Tara's Thoughts

Archive for the ‘Climate Change’ Category

Listen, Y’all!  For those of you who live anywhere in or near the West side of The San Fernando Valley in the North end of Los Angeles, California, USA,  there is big news that will change what you know about your neighborhood.

Plans are about to be launched for a major redesign of one of the busiest areas in that region.

34 acres extending from Topanga Canyon Blvd. on the West to Owensmouth Ave. on the East and from Oxnard St. on the South end to Erwin St. on the North will be completely redesigned with a mix of residential and commercial buildings that will change the look and feel of the area.

 Included in the multi-phase plan, projected to be completed in 2033, are:

  • 5.6 acres of public open space
  • A 15,000-seat entertainment center
  • 1400 new rental units
  • 5610 parking spaces
  • 572 hotel rooms
  • 629,000 square feet of office space
  • 244,000 square feet of restaurants and shops

Buildings on the site will range between one and 28 stories tall.

On Tuesday, October 12, 2021 the San Fernando Valley Chapter of the Climate Reality Project will host Councilmember Bob Blumenfield (3rd Council District, which spans the northwest portion of Los Angeles in the San Fernando Valley, including the communities of Canoga Park, Reseda, Tarzana, Winnetka and Woodland Hills).

Along with learning more about his position on climate initiatives in Los Angeles,  Councilmember Blumenfield will share with us his thoughts about the Warner Center redevelopment plan.

Projected completion by 2033 is 12 years away, folks.  That means 12 years of construction. Those of you who live or work near the building site may want to be prepared for the impacts this will cause.

Projected completion by 2033 is 12 years away, folks.  That means 12 years of construction. Those of you who live or work near the building site may want to be prepared for the impacts this will cause.

Join us on Zoom, Tuesday night, October 12, 2021, 7:00 pm PST to hear what Councilmember Blumenfield has to say and to add your thoughts and questions.

References

Westfield Mall article May 2019

https://la.curbed.com/2019/5/1/18524405/warner-center-promenade-westfield-mall-redevelopment

Westfield Mall Article Feb 2020

https://la.curbed.com/2020/2/24/21150888/warner-center-promenade-mall-affordable-housing-appeal

Today’s post is a call for each of you to hop over to our fellow blogger Sean P. Carlin’s page and read his latest post about President Joe Biden’s American Jobs Plan.  Even if politics is not your thing you will find yourself built into this plan. Mr. Carlin explains why we, as a country and as fellow human beings sharing this planet, need to support this plan and why it is critical that we each do what we can to convince our Congress members to get it passed.

“U.S. President Joe Biden’s American Jobs Plan is the politically ambitious, morally imaginative piece of legislation we need to tackle the ever-worsening climate crisis by rebuilding our country and rebooting our economy through grand-scale public-works projects.  Whether we actually get it, however, comes down to how hard we—all American citizens—are willing to fight for its full passage and implementation.”

Sean P. Carlin

So writes Author Sean P. Carlin, Climate Activist and Leadership Member of The Climate Reality Project. The central focus of his blog piece is a credible and clear analysis of current geopolitical, environmental, and economic realities that have brought us face to face with a global crisis that, if left unchecked, will spell the end of life as we know it on this planet. Mr. Carlin properly places this set of interconnecting issues at the top of the list of critical concerns for our civilization.

Politics is in everything. But this is about fighting a global crisis that threatens to make portions of the planet uninhabitable. It is also about raising wages for essential home care workers and creating good jobs for people from disadvantaged communities. It is also about clean water for everybody. And child care programs.  And modernizing public transportation and our power grid. And so much more.

This is not about whose bumper sticker makes you feel better. It is truly about do you want the human race to survive the next 50 years? Do you want your children to have clean air to breathe? Replacing old paradigms about job creation and getting past old, short-sighted attitudes that are literally poisoning our planet and our population will be our only path to survival.

President Biden’s American Jobs Plan, currently on the floor of Congress, will be crucial to getting America on the right road to building a healthy, sustainable future for you and your family. The depth of the research done by Mr. Carlin as a basis for his conclusions is impressive and his investment of many years learning about these issues from the likes of former Vice President Al Gore and others lends credibility and clarity to his descriptions of the issues at hand.

There is no guarantee that President Biden’s American Jobs Plan will pass. So, please, lend your support.

