Click here to listen.
(Right click to download the mp3)
Frontline communities continue to lead the fight for environmental justice and a powerful new alliance is emerging to confront one of the greatest environmental injustices of our times: the destabilization of our climate. We want to share with you a powerful short film about an exciting new initiative: the Our Power Campaign!
Last summer the Black Mesa Water Coalition hosted communities from around the country who are fighting the devastating impacts of coal from the mountaintops of Appalachia to the mesas of Navajo Country. They were joined by leaders from allied communities who are sick of being exploited, poisoned and denied access to meaningful employment. These organizers shared experiences, strategized together and united around a common vision of Just Transition away from the Extractive Economy that is failing all our communities and threatening the future of our planet. Together we formed the Climate Justice Alliance and launched the Our Power Campaign.
Today we invite you for a front row seat into the beauty of this historic convening and the inspiring possibilities of the Our Power Campaign. Please, spare a few minutes to watch this short, powerful film and spread the word about this exciting new initiative by sharing the film widely!
Share the short film!: http://bit.ly/CJAmovie
Learn more about Our Power: www.ourpowercampaign.org]]>
Be among the first to see it here:
Today is the opening day of the State Department’s new public comment period on Keystone XL. For us here at Movement Generation — this video is our public comment.
Combining environmental justice politics with hilarious satire straight out of the Daily Show, ‘Keystone XL Has a Job for You!’ is the first comedic video released by MG. Written by and starring Josh Healey (MG Culture Shift Fellow) and Donte Clark (of RAW Talent), the video is a comedic twist on one of today’s most serious environmental issues — the Keystone XL pipeline and tar sands oil development.
The video dismantles the false division between a strong economy and a clean environment. The oil industry claims that the Keystone XL pipeline would create thousands of jobs. But in a project fueling so many environmental and health risks, what types of jobs would it really create? “Keystone XL has a Job for You!” answers that question through brilliant, outrageous satire.
And the video doesn’t just confront the problem — it also offers solutions. In real life, four of the actors represent unions and community organizations that are creating quality jobs and building alternatives to the extreme energy industry. These groups are building resistance and resilience in Richmond, CA and beyond. In addition, MG is using the video to amplify the Our Power Campaign, a national grassroots effort to create millions of climate jobs – jobs that meet people’s needs while caring for natural resources and ecosystems.
Watch the video and access more info on our resource page:
And if you like the video…please share it!
#KeystoneComedy #NoKXL #ClimateJustice #OurPublicComment
Why is Movement Generation making this video? Click here to read more.]]>
** Registration for this workshop is currently closed! We’ve reached our max capacity with RSVPs. Please stay tuned for future Earth Skills trainings! **
Sponsored by MG and co-hosted by People Organized to Demand Environmental & Economic Rights (PODER)
Featuring Greywater Action : Celebrate INTERNATIONAL WOMEN’S DAY with a Women-led org of Greywater Installation technicians!
Saturday March 8
Located at PODER’s Secret Garden
2710A Harrison St. near 23rd St, Mission District, SF (enter gate on right side of the house)
“Where is the rain, anyway??” With California experiencing its driest winter ever, and looking forward to record breaking water scarcity in 2015, capturing the little rain we get and managing our water is an increasingly critical act. Though it is sacred and necessary for all life, water has been turned into a profit-making commodity which prevents numerous communities from accessing clean water for their health and survival. It is even being leveraged against poor communities in the US, violating a fundamental human right and further marginalizing people.
Through this workshop we will talk about water management and learn about one step we can take towards becoming stewards of our own water supply again. We will install a simple and effective system to capture & store rainwater that falls on our roofs. This system is low-cost & low-tech and easy to duplicate in many urban settings!
What to bring:
What you get:
For more information and to reserve your space, please contact Carla M. Pérez with Movement Generation at:
510.649.1475 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Download the flyer in English and Spanish.]]>
Brock Dolman is the director of the WATER Institute at Occidental Arts & Ecology Center. In addition to being a long-time friend and comrade of MG, Brock is a world-reknowned biologist, permaculturist, and specialist in all things H2O. He’s traveled the world to study and design water systems, and has been doing much critical work right here in Northern Cali to protect water ways and the human and nonhuman life that depend on them. In the midst of this intense Cali drought, we asked Brock for a few minutes of his time to talk about what the drought is actually looking like from his point of view, and to get some insights into what this could mean for us.
