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Mitzvah Moments by Tish Levee - March 2017

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Mitzvah Moments by Tish Levee - March 2017

by Tish Levee

The news isn’t great for the Earth!

The news coming from Washington isn’t great for the planet. On Feb.17th Scott Pruitt, who sued the EPA (Environmental Protection Agency) 14 times, was confirmed to head it. Awaiting confirmation is Rick Perry, nominated for Secretary of Energy, a department he proposed eliminating during a 2011 debate. Both of them have been skeptical of, if not outright deniers of climate science, and support the elimination of such things as the Clean Air Act, Clean Water Act, Clean Power Plan, and the Paris Accords to reduce global warming.

It’s a balancing act. 

As an environmental journalist, I must always engage in a balancing act: how do I wake up my readers, and convey the absolute seriousness of the problem without causing such a reaction as “It’s too late; it’s all too much; I’m just one person; I can’t do anything, so I won’t even try!”

From its inception nearly 10 years ago, this column’s held the view that each of us can make a difference; that only by us all doing so will we be able to solve the problems our planet is facing.

We’re at a pivotal time. 

At a recent Climate Conversation at the Center for Climate Protection, Jane Bender, the President of CCP’s board, spoke about this being a pivotal time – that the changes we’re seeing in Washington have erased any complacency we might’ve had that our government was going to fix the problems with the climate. “Now it is back where it needed to be – in the laps of the people.” Prior to this we didn’t really see the problem clearly. Now we have no choice if we want a livable planet for our children and grandchildren and all who come after us.

There’s good news on the climate front (I wrote about some of it in January and will continue to do so), but we have to do more, much more. Here in California, we often don’t realize the extent of the problem. As Lynn Woolsey said at the Women’s March,”We have to get out of our safe California bubble.”

What I’m going to do: 

For me, it means I have to “step up my game.” I need to do more than just write about these issues and sign petitions. I’ve been doing that, and lots of other things to help fight climate change, but it’s no longer enough.

I have to become more political; I have to work for and elect those at the local, state, and federal level, who understand the problems we’re facing and who believe that solving them is more important than any financial support they might receive from those who care more about profits than the planet or our children.

To make my representatives aware of my concerns, I will be attending city and county meetings and representative’s open houses. I’ll continue to sign petitions and send emails; I’ll send snail mail when needed; and, most importantly, I will make phone calls, something I’ve resisted doing. They terrify me! But last week I called the office of a senator from another state, spoke to his machine, and survived! That was a big step for me; now I know that I can do it.

“My Feet on the Street!” 

I’m also going to do something I’ve done beforeI’ll be marching for science and the climate. The March for Science, marchforscience.com/, organized because thousands of scientists and science enthusiasts realized that staying silent is no longer an option, is on Earth DayApril 22ndin Washington. There are also currently 266 satellite marches worldwide, 23 in California, including Oakland and San Francisco. A week later, on April 29ththe 100th day of the new administrationthe People’s Climate Mobilization, which organized the People’s Climate March in NYC in 2014 (I was one of the 400K people there) will also hold a march in D.C., peoplesclimate.org/. Hopefully there’ll also be satellite marches worldwide, although they aren’t listed yet.

Please join me. 

I hope lots of my friends and readers march with me, and do whatever else they need to do to “Step up their game,” too. Thank you for letting me share my thoughts with you.

© Copyright Tish Levee, 2017