If your actions inspire others to dream more, learn more, do more and become more, you are a leader. ~John Quincy Adams
You never know when you’re someone else’s inspiration.
In 1963, a group of women protested (in the rain) in front of the Kennedy White House. They were there on behalf of Women Strike for Peace – an antinuclear organization that began when the founder got fed up and started a telephone tree to rally fellow mothers against nuclear testing. At that time, the U.S. was still conducting aboveground nuclear testing and radioactive fallout was showing up in breast milk and baby teeth. Women Strike for Peace was advocating for the testing to end.
So there they were, standing in front of the White House on a rainy morning in 1963.
A participant later admitted that, standing there in the rain, she felt “foolish, and futile”.
And really, can you blame her? She was likely soaked, and freezing, and holding a sign that was getting battered by the weather. And she didn’t even have Twitter followers to complain to!
It wasn’t until years later, when she heard Dr. Benjamin Spock speak, that she learned that the “turning point for him was seeing a small group of women standing in the rain, protesting at the White House.”
“If they were so passionately committed, he thought, he should give the issue more consideration himself.”
He became one of the most high-profile anti-nuclear activists of his time.
All because he was inspired by a bunch of women holding signs in the rain.
You literally may never know how many people you inspire. You probably won’t ever know who, exactly, you inspire.
Maybe the telephone call that you make – the story that you tell – the post that you write – the march that you organize… Maybe those actions will be the inspiration for someone else to do something amazing.
So, yes. We take action to change the course of our nation’s history.
But in doing so we inspire one another, and thereby inspire the entire Resistance.
So even if you feel foolish, or futile, or like your contribution is too small to matter …
Know that even if you can’t see the evidence of it yet, you’re an indispensable part of this movement.
In fact, you’re an inspiration.
So let’s get to work!
There’s no need to rehash Friday’s terrible news that the Administration will withdraw the U.S. from the Paris Climate Accord. We can’t do anything about that.
Let’s talk instead about what we can do.
Right this VERY SECOND you can sign up for clean energy with Arcadia Power. It’s free, available everywhere, and you don’t change your utility. If you choose their free plan, 50% of your power will come from sustainable wind farms.
This is simple. It literally takes two minutes. Go do that, then come right back!
Okay, now that you’re back, get out your telephone!
The list of Senators below are the illustrious bunch of men that encouraged Trump to withdraw from the Paris Climate Accord. If you’re a constituent of one of these men, please call their office to let them know that you’re watching.
- Roy Blunt, Missouri
- John Barrasso, Wyoming
- John Boozman, Arkansas
- Thad Cochran, Mississippi
- John Cornyn, Texas
- Mike Crapo, Idaho
- Ted Cruz, Texas
- Mike Enzi, Wyoming
- Orrin Hatch, Utah
- James Inhofe, Oklahoma
- Mike Lee, Utah
- Mitch McConnell, Kentucky
- Rand Paul, Kentucky
- David Perdue, Georgia
- Jim Risch, Idaho
- Pat Roberts, Kansas
- Mike Rounds, South Dakota
- Tim Scott, South Carolina
- Richard Shelby, Alabama
- Luther Strange, Alabama
- Thom Tillis, North Carolina
- Roger Wicker, Mississippi
Wednesday: Call Your Mayor and Governor
States: As of today, there are 13 states/territories that have joined the United States Climate Alliance, which is “committed to upholding the Paris Accord and taking aggressive action on climate change.” They are:
- New York
- Puerto Rico
- Rhode Island
Is your state listed? Huzzah! Call them and give them a warm fuzzy.
Don’t see your state? Call your governor and let him/her know that you don’t want your state to be left behind. I’m going to give you some cool stats about job creation to help you with that call in just a sec, so keep reading.
Mayors: As of today, there are over 250 mayors that have committed to adopting and upholding the Paris climate goals. Check out the hyperlinked list (it’s too long to write out!) and contact your mayor if they have/have not signed on. (It looks like there’s a lot of interest by mayors in signing on; the climate mayors’ site states that because of the overwhelming interest, they may be delayed in getting back to interested mayors.)