For your viewing and listening convenience, the 20 minute interview is split up into 5 short parts – each preceded with a different question. Read the transcript, or listen to the clips. All of it is filled with important and, yes, daunting facts and stories about the current drought.
Many thanks to Brock for his time and his wisdom.
To contact Brock, or to get more information, visit the WATER Institute‘s website.
January 22, 2014
Interviewed by Movement Generation
The full interview is below. Click on any question to jump to that question on the page.
(Note: word styling (bold, italic, underlined) and links added by MG)
QUESTION 1: Yo, so how serious really is the drought? The modern drought that is oftened referenced in California is the drought in 76’/77’ – how does this compare?
Brock Dolman, Cali Drought, Part 1 of 5 [3:54]
The last fact/figure I saw on snow pack in the Sierras is that it’s 17% of normal – and when we understand that 80% of California’s water supply comes from the mountain water from the Sierras, that’s significant. And then the reservoirs that that snowmelt would be filling and expected to fill up are already sitting really low, and aren’t gonna get filled up, unless some dramatic storms occur, which it does not appear like we’re gonna get those based on the long term forecast. The NOAA forecasters – they have this 3 month model that they project out – in the last 20 years they’ve been about 60% accurate on what the forecast is – and that 3 month model is basically saying we’re in for more of the same through April. Which is the end of winter as we know it. And statistically we don’t tend to get much after that. Although, with global weirding, like last year we got 2 of the 6 inches we got at OAEC in 2013, came in June, which was totally weird.
So I think relative to that, in ’77, the records that I’ve seen for Occidental, Occidental got 22 inches that year (in ’77). And what it looks like right now at OAEC: we’ve got 6. So, to have some sense of comparison between 22 and 6 or 7, is two orders of magnitude less in that year. And 2013 was the driest on record since we’ve been keeping records (since 1849), so it appears that proportionate to that record keeping, this is a real deal. This isn’t somebody’s scare tactic. [laughs] It appears to be real. And the fact that 2014 is starting with this January, which will be competing with January 2013 for the driest Januarys on record back-to-back. And if it doesn’t rain through April, then 2 years in a row of driest years looks really severe, considering when you look down the state at reservoirs.
I know more about up here in the north coast, because I’m paying attention to the water supply in the Eel River and the Russian River. Lake Pillsbury, which is the first big reservoir in the system that takes water from the Eel, and, some would say, steals it into the Russian through the Potter Valley Project – that reservoir is at about 12% full [than what it would usually be]. And then it flows in Lake Mendocino, outside of Ukiah, and that reservoir is somewhere like 10 or 15% – it’s just a big mud hole. The upper Russian is nearly dry, and it’s only because we have Lake Sonoma, which is a bigger reservoir, that they expect that maybe there’s a year’s worth of water at normal consumption – but obviously with conservation calls, it’s not going to be normal demand. The City of Willits out on the Eel, apparently as of like 10 days ago, they said they had 100 days of supply left before they dry up. So they’ve got 3 months of supply in what looks like 3 months where there won’t be much rain.
For the Bay Area, when you look at San Francisco getting its water through Hetch Hetchy, Tuolumne, and the East Bay Municipal Utility District getting its water through the Mokelumne – both of those are Sierra-fed reservoir systems. If you’re talking snow pack, you know, you’ve got some water in storage, but another dry year on top of that. The year we’re concerned about I think is gonna be 2015, 2014 already looks pretty tough, but we should be really worried about 2015.
QUESTION 2: It’s too dry, it’s too warm, and it just feels weird. But, what should we be really worried about? Are we facing long-term impacts because of this drought?
