Sunday, January 1, 2017

Reasons to be ENCOURAGED about the new year.

Here is a list of reasons to be encouraged in 2017:

1. Our next generation of voters and leaders, (I'm looking at you, Millennials,) are an awesome bunch of kids committed to the environment, equality for all, and a bright future for everyone on the planet. And they're on their way up.
2. Organizations like the Sierra Club, the American Civil Liberties Union, and the Southern Poverty Law Center are seeing huge surges in donations. Let's keep that going!
3. Newspapers like the New York Times, the Washington Post, and magazines like The New Yorker have seen a huge upsurge in subscriptions. All those brilliant reporters are going to be hard at work exposing all kinds of government sludge.
4. Solar power is taking increasingly larger shares of the energy market away from coal and oil, and that is creating all kinds of jobs, and we should see that trend continue.
5. Hybrid and electric cars are getting cheaper, and better.
6. China just banned the ivory trade. How about that?
7. We are seeing a huge wave of political engagement in progressives who have never engaged politically before. This is new, and exciting! A great example: The Million Woman March, January 21, 2017, in cities all over the country! I'm going to be at the one in Washington DC, and I'm going to be posting all kinds of pictures and videos about it.
8. Cities and states are starting to realize that we can't wait for the federal government to fix the environment, and so they are taking on these challenges themselves. Yay local government!
9. The United Nations is becoming a more outspoken voice of reason on the world stage.
10. People are consciously choosing to help the environment rather than hurt it by starting to garden, supporting local farmers' markets, and composting their waste. More people ride bikes to work, bring their own travel mugs to the coffee shops, and cook at home rather than order take out. This greener lifestyle will keep catching on, especially as the Millennials start calling the shots.

So happy new year everyone. Let's make it a good one, because my darlings, it turns out saving the world is up to us.

Saturday, December 10, 2016

Write your governor.

Letter I wrote to my Governor: Dear Governor Mead, 
I am writing to you with deep concern for this apparent trend in the GOP to sell off public lands. Wyoming's parks and forests make our state a very special place, and to sell these jewels off to the highest bidder will cut future generations off from a rich and varied natural habitat. Please stand up to the forces that would destroy this legacy. And please let me know of what I can do to help. Best, Amy Kathleen Ryan

Response I got a few weeks later:
Dear Ms. Ryan,
Thank you for your message to Governor Mead about state management of federal lands.  The Governor asked that I respond.
This year, a Wyoming Legislative Select Committee has been examining the effects of the state taking ownership and management responsibilities of federal lands.  Over half of the surface area and two-thirds of the subsurface of Wyoming is owned by the federal government.  This access to open, public land is a hallmark of Wyoming.  It has provided residents and others great opportunities to hike, fish, hunt and make a living for generations.  It also comes with certain challenges, such as slower economic development and decisions that are not necessarily in the best interests of citizens of Wyoming.
As the study of Wyoming taking ownership of federal lands within its borders has progressed, the Governor was asked in a recent interview his thoughts on the matter.  The Governor does not believe Wyoming’s constitution, its act of admission, requires the federal government to cede public land back to the state.  This of course varies from state to state.  
Wyoming has worked on a pilot project to manage a small tract of federal land for a specific purpose.  This was done in an area torched by forest fires.  Wyoming worked with the U.S. Forest Service to avert the spread of cheatgrass, an invasive weed.  This is an example of how Wyoming can work for the best management of federal land in coordination with the federal government.
Thank you again for your message. Please let me know if you have any further questions.

Colin McKee

So I followed up:

Hi Mr. Mckee, I do have further questions.

How can Wyoming fund the management of such huge portions of our state without the fiscal support of the federal government? A lot of people are afraid responses like yours are just doublespeak for a plan to transfer public lands into private hands so that corporate interests can "help" the economy by destroying a natural balance that can never be repaired. The very study the state commissioned reported that a sale of public lands to compensate for the cost of management would be almost inevitable, and then who is to stop the owners from destroying the precious habitat that hangs in the balance? Wyoming is unique. If it is "developed" it will be destroyed. You must know that. Some things are more important than money.

I would appreciate hearing more from you about this. 

Thank you, 

I have not yet received a response. I don't really expect to.

Saturday, November 19, 2016

Write your congressperson.

Letter I wrote to my Republican State Representative: 
Hi Congressman Lummis,
Thank you for your newsletter that I didn't ask for. You wrote to me of executive overreach, so I'm going to write to you about congressional obstructionism. Your political party has been playing a game of brinksmanship that has brought our government to a standstill more than once during a time of severe economic duress. You have obstructed infrastructure spending bills that would have brought much needed jobs to the working class, knowing doing so would increase the political power of the Republican party. Congratulations. You have obstructed "common sense" climate change measures that could save countless people from respiratory illnesses and unclean drinking water. You have obstructed supreme court nominations of perfectly reasonable, centrist nominees. You have created a huge controversy about "security breaches" regarding an attack on a single embassy when the Bush administration suffered 13 such attacks that resulted in 60 deaths. Your political party has become the party of obstruction, lies, and racism. Don't talk to me about overreach because to me that is utterly hypocritical. Sincerely, Amy Ryan