider getting involved in your local Democratic Party or other political organizing group.

Also see:

People to follow online

The people listed below have shown integrity, courage, intelligence, and/or leadership in their writings and their actions. Some are names you may already be familiar with, and others probably aren’t. While I don’t always agree with everything these individuals say or have said, I have often found their commentary to be informative or interesting. I will probably add more people to this list (and maybe remove some) over time. Take a look at what these individuals are saying on social media, and consider following some of their pages:

Rebecca Solnit, Dan Rather, Robert Reich, Van Jones, Reverend Dr. Barber, Bill McKibben, Nicholas Kristof, John Pavlovitz, Lawrence Lessig, Ari Berman, Sarah Kendzior, Jane Kleeb, Dallas Goldtooth, Antonia Juhasz, Laurence Tribe, Paul Krugman, Shaun King, Charles Blow, Nick Hanauer, Leah McElrath, Ian Milhiser, Sherilynn Ifill, Peter Daou, Tony Schwartz, Jason Kander, Mark Ruffalo

It’s also important to support and praise principled conservatives with a conscience, whenever they speak up for democracy and civil rights, challenge the DT Administration or the GOP leadership, and show compassion. A few conservatives who have shown that they have a backbone and think for themselves include:
Evan McMullin, David Frum, David Brooks, John Weaver, Andrew Sullivan, Colin Powell, Ana Navarro, John Dean, Chris Suprun, and Charlie Sykes. (Even some right-wingers like Bill Kristof, Peggy Noonan, and George Will speak out against DT.)

And Republican politicians (current and former) who have sometimes spoken out against DT and who periodically demonstrate that they have a backbone or a conscience include: John McCain, Jon Huntsman, John Kasich, Bill Weld, Lindsey Graham, Mitt Romney, Arnold Schwarzenegger, and the Bushes.

 

Tools for staying sane / retaining and creating hope

Try not to let yourself get so overwhelmed that you become paralyzed by the depth and breadth of the challenges and the many different ways there are to be of service to your community and world. Start by identifying one or two specific ways that you are most able to be involved (or groups to get involved in), and dedicate yourself to those. Pick something to do each day or each week or at least each month. Take sanity breaks when you need them, to avoid burnout, and you may find that you are gradually able to build your capacity over time. Regardless, the point is: Do something. Start where you are. Acknowledge your frustrations and the limitations of your individual impact, but remember that you are part of a widespread and growing, collective effort (even if other people’s efforts are not visible to you).

Here are a few resources for maintaining emotional balance, regaining perspective, or finding inspiration and motivation when you start to feel overwhelmed:

I have found that going for a long walk or a short hike can really help me regain the perspective that I need to move forward. What are some of your favorite strategies or readings for grounding or motivating yourself or coping with adversity?

Do take care of yourself, get enough sleep, and take a break when you need it, but never give up. Please never stop trying to make the world and our country a better place. And remember that you are not alone.

 

To be added soon:

  • Part II: Suggested actions to take
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January 13, 2017
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This is the second part in my series of posts related to the upcoming election.
[Click here for Part I: Important Election and Voting-related Websites & Organizations.]
[Click here for Part III. Specific Ways to Help.]

logo_lcvVarious environmental groups make endorsements of candidates for Senate, House, and President. Some groups endorse a lot of candidates, and others focus their endorsements and advocacy on a smaller set. For example, the Sierra Club endorses candidates in many races, at all levels of government. NRDC Action Fund and NextGen Climate have only endorsed people for some Senate races and for President; not for House races. Climate Hawks Vote endorses a select set of candidates who have been especially strong climate leaders. Some groups limit their endorsements mainly to candidates in tight races, while others don’t. Each group has its own criteria, which you can learn about via the links to their sites (see the key below). Some groups will be adding additional endorsements as we get even closer to the election.

6a00d83451b96069e2019103a359ae970c-600wiTo find endorsements for Governors, state legislators, and local-level candidates or issues, find your state’s League of Conservation Voters and your local Sierra Club chapter and look up their endorsements. A few of their Governor endorsements are listed at the end of this post.

Below you can see which candidates (for Senate, House, and President) received endorsements from one or more of the following groups (as of 9/29/2016).

[11/16/16 UPDATE: Candidates who won their races have been identified in the listing below. “Won” has been added after their names.]

