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350.org demonstration Monday (continued tomorrow: what you can do)

January 6, 2017

Dear New Mexico friends: a very happy New Year to all! 

First, many of you have sent contributions recently. On behalf of the Study Group community: thank you again, very much. These are not easy times and we know this support involves significant sacrifice for many of you. We take our relationships in the Study Group community very seriously.

And it is a community. Call on us, and call on each other.

350.org demonstration Monday, January 9: #DayAgainstDenial

When: 11:30am-1pm Monday Jan 9, 2017
Where: 400 Gold Ave. SW, Abq, NM 87102 – outside Sen. Udall & Sen. Heinrich’s offices.
Link to event: https://actionnetwork.org/events/jan-9th-dayagainstdenial
Link on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/events/1789646477965303/

Description from NM 350.org: "On January 9th, people in all 50 states will send a message to every US Senator: reject Donald Trump's reckless climate denying cabinet nominees. We'll rally outside the offices of our two U.S. Senators, Sen. Heinrich and Sen. Udall to thank them for their past support for climate solutions, and call on them to stand strong on the climate and to reject all four of these dangerous cabinet picks as part of the #DayAgainstDenial: Rex Tillerson, CEO of Exxon, for Secretary of State; Scott Pruitt for EPA Administrator; Ex-Gov. Rick Perry for Secretary of Energy; Rep. Ryan Zinke for Department of Interior."

We urge you to attend. I (Greg) will speak on the nomination of Rick Perry. See: "Trump Selects Former Texas Governor Rick Perry for Secretary of Energy" press release of Dec 13, 2016.

But first off, regarding thanking Udall and Heinrich "for their past support for climate solutions," it has to be said that we haven't seen any such support. In our concerted opinion here, senators Udall and Heinrich haven't done much to provide any climate solution, ever. Neither has Obama. They get "Ds" in our book. They never "stand strong" on this subject. Their unwavering support for militarism, empire, and nuclear weapons means they cannot, and do not, support climate protection, which is utterly incompatible with these priorities, both fiscally and in political terms. 

Our present
highly-militarized society and failing global empire will not be able to deliver on any significant progressive or environmental agenda whatsoever, or even to maintain a viable civilian economy.

As for Perry, he isn't qualified to run the Department of Energy (DOE). He is a political choice. He's not the first and won't be the last of those at DOE. He's also a "drill baby drill" guy who imagines he understands oil because he is from West Texas. As regards nuclear weapons, DOE's biggest mission, Trump will pick some poor sucker for that job and that person, and/or the military, will run that (big) part of DOE.

So there will be a limited amount of damage Perry can do. If he wants to damage the nuclear weapons mission, go for it.

In our view the Perry confirmation can and should be opposed, but in a smart way. Udall and Heinrich will not do that. They will focus on preventing cuts at the NM labs by extracting promises from Perry, which is the exact opposite of what should be done.

Somebody needs to stick pins in our inflated labs. We all need to emphasize cutting the labs to our un-dynamic senatorial duo -- not just oppose Perry per se. (News reports suggest, by the way, that Senate Democrats may not oppose Perry.)

Trump is starting out at the "F" level on climate and energy. It may be his greatest negative as President-Elect.

He may not stay that way. He needs US renewable energy (RE) companies to grow, and fast, if he wants enough new US jobs to keep voters from turning on him even more quickly than they otherwise will. He just doesn't know he loves RE yet, or he isn't saying it. Will he slash all those wind jobs in electoral college swing states, or in Texas? Hell no. (Offshore wind? That's another story.)

Trump wants "energy independence." For that too he needs renewable energy (RE) and energy efficiency (EE) as he will soon discover, as well as energy conservation (a much harder sell). But he can't drill his way to energy independence no matter how hard he tries (which he will). Tillerson at least knows that.

The climate timeline is very, very short and we have got use this demo and others as springboards for more and deeper activism. We all need to make a resolution to do that, ourselves. The energy basis of our civilization -- which created and is rapidly worsening our climate problem -- is changing subtly but dramatically regardless of policy, because the cheap oil we need for our complex economic arrangements is in slow, terminal decline. Real economic growth is over, forever. These days, in the US and around the world, we borrow (print) money and call it "growth," because there are a few more blips on screens. The election of Trump is in part a symptom of that lack of growth and a milestone on the wild road we're on now. Our lives and our children's are going to change profoundly at an accelerating pace, in ways we cannot imagine.

What can we do? We have a voice, and hands. We can be agents and actors, rather than victims. 

Simone Weil, who thought long and hard about how France could recover from fascism, once said: "I can, therefore I am."

So how many of us, even as renters, have at least one solar panel? (You can talk to McCune Solar Works about that!) How many of us know the basics of how to hook one up, so we can teach our children? We need to get on with the transition, now.

Again I think it's important to note, especially in this most partisan of times, and given the title of this event, that it is also Democrats who are in denial about the gravity of climate deterioration. The hard-right Republican style is actually closer to delusion, a more serious symptom that is indicative of psychosis -- and in a polity, with tyranny. Dmitri Orlov has a lovely review of these two styles, which you may enjoy.

The bottom line: Democrats have been failing to address climate change almost as effectively as Republicans. What happened on climate when Obama was in the White House and Democrats controlled both houses of Congress? To make a long story short, nothing happened. This is not a partisan issue. It's much bigger, and deeper.

Tomorrow I will send the second part of this letter, on what you can do, and what the Study Group is offering.

Good evening,

Greg Mello, for the Los Alamos Study Group


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