Supporting the Solar Incentive Bill HB2346 in Senate

The Solar Extension bill HB 2346 is alive and is now in the Senate.  It supports the Solar industry in Washington state by helping to make an installation more affordable up front.

The Bill will have a committee (Senate Energy, Environment and solar-panels-on-roof-3Telecommunications Committee)  hearing on Wednesday, February 24.  To get out of this committee and on to Ways and Means then Senate floor, we need to stress the jobs and good for the economy message.  Please contact your state senator and let them know you support the Solar Extension bill as it encourages this industry and will help create new jobs in Washington state.  You can call your senator/reps at  1-800-562-6000 and ask them to support HB2346.  You can also email by looking them up here:  http://app.leg.wa.gov/DistrictFinder/.

This weekend many reps and Senators are having Town Hall Discussions.  This is another great place to ask for support for great legislation such as HB2346.  The jobs and economy message will resonate with Senators more than an environmental message.  The bill passed the house with bipartisan support, so with the right encouragement there is a good chance it will also pass the senate.

Thank you for considering this action.  Please spread the word, constituent voices are very influential!

The terrorists in our midst

They live amongst us, pretending to be normal people.

But each year they kill over 35,000 Americans.

They poison our air and damage our health, causing asthma, lung disease, cancer, and cardiovascular disease.

They finance ISIS and Al Qaeda.

They lead us to fight wars.

They cause catastrophic climate change.

They destroy the livability of our cities.

They lower our real estate values.

They waste our time.

Who are these domestic terrorists?

They’re car drivers, commuters, you and me (though I always commute by bike or bus).

Driving is like smoking in a nursery

The World Health Organization reports that every year there are about 7 million premature deaths due to air pollution.

The Union of Concerned Scientists says:

Nearly one half of all Americans—an estimated 150 million—live in areas that don’t meet federal air quality standards. Passenger vehicles and heavy-duty trucks are the main sources of this pollution, which includes ozone, particulate matter, and other smog-forming emissions.

The health risks of air pollution are extremely serious. Poor air quality increases respiratory ailments like asthma and bronchitis, heightens the risk of life-threatening conditions like cancer, and burdens our health care system with substantial medical costs. Particulate matter is singlehandedly responsible for up to 30,000 premature deaths each year.

Passenger vehicles are a major pollution contributor, producing significant amounts of nitrogen oxides, carbon monoxide, and other pollution. In 2013, transportation contributed more than half of the carbon monoxide and nitrogen oxides, and almost a quarter of the hydrocarbons emitted into our air.

Fewer than 5000 people have died due to terrorism in America since the 1960s. But each year seven times as many people die in car crashes.

The U.S. has more than three times the road fatality rate per capita as the United Kingdom (11.6 deaths per 100,000 people versus 3.5) and more than  twice the road fatality rate per vehicle (13.6 per 100,000  vehicles versus 6.2).   “In the 1990s, the United Kingdom dropped its road fatalities by 34 percent. The United States managed a 6.5% reduction. Why the difference? It was mostly speed …. While the United Kingdom was introducing speed cameras, the United States was resisting cameras and raising speed limits.” [Traffic — Why We Drive the Way We Do (and What It Says About Us), by Tom Vanderbilt, 2008]

 

Hey Drivers, Your filth fouls my lungs. Take a bus or carpool.

Admittedly, for some drivers there’s no feasible alternative to traveling by car.  But for many of the people on our road, carpooling or riding the bus is quite feasible and would allow them to read, nap, and avoid stress.  But people want to drive because of the convenience and because it saves them some time.  But at what cost to our health, our economy, our foreign policy, and the quality of our lives?

CarbonWA the heck is going on?

As you may have heard, the Alliance for Jobs and Clean Energy announced yesterday that they intend to file a ballot measure next year. (The single best article on the topic is Jim Brunner’s “Second group plans state initiative on climate change” in the Seattle Times.) Although this conflict has been simmering since our joint statement with the Alliance back in May, the combination of our signature-gathering success and the Alliance’s announcement has raised a whole lot of questions, the principal one being “What the heck is going on?” (Or, as the subject line suggests, “WA the heck is going on?”)

