Tagged: Activism

Smoke-Free St. Charles County

One of the biggest fights in making the St. Louis region smoke-free is concensus from the three most populous counties on the Missouri side of the Mississippi River. Anyone who’s following the movement to make our communities healthier knows that the state of Illinois has already made its communities smoke-free, and done so in commendable fashion. Missouri . . . not so much.

A smoke-free ordinance will go into effect in St. Louis City (its own county) come January 1, 2010 but the ordinance leaves much to the imagination as it makes exceptions for the worst offenders. While this change will be better than nothing, real change will not occur until St. Louis County enacts its own smoke-free ordinance. Certain municipalities within St. Louis County have already pass smoke-free legislation – hooray – but we’re talking low single-digits in a County that has 91 (ish) independent cities. St. Louis County’s argument has been that since it lies in between St. Louis City and St. Charles County, it’s needs both of the counties that sandwich it to be on board before it can pass anything meaninful. Well people, the time is nigh.

I received the email below this morning, and as you can see, it’s the beginning of the end for public smoking in St. Charles County. Obviously nothing has happened yet, but the fact that this topic is even being discussed at the County Council is real progress. I remember when these meetings first started in St. Louis City. Enough people got behind the movement to keep the momentum growing. Change happened. The City has shown it can happen, and so people in St. Charles County who care about good public health need to step and make themselve heard. If you live in this community, please go to these meetings and speak up.


Dear Smoke-Free Supporter,
As you may know, the St. Charles County Council is currently considering placing a smoke-free ordinance on the ballot. Supporters of smoke-free air must have a continual presence of different coalition members/supporters at the twice monthly County Council meetings.
We need YOU!
Please come to this coming Monday’s County Council meeting – Monday, April 26 – 7:00 PM.
at the Historic Courthouse
100 North Third Street
St. Charles, MO 63301
Phone 636-949-7530
Fax 636-949-7532

Smoke-Free St. Charles County coalition member Louise Cheli has offered to coordinate our efforts for the April 26 meeting. Her email is: lpc555@prodigy.net
Our goals for these meetings are 1) to fill the room with supporters wearing BLUE and our blue smoke-free buttons, and 2) to consistently have the maximum number of speakers during the public comment section of the meeting. 
Any speaker suggestions from anyone? Smokefree restaurant owners? Be sure to let Louise know! Thanks!!!
Kay Young
Be there!

The Future of Proposition C

I received an email today from Clean Energy Works for Missouri, the organization sponsored by the Missouri Coalition for the Environment, Renew Missouri and the Union of Concerned Scientists (according to the website). But, I’m not entirely clear on which organizations are actually part of the Clean Energy Works for Missouri team because the email lists Missouri Coalition for the Environment, Missouri Votes Conservation, Renew Missouri and the Sierra Club as the organizations that “spearheaded, funded, and staffed the Proposition C campaign” and “are now forming the “Clean Energy Works for Missouri” Collaborative that will continue to move Missouri toward a clean energy future utilizing renewable energy and energy efficiency.

The theme? What’s Next for Clean Energy in Missouri. Taken directly from the email:

What’s Next?

Thanks to our grassroots effort to get Prop C passed, Missouri now has an activated constituency of over 25,000 educated, informed, and enthusiastic clean energy supporters, including you! The passage of Prop C is only the first step toward Missouri’s clean energy future – we have many energy challenges to face and opportunities to advance in 2009. We still need your help.

The first challenge is implementation of Proposition C. Before the law goes into effect, the Public Service Commission (PSC) begins a 12-month rulemaking process. Our partnership of renewable industry and environmental advocates will work diligently to ensure utility lobbyists do not pressure the PSC to dilute the Proposition. We will also watchdog the General Assembly to ensure that there are no legislative efforts to weaken or undercut Proposition C.

Via this email list serve, we will periodically inform you of opportunities so you can help implement Prop C and advance other initiatives important to Missouri’s clean energy future.