Key:

  1. League of Conservation Voters endorsement
  2. ActionFundLogo.v2Sierra Club endorsement
  3. NRDC Action Fund endorsement
  4. Climate Hawks Vote endorsement
  5. NextGen Climate endorsement

Senate

CA:            Kamala Harris (2, 3, 4see key) -Won
CO:            Michael Bennet (1, 2, 3) – Won
CT:            Richard Blumenthal (2, 3) – WonCHV_Logo2
FL:            Patrick Murphy (1, 2)
HI:            Brian Schatz (2, 3, 4) – Won
IA:             Patty Judge (1)
IL:             Tammy Duckworth (1, 2, 3, 5) – Won
LA:            Foster Campbell (2) – TBD
MD:          Chris Van Hollen (1, 2) – Won
MO:          Jason Kander (1, 2)
NC:           Deborah Ross (1, 2, 5)
NH:          Maggie Hassan (2, 5) – Won
NV:           Catherine Cortez Masto (1, 2, 3, 5) – Won20140429100313132_nextgen-climate-logo
NY:           Charles Schumer (2, 3) – Won
OH:          Ted Strickland (1, 2, 3, 5)
OR:          Ron Wyden (1, 3) – Won
PA:           Katie McGinty (1, 3, 5)
VT:           Patrick Leahy (1, 3) – Won
WA:         Patty Murray (1, 2, 3) – Won
WI:          Russ Feingold (1, 2, 3)

House
(in alphabetical order, by state and then by candidate’s last name)

AZ:           Ruben Gallego (2) – Won
AZ:           Raul Grijalva (1, 2) – Won
AZ:           Matt Heinz (2)

CA:           Pete Aguilar (1, 2) – Won
CA:           Doug Applegate (1)
CA:           Nanette Barragan (1, 2, 4) – Won
CA:           Karen Bass (2) – Won
CA:           Xavier Becerra (2) – Won
CA:           Ami Bera (1, 2) – Won
CA:           Julia Brownley (1, 2) – Won
CA:           Salud Carbajal (1, 2, 4) – Won
CA:           Bryan Caforio (1, 2)
CA:           Tony Cardenas (2) – Won
CA:           Judy Chu (2) – Won
CA:           Susan Davis (2) – Won
CA:           Mark DeSaulnier (2) – Won
CA:           Michael Eggman (1)
CA:           Anna Eshoo (2) – Won
CA:           John Garamendi (2) – Won
CA:           Mike Honda (2)
CA:           Jared Huffman (1, 2) – Won
CA:           Barbara Lee (2) – Won
CA:           Ted Lieu (2, 4) – Won
CA:           Zoe Lofgren (2) – Won
CA:           Alan Lowenthal (1, 2) – Won
CA:           Doris Matsui (2) – Won
CA:           Jerry McNerney (1, 2) – Won
CA:           Grace Napolitano (1, 2) – Won
CA:           Bao Nguyen (2)
CA:           Jimmy Panetta (2) – Won
CA:           Nancy Pelosi (2) – Won
CA:           Scott Peters (1, 2) – Won
CA:           Lucille Roybal-Allard (2) – Won
CA:           Raul Ruiz (1, 2) – Won
CA:           Linda Sanchez (1, 2) – Won
CA:           Adam Schiff (2) – Won
CA:           Brad Sherman (2) – Won
CA:           Jackie Speier (2) – Won
CA:           Eric Swalwell (2) – Won
CA:           Mark Takano (2) – Won
CA:           Mike Thompson (2) – Won
CA:           Norma Torres (2) – Won
CA:           Juan Vargas (2) – Won
CA:           Maxine Waters (2) – Won

CO:          Morgan Carroll (1, 2, 4)
CO:          Diana Degette (2) – Won
CO:          Ed Perlmutter (2) – Won
CO:          Jared Polis (2) – Won
CO:          Gail Schwartz (1, 2)

CT:           Joe Courtney (2) – Won
CT:           Rosa DeLauro (2) – Won
CT:           Elizabeth Esty (1, 2) – Won
CT:           Jim Himes (1, 2) – Won
CT:           John Larson (2) – Won