Brock Dolman, Cali Drought, Part 2 of 5 [2:57]
That’s the thing about drought, is it’s a progressive, chronic disaster. A wild fire comes through and you clean up, or a tornado, or a big flood. They’re episodic and acute. But a drought is long, slow, chronic, it just goes on and on, assuming it’s an intense, multi-year drought. In the history books, if you really look at it.. I just pulled my copy off the shelf of a book called The Great Mayan Droughts: Water, Life and Death. And you get into the folks in Tiahuanacu, or Peru, or Easter Island, and culture after culture.. the Anastazi.. the ones when we look at cultures that either went away or moved into settlements so dispersed that they stopped building big temples. It’s not like Mayan people went extinct, but they got smaller and in little villages and moved back out into the hills. Drought is the one. Long-term, persistent drought pushes civilizations over time harder than anything else we know of. So, it’s kind of the big sleeper issue.
And you look at that study that is now being re-quoted that was written back in 1994, about the tree ring records, looking at long-term droughts in California and the Sierras and the Mono Lake Area. And how we’ve had in the last several thousand years droughts that have lasted 150 years, 200 years, and that the last 100+ years actually, in tree ring records, have appeared to be much wetter than the average. So, we’ve had a settlement pattern in the last 100-150 years of mass increase in people settling landscapes and moving in, during a period that was wetter, which gave a false sense of the hydrologic capacity to support that settlement – urban, rural, agricultural, on and on. And yet, even within natural variability of the regimes of the planet, a 150 year drought is not actually, not common, but is a known event. So it sets up a conundrum as far as the question of how does this compare. We won’t know until it’s all over, that’s the challenging thing. But at the current rate of behavior of it, looks like our grandkids will be talking about this event.
QUESTION 3: What stories are you hearing or seeing about how this is affecting people, farmers, ranchers right now? How about how its affecting wildlife and the non-human biodiversity in the state?
Brock Dolman, Cali Drought, Part 3 of 5 [2:59]
In the context of the Occidental area in ’77 having 22 inches, and in 2013 having 6 inches – the supply being down 2 orders of magnitude – in comparison, the demand since the 70s is obviously there’s way more people wanting water, way more straws in the creek, way more wells. So we get a supply-demand crisis.
I’ve been hearing from the ranchers that because there’s no rain, there’s no grass, so the cows and the sheep have no food. So the sheep ranchers I just heard about, are either going to kill most of the lambs early, underweight, and sell them off for meat, and in many cases they’re selling off their breeding stock as much as possible because there’s no food and the animals are starving. And they can’t afford to buy hay because it’s too expensive. The dairies are doing the same thing right now. They’re talking about having to sell off their milking herd, and sell prime Jersey milkers off to slaughter because they can’t afford to keep buying them food, and they don’t have the water to supply them either. And it takes 3 or 4 years to build a herd back up. So that’s happening in the North Coast dairy land right now, as we speak. That’s reality, it’s not future.
And on the fish side of things – I work at the Coho Salmon Recovery a lot – the Russian River hasn’t had enough rain to open it up to the ocean. So the salmon that are out in the ocean that expect the rains to open the mouth up, so they can swim in and get in to breed, have basically not been able to get in. So, only a few have made it in, of Coho Salmon (that are almost endangered anyway). And all of them that are in are what we call “2-year-old jacks,” which are male fish that come in early. But the adult females and the adult males that are 3-year-old fish, basically none have made it into the Russian and they’re all waiting outside the Russian River mouth, being highly vulnerable to being predated by sea lions and things. So it looks like we’re going to miss an entire year class of Coho from being able to breed. And that just puts them one step closer to extinction. Because any fish in the Russian can’t get into a tributary because all of the tributaries where they breed, their mouths are dry and closed off to the main river because there’s no flow coming from the creeks. So we only had 12 steelhead make their way up the river to Warm Springs Dam, where the hatchery is, when in a normal year there should have been 12,000.
So, it’s really serious for the fish, for the ranchers, for us at OAEC – rural residential, and I think increasingly we’ll see for the urban folks who have big pipes connected to big dams and big reservoirs. Everybody’s going to be feeling this in their own way.