The purpose of this email is to try to describe the current landscape as best we can. We may know more after a meeting with the Alliance that is scheduled for later this afternoon, and we will have even more to say in a few days, but for now here are some Frequently Asked Questions and their answers to the best of our abilities (and note that we sent a draft of these FAQs to Alliance director Lisa MacLean and three other Alliance leaders to ask for any factual edits; we will post any updates here and as needed in future email blasts, again with the goal of describing the current landscape as best we can):

Q1: What the heck is going on? As we described a year ago, there are two potential paths to climate action. One is a revenue-neutral bipartisan approach like Carbon Washington’s. The other is a revenue-positive approach like the Alliance’s. Carbon Washington has been pushing forward on our approach, and the Alliance has been pushing forward on theirs, and now the continental plates are inching towards each other.

Q2: What is the Alliance’s policy? The Alliance’s press release notes that they are “working closely to establish the final details of the policy during the remaining months of 2015”, but what comes across in the press release is that (1) it’s going to involve a price on carbon and (2) it’s going to be revenue-positive, with funds “invested in accelerating the transition to a clean energy economy and addressing the impacts of carbon pollution on our air, land and people”. That could mean a carbon tax, or it could mean cap-and-trade, or it could even mean cap-without-trade (the so-called “cap-and-jail” option). We will have to wait for additional details from the Alliance, and we promise to share them with you when we have them (including whatever information we learn at today’s meeting that we are allowed to make public).

Q3: Isn’t it too late for the Alliance to begin collecting signatures for a ballot measure? No. There are two initiative paths to the November 2016 ballot. Carbon Washington is pursuing an Initiative to the Legislature: we have been gathering signatures this year for I-732, and those signatures are due by the end of the year. Once we qualify, I-732 will go to the state legislature in January 2016 and then (if they don’t pass it) to the voters in November 2016. In contrast, the Alliance intends to file an Initiative to the People, which involves filing in early 2016 and then collecting signatures until early July in order to put their measure on the ballot in November 2016.

Q4: So there might be two measures on the ballot in November 2016? Yes. To add an additional wrinkle, Carbon Washington must turn in signatures for our Initiative to the Legislature (I-732) before the end of the year, and the Alliance cannot file their Initiative to the People measure until after the new year begins.

Q5: What happens if both measures are on the ballot? It depends on the yet-to-be-announced details of the Alliance’s policy, and it depends on how the voting public views the issue. The fear is that confusion and conflict between the two measures will doom them both, which is why Carbon Washington and the Alliance issued a joint statement in May saying that we “we are committed to avoiding two competing carbon pollution-pricing measures on the ballot in November 2016”. But if there are two competing measures on the ballot then it’s also possible that both measures will pass, and if that happens then the odds are that they will be able to legally co-exist: I-732 would put a price on carbon and reduce existing taxes, and the Alliance’s measure would put an additional price on carbon, with funds invested in mitigation and adaption through the details they are currently working out.

Q6: What happens next? Carbon Washington and the Alliance will meet later today and we will report as much as we can as soon as we can. Until then we will say what we have said many times before: If you support the Alliance then God bless you and go support them. (You can even pledge to collect signatures in 2016!) And if you support Carbon Washington then keep your eye on the ball: to a surprising degree the situation today is essentially the same as it was six months ago, with CarbonWA pushing a detailed policy proposal and the Alliance making noises about climate action but not providing much in the way of detail. So if you’ve been collecting signatures for CarbonWA then we hope you will continue to collect signatures, and if you have been donating to CarbonWA then we hope you will continue to donate, knowing that we’re all on the same team and hence that we all have an incentive to move forward in a way that advances the cause of climate action.

Q7: Anything else? Yes, here’s a message from campaign co-director Kyle Murphy: “Our campaign belongs to everyone who has donated money, joined a chapter, gathered signatures for us, and helped to take I-732 to the cusp of making the ballot, which is where we find ourselves today. So let us know what you think about this announcement from the Alliance and provide any feedback you have for those of us at CarbonWA HQ as we carry on.” If you want to take Kyle up on his request you can email him directly at kyle [at] carbonwa.org. You can of course also email me, and you should also be able to post comments on the blog.

The "Poison Pill" and the Carbon Tax

The transportation bill passed by the Washington State Senate contains an infamous “poison pill” provision that would move public transit and other multi-modal funding to the roads account if the state passes a low carbon fuel standard. (See http://www.thestand.org/2015/03/fix-fatal-flaws-in-transportation-package/ for background.)

The poison pill was inserted by State Senate Republicans to please the Koch Brothers and other fossil fuel industry backers of the GOP, as well as to stymie Governor Inslee’s green energy agenda.

Late last month, Governor Inslee agreed to existence of the poison pill as a condition for getting a deal made.

