Friday, March 30, 2007

Richard Moore Is Still Going Strong

By Norris McDonald: It was good to see Richard Moore at The State of Environmental Justice 2007 Conference at the Howard University Law School. Twenty-five years ago Richard Moore helped organize the First People of Color Environmental Leadership Summit. He was also instrumental in getting President Clinton to issue Presidential Executive Order 12898 on Environmental Justice. Although we are both a quarter century older since that first national environmental justice conference, it is always good to see this veteran environmental justice activist. And Richard still has that 'Latino Cool' thing working for him.

Richard was the founder and Director of the Bobby Garcia Memorial Clinic in Albuquerque, a founding member of the Southwest Organizing Project (SWOP), and a founding member of the Southwest Network for Environmental and Economic Justice (SNEEJ). Richard is presently the coordinator of the Southwest Network, a regional organization which comprises over 80 community based grassroots organizations working in communities of color in six southwestern states and Mexico.

Tuesday, March 27, 2007

John Edwards Announces Global Warming Plan

We are a bit disappointed in John Edwards' global warming plan because he avoids nuclear power. Although we cannot STOP global warming and climate change, we can at least develop emission-free technologies to mitigate the more extreme consequences of global climate change. Edwards goes with the soft path, impracticle playbook.

He says he will reduce carbon dioxide emissions by 80 percent, but does not say exactly how he will realistically reach that goal. He calls for a ban on the construction of new coal-fired power plants that lack the ability to capture their emissions, yet there is no practical method to contain carbon dioxide. Al Gore promotes this same nonstarter. Edwards other recommendations include:

1) Capping greenhouse gas pollution starting in 2010 with a cap-and-trade system, and reducing it by 15 percent by 2020 and 80 percent by 2050.
2) Leading the world to a new climate treaty that commits other countries—including developing nations—to reduce their pollution.
3) Creating a New Energy Economy Fund by auctioning off $10 billion in greenhouse pollution permits and repealing subsidies for big oil companies. The fund will support U.S. research and development in energy technology, help entrepreneurs start new businesses, invest in new carbon-capture and efficient automobile technology and help Americans conserve energy.
4) Meeting the demand for more electricity through efficiency for the next decade, instead of producing more electricity.

Saturday, March 24, 2007

Al Gore : The Moses of Global Warming

Al Gore has come down from the Academy Awards with 7 global warming commandments:

1) Immediate freeze on CO2

2) 90% Reduction of CO2 by 2050

3) A 'Cap and Trade' program and a carbon tax

4) De facto Kyoto compliance

5) Moratorium on coal plants lacking carbon capture and sequestration

6) A prohibition on incandescent lightbulbs

7) The establishment of a "carbon neutral mortgage association," or ConnieMae, to support the building of energy efficient homes.

He will host a serious of 7 concerts in 7 different countries on 7-7-07. For the unwashed the number 7 has bliblical implications.

Gore's recommendations are lightweight. They will do nothing to reduce global warming. It is a soft path for his presidential campaign. He is running without announcing. His rollout has been brilliant. Gore is more relaxed and natural now. We just wish he would admit that all of this is his latest run for the presidency.

Thursday, March 22, 2007

The NAACP and Global Warming

The NAACP has decided to remain 'old school' and America has decided to continue using coal to produce most of its electricity. Although there is nothing inherently wrong with these approaches, they will allow serious problems to get worse. In rejecting Bruce S. Gordon and his recommendations for new approaches, including wealth building, tutoring and pregnancy counseling, the NAACP is signaling that it intends to remain a 'petition the government to redress discrimination' organization. Gordon recently resigned as executive director of the NAACP. American electricity use also remains traditional in that it grows at a steady rate of about 2% per year.

AAEA promotes a combination of plug-in fuel cell hybrid electric vehicles, nuclear power, wind, solar and other alternatives as tools to reduce global warming and climate change. The NAACP has an Energy Committee that is composed of industry representatives. Nothing wrong with that. We just wish they would adopt and aggressively develop the AAEA model for mitigating climate change and global warming. Of course, the NAACP and the American public feel good doing business as usual. The question is, will they embrace innovation to address the pressing problems facing our country and the world. (Wash Post: "Hollywood's Climate Follies," "Rethinking the NAACP")

Friday, March 16, 2007

Congressional Black Caucus & Fuel Economy Standards

Is the Congressional Black Caucus (CBC) being strong armed on fuel economy standards? Published reports have said the United Auto Workers Union is looking for help from the CBC to kill fuel economy proposals in the House of Representatives. GM, Ford, Chrysler, Toyoto and the UAW testified before the House Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Energy & Air Quality this week and expressed their opposition to fuel economy standards.

Interestingly, Representative Carolyn Cheeks Kilpatrick, upper right, is now Chairwoman of the CBC. She happens to represent Detroit. Her son is the mayor. Big John Dingell is Chairman of the House Energy and Commerce Committee and he is a Michigan congressman with a long history of protecting the auto industry from fuel economy standards. It is one reason House Speaker Nancy Pelosi gave Ed Markey (D-MA) a select energy committee (with no power except PR). So how will the CBC vote on fuel economy? The CBC is the highest voting caucus in Congress on environmental issues (decade after decade).

