Amidst the madness, 5 big reasons for hope

I spent the first part of last weekend feeling depressed about recent headlines.

However, over the weekend I was reminded of the many committed and powerful people who surround us by way of a conversation with a friend about an ecology project she did with her daughters. This person has led many efforts to help tomorrow’s leaders gain a reverence for this planet and an appreciation of what it takes to protect it – from bee-saving gardens to backpacking trips.

This reminder saved me from despair.  I hope I can do the same for you.

Here are five examples of the power of committed people working together:

  1. World leaders are moving forward with the Paris Accord, no matter what the U.S. does.
  2. The clean energy revolution has already reached a tipping point as the cost of renewables plummets – due in part to the commitment of people at the Department of Energy.
  3. Many fossil fuel projects are delayed or cancelled because of public opposition and the competitive price of renewables.
  4. California’s climate leadership in the world’s fifth largest economy will be powerful.  It already is.
  5. People all around us are taking decisive action to protect the climate.

While we have some things to celebrate, staying aware of the threats to our democracy and planet is crucial.  Here are the top stories of the hour:

  1. A witch hunt is on in the Department of Energy for climate scientists, but DOE employees refuse to provide names.
  2. NASA’s original mission to study planet earth is threatened by Trump, who wants to prevent the agency from gathering further evidence of climate change.
  3. Trump’s recent nominations show blatant disregard for climate science and democracy:
    1. Exxon Executive Rex Tillerson – who has lucrative ties to Russiahas been nominated for Secretary of State.
    2. Governor Rick Perry, who once vowed to abolish the Energy Department, has been tapped to run it.
    3. Attorney General Scott Pruit, who has attempted to sue the EPA, has been chosen to head it.
    4. Fossil Fuel ally Cathy McMorris has been selected to open up wild lands to drilling and mining.

When we feel surrounded by bad news, it’s up to us to find the good, advocate for what we love, and take action to live our most sacred values.

Together we are powerful.

Stacey Meinzen
5 replies
  1. Greg Pech
    Greg Pech says:

    Thanks for the uplifting reminder that we ARE powerful together, and we will have to be in order to combat this new wave of money-driven deniers.

  2. Bruce Hagen
    Bruce Hagen says:

    Stacey, I loved the diagram! Very “deep” :-)

    I wrote an OpEd for the Argus Courier that expressed my source of hope. It’s in print, but not online yet, so I’ll put it here,


    Changing Two Climates
    What does the election mean for our climate? Clearly, the climate’s getting worse, marked by extreme outbursts of destructive energy, increasing polar heat, and a souring of seas. Have we passed the tipping point into an inescapable death spiral?
    Ironically, these words apply equally to both the geophysical climate and the global political climate. And therein lies a narrow but clear path to our salvation.
    To stabilize the earth’s physical climate, the US must lead, by adopting effective, efficient, and equitable carbon pricing legislation like carbon fee and dividend (CFD). The beauty of CFD is that every household, on average, gets a monthly three-figure climate dividend, which stimulates job creation and helps lower-income families make the transition to clean energy. The dividends are funded by fossil fuel extraction fees paid by coal and oil companies.
    And we can’t afford to wait for a new president or congress. Nor need we. To pass this legislation in the coming Congress, we’ll have to cool the political climate. We know how. Gandhi did it when he told South African leader General Jan Smuts “I am going to fight against your government… (and) I am going to win… with your help.”
    Since 2012 I’ve volunteered for Citizens’ Climate Lobby (CCL), an international, non-partisan non-profit. We focus on a legislative solution – CFD – but give equal attention to developing our capacity for “personal and political power.” The Gandhi story is part of the two-hour introductory training we provide every volunteer. We work on building positive and productive relationships with members of Congress and their staff, as well as community leaders. We train in how to listen. Most important, we practice and support each other in treating everyone, even those who oppose us, with respect, appreciation, and gratitude.
    I’ve seen how this works. Every June, close to one thousand well-prepared CCL climate advocates flood the halls of Congress, meeting in small teams with every Congressional office. In 2014 one of my teams met with the staff of a very conservative coal state Republican Senator. The two young staffers sat down, pointedly placed their closed notebooks on the table. They leaned back, unsmiling, arms crossed… ready for another attack from environmentalists. When we started with a sincere appreciation for the Senator’s vote against nuclear power subsidies because “we believe every energy source should be accountable for its true costs”, their body language shifted. When we said our market-based CFD legislation didn’t grow the government or pick winners, they opened their notebooks and started asking questions.
    What happens when you have ten thousand trained advocates in 359 active chapters working like this every day of the year? Our accomplishments aren’t making headlines, but they are cause for hope, and support. The best news: with the right approach, Republicans will support strong climate action (ask the one out of six CCL members who self-identify as a conservative or libertarian). Less than two years ago, not one Congressional Republican openly supported action to solve global warming. Thanks in large part to CCL’s work, 16 GOP Congress members co-sponsored the Gibson Resolution which says human-caused climate change is real and demands Congressional action. To catalyze that action, we helped start the House Bi-Partisan Climate Solutions Caucus. House Members must join in pairs, one Democrat and one Republican. Currently there are twenty (but not yet including Jared Huffman and Mike Thompson.)
    Next Tuesday evening 7- 8:15 at Aqus Café, you can learn more about CCL at “Changing the Political Climate: How Solving Global Warming Can Make America Great Again”. For more info, email or call 707-338-7363.

  3. Bev Blaisdell
    Bev Blaisdell says:

    Thank you, Stacey. I have been looking for ways to ease my depression over events. I tend to be a “list” person and your gathering of thoughts is helpful. Especially appreciate, on the threats highlighted, your inclusion of democracy along with the planet’s future that are both so vulnerable given the calamitous nature of the next administration’s lineup.

  4. Paul Berry
    Paul Berry says:

    Nice Blog! One never knows what is going on, I feel like we are in the early stages of the French Revolution, progressive changes seem inevitable, under control, and falling into place, yet, it could be that nothing so monumental is afoot, could be just another day. Viva the Paris Commune on the Missouri!


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