But the state House needs to agree on identical language. So far, some progressive House members are refusing to accept the poison pill, while some Republican House members are refusing to go along with the 11.7 cent rise in the gas tax.  See Solving or At Least Understanding the Gridlock in Olympia for details.

(By the way, the budget and transportation package agreed to by the Senate raise taxes on the poor and the middle class, while not raising taxes on the coddled rich.)

But if the poison pill is the only blocker for the progressives, perhaps they should relent, because there’s an excellent alternative that appears not to be subject to the poison pill. The revenue neutral carbon tax promoted by CarbonWA, with bipartisan support, is not a low carbon fuel standard and so apparently wouldn’t trigger the fund transfer.

CarbonWA and its supporters are gathering signatures for initiative I-732 that they hope will appear on the November, 2016 ballot.  There are many reasons why a carbon tax makes more sense than Cap and Trade or a Low Carbon Fuel Standard.

Carbon WA news

Legislative language on the home stretch: One of our winter deliverables was to finalize our legal language, so here’s an annotated copy of another new draft following our legal team meeting earlier this week. The tweaks from the previous version were fairly minor, so we expect the ballot title to be similar to the ballot title that just arrived from the Secretary of State’s office for our previous version: Initiative Measure No. 1397 concerns taxes. This measure would impose a tax on certain fossil fuels and electricity generated by fossil fuels, phase in a one-percentage-point sales tax reduction, reduce certain business taxes, and increase a sales tax exemption. Should this measure be enacted into law? Yes [ ] No [ ]. More generally, we are making good progress towards being able to file a final version on March 11, the first day that we can file our Initiative to the Legislature. The Secretary of State’s process takes about a month, so signature-gathering will begin in early/mid April.

Bellingham: Kyle Murphy and Ben Silesky will be in Bellingham this Friday and Saturday, so if you are located in/near Bellingham and want to connect, email Kyle@carbonwa.org to set up a time! Also check out the pretty hilarious post I wrote last year for Sightline about whether the BC carbon tax is successful because all the Canadians are filling up their tanks in Bellingham. (The short answer is No.)

Other events: I’ll be part of CityClub’s March Civic Cocktail on W March 4, and Duncan and Kyle are scheduled to be part of an event at Bainbridge Art Museum that same evening. Then the CCL Greater Pacific Northwest Regional Conference is coming up March 7-8 in Seattle; CarbonWA will be tabling and I’ll be doing my comedy-and-carbon-taxes routine on Saturday March 7. Earlier that day Ben Silesky will be at the South Sound Sustainability Expo in Tacoma. Cliff Mass will be at Seattle Town Hall on W March 11, and I’ll be at Town Hall on M March 16 for a panel on “Putting a price on Washington’s climate pollution” with KC Golden, Todd Myers, and Nicole Keenan. Further afield it looks like I’ll be in Spokane around April 15, Whidbey Island around April 22, Bremerton on April 25, and Bainbridge Island around April 29, so email me if you want to organize events or a house party while I’m in town! Details on most upcoming events are here.

Readings: Our friends at Oregon Climate have a nifty new 5-minute video, so check it out on the Oregon Climate homepage, or watch here:

Also Todd Myers of the Washington Policy Center has a video describing cap-and-trade (and why he’s against it, all in less than 2 minutes!). Ian Adams of R Street has a post that should be especially thought-provoking for CCL folks: “The difference between wanting a carbon tax and getting one.” Somehow that dynamic seems to be missing from the state transportation discussion, where Senate Republicans introduced a “poison pill” that eliminates funding for transit, pedestrians, and bicyclists if Governor Inslee introduces a Low Carbon Fuel Standard (LCFS) via executive order. Richard Davis also argues against the LCFS in the Seattle Times, and in doing so he has nice things to say about how the CarbonWA carbon tax would be better than an LCFS… but so far the oil companies can’t manage to translate their theoretical support for carbon pricing into practical support. Elsewhere, “Sea-Tac Airport tells of need for expansion”, and Clean Energy Canada has a report based on BC’s experience called “How to adopt a winning carbon price”; they have a handy summary in “How B.C. brought in a carbon tax without tears”.

CarbonWA is hiring! Our campaign co-directors Kyle Murphy and Duncan Clauson are assembling a team of talented organizers to help us build a strong volunteer network, get the word out about CarbonWA, and collect signatures. We are open to candidates across the state, but we are especially interested in hiring in the greater Puget Sound region. More details in this job posting (PDF), please share widely! Applications and inquires can be directed to Kyle@carbonwa.org.