FOR THOSE READERS WHO MIGHT NOT HAVE THE TIME TO READ THE ENTIRE PIECE: PLEASE JUMP TO THE BULLET POINTS TOWARD THE END OF THE BLOG POST.

Mr. Carlin has made the process of making your voice heard super easy.  He has done the work for us providing a handful of ways you can jump right in:  Links to send petitions, content to help you write to your local officials and members of Congress, a pre-written Tweet you can copy and post complete with hash tags and handles, and even simple instructions on how to share the word about this effort with friends and family.

Beautifully summarized by the author, Mr. Carlin says:

“I want nothing more than for you all to share the profound hope I feel for what comes next—for the fairer, more just, more sustainable world we’re about to build.  But hope requires action.  We can’t just trust that this will get done; we have to ensure it does—with the fullest degree of moral imagination possible.  We have to, every single one of us, demand it…. I do believe we will get meaningful climate legislation this year, and that, consequently, President Biden will be able to go to the COP26 conference in Glasgow this autumn in a position of profound moral and geopolitical authority on this matter, but it isn’t going to happen unless every citizen in America plays their part. None of us are singlehandedly responsible for solving the climate crisis, but we all have a moral obligation to contribute what we can to the solution. There’s a path forward on the table. Let’s take it.”

Sean P. Carlin,
Author, Climate Activist,
Leadership Member Climate Reality Project

The San Fernando Valley chapter of the Climate Reality Project is very pleased to host, as our June 2021 Featured Speaker, Dr. Peter Kalmus.

Dr. Peter Kalmus is a climate scientist at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Lab. He uses satellite data and models to study the rapidly changing Earth, focusing on biodiversity forecasting, clouds, and severe weather. He has also spent many years becoming an advocate for a fossil-fuel free society.

Dr. Kalmus’s award-winning book “Being the Change: Live Well and Spark a Climate Revolution” offers real-life solutions to help you move away from a consumerist lifestyle. 
 

“Changing our lives shifts the culture and creates space for collective action.
Together, let’s explore a more meaningful life–without all the fossil fuel!” — Peter Kalmus

In his book Dr. Kalmus outlines a series of doable steps that anyone can adopt to bring us all closer to a sustainable society.  Join us on Tuesday, June 8, 2021, 7PM PDT,  for a free Zoom gathering where you can ask Dr. Kalmus your questions about sustainable living.

“I know I can change the world, indeed, I am changing the world. What I can’t do is save it. That I have limits is a fact, and I accept it.  I don’t expect my changes to have a big impact. … If what I do has impact, I know this impact arises only from an existing resonance, a resonance that grows through interacting with many other people in turn. We are like water molecules in a wave: we simultaneously transmit the wave and are moved by it. No one molecule causes the wave, but together an enormous number of water molecules carry the wave. It’s all of us together, carried by a resonance, that will affect great change.”  -Peter Kalmus

The scientific community tells us we have already passed the Climate Change tipping point.  It is critical for each of us to travel our own path to that place where, together, we can carry our dream of a healthy society into the wave of the future.

SFV Climate Reality Project Chapter Meeting

Tuesday, June 8, 2021; 7:00 pm PDT

CLICK HERE to REGISTER

Mark your calendar for the next meeting of

Tuesday April 13, 7-8:30 pm


We are honored to create space to hear voices of local International Indigenous Youth Council members. The International Indigenous Youth Council seeks to organize youth through education, spiritual practices and civic engagement to create positive change in our communities.

“Through action and ceremony, the IIYC commits to building a sustainable future for the next seven generations. We look forward to sowing seeds of mutual aid and solidarity.”

Register now at bit.ly/SFVCR

This post is directed to all the writers out there who may have an interest in sharing your vision for a world that has found its way through the Climate Crisis.  AND there is prize money involved here, folks!  Grist is accepting submissions through April 12, 2021  (11:59pm US PST).

What is Grist? Here it is in their own words:

“Our independent, nonprofit newsroom pursues in-depth stories on under-covered topics like clean energysustainable foodlivable citiesenvironmental justice, and a better economy. We elevate solutions, expose inequity, and give our readers the context, knowledge, and tools to make a difference.

Grist was founded in 1999 as one of the nation’s first online-only publications, covering serious topics without taking ourselves too seriously. TIME magazine calls Grist  the Colbert Report of climate change … except with real reporting and analytical journalism.”

And here is their Media byline:

“A non-profit news organization for people who want a planet that doesn’t burn and a future that doesn’t suck.”