QUESTION 4: What are your thoughts on the governor’s response? Calling this an “official” drought, but not calling for mandatory rationing?
Brock Dolman, Cali Drought, Part 4 of 5 [4:02]
As risk-averse as politicians and people are, they’ll take one step at a time as much as they can. And so, the first announcement is that it’s voluntary. And that’s sort of “Hey yall, wake up, this game is on.” And the thing about calling it a drought, and using the big “D” word, is that there are all of these associated laws and regulations and contracts and drought contingency plans. Different things kick in for different water suppliers and agencies and laws when certain levels of drought restrictions are called for. So I think they’re easing in first with saying “Okay, a drought is on, and let’s all save, it’s voluntary.” And to the degree that it doesn’t rain for the rest of the winter and spring, then at some point, it’ll be interesting what really triggers it. If there’s a snow pack trigger, or a certain percentage of reservoirs don’t have enough water in them, what are those formal, data-driven triggers that say now we have to go into mandatory drought?
For instance, I was listening to KQED the other day, when they were interviewing after the voluntary drought declaration by the governor. And the folks in the Westland Water District – which is the west side of the San Joaquin Valley, which is the largest water district in the US – their spokesperson was basically saying: “this was great, we’re happy to hear that this declaration has finally come.” Because then it kicks in a series of contractual regulatory pieces for them, where in a drought they’re able to, apparently, get more water or not. Certain environmental limitations and in-stream flow regulations, or fish protections, according to them, will get less strategic and that they’re going to have to back off. Because it’s a false dichotomy that it’s fish vs. farmers. But that’s how they’re framing it. And they’re basically saying, “we’re going to have to – on behalf of farmers and food – we’re going to have to cut water off and forsake the fish.” And yet, you’re hearing the environmentalist next being interviewed saying, “we need to fight to keep the flow, and therefore the fish.” So lawsuits are gonna fly. And the lawyers are gonna make a lot of money on this one, is typically what happens in times of scarcity.
I think the question of the politics of this, in respect to the governor, is who decides who gets what, when there’s not enough for everybody’s wants. And how those decisions get made? What’s the legal framework for water rights, and allocations, and flow? And the classic phrase.. there’s a couple classic ones for California.. “Whisky’s for drinking, water’s for fighting over,” is the Mark Twain phrase when he looked at water politics in California in the 1870s/80s. And then also the classic phrase in the West of: “Water flows uphill to money.” So, as city councils and water boards, and water wholesalers, and water retailers, are making decisions about how to apportion their decreasing supplies after conservation kicks in – who’s gonna get the water, and who isn’t, with respect to within an urban community? Which part of the neighborhoods get it? Do the hills get it? Do the flats get it? Or not? Is it distributed equitably or not? Are the farms gonna get it? Are the fish gonna get it? It’s just a lot of fighting over that that’s going to ensue.
QUESTION 5: So, we get that this is climate change. Kind of. Can you explain how this is connected to massive climate disruption on the planet?
Brock Dolman, Cali Drought, Part 5 of 5 [4:36]
Most of the models, I think all of the models, basically suggest that extremes are likely to get more extreme. So areas that are prone to getting wetter are going to have periods in which they are much much wetter, and then when they’re prone to getting drier they’re going to get much much drier. So the normalcy – which doesn’t exist in California anyway, we don’t have “normal” with respect to precipitation – is going to just get even more intense, and prolonged. And there will times of flood, and there will be times of drought. And those will be bigger than our “averages”… and “average” is an idea that people shouldn’t get hung up on.
So, the fact that we had this, what they’re calling, this “high pressure ridge” that’s been sitting off the Pacific here in the West, and that high pressure ridge, this blocking ridge, relates to the jet stream – this big atmospheric river of air and moisture that moves counter clockwise. And as that air mass of cold air in the arctic is trying to equilibrate with the warm air of the Tropics, it appears to be slowing down as a function of Arctic warming, and the loss of sea ice, and the retention of more heat in the water (liquid water vs solid water). When rivers slow down, they begin to bobble, or meander, and wiggle, and what’s been referred to these days as the “weather whiplash.” So the Polar Vortex that happened a couple of weeks ago – and, in fact, the Midwest and back east just got a big snow storm yesterday and today and now they’re getting cold again – is directly related to the jet stream bouncing off, if you will, like a river, this rock of high pressure over the Pacific. And forcing that river to go North, and then it meanders back down and it’s slamming them with cold and moisture, because we’re not getting it here in California.
