Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Archive for the ‘Activism’ Category

Certain things, I cannot accept. Like Exxon Mobil’s sponsorship of CNN’s inauguration coverage. I am sure, if Barack Obama had a say, he would not tolerate having his name associated with one of the worst contributors to climate change.

Please join me in boycotting CNN and turn to other sources of coverage instead.

Read Full Post »

(cross-post from Huffington Post)

Sarah Palin should not have mocked Barack Obama for being a community organizer. If anything, tonight’s results proved her wrong. Our new President has given new meaning, and strength to the concept of community organizing. And he has shown us what citizens can do, when given the means to organize towards a cause, that’s greater than themselves.

Tonight I am thinking of the thousands of Obama offices, volunteer networks, and fundraising organizations, along with the sophisticated Internet machine, and the organizing methodology, that went into getting Barack Obama elected. As the signs are coming down, the thank you emails go out, and the temporary offices go back to their original owners, I wonder, is that it? Will we go back to business as usual, each in our homes, going about our private lives?

Or will we use the skills learned during the Obama campaign to mount a national community effort, this time to address the threat of climate change? The last time I checked, we had less than ten years to get our act together. Citizens have a crucial role to play on the conservation end. As someone who has tried for the last year and a half, to curtail my consumerist and energy appetites, I can testify on the difficulty of accomplishing such changes at the individual level. Instead, we need to summon the power of community to help each other.

Tomorrow, after you have come down from your victory high, I urge you to keep alive the citizen spirit that made you pick up the phone, and knock on doors, and put up signs on your lawn. Take that energy and become an organizing force in your community. Start a No Beef Lunch at your kids’ school, or a telecommuting initiative at work, or a volunteer home insulation project in your city . . . The climate cause may not have a face like Barack Obama, but it’s all the more reason to take it on.

Read Full Post »

As I spend more and more time in green-dom, I realize there is not just a few, but many, many ways to become a green citizen. Problems arise when we are being forced into a one green-for-all carcan. These are some of the most common types I have observed so far:

  1. The extreme greenies, the ones that walk their talk, and some more. I talked about them last week in my post on ‘More Extreme Environmentalists Needed’. They are at the forefront of the green movement, have been for years, and will continue to be, as the need for higher green standards becomes more acute. 
  2. The green moms, who cannot get enough of green tips to keep their little ones safe and organic. Last night, some of the green moms in my group were celebrated in a big rahrah event in Washington DC. The green mamas are taking off!  All of a sudden, there are not enough of them to make the rounds of the networks. Who would have thought, even just a year ago?
  3. The green intellectuals, who spend their time thinking about strategic solutions to the big environmental problems facing us. They thrive on biodiversity loss, deforestation, climate change, overpopulation, peak oil, water crisis, . . . The bigger the issues, the better. 
  4. The clean tech crowd, many of them recovering software guys. They can be found at Cafe Coupa in Palo Alto, scheming their next green venture with their engineering friends, and old VC connections. Many of them are members of Cleantech for Obama
  5. The green political activists, who are into making sure the next green bill makes it to the floor, and gets signed. They work behind the scenes, are on a first name basis with their congressman and senator, and hassles their fellow citizens with numerous petitions. 
  6. The green media people, the bloggers like me, who spend a lot of their time, writing in their own blogs, or commenting on others’ blogs. Up in the stratosphere, are some stars, like Tom Friedman whose words carry so much weight, as in Hot, Flat and Crowded. The good news is, anyone can join. All it takes is a few minute to start a blog and write a post. No geekiness required. 
  7. The green scientists, a select bunch who determines what we should really be talking about. They have become the bearers of increasingly more bad news. No wonder, the Bush administration tried to shut them up. The path to green science-dom is a long and arduous one, but not without rewards. The cleantech types are loving them, and salivating over any new bit of research coming out of their labs. 
  8. The green watchdogs, most often found in non profit environmental agencies. Smart, and under-payed, they enjoy the privilege from being able to cause much grief to environmental offenders. Funding is still an issue though, and they are spending too much of their time chasing after dollars to keep their organizations afloat. 
  9. The green marketers, whose claim to green-ness is met with great suspicion on the part of the green watchdogs, and even ordinary citizens. They live in dread of the greenwashing word, and just want to do good while making a handsome profit. It ain’t easy, but they are getting better.
  10. The good green samaritans, who go about their green lives, without great fanfare, and with the satisfaction from knowing that they are just good. They can be found in unlikely places, in poor neighborhoods, where a single mom can surprise you with her green awareness, despite having to worry about so much more. Or a teenager whose green conscience stands out from his or her otherwise clueless family.