Well said!!   OKAY, so. Here is what Grist is offering via FIX, their Solutions Lab:

“All 12 final stories will be published in a digital collection on Fix’s website, and the authors will be celebrated in a public-facing virtual event.”

Here are the rest of the details and submission guidelines:

“Welcome to Imagine 2200 — a new climate-fiction contest by Fix, Grist’s solutions lab. What we’re seeking: short stories that envision the next 180 years of equitable climate progress. What we’re offering: $8,700 in prizes, publication, and a reason to stay hopeful.

The world is crazy right now, and the stakes are high: just, you know, our entire frickin’ future. Our newsfeeds are full of denial, delay, and doom that make us want to scream into our pillows. But that’s just the old story. At Fix, we are telling the new story, of a path to a clean, green, and just future, and the people who are driving it. Our mission is to make the story of a better world so irresistible, you want it right now.

With that goal in mind, we decided to launch our first foray into the world of hopeful, forward-looking fiction — to inspire visions of the future that haven’t even been dreamt up yet, and welcome more voices into the climate conversation. Join this uprising of imagination, and help us turn the page on earth’s next chapter.

Nuts & Bolts

  • Entry is free!
  • The contest is open to writers anywhere in the world.
  • Authors must be 18 years or older at the time of submission.
  • Submissions must be short, fictional stories, between 3,000–5,000 words.
  • No previously published, multiple, or simultaneous submissions accepted.
  • Submissions will only be accepted through Submittable — click the “submit” button at the bottom of this page when you’re ready! If you need accessibility accommodations, please email the team at imaginefiction@grist.org
  • Stories will be judged by a board of literary experts, including authors Adrienne Maree Brown, Morgan Jerkins, and Kiese Laymon.
  • The first-prize story will be awarded $3,000; second prize $2,000; and third prize $1,000. Nine additional finalists will each receive a $300 honorarium.
  • All 12 final stories will be published in a digital collection on Fix’s website, and the authors will be celebrated in a public-facing virtual event.
  • Worldwide copyright and ownership of each story remains with the author.
  • If a story is accepted for publication, Grist retains the first serial rights of the work to publish, produce, reproduce, distribute, and market.
  • All other remaining rights revert to the author upon publication.

Find more information about the contest at Grist.org/fix

And head over to their Submission Portal for complete guidelines: Grist.submittable.com

(When you are ready, click the SUBMIT button at the bottom of the Portal page.)

————————–

Please let me know if you decide to submit your story.  And, by all means, share this opportunity with any other writers you know.

I will end with one more quote from the Grist web site:

“Climate, sustainability, and social justice are the most important stories on the … well, on the planet right now. The stakes are high: just, you know, our entire frickin’ future.”

So write your hearts out and use your vision to inform, educate and enlighten, well, everybody you can so we can create a healthier world that, as they say on the Grist site, doesn’t suck.

The Journey from 5-year-old Tomboy Ballerina to Climate Activist

Photo by Budgeron Bach on Pexels.com

In each of our lives, some years turn out to be more eventful than others.  Year 5 was a big one for me.

At 5 years old I figured out how to climb up to the top of the 7-foot tall, cinder block wall that stretched around our backyard in Culver City, CA and run along its 4” wide edge. It scared my parents, but I loved running and climbing, and I loved to imagine that I was running through the trees that surrounded our property.

The outstretched branches of beautiful green leaves shaded my path and seemed to extend an invitation to become a partner with nature. That year I also decided to be a ballerina and I saw a circus on TV. Both pivotal moments in the life of a 5-year-old. 

It was an old-fashioned, 3-Ring circus with acrobats and animals and sparkly costumes. The Ringmaster was a tall man wearing a black top hat, knee-high boots, and a red waistcoat with tails and shiny, brass buttons. 

After the first few minutes of enjoying the bright colors and festive atmosphere, I started to focus on the way the animals in the circus were being treated.  The more I watched the sadder I became.  Whips, chairs being pushed into growling faces, all types of animals being made to pose and bow and jump through hoops of fire!  To my 5-year-old mind, this was just unacceptable. It was clear to me that these animals did not belong here. And even though the animals seemed to cooperate I could feel their discomfort.  I just could not understand why anyone would take these beautiful animals out of their natural habitats and force them to perform.

My sadness quickly turned to anger. And it was at that moment that I became an advocate for animal rights and vowed to speak out whenever I witnessed any kind of abuse or neglect of these creatures with whom we share this planet. (Yes, I was a very intense little kid!)