DE:          Lisa Rochester (1) – Won

FL:            Kathy Castor (2) – Won
FL:            Charlie Crist (1) – Won
FL:            Val Demings (1) – Won
FL:            Ted Deutch (2) – Won
FL:            Lois Frankel (2) – Won
FL:            Alcee Hastings (2) – Won
FL:            Al Lawson (1) – Won
FL:            Stephanie Murphy (1) – Won
FL:            Frederica Wilson (1, 2) – Won

GA:          Hank Johnson (2) – Won
GA:          John Lewis (2) – Won
GA:          David Scott (2)  – Won

HI:            Tulsi Gabbard (2) – Won

IA:            Dave Loebsack (2) – Won
IA:            Jim Mowrer (1, 2)
IA:            Monica Vernon (1, 2)

ID:            James Piotrowki (1)

IL:             Cheri Bustos (2) – Won
IL:             Danny Davis (2) – Won
IL:             Bill Foster (2) – Won
IL:             Luis Gutierrez (1, 2) – Won
IL:             Robin Kelly (2) – Won
IL:             Raja Krisnamoorthi (1, 2, 4) – Won
IL:             Mike Quigley (2) – Won
IL:             Bobby Rush (2) – Won
IL:             Jan Schakowsky (2) – Won
IL:             Brad Schneider (2) – Won

IN:            Shelli Yoder (1)

KY:           John Yarmuth (2) – Won

MA:         Michael Capuano (2) – Won
MA:         Katherine Clark (2) – Won
MA:         Bill Keating (2) – Won
MA:         Joseph Kennedy III (2) – Won
MA:         Jim McGovern (2) – Won
MA:         Seth Moulton (2) – Won
MA:         Richard Neal (2) – Won
MA:         Niki Tsongas (2) – Won

MD:        Anthony Brown (1, 2) – Won
MD:        Elijah Cummings (2) – Won
MD:        John Delaney (1, 2) – Won
MD:        Steny Hoyer (1, 2) – Won
MD:        Jamie Raskin (1, 2, 4) – Won
MD:        Dutch Ruppersberger (2) – Won
MD:        John Sarbanes (2) – Won

ME:         Emily Cain (1, 2)
ME:         Chellie Pingree (2) – Won

MI:          Paul Clements (1, 2)
MI:          John Conyers (2) – Won
MI:          Debbie Dingell (1, 2) – Won
MI:          Gretchen Driskell (1, 2)
MI:          Lon Johnson (1, 2)
MI:          Dan Kildee (1, 2) – Won
MI:          Brenda Lawrence (1, 2) – Won
MI:          Sander Levin (2) – Won
MI:          Suzanna Shkreli (2)

MN:        Terri Bonoff (1)
MN:        Angie Craig (1, 2)
MN:        Keith Ellison (2) – Won
MN:        Betty McCollum (2) – Won

MO:        Emanuel Cleaver (2) – Won
MO:        Lacy Clay (2) – Won
MO:        Bill Otto (2)

MT:         Denise Juneau (1)

NC:          Alma Adams (1, 2) – Won
NC:          G.K. Butterfield (2) – Won
NC:          David Price (2) – Won

NH:          Ann Kuster (2) – Won
NH:          Carol Shea-Porter (1, 2) – Won

NJ:            Josh Gottheimer (1) – Won
NJ:            Donal Norcross (2) – Won
NJ:            Frank Pallone (1, 2) – Won
NJ:            Bill Pascrell (2) – Won
NJ:            Donald Payne (2) – Won
NJ:            Albio Sires (2) – Won
NJ:            Bonnie Watson-Coleman (2) – Won

NM:        Michelle Lujan Grisham (2) – Won
NM:        Ben Ray Lujan (2) – Won

NV:          Ruben Kihuen (1, 2) – Won
NV:          Jacky Rosen (1, 2) – Won
NV:          Dina Titus (2) – Won

NY:           Yvette Clark (2) – Won
NY:           Joseph Crowley (2) – Won
NY:           Colleen Deacon (1)
NY:           Mike Derrick (2)
NY:           Eliot Engel (2) – Won
NY:           Adriano Espaillat (1) – Won
NY:           DuWayne Gregory (1)
NY:           Brian Higgins (2) – Won
NY:           Hakeem Jeffries (2) – Won
NY:           Nita Lowey (2) – Won
NY:           Carolyn Maloney (2) – Won
NY:           Sean Patrick Maloney (1) – Won
NY:           Grace Meng (2) – Won
NY:           Kim Myers (1)
NY:           Jerrold Nadler (2) – Won
NY:           John Plumb (1)
NY:           Jose Serrano (2) – Won
NY:           Louise Slaughter (2) – Won
NY:           Tom Suozzi (1) – Won
NY:           Zephyr Teachout (2)
NY:           Paul Tonko (1, 2) – Won
NY:           Nydia Velazquez (2) – Won