Sign up for email updates here.

From what I’ve heard, the opposition was non-existent during the election because of the process mentioned above. The theory is that those opposed will be able to strip the legislation of all substance through the PSC meetings, and with the announcement of St. Louis as the targeted national “clean coal” headquarters, the odds that pressure to dilute Prop C during the PSC hearings has increased. We can’t let this happen. Stay active, stay informed, make some noise!

Prop C, Baby!

Two days left, for a lot of things, but especially for Proposition C in Missouri. My last post was about the measure as is this one. I spent a few hours this morning canvassing with literature outside the Edward Jones prior to the Cardinals @ Rams game.

I believe the Proposition is polling well, upwards of 70% for it, it ain’t over until it’s over. Keep in mind that while this measure would make Missouri the 27th state to have a Renewable Energy Standard, it would be one of the least ambitious standard in these united states. I don’t say that to insult the effort to make this point: if other states can implement more aggressive Renewable Energy Standards, then Missouri should have no problem implementing a more conservative one.

Remember, the RES in Missouri is to require investor-owned utilities to sources 15% of their energy from renewable resources by 2020. Compare that to the measure on the ballot in California. This one requires the state to sources 20% of its energy from renewable resources by 2010. That’s 5% more energy 10 years earlier. Wow!

So please, vote on Tuesday and vote “yes” for Proposition C. Oh yeah, GObama!

A Cleaner, Greener Missouri

I (still) work for a bank. Needless to say, the past few weeks have been tumultuous. Onward and upward. 

With only 47 days left until this country elects its first black president or two people who will further marginalize America on a global scale, we must not forget the other candidates up for election and the issues that will be on the ballot. One issue in particular is the focus of this piece, and that is bringing a Renewable Energy Standard (RES) to Missouri.

I won’t say too much besides that if passed, the standard would require Missouri utilities to gradually increase their use of renewable energy over the next 12 years, ramping up to 15% of Missouri’s electricity by the year 2020. And, if passed, would make Missouri the 27th state to implement some type of RES.

Three organizations are involved in the effort to see this standard implemented:

There’s the team, and a darn good one at that. Remember that this will NOT COST CONSUMERS MORE MONEY. A summary of the Consumer Cost Savings Analysis can be found here (.pdf), and the full report can be found here(.pdf).

Vote or die!

1Sky, Or Too Many?

A friend from Show My Progress sent me a link today to 1Sky, a group that “was created in 2007 to focus the power of millions of concerned Americans on a single goal: bold federal action by 2010 that can reverse global warming.”  Join the movement here.

Currently, the group is recruiting citizens to visit their members of Congress during each House’s respective recess: 4 to September 7 for the House, August 9 to September 7 for the Senate. To register for this I believe you can go here.

Good luck to these folks. I signed up and will do what I can. But, this warrants important questions. How many groups are there like this? And, does the creation of each new one dilute the efforts of the rest? My answers are “too many” and “yes”.

Long-standing groups like the Sierra Club have been fighting the fight for some time. High profile people like Al Gore are making waves internationally. I’m not saying their ideas are better or worse, just that throw in the Apollo Alliance and 1Sky and Green Global and green | rising (no?) and what does the message sound like? A symphony of reason or a bunch of well-meaning people banging pots?

Because I actually give a crap about global warming I try my best to pay attention to the latest efforts. The people who intentionally hate on mother earth are a lost cause, as are the people who don’t have the time to care ’cause America is doing so well right now. Please, take a moment to laugh at the erosion of America’s middle class. My concern is with the people who can’t act because they are overwhelmed by too much data from too many places. These people want to help but where should they start? Who should they listen to? You tell me.

Changing Habits

I received an email from Sierra Club today with a link to a website called 50 Ways to Help the Planet.

The crazy thing is, on the site, “they” give you 50 actual ways to help the planet. Unbelievable!