To each, his or her green-ness. What is yours?

Read Full Post »

The Huffington Post just published a very sweet interview of environmental artist and activist, Yann Arthus-Bertrand. Touching reminders of the beauty we live in, and also, of the degradation that is threatening it, Arthus-Bertrand’s spectacular aerial photos cannot leave one unmoved. It struck me that Arthus-Bertrand is playing a crucial role as environmental witness, whose pictures cause us to pause, and reflect on the state of our environment. From sprawling suburbs, that require us to drive everywhere, to our 24/7 pumping of oil, to the hopeful sight of a windmill covered landscape, . . . 

Yann Arthurs Bertrand - suburbs
Yann Arthurs Bertrand – suburbs
Yann Arthus-Bertrand - oil fields
Yann Arthus-Bertrand – oil fields
Yann Arthus-Bertrand - Windmills
Yann Arthus-Bertrand – Windmills

We can consume Arthus-Bertrand’s landscapes, and transform our impressions into action. We can also emulate Arthus-Bertrand and engage into environmental witnessing ourselves. Thanks to the Internet, and user friendly technology, it has become child play to record and broadcast scenes that strike us, in only a matter of minutes. Think YouTube, Flickr, Twitter, or blogging. 

Just imagine a world, where citizens all over, took the time to witness and share what they see with their fellow citizens. Action starts with information, and it is our great privilege and responsibility to make sure that all environmental crimes get recorded. That’s the least we can do. Someone, somewhere else, can take that information and run with it. 

Read Full Post »

Dear Al,

You and I just met last weekend. I had traveled far in my Prius for the chance to have a few words with you, my hero. When my turn came, I made sure to let you know how grateful I was, for the presentation you gave three years ago, at Stanford, on “An Inconvenient Truth”. I told you I had come out of the event transformed and determined to help somehow with the global warming crisis. You seemed flattered, and you moved on to the person next in line, a funny guy named Dana Carvey.

You were supposed to give a political speech, but you could not stay away from your favorite topic. And you spoke at length about the need to bring about a change in consciousness, regarding the moral challenge of our time, our role in the destruction of the future of our planet. I loved listening to you, and so did the rest of the audience. You delivered your message with feeling and conviction, and we readily joined you in your outrage, down to your last word. “Damit!”

That’s all good. And that’s not enough. You see, what I took away from this time with you, was not the thrill of meeting you, nor the heartfelt speech you gave, nor the majestic scenery surrounding us. No, instead I will remember the sight of all the cars parked along the road, and filling every free parking space on the compound. Call me a party spoiler, but it bothered me that you seemed oblivious to the lack of carpooling for the event. When I brought up the subject with my neighbors at the lunch table, all expressed interest. I know this is a small detail, and you are dealing with the big picture.

I just want to raise this question with you. What if the big picture was all in the details? How different would have your message been, if you had sent a request ahead of time to all the guests, asking them to carpool? You could have carpooled yourself, rather than just driving with your daughter in her Prius.

Al, I hope you will consider. As the world leader on climate,  you bear a huge responsibility. Please do not misuse it, and realize the power of your actions, not just your words.

Respectfully,

Marguerite Manteau-Rao

Read Full Post »

Every month I participate in a Green Moms Blogging Carnival. This time, we are to blog about the commercialization of holidays. At first, I thought of recycling the Halloween post I wrote for Groovy Green last year. That would have been too easy, and also I have a subversive idea I want to put out to all green mommy bloggers during this holiday season.