OH:          Joyce Beatty (2) – Won
OH:          Marcia Fudge (2) – Won
OH:          Marcy Kaptur (2) – Won

OR:          Suzanne Bonamici (1) – Won
OR:         Peter DeFazio (1) – Won

PA:           Brendan Boyle (2) – Won
PA:           Bob Brady (2) – Won
PA:           Matt Cartwright (1, 2) – Won
PA:           Christina Hartman (1, 2)
PA:           Steve Santarsiero (1, 2)
PA:           Kerith Strano Taylor (2)

RI:            David Cicilline (2) – Won
RI:            Jim Langevin (2) – Won

SC:           Jim Clyburn (2) – Won

TN:           Steve Cohen (2) – Won

TX:           Joaquin Castro (2) – Won
TX:           Llloyd Doggett (2) – Won
TX:           Pete Gallego (1, 2)
TX:           Vicente Gonzalez (1) – Won
TX:           Al Green (2) – Won
TX:           Gene Green (2) – Won
TX:           Eddie Bernice Johnson (2) – Won
TX:           Sheila Jackson Lee (2) – Won
TX:           Marc Veasey (2) – Won
TX:           Tom Wakely (4)

UT:           Doug Owens (1, 2)

VA:           LuAnn Bennett (1, 2)
VA:           Don Beyer (1, 2) – Won
VA:           Gerry Connolly (2) – Won
VA:           Suzan DelBene (1)
VA:           Jane Dittmar (2)
VA:           Donald McEachin (1, 2) – Won
VA:           Bobby Scott (2) – Won

WA:         Suzan Delbene (1, 2) – Won
WA:         Denny Heck (2) – Won
WA:         Derek Kilmer (1, 2) – Won
WA:         Joe Pakootas (2)
WA:         Adam Smith (2) – Won

WI:          Tom Nelson (1)

WV:         Mike Manypenny (2)

 

President of the United States

Hillary Clinton  (1, 2, 3, 5)

I think it’s worth noting that none of these five environmental organizations (or any other national environmental organization that I am aware of) have endorsed the Green Party candidate. There are a number of good, sound reasons for this, beyond just viability (ability to win). For one thing, outside of a handful of local races, the U.S. Green Party has not shown itself to be an effective organization; it does not have any traction or outreach to speak of, and it has not been an effective or outspoken advocate for environmental causes. It’s telling that, in between presidential elections every four years, no one (including those of us who have long been deeply involved in the environmental movement) hears anything about or from the Green Party. While the Party’s platform is strong on environmental issues, a platform is useless if there’s no organizational acumen or political clout or credibility to get that platform implemented.  But even more importantly, many of us remember what happened in the 2000 election: People who voted for Nader instead of Gore kept Gore from winning FL and NH—he only needed to win one of those states—(and Nader votes almost cost him Oregon, as well), and Bush ended up winning the election by a very small margin. People who don’t know or remember history are often doomed to repeat it. Please don’t repeat this travesty. Learn from history. Use hindsight and foresight. There is no such thing as a “safe” state for playing with your vote.

The stakes are even higher now than they were in 2000. DT is a neo-fascist, wannabe dictator with no regard for or understanding of democracy and zero interest in addressing climate change or environmental issues; if he were to be elected, it would be, as Andrew Sullivan put it, an “extinction-level event.”

 

Lastly, here are some state LCV organizations’ endorsements of a few state Governors:

MT:  Steve Bullock – Won

NC:  Roy Cooper – Won

OR:  Kate Brown – Won

VT:  Sue Minter

WA:  Jay Inslee – Won

 

Also see:
2016 Eection and Voting Information (Part I): Important Websites & Organizations
and
2016 Election (Part III): Specific Ways to Help

 

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September 30, 2016
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We post daily morsels of illuminating information and inspiration on The Green Spotlight’s Facebook Page. Anyone can view the page, even if you don’t have a Facebook account. But if you do have an account, we hope you’ll click on the page’s Like button (if you haven’t already “Liked” the page) and Share the page with your friends.