So the global phenomenon of weather and pressure and temperature and moisture, as related to changing differences in temperatures between the Tropics and the Poles, is all consistent with the kind of projections that climate modelers are suggesting how Planet Water will behave as it tries to balance the increasing temperature, and therefore tries to break this fever. And so, it’s all consistent. The fact that the high pressure ridge has been stuck for now 14 months is unprecedented in our modern observation of it. But it doesn’t appear to be going anywhere.
And the devil’s in the details of whether this is climate change or not, but the angel’s in the pattern of the fact that it looks like this is the new normal, and the sense that this is just a dress rehearsal for the future. It seems to be game on.
So, it’s a stay tuned. The other big thing just to invoke is that what we are witnessing in California, is that as the drought increases, so does the fire risk. So, put that on everybody’s radar as well. Fire will increasingly become a much bigger deal as we have less water. That’s what we witnessed – the San Francisco folks learned about the value of Hetch Hetchy this last year when they had that big fire above the reservoir there.
I’ve been talking about this idea of the synergistic effects of the cumulative impacts, and positive feedback loops. And that’s what we’re going to experience: as one part of the system begins to experience challenges, it sets a chain reaction. So, this is why Resilience-Based Organizing and community organizing, and community-based conservation, community-based resiliency for water harvesting when you got it. But, most importantly, communities have to participate in the water democracy of decision making at your city council, at your water board, in your local area, sooner than later, because decisions will be made about who’s gonna have water in your tap, and who ain’t. And that’s the politics of water. If Tip O’Neill’s saying “all politics are local,” all water politics are more local.]]>
Make It Fresh: Creative Storytelling Workshop Series: Spring 2014
March 18 – May 6, 2014
Tuesday nights in Downtown Oakland
Applications due February 7th
After an incredibly successful fall run, we’re back for another round of workshops to Make it Fresh! Led by acclaimed writer and creative activist Josh Healey (Movement Generation’s new Culture Shift Fellow), Make it Fresh is geared towards community activists, artists, and environmental justice leaders in the urban Bay Area. Participants will explore the relationship between their environment and their community, looking at issues of race, place, personal histories, and collective struggles — all
in a fun, supportive atmosphere. Combining spoken word, creative writing, and oral storytelling, all participants will create one original story or artistic piece, which they will have the opportunity to perform at a final community celebration.
More than just a writing workshop, Make it Fresh is for activists looking for new ways to engage their community and push their campaigns forward. Creative storytelling is a powerful tool for leadership development, political education, and building unity across cultures and generations. Whether you’re a closet writer just waiting to pick up the pen or a long-time activist searching for an exciting new tool to engage your members, Make it Fresh is made for you.
Click here for more detailed information!
Interested participants for Make it Fresh should fill out the application.
Click here to download the application.
Applications are due Friday, February 7.
Note: organizations can submit a max of 3 applications for their members/staff.
Want to see footage from last Fall’s Make It Fresh final performance? Visit MG’s youtube page here!]]>
Tuesday, Feb 4th
@ RYSE Center
205 41st St (at Macdonald Ave), Richmond, CA
Free! Food provided by the RYSE youth gardeners & Tasty Tuesdays team
What happens when you combine the environmental justice heroes of Richmond, CA with hilarious satire straight out of the Daily Show?
It’s time to find out! Movement Generation is proud to present the upcoming comedic video:
‘Keystone XL Has a Job for You!’
Written by Josh Healey (NPR Snap Judgment, Movement Generation)
Directed by Yvan Iturriaga (PBS Films)
Starring Donte Clark (RAW Talent) and Josh Healey
Conservative proponents of the Keystone XL oil pipeline say that it would create thousands of new jobs. But in a project fueling so many environmental and community concerns, what types of jobs would it really create?
