I hope you will help make 2019 a transformational year in saving life on the planet.
Please make a tax-deductible donation (donate online) to the Green Education and Legal Fund (GELF) to support our work on climate change and expanding independent progressive media. We hope to raise enough money to pay me to be a full-time organizer.
GELF was started more than two decades to support the Green City Project that Steve Breyman and I started while teaching at RPI. The goal was to show how cities can be re-organized along sustainable principles. Last year, one of our initial reports from two decades ago on the need for a volume-based garbage system in Troy was featured in the Troy Record as the city debated adopting such a program.
I will observe my 65th birthday this month and plan to use it as an opportunity to reboot GELF. We are recruiting new members for the Board of directors; please let me know if you are interested. We have set a goal of raising $65,000 this year through individual donations, special events and fundraising.
The Need for Emergency Climate Mobilization – and a Green New Deal
We have no more time to waste. We need bold, effective climate action now. The demand for an emergency mobilization has been boosted by the recent warning by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) that the world has only 12 years left for bold action to avoid climate disaster. (Photo from State of Climate, Jan. 2019)
GELF has been promoting the Green New Deal (GND) since 2010. We are very excited to see new momentum due to the efforts of Cong. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and the Sunrise Movement. A GND proposal has been introduced in the state legislature. Gov. Cuomo used the GND slogan to announce his own accelerated timetable for climate action. But a lot of work still remains, with the Governor and state lawmakers postponing any agreement on a climate agenda until after the state budget.
GELF will continue to help coordinate the campaigns to move to 100% clean energy / no fossil fuels by 2030, enact a Green New Deal, enact a carbon tax and divest the state pension funds from fossil fuels.
Four years ago, GELF initiated a statewide campaign to move to 100% clean energy by 2030. We drafted legislation based on the study done as part of the anti-fracking struggle by Stanford and Cornell professors (the “Jacobson” report) to show we could go to 100% clean renewable energy by 2030 without fossil fuels. Since we started our campaign, many other groups have picked up the calls for 100% clean energy rather than old goal of just 80%.
GELF’s role is to speak truth to power, not applaud politicians’ whose actions are inadequate to avoid climate catastrophe.
GELF has helped document the slow progress New York has made on to renewable energy. More than 15 years after Governor Pataki first set goals for a rapid expansion of renewable energy, the state gets only 5% of its electricity from solar and wind. Even less progress had been made to moving to renewable energy for buildings and transportation, each of which accounts for more than a third of NY’s carbon emissions.
GELF’s weekly updates keeps climate activists informed of the latest developments at the state capitol and throughout the state. We also assist other groups’ campaigns. We help organize and promote rallies, forums, phone-ins, and meetings. We update our Facebook page daily with important climate articles. We testify and organize legislative action days. We appear on media outlets and do public speaking throughout the state.
We organize to stop any new fossil fuel infrastructure. GELF has been part of the effort to stop Governor Cuomo’s plan to install new fracked gas turbines in Arbor Hill to power the Empire State Plaza. The recent state budget now requires the state to use renewable energy – geothermal, solar and wind – “to the extent possible” (the dangerous escape clause politicians love to add).
We need the Governor to admit that natural gas is a gangplank to climate disaster rather than a bridge to a clean energy future. Methane from natural gas is 80 times more potent short-term as a greenhouse gas than carbon. Cuomo has allowed the state to be flooded with imported fracked gas.
I also worked closely with 350.org over the last 5 years to coordinate the NYC and statewide campaigns to divest the public pension funds from fossil fuels. We have gotten NYC to agree to divest – the 3rd largest such fund in the country – but are still working on NYS. It is morally wrong to seek to profit from killing life on the planet. It is also a bad financial decision. If the current state comptroller had agreed to divest when he was first appointed, the pension fund would have an additional $22 billion.
Creating Independent Media
GELF is working with the Sanctuary for Independent Media in Troy to develop progressive community media in the Capital District. For the last year and a half. I have helped produce da nightly news program for the network. GELF holds the license for the low-power FM Albany radio station, one of four affiliated with the Sanctuary. One of the transmitters is in the tree next to our home at Common Farms.
We plan to get our Albany Station on air 24/7 in the next few months. We have gotten permission to erect our transmitter on the 17-story Senior Citizen public housing complex on Northern Blvd. but we have to pay for the engineering to make that happen. We are starting a national radio podcast on climate change.
I hope you can contribute to strengthening GELF in 2019. (donate online) You can also donate at the bottom on the GELF homepage.
Yours for a Green Future
P.S. Make checks payable to GELF. Send to 156 Big Toad Rd., Poestenkill NY 12140. Or donate at the bottom of our webpage – www.gelfny.org