Please visit the Page to get a sense of the various topics that it covers. You are welcome to comment on the posts and we hope you’ll share some of our links. To make sure that Facebook will continue to show you our posts on your Facebook homepage/newsfeed, visit our page regularly and give a thumbs-up to (“Like”) your favorite posts.

Here’s a sampling of topics that we’ve highlighted on the page over the last few months:

  • Native American movement against the Dakota Access Pipeline, #NoDAPL
  • New federal emissions rules for heavy-duty trucks
  • CoolEffect.org
  • VerifiedVoting.org and ElectionProtection.org
  • GoodGuide.com app
  • CivilEats.com
  • Climate Ride
  • Organizations: The Greening of Detroit, Rural Renewable Energy Alliance, Grid Alternatives, Honor the Earth, Animal Legal Defense Fund, WildEarth Guardians
  • Books: Beyond Words; Frackopoly
  • Films: A Dangerous Game;  You’ve Been Trumped Too (coming soon)
  • Quotations, graphics, photos, videos, etc.
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August 31, 2016
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Important Websites, Organizations, and Other Resources for Voters

I encourage you to check out the following sites and organizations; follow, share, and support some of them; check your voter registration status; and get involved in some way (e.g., by sharing useful information and links, sharing your opinions in a civil manner, registering new voters, volunteering for a campaign, or working at or monitoring the polls on election day). Please vote and do whatever you can to get more pro-environment candidates elected to Congress and to state-level (and local) offices, and to prevent DT from getting elected. I’m not too proud to beg and plead. It’s not an overstatement to say that our future and the collective future of humanity and our planet will be significantly affected by the outcome of this election.

[Note: Several new links have been added in the weeks and months since this post was first published.]

Candidate Endorsements sc_voterguide_logo1-300x300

See our related (Part II) post for a list of Candidates Endorsed by Enviro Groups.

Candidate Information

Voting / Election Information
(check your current voter registration status, register or re-register to vote, get ballot/election information, ID requirements, poll location, etc.)

Voting-Related Advocacy Groups

Consider volunteering for or donating to your favorite candidates (for state, local, or federal offices) or to some of the election/voting groups listed above or groups such as:

Recommended articles:

“Voting isn’t a valentine. It’s a chess move.”
[In other words, your vote should be strategic; you don’t have to love the candidate or think she’s perfect.]
– Rebecca Solnit

“Our job is not to elect a savior. Our job is to elect someone we can effectively pressure.”
– Bill McKibben

 

Related posts:

I hope you’ll share this post with your friends and community.

progress-graphic-small

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July 20, 2016
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A few months ago, I posted five TED talks on this blog. As promised, here’s another set of recommended TED talks given by knowledgeable and compelling speakers:

A Guerilla Gardener in South Central L.A. / Ron Finley

Why Climate Change is a Threat to Human Rights / Mary Robinson

The Green Boat: Reviving Ourselves in Our Capsized Culture (TEDxLincoln) / Mary Pipher

A Teacher Growing Green in the South Bronx / Stephen Ritz

Are Mushrooms the New Plastic? / Eben Bayer

 

Related post:  TED Talks to Watch (Part I)

And here are some other collections of environment-related TED talks:

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February 12, 2016
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We post daily morsels of illuminating information and inspiration on The Green Spotlight’s Facebook Page. Anyone can view the page, even if you don’t have a Facebook account. But if you do have an account, we hope you’ll click on the page’s Like button (if you haven’t already “Liked” the page) and Share the page with your friends.

Please visit the Page to get a sense of the various topics that it covers. You are welcome to comment on the posts and we hope you’ll share some of our links. To make sure that Facebook will continue to show you our posts on your Facebook homepage/newsfeed, visit our page regularly and give a thumbs-up to (“Like”) your favorite posts.