Meet TJ Thompson, Keystone XL’s #1 job recruiter. TJ is a slick-talking, no-nonsense salesman who can turn the ugliest oil spill into a river of prosperity. But when he comes to preach the virtues of Keystone’s new pipeline at a job fair in Richmond, CA, he meets his hardest sell yet.
Darryl Clark is a hard-working man who needs a job. Unemployed and with a young son at home, Darryl eagerly makes his way to the job fair in his Richmond neighborhood. There, he meets TJ and hears the wonders (or are they horrors?) of what Keystone XL has to offer. Hard on his luck, Darryl has to decide: should he take the job at Keystone XL? Or can he resist the evil empire and stand strong for his community?
There’s only one way to find out. Get ready for the new video, “Keystone XL Has a Job for You!” — and get ready to join the movement.
The video premiere also includes a talk-back with activists leading the fight against Keystone XL, Chevron, and the extreme oil industry. Featuring groups who are building real alternatives and creating local, living economies for jobs and a healthy environment in Richmond and beyond.
Find the event on Facebook here.
Why is Movement Generation making this video?
Everywhere you look, the stakes are high. President Obama is deciding on whether to approve the disastrous Keystone XL tar sands oil pipeline. Here in the Bay Area, Chevron is using the pretext of last year’s fire at their Richmond refinery (which sent 15,000 people to the hospital!) to expand the refinery to process that same devastating tar sands oil. If these projects are approved, we know the consequences: more oil spills, more fires, more asthma and cancer for our communities, more climate change and super typhoons across the planet.
Lucky for us, Big Oil isn’t the only game in town. Here in Richmond and across the country, people are organizing to expose the lies and create real, green-collar alternatives. Now is the time to amplify our struggles! We can tell our stories, organize our neighbors, and yes, use a little humor to change the debate and help bring it back to what matters the most – the health of our communities, our people, our planet]]>
With the driest year on record, and an ongoing dryspell that has everyone in the state baffled by the lack of rainfall – all eyes are on the future of California’s water. Whether you’re a small rancher worried about the health of your herd and your livelihood; a resident in urban Los Angeles or the Bay Area; or anybody who depends on the produce from the Central Valley (pretty much everyone in the country), California’s current drought is bound to have devastating impacts (and in some cases already is).
California Weather Blog tells us:
Not only was 2013 the driest calendar year on record in California, but in some places 2013 eclipsed previous record minimum precipitation values by around 50%… Reservoir levels in California have been falling rapidly since summer 2013, but these extremely low water levels are finally making headlines as some water districts are already facing difficult choices and the potential for severe water usage restrictions. …if California does not receive widespread and very substantial precipitation over the next two months, many communities (especially in the northern and central parts of the state) stand to face water shortages of a magnitude not seen in the modern era.
Of course, this is just one of the latest manifestations of massive climate disruption happening all around the world, adding another layer of impacts to ripple through human and nonhuman communities, threatening severe losses of biological diversity and livelihoods.
And yes, it’s not just about shorter showers. It’s about challenging a capitalist system that puts profits over people and the planet; stopping a system that’s driven by the exploitation of land, labor and life. And at the same time, it’s about building the resiliency of our communities by growing local, living economies and reclaiming our labor.
Here at MG, we’ve been reading a few articles to stay informed about the state of the drought, and are asking some of our close friends about what the drought means and what we can expect in the next few years.
To start, we recommend Point Blue Conversation Science’s blog, and in particular their weekly round up of news from last week, which includes a jam-packed highlight of drought-related information (you’ll have to scroll down the page a bit). It includes some latest statistics, images, and links for more info.
Also, this article by Common Dreams explains how California’s drought will mean major consequences for the country’s food supply.
And stay tuned for CALI DROUGHT, PART 2:
We will be posting an exclusive interview with WATER Institute director, international permaculture designer & teacher, and our close friend Brock Dolman from the Occidental Arts & Ecology Center. He breaks it down exclusively for MG about what’s up with the drought, and what’s to come. We’ll be posting that later this week!]]>