As I grew up, I never lost my passion for animals or my love of the outdoors. In the third grade I beat the entire class in a race across the play yard! Anytime I wasn’t in a schoolroom or a ballet class I would be swimming in the outdoor pool or doing cartwheels on the lawn. 

When I was 12 years old my family moved to an upper, middle-class neighborhood in North Hollywood, California, located in a part of Los Angeles known as the San Fernando Valley.  From my bedroom window,  I could see open, blue sky and parts of the orange groves that blanketed the Valley.  I remember, as I walked to school each morning, being grateful for the sweet citrus smell and the serene skies.

In 1970, at the age of 15, I first became aware of how the environment was changing as I rode my bicycle around the neighborhood.  The growing development of housing tracts and business districts in our area had rapidly increased the number of cars on the road and slowly but surely eliminated the orange groves that had shaded our homes and helped to keep the air clean and breathable.

I remember wondering how the skies had become so brown.  Nobody talked to me about it but the adults knew it was the smog in the atmosphere caused by the use of fossil fuels to run our cars, homes, and businesses.

Smog. What a strange word. What was this thing that was suddenly beginning to impact our daily lives? Here is a definition from ScienceDaily.com:

SMOG:  Fog or haze combined with smoke and other atmospheric pollutants.

Smog is a kind of air pollution, originally named for the mixture of smoke and fog in the air…. Smog results from large amounts of coal burning in an area and is caused by a mixture of smoke and sulfur dioxide….  said Michael Bergin, professor of civil and environmental engineering at Duke. “If these chemicals are as bad for people as many researchers believe, then commuters should seriously be rethinking their driving habits.”

ScienceDaily.com

We started to hear air quality alerts almost daily on TV. “Restrict outdoor activity. Physical exertion can be dangerous to your health!”  Bad news for an active, athletic teenager.

At 19 years old, as I left college to begin my professional career as a performer in musical theater, my nice, middle-class neighborhood was no longer a place I would have wanted to move into.

As a young adult, it was obvious to me, and to anyone who bothered to look, that changes in the environment were impacting our health and the health of the planet.

Now, as an older adult, I mourn the loss of the calm, year-round, moderate temperatures and clear, blue skies of my childhood. And I live with a growing concern about the safety of the food we eat, the water we drink, and the air we breathe.

All of that has turned that intense 5-year-old, animal-loving ballerina into a Climate Activist. 

That cinderblock wall around my family’s backyard has grown in size and now encompasses the entire planet. But the challenge of turning back the clock on climate change is not insurmountable if we act now. There is still room on top of that wall for future tomboy-ballerinas to run among the trees if we are all willing to adjust our daily choices, even just a little.

My first leap into learning about the history, science and possible solutions available to address the challenges of Climate Change happened when I was accepted into Vice President Al Gore’s Climate Reality Project Leadership Training Program.

In July 2020 more than 10,000 people from all over the world chose to participate in the first-ever, Virtual Global Climate Leadership Training program designed and presented by Mr. Gore. I was one of those new trainees who walked willingly into what was sure to be a daunting landscape.

But we persisted allowing ourselves to be pummeled by the frightening reality of the images and statistics being shown to us. We persisted through the evidence being presented to us bringing to full relief the damage done to our environment: the loss of habitat, the melting ice sheets, the rising temperatures, the pollution causing increased illness in both human and wild species.  We persisted through all of that to the discussions of sustainable practices and new energy industries that can help us to build a healthier, safer world for our children if we commit to following through on new ideas, concepts and actions.

We persisted, bringing the number of international climate activists associated with Al Gore’s Climate Reality Project to more than 35,000 people.  Local Climate Reality chapters in more than 500 countries are working on multiple public policy and community outreach programs designed to heal our planet and redefine our relationship with the natural world.

And we are not alone in these efforts. There are many other organizations also working to address the challenges we face.  We have scientists, engineers, philosophers, teachers, healthcare professionals, artists, scuba divers, lawyers, photographers, writers, and, yes, one or two billionaires, working together to find answers.

For those of you who remember clear skies, orange groves, and neighborhoods designed to support the people who live in them, rather than the financial expectations of stockholders, it is not too late to join the fight.  Wherever you fall in the cascade of generations currently living on Mother Earth, you can be a part of the solution. Join us!


Tara Sitser - Leadership Member of Al Gore's Climate Reality Project

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