Here’s a sampling of topics that we’ve highlighted on the page over the last few months:

  • Costa Rica now uses almost 100% renewable energy
  • Uruguay uses almost 95% clean energy
  • Aspen, CO, Burlington, VT, and Greensburg, KS use 100% renewables
  • San Diego plans to shift to 100% renewable energy
  • The island of Bonaire is switching to 100% renewables
  • Community solar for groups and neighborhoods
  • Ireland rules out fracking
  • COP21 Paris Climate Summit Commitments
  • CatalogChoice free junk-mail opt-out service
  • Organizations and Initiatives: Earthworks, Center for Environmental Health, Story of Stuff Project, Politifact, FactCheck.org, Solar Ready Vets, Troops to Solar
  • Books: Voices of the Wild, The Heart of Sustainability
  • New films: Time to Choose, Racing Extinction, Medicine of the Wolf, Last Days of Ivory
  • Quotations, photos, graphics, cartoons, etc.
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December 28, 2015
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We post morsels of illuminating information and inspiration on The Green Spotlight’s Facebook Page every day. Anyone can view the page, even if you don’t have a Facebook account. But if you do have an account, we hope you’ll click on the page’s Like button (if you haven’t already “Liked” the page).

Please visit the Page to get a sense of the wide variety of topics that it covers. You are welcome to comment on the posts and we hope you’ll share some of our links. To make sure that Facebook will continue to show you our posts on your Facebook homepage/newsfeed, visit our page regularly and give a thumbs-up to (“Like”) your favorite posts.

Here’s a sampling of topics that we’ve highlighted on the page over the last couple of months:

  • Tesla’s Powerwall battery for home energy storage
  • Climate Rides (and Hikes)
  • Hawaii commits to 100% renewable electricity
  • Toxic pesticides, herbicides, and fungicides are really biocides
  • Goldman Prize winner videos
  • RoundUp’s links to cancer and other health and environmental harms
  • Environmental education, curriculum resources
  • Fossil-fuel-free funds have outperformed conventional stock-market funds
  • Community Choice local renewable power programs
  • Mother Earth News Fairs
  • Portland generating electricity via turbines in city water pipes
  • Wind turbines installed on the Eiffel Tower
  • New films: Inhabit, Oil and Water, Dryden, Merchants of Doubt, Mother, Revolution, Planetary
  • Quotations, photos, graphics, cartoons, etc.
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May 19, 2015
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The rapid rise of the global fossil-fuel divestment movement is a very promising and heartening sign of real progress.

A growing number of people are trying to “put their money where their mouth is” (i.e., where their values are). They want to stop giving their unintentional financial support to destructive, polluting companies and industries, such as the fossil fuel industry, and to shift their support over to clean, forward-thinking companies and industries that aim to have a positive impact on our world.

Putting your money where your mouth is might involve more than just being selective about which stores you go to and which products you buy. You could be unwittingly giving some of your money to companies you don’t want to support, through your accounts and investments: e.g., mutual funds, retirement accounts (IRAs, 401Ks), or any other stock-based accounts or investments. If you look at the list of company holdings that are part of your accounts’ portfolios, you might discover that Exxon and other oil/gas companies are in there, or Walmart, or Monsanto, or Koch Brothers-owned companies (also see the Buycott campaign/app), or McDonald’s or Coca-Cola or cigarette companies… Even if you don’t have any stock-based accounts of your own, there’s a good chance that your city, your college’s endowment fund, your church, or your pension provider invests in companies that don’t align with your values. Institutions like these are increasingly being confronted by local and national divestment campaigns.

_DshqZRQ_400x400Fossil Free maintains this list of the hundreds of institutions (including colleges and universities, cities and counties, religious institutions, and foundations) that have committed to divesting from fossil fuels. They include: Rockefeller Brothers Fund; the City and County of San Francisco; Seattle, WA; Dane County, WI; Ann Arbor, MI, and many, many more. Countries committed to divest billions of dollars at the UN’s 2014 Climate Summit, and many world leaders have spoken out in support of the divestment movement; they include Desmond Tutu, Ban Ki-Moon, Christina Figueres, Mary Robinson, and even the President of the World Bank. People and institutions are divesting from fossil fuels for a variety of reasons. In addition to the values motivation, or to limit the political influence (lobbying budgets) of oil and gas companies, some are simply divesting because they feel that we’re approaching (or have already hit) “peak oil” and/or that fossil fuel reserves will soon become “stranded assets” and fossil fuel stocks are going to rapidly or drastically drop in value.

942A5VXM_400x400At the Divest-Invest site, you can pledge to divest from fossil fuels or to invest in clean stocks, and learn more about the issues and options. At Fossil Free Funds, you can do a search to find out whether your retirement plan/mutual funds have fossil free stocks. (Also see the links below.)