I have played before with the “Green Drop” idea, a green twist on artist Ryan Watkins-Hughes‘ original shopdrop concept:

shopdrop: to covertly place merchandise on display in a store; a form of “culture jamming”, reverse shoplift.

For the “Mommy Green Drop” Initiative we will only shopdrop green things. Imagine for instance, going to a Target store before Halloween, and taping subversive flyers on the back of items in the costume section. These would be flyers you would have prepared ahead of time and brought with you into the store. Or you could create almost identical replica of costumes sold in the store, with your own  green twist of course! Part of the fun, is performing the shopdropping unnoticed, while documenting with your camera – video or still -, and then reporting in your blog. There are no limits to what you can do, really.

To keep track of your participation in the project, I have created a “greendrop” Twitter account, where you can input your “greendrop” performances, with links to documenting posts in your blog. All you need is to email me for the password. If you do not have a blog, you can upload your videos on YouTube, or your photos on Flickr, again using the Twitter account as a central log.

I am feeling excited just writing about this project. If enough of us get involved, we can create a big green ripple in the holiday shopping frenzy.

Read Full Post »

I know, I know, the economy and partisan politics have taken over our conversations, leaving little room for anything else, let alone problems that are still removed from the reality of our lives. Huge global issues such as the water crisis. A chance business meeting with a friend, about to launch a new water efficiency venture, got me thinking about water. Just as with deforestation, and biodiversity loss, I am shocked by the magnitude of the problem, and the corresponding relative inaction to curb it.

The water crisis raises some critical questions about water economics, water ethics, water technology, water efficiency, water conservation, water waste, water inequities, water rights, water laws, water politics, water awareness . . . all of which need to be addressed at the various appropriate levels.

As with other global environmental issues, it is easy to feel lost as an individual citizen.  Yet, there is lots one can do to favorably impact the situation:

  • boycott bottled water
  • conserve water at home, and other places
  • blog about it, and also comment on other blogs
  • support watchdog organizations such as Food and Water Watch
  • support legislation to encourage water conservation and efficiency
  • share problem and possible solutions with friends

You may also want to go see “Flow”,  Irena Salina’s recently released documentary on water,

Read Full Post »

A few weeks ago, when I wrote The Environment Is Politics, I really meant it. My thoughts have been a lot on Sarah Palin, and how to best expose who she is, and what that could mean for our country, if she became the next Vice President, or even worse, President of the United States.

In case you are wondering, what has kept me busy, lately, here it is:

Please pass along to all your friends. http://whatssarahthinking.com.

Read Full Post »

Today marks the last day of protest for British climate change campaigners near the Kingsnorth Power Station. Climate Camp has attracted lots of coverage, with multiple videos circulated on YouTube, and the media descending on this remote part of the Kent region. At stake? Wanting to prevent the firing up of a new coal fire station. The week long event went beyond the usual one day demonstration, and instead transformed the fields around the old coal plant, into a temporary eco-village, entirely powered with renewable sources:

Climate Camp gives new meaning to the word ‘demonstration‘. Not just protesting against, but also demonstrating positive alternatives. Burning Man with a purpose, I love it!

Read Full Post »

Based on my success with Technorati, I decided to continue my campaign with another major blogging platform, requesting that they make ‘Green‘ a more prominent category on their site. This time is WordPress‘s turn.

Here is a copy of the email, I just sent to Matt Mullenweg, the man at WordPress:

Hello Matt,

First thanks for WordPress, without which my blog would not be where it is today!

More importantly, as a green blogging queen, I am chagrined that WordPress does not have a dedicated Green category in its Featured Blogs. Hopefully this email will be as fruitful as the one I sent to Technorati last month, and that resulted in a personal comment back of Richard on my blog, along with Technorati listening and making change I suggested to have dedicated Green search.

I look forward to your response, hopefully with a promise of changes.

Thanks,

Marguerite

Let’s see what happens. I will keep you apprised.

I also encourage you to do the same with other Internet venues that you come in contact with. Little by little, you and I can help green the media landscape. 

Read Full Post »

Older Posts »

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 25 other followers