Urban Planning for #Blacklivesmatter

By Teka Lark (September 4, 2017)

The freemarket is a hell of a drug. More rain is coming. Heaven and hell is right here. Satan is the freemarket! Satan is Citizens United!

These pompous ignorant rich fucks built and built and built. Continue reading “Urban Planning for #Blacklivesmatter”

What Our Leaving the Paris Accord Means for Our Future

By Paul Messersmith-Glavin (June 1, 2017)

We’d be fooling ourselves to think that the Paris Climate Accords are going to avert the looming disaster that is rapidly unfolding climate disruption. They are not binding agreements, they don’t confront the root causes, and they don’t go far enough.

At the same time, the Trump administration pulling out of these modest agreements signals to the world that one of the leading climate destabilizers, the US, just doesn’t give a shit. This will shift global momentum in a decidedly dystopian direction.

And all along, this development simply demonstrates that the best way to stop climate change is to create a society that has a just, ecological, economic system that doesn’t inherently change the climate, the way the capitalist economy we all suffer from does. That requires all of us to remake the world, or it will be remade for us.


A painful, radical truth: we are the problem


By S. Brian Willson (September 21, 2016)

As much as we choose to blame politicians, corporations, the military industrial complex, capitalist economics, etc., for causing our severe problems, in the end, virtually all of us moderns are complicit. None of these institutions have been created in a vacuum. They are creations of human beings like ourselves, and most “First World” peoples demand continuance of incredible material consumption at the expense of outsourcing unspeakable consequences to other people and the Earth. We have become slaves to money, things, technology, and comfort and convenience (me, too). This is totally unsustainable – ecologically, or morally.

Our own lifestyles provide the political and economic fuel feeding this system. Our lives are now totally dependent upon the elaborate infrastructure of imperial plunder, gouging the earth and other cultures of their lifeblood, including electricity, requiring mining of and burning carbon. And most of us are in debt to sustain this modern materialism, precluding the kind of fierce independence needed for serious collective obstruction of business as usual while abandoning our dependence upon the system.

We have been the problem; now we have the opportunity to save ourselves by becoming the solution – not by obeying or abiding by the system, but by re-configuring ourselves in very local, simple tool and food sufficient communities – thousands of them in communication with one another. The stakes are high – our survival with dignity, even if with substantially reduced numbers.

RX: Radical downsizing/simplicity, replacing national currency with local community cooperation and sharing. In essence, sharing and caring in communities within each bioregion.

Organizing Against Climate Catastrophe

Lara and Paul Messersmith-Glavin discuss the lessons from a recent grassroots organizing effort in North Portland that canvased a neighborhood to determine people’s understanding of their own power to do something about climate change. Continue reading “Organizing Against Climate Catastrophe”

The New Normal


By Paul Messersmith-Glavin (August 23, 2015)

Waking up this morning, I read in the paper about hundreds of thousands more dead fish in Oregon rivers cause the water’s too damn warm and of widespread bug infestations in California due to drought and high temperatures, only to look out the front window at the leaves falling from the trees like it’s late September against a backdrop of smokey, hazy, red tinted skies from all the forest fires. Continue reading “The New Normal”

Resilient Neighborhoods


By Vernon Huffman

The best hope for long term human survival appears to lie in the development of resilient communities. By applying local resources at a sustainable rate to meet genuine local needs, resilient neighborhoods fit into the natural order, rather than attempting continuous growth based on exploitation. Continue reading “Resilient Neighborhoods”

The Sociopathic President

By Alexander N. Riccio

On September 23rd, the United Nations hosted a climate summit in New York that brought together political leaders from 125 nations including U.S. President Barak Obama. The event was intended to highlight the realities of an existential crisis to the human species, but our president made it a moment to reveal his sociopathic dismissal of life instead. Continue reading “The Sociopathic President”

What the climate justice movement can learn from Dr. Martin Luther King Jr

Martin Luther King JrBy José-Antonio Orosco and originally published in the Times of Trenton guest opinion column on January 20, 2014.

Fifty years ago, Martin Luther King Jr. won the Nobel Peace Prize. One of the most striking aspects of his acceptance speech is the hope he expressed in humanity’s ability to overcome war. This was no mere idealism on his part. Less than five years earlier, the world had come to the brink of thermonuclear destruction because of Cuba. The United States and the Soviet Union eventually diminished their threats and, in 1963, signed and ratified an agreement to end the open-air nuclear testing that was blanketing the planet with radioactive fallout. These were small steps, but to King they indicated that human beings were capable of cooperation, even in the face of something as horrendous as the suicide of the human race.

Today, the possibility of the annihilation of humanity looms again because of climate change. In 1964, King could not have imagined the particular features of global environmental destruction that we now face. Yet, he had reflected carefully on the kinds of action needed to avert mass extinction before, so his work can still be useful today in thinking about directions for the climate justice movement.

First, King reminds us to think in terms of the “beloved community” in which we are all interconnected. That means that the injustices that we experience are also intertwined. For many climate activists, thinking about racism, sexism or poverty are side issues; after all, if there is no habitable Earth, then those problems won’t really matter. King cautioned against the view that injustices could be divided into neat, isolated silos. The world, he said, faces the danger of the “evil triplets”: racism, militarism and materialism. These are interrelated features, he thought, that are at the root of wars of aggression against distant peoples for control of natural resources needed to maintain the luxuries of a few.

Climate change activists today need to acknowledge the overlapping systems of injustice that make some people vulnerable to climate damage much more immediately. It will be poor countries, largely in the global south, that will suffer the most from environmental degradation of air, water and soil. In the U.S., extreme weather — as we have already seen with Hurricanes Katrina and Sandy — will disproportionately affect economically fragile areas, usually made up of historically marginalized communities: indigenous people, people of color, immigrants, the elderly and LGBTQ people. Climate justice activists will need to build alliances around these diverse issues and develop the capabilities to listen to, and lift up, the voices of disenfranchised people.

In his last years, King wrote about the forms of activism that were needed to confront the evil triplets. He warned activists not to get trapped by the usual mix of demonstrations and protests that were hallmarks of the early civil rights movement. With these forms of direct action, King believed the movement had fallen into “crisis thinking,” that is, reacting to injustice after it had already appeared. Complex justice would require mass protests, but it also meant getting out in front of social problems and building alternative civic and economic structures so that people would not have to rely on problematic state or corporate institutions. He called for organizing neighborhoods and creating diverse networks of allies that could support one another.

A glimpse of this kind of activism came about when Occupy organizers provided assistance in the wake of Hurricane Sandy in 2012. Achieving climate justice, then, will mean not only protesting against this pipeline or that shipping port, but also working to connect local community gardens, alternative currencies, free libraries and medical clinics into thick webs reaching across urban and rural areas. This kind of organizing will enable widespread skill sharing and mutual aid, but also deliver a message that was dawning at the height of the Occupy movement: Another world is possible, and there are many across the world who desire to work together to build it.

King believed we had it within us to avoid mutually assured destruction. He also thought we were developing the insights and activist resources to radically align our world to the moral arc of the universe. The climate justice movement might become the place where we prove him right.