Whether or not you have any accounts that can be divested from fossil fuel or other harmful companies, you should think about investing some money in clean energy or other socially beneficial companies. If you want to switch your mutual fund or retirement accounts over to—or start a new account with—a “socially responsible investment” (SRI) fund, there are many to choose from. Going this route does not necessarily mean that you have to settle for a lower return on investment. SRI funds often perform as well as (or even better) than market averages. (See some performance stats here and here and here.) And socially responsible investing has become much more popular in recent years: U.S-based SRI assets jumped 76% between 2012 and 2014 and reached $6.57 trillion, according to US SIF. You can learn more about fossil-free funds and other SRI funds at the following sites:

A few funds that are fossil-fuel free (to date) include: Green Century Fund (both of their funds: Balanced and Equity), Green Alpha FundsParnassus Endeavor FundCalvert Investments’ Green Bond FundPortfolio 21 Global Equity Fund, and Pax World Global Environmental Markets Fund.  A couple of fossil-fuel-free indexes have been developed, as well:  FFIUS Fossil Free Indexes, and FTSE ex Fossil Fuel Index.

Note: In addition to the relatively new fossil-fuel-free criterion (which most SRI funds do not yet meet), there are a number of other environmental and social issues and criteria that SRI funds can screen for, in areas such as: pollution/toxics, nuclear power, defense/weapons, human rights, animal welfare, executive pay, labor relations, diversity, tobacco, alcohol, and many others. (When you click on the link above, select the Screening and Advocacy tab to find out how/whether various funds address each issue.) Note: It’s important that you look at each fund’s holdings and portfolio policies, as many SRI funds do include some companies that are widely seen as problematic (including oil and gas companies); some but not all of those funds explicitly try to influence and improve those companies’ policies through shareholder activism.

If you would like to have an investment advisor assist you in selecting a fossil-free or other SRI fund, these are a couple of advisory firms that I am aware of:

(You can also do a web search to find firms or advisors who specialize in SRI or clean energy investment or fossil-fuel divestment and who are also based in your area.)

logoAnother way to invest your money is to make a direct investment in a social impact venture, AKA a social enterprise. One place to find some social enterprises and funds that anyone can invest in is CuttingEdgeX. Among their current offerings (which are called Direct Public Offerings) are the RSF Social Investment Fund and the Calvert Foundation’s Community Investment note at Vested.org. For a list of some other funds that are available to everyone (but with a focus on food and farming-related enterprises), also see the top section of this page.

Some people are also able to invest their money in local, distributed solar projects in their area or elsewhere (on housing, schools, etc.). These are two platforms that allow people to do that—though unfortunately, for now, most of these platforms’ offerings are only open to California residents, due to current securities regulations (which could change in the future):

(Note: Having solar panels or a small-scale wind turbine installed on your own property is another good way to invest your money and get a solid return on investment.)

Most direct investment opportunities are only open to “accredited investors” (who, basically, are people wealthy enough to endure the risk of losing a considerable amount of money on investments: an accredited investor is currently defined as someone with an individual income of more than $200,000/year or a joint income of $300,000, for the past two years; or a net worth exceeding $1 million, individually or jointly with one’s spouse). If you are an accredited investor, there are all sorts of social enterprises you can invest in, e.g., through groups like these:

And there’s yet another way that everyone can make a difference with their dollars: Move your regular (checking/savings) accounts (as well as any credit card accounts) out of the huge, greedy, bail-out banks (e.g., Bank of America, Citibank, Chase, Wells Fargo, etc.) and into a local credit union (credit unions are non-profit cooperative banks that share profits with their members) or a small community bank that won’t charge you ridiculous fees for basic transactions with your own money; won’t gamble with your money, your mortgage, and the economy for short-term gains; and that will give back to its members and your community. There are also a few banks that have an explicit social and environmental mission (and are certified B Corporations), such as:

The Sierra Club offers a credit card with Beneficial State Bank. (Most affinity cards are affiliated with the big, bail-out banks. This is one of the few that isn’t.)

Efforts are also underway to create Clean Energy Victory Bonds, which would be treasury bonds where all the funds raised go to support clean energy in the United States. Click that link to learn how you can support this initiative.

 

Other general resources for further information:

Related posts:

Green Business, Corporate Social Responsibility, Ethical Finance, and Sustainable Economies

Climate and Energy-Related Solutions and Resources

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February 27, 2015
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