This isn’t the first published set of green action items, and it won’t be the last, but the lesson to take away from these lists is that they all ask people not to do things differently every now and then. but to change our habits. Only if fundamentally alter our behavior will we change the course we’re on.

The devastating climate change we’re experiencing currently took millions of people and decades to create. Changing to compact fluorescent light bulbs, while helpful, is only a small piece o the puzzle. The 49 others ways to help the planet presented on the list I’ve linked to should also be done by everyone; they must become habits.

Number 8 on the list – Go Vegetarian Once A Week – is the change in lifestyle that can go the furthest, yet is most often ignored by people. The site says, “One less meat-based meal a week helps the planet and your diet. For example: It requires 2,500 gallons of water to produce one pound of beef. You will also also save some trees. For each hamburger that originated from animals raised on rainforest land, approximately 55 square feet of forest have been destroyed.”

Bill Maher talks about vegetarianism on his show frequently, but no one else in the popular media – if HBO can be considered that – ever mentions it. I’ve talked about it time and time again, most recently in reference to an article written in The New York Times by a freakin’ carnivore of all people. And like Mark Bittman, the author of the NYT piece, a realistic real goal for environmentalists should be to get people to eat meat only once a day, not just be vegetarian once a week.

So go check out the site; it has bitchin’ free wallpapers for download and some great t-shirts for purchase.

St. Louis Earth Day 2008 – Renew Missouri SURGE

St. Louis Earth Day celebrations will be held tomorrow in Forest Park. While sustainability, recycling and the like will be on the agenda, the most important happening will be the continued petitioning for signatures for a Renewable Energy Standard (RES) in Missouri.

I wrote about the effort two posts ago but I don’t think enough attention can be given to the issue.  Accordingly, I was happy to see some coverage in the local paper today.

Earth Day represents one of the last big gatherings of like-minded folks at which to gather signatures to get the RES on the ballot in November.  Hopefully Sunday’s surge will actually work.

Climate Action Summit: Local Action Against Global Warming

On March 8, 2008 I attended the Sierra Club / Missouri Coalition for the Environment sponsored Climate Action Summit. I was going to provide a summary of the key points and my thoughts related to them – and still might – but the Missouri Coalition for the Environment put up a summary page on their site that includes audio of each speaker’s presentation plus his or her presentation, if one was used. I’ve reproduced part of the page below so you can see who spoke. You can visit the link above to get more information but check back on this topic because I might still summarize what I learned from each speaker.

  • Henry Robertson, Sierra Club Energy Chair – “Cool Cities and Citizen Action”
  • Dennis Murphey, Kansas City Chief Environmental Officer – “Development and Implementation of the Kansas City Climate Action Plan”
  • Jay Hasheider, Columbia Water & Light – “Energy Conservation and Efficiency for Municipalities”
  • Linda Goldstein, Mayor of Clayton – “Clayton’s Action on Climate Change and U.S. Mayors’ Climate Protection Summit Report”
  • Tim Embree, Assistant to Mayor Francis Slay – “St. Louis’s Action on Climate Change”
  • Rick Hunter, St. Louis Chapter, US Green Building Council – “Green Building Solutions to Combat Climate Change”
  • Liz Forrestal, Missouri Votes Conservation – “Towards a Regional Sustainability Plan”
  • PJ Wilson, Renew Missouri - Optional Info Session on Renewable Electricity Standard (RES) Ballot Initiative. Visit Renew Missouri to get involved.

The Renew Missouri link will take you to a website for the effort to get renewable energy on the ballot this November. Over 20 states have separately mandated a certain percentage of the energy consumed in those states must come from X% renewable resources by certain dates. I believe MO aims to have 15% renewable energy by 2021 but don’t quote me on that. The effort needs 140,000 or so petition signatures by the end of April to get the measure on the ballot. I volunteered to help, though I’ve been admittedly useless to the campaign thus far – aside from this post of course. More on that later.