Principles of Environmental Justice 2007

A 21st Century environmental justice model is needed to achieve equality in environmental protection. These Ten Principles of Environmental Justice were developed to facilitate a discussion about the need to accelerate activities and programs to protect vulnerable communities. The principles are also a guidance tool for evaluating and implementing practical solutions to environmental justice problems.

1) Environmental Justice seeks to provide environmental protection to our most vulnerable communities.

2) Environmental Justice demands that public policy will protect society’s most vulnerable communities.

3) Environmental Justice should provide equal economic opportunities to all sectors of our society while providing equal environmental protection.

4) Environmental Justice calls for sustainable development, efficient use of resources and the availability of abundant energy supplies at reasonable prices.

5) Environmental Justice requests respect in policy decision-making in order to distribute production facilities that emit contaminates equitably among geographical locations.

6) Environmental Justice demands that toxic wastes should not be targeted for and concentrated in minority communities.

7) Environmental Justice should expand the definition of ‘environment’ and seek to redress unique inner city environmental problems.

8) Environmental Justice affirms a commitment to equal environmental protection for all people.

9) Environmental Justice should provide compensation to individuals and communities that have suffered disproportionate exposure to pollution.

10) Environmental Justice and The Declaration of Independence, hold “that all Men are created equal, that they were endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness. Environmental protection is an unalienable right.

Developed by the African American Environmentalist Association

Saturday, March 10, 2007

Environmental Justice & Nuclear Power

AAEA President Norris McDonald will moderate a Roundtable on Nuclear Power at the State of Environmental Justice in America 2007 Conference at the Howard University School of Law on March 29, 2007 from 2-4 pm. The roundtable will discuss the perceived pros and cons of nuclear power in a global warming world from an environmental justice perspective. The roundtable will also address the following questions:

1) Is nuclear power beneficial for one group of minorities but bad for another group?
2) Is there another way to meet the electricity needs of America in a global warming world without using nuclear power.
3) Are nuclear power plants disproportionately located in minority communities?
4) How can Renewables Portfolio Standards and other regional greenhouse gas initiatives be accomplished without incorporating nuclear power?
5) If we shut down the nation's nuclear power fleet, how will it be replaced.
6) Are inner city minority populations well served by nuclear power plants?
7) Are Native American populations well served by nuclear power?
8) If global warming is the most important environmental issue facing us today, should emission free nuclear power be a part of the energy mix in the United States?
9) If environmental justice is to be achieved regarding clean air issues, can nuclear power be eliminated from the energy mix?
10) Are there entrepreneurial opportunities available in the nuclear industry for minority businesspeople?
11) Can nuclear power be utilized to help developing countries?

Saturday, March 03, 2007

Why Have Cherokees Decided to Insult African Americans?

By Norris McDonald - - Of course the answer is M-O-N-E-Y. The same reason others have chosen to insult us for centuries. I guess some people see our darker skin as a license to insult. But this coming from our original Indian brothers is as crazy as Black-on-Black murder. Cherokees with a Black bloodline were recently voted out ot the Cherokee Nation. Money has turned so-called 'pure' Cherokees into racists. Of course, Cherokees with a White bloodline remain a part of their nation. Pure racism and greed.
My grandmother, Katie Mae Best, left & right, had a grandmother who was a full blooded Cherokee Indian. So I am part Cherokee. Many Blacks are part Cherokee. It is something of a joke in the Black community though because of the 'one-drop' rule. Regardless, if I was part of the Cherokee Nation they would be trying to exclude me from the spoils of gambling. Maybe my grandma would have been 'light' enough for them. This is just another variation on the 'brown paper bag' rule.

The Cherokee Nation is voting to establish that members need to have Indian blood to be a Cherokee Indian. Regardless of the outcome of the vote, just having the vote itself is the height of insult. The purpose of the vote is to determine how to remove thousands of descendants of freed slaves or "freedmen" from membership in the Cherokee Nation, thus reducing the split of the gambling spoils. The issue goes back to an 1866 treaty between the U.S. and the Cherokee Indians, which states, "never hereafter shall either slavery or involuntary servitude exist in the Cherokee Nation, and all freedmen who have been liberated as well as all free colored persons and their descendants shall have all the rights of native Cherokees." Evidently the Cherokees have learned well about the excesses of capitalist greed and want to renege on this treaty. And don't they know about the 'one drop' rule? So one drop of Cherokee blood should be enough. (New York Times)

Traditional Environmentalist Naysayers Are Lost

Traditional environmentalists opposed the Cassini spacecraft mission to Saturn in 1997 because it had nuclear material on board. Cassini arrived at Saturn in 2004 and is now providing historic images of the ringed planet. Mainstream environmentalists opposed the replacement of the Woodrow Wilson Bridge south of Washington, DC because they said it would create more car traffic. The first span is finished and when the second span and the accompanying interchanges are completed, the traffic flow will be smoother and faster.

Environmentalists are opposing wind projects all over the country (local groups, the national groups finally stepped up) believing their views will be ruined and some birds might die. Environmentalists want to close all the coal and nuclear power plants even though wind and solar cannot replace this capacity. Environmentalists are partisan Democrats and prefer to throw stones for decades under Republican administrations instead of working out practical solutions. The environmental movement is also more segregated than Sunday mornings in America. Do you see a pattern here? This is why AAEA decided to make up its own mind long ago.