But in 2015, there were 209,000 people working in solar; in 2016 that number ballooned to 260,000 – mostly in California, where the industry has been spurred by stricter environmental legislation. While coal mining has lost jobs year after year, the solar industry has grown 20% yearly – an amazing boon. And although it’s “only” expected to grow 10% this year, that’s still pretty incredible. And solar workers earn just about $26 per hour – the same average wage that is earned by coal miners.
And veterans represent 9% of the solar workforce!
Really, this is an industry that does great things for our health and our economy.
You can check to see how many jobs have been created in your state here.
Script (Governor): Hello, my name is _____ and I’m a _____ citizen. I’m calling to encourage Governor ____ to join the governors of 13 other states and territories in the United States Climate Alliance. Is the governor familiar with that Alliance? [Pause] It is committed to taking aggressive action on climate change. Taking that kind of action creates jobs – like the _____ solar jobs that our state already has. Our state and economy will benefit if more jobs like these are created. When will Governor _____ make a statement regarding his/her support for the Alliance?
Script (Mayor): Hello, my name is ___ and I’m a ____ citizen. I’m calling to encourage Mayor ____ to join the Climate Mayors. Has ____ made a statement regarding his/her support of the Climate Mayors and their goals? [Pause – and thank them if they’ve already committed support.] As you know, job creation is a major goal and issue in our community. Solar jobs have increased dramatically year after year – and with Mayor ___’s leadership, our city could be a leader in creating sustainable jobs. When will Mayor ____ make a statement regarding his/her support for the Climate Mayors?
Thursday: Push Back Against the RAA and REINS
We’ve talked about the Regulations from the Executive in Need of Scrutiny Act before. Both it and a related bill – the Regulatory Accountability Act – are terrible, and have passed through the Senate’s Homeland Security Committee.
Although we’ve talked about how REINS encourages horse trading and backroom politics, we haven’t yet discussed the RAA. It forces agencies to adopt the most “cost-effective,” rather than the most beneficial regulation, and creates 53 new rule making requirements – further delaying agency action. The Union for Concerned Scientists has a great explainer on why the RAA is bad for science.
So we need to push back on both of these terrible bills.
Script (for your Senator): I am a constituent in ______. I would like Senator ____ to vote against the REINS Act and the RAA. The REINS Act is wasteful and costly, and gives lobbyists even more chances to lobby members of Congress to vote for their interests – rather than mine. This Act encourages more backroom politics and horse trading. The RAA prioritizes corporate profits over the public benefit and makes an already broken administrative process worse. If you don’t want an agency to make regulations, you can take back the authority you gave them in their enabling statute. Or you can vote against a particular regulation under the Congressional Review Act of 1996. So, again, vote no on the RAA and REINS. Thanks for your time.
Friday: Call in Support of Health Care
This feels like groundhog day, doesn’t it?
There’s speculation that McConnell is going to try to push a health care bill through by the end of June.
So it’s our job to let our Senators know that (1) we are still paying attention and (2) we won’t stand for: the elimination of healthcare for 23 million Americans; the elimination of protections for preexisting conditions; the $834 billion cut to Medicaid; the elimination of funding for students with special needs; the re-introduction of lifetime and annual benefit caps; the disparity in insurance costs for women, who would pay more; and the “age tax” that would be levied on seniors, who could be charged up to five times more than younger insureds … all to give a tax cut to the wealthy.
Call Script: Hello, my name is ____ and I’m a constituent at ____. I’m calling because the healthcare bill that’s being negotiated – at least to the extent we even know what’s included – is terrible. It’s bad for women, for special needs students, for anyone that’s had a pre-existing condition (which eventually includes everyone), for seniors – and will kick 23 million Americans off their health insurance. I expect Senator ____ to vote against any bill that provides a tax cut to the wealthy on the backs of his/her constituents. Please let the Senator know that I’ll be watching his/her vote and reaction to the healthcare bill very closely. Thanks for your time.
That covers this week’s pep talk and list of actions. If you want one more quick action, send this pep talk to a friend or two!
If you’d like to sign up to get this pep talk and action list in your in-box each week, you can do that here!
A huge thank you to everyone who has written. I’m sorry I can’t respond to everyone, but know I really appreciate your words of encouragement.
And thank you, again, for being part of what makes this country amazing.