As always comments welcome on the blog or via Facebook and Twitter.

News from CarbonWA

Campaign co-directors: We are delighted to announce that Kyle Murphy and Duncan Clauson will be starting on February 1 as campaign co-directors! Kyle, who worked last year as Field Director for the Yes for Seattle Transit campaign, will focus on Organizing; Duncan, who has an MPA from the UW Evans School of Public Affairs, will focus on Operations. Both have already been working hard on the campaign as volunteers, and as full-time paid staff they will follow in the footsteps of our previous stellar staffers Claire Meints and Kristy Royce. You can reach Kyle and Duncan at kyle@carbonwa.org and duncan@carbonwa.org, but please note that they don’t start full-time until the first of February!

Media and readings: One of our eight winter deliverables is to become part of the conversation, and as evidence that we’re succeeding note that our carbon tax effort was highlighted in the first question of this Grist interview with Governor Inslee. The governor took a little jab at carbon taxes—“Don’t bring a feather to a knife fight”—and as we build momentum we can expect more jabs. (See here and here and here for additional examples, the last two being responses to pieces like “How B.C. does climate policy right” from Matt Horne of Pembina and the amazing editorial on “Why Stephen Harper should love carbon taxes” in the Globe and Mail: “Aspiring politicians outside of BC, book yourself a plane ticket, and go visit your future.”)

Now, it’s not for CarbonWA to get into a back-and-forth with the governor about carbon taxes v. cap-and-trade—CarbonWA is the relief pitcher, and the relief pitcher doesn’t criticize the starting pitcher!—but we will provide evidence supporting the effectiveness of our policy, so if you’re interested please check out my two new research posts: “Carbon taxes are better than you think (Part I: Transportation)” and “Carbon taxes are even better than you think (Part II: Electricity)”.

Other readings for the week include Cliff Mass’s “What should Governor Inslee do about climate change?”, Sara Cate’s “Saturday Soapbox” in the Yakima Herald, Sustainable West Seattle’s Andy Silber on an “Alternative approach to climate change negotiations”, conservative columnist Charles Krauthammer’s “Raise the gas tax. A lot” in the Washington Post, and these three pieces from carbon pricing advocates in Oregon. Also, Governor Inslee’s bill has been officially introduced as SB 5283 / HB 1314… and the state Senate voted in a rule change that apparently requires a two-thirds supermajority in the Senate to pass the governor’s proposal.

Materials: Another one of our eight winter deliverables is to update our website and materials. This is something that Duncan will be spearheading when he comes on board full-time, but for now I want to post (and encourage feedback on) this PPT presentation (based on my UW panel presentation last week) and on our 2-page brochure (which as you’ll see is intended to be printed and folded in half).

Endorsements: We are delighted to announce endorsements from the Washingotn State UU Voices for Justice and from Climate Action Bainbridge (formerly Coal Free Bainbridge). They join other endorsers like Olympic Climate Action, whose annual membership event is coming up Feb 8 in Port Angeles. Some of these groups have endorsed both CarbonWA and the governor’s effort and we think that’s terrific and are excited to pick up additional endorsements in the weeks ahead!

Events: I (Yoram Bauman) will be at the Earth Care Summit in Portland this weekend and am tentatively meeting folks in Vancouver WA this Sunday, so email me (yoram@carbonwa.org) if you want to join in! In Olympia, CarbonWA’s Akua Asare-Konadu and Thad Curtz will be presenting on Saturday Jan 31 as part of a Carbon Fee Forum co-sponsored by Olympia FOR’s Climate Group and Climate Solutions. And for folks in Bellingham, I know that CarbonWA’s Ben Silesky is planning a visit on T night Jan 27, so email him (ben@carbonwa.org) for details. As for Seattle, I have presentations on W Jan 28 (I’ll be doing my comedy-and-carbon-tax talk as part of Climate Week at the UU Church) and other talks in the weeks ahead at Seward Park Audubon and Pinchot University, plus the UW panel discussion I was part of last week was so successful that it’s going to be repeated at Town Hall on M March 16. Details on all our events here! And if you want to support Governor Inslee’s bill then there’s a hearing in Olympia on T Jan 27 at 1:30pm; details and more info from Climate Solutions or EPC.

As always comments welcome on the blog or via Facebook and Twitter.

Activists Confront Keystone XL Threat

May17AuburnWA03I recently joined hundreds of other activists on a video chat hosted by 350.org to discuss recent developments in the saga of the hotly debated and much delayed construction of the Keystone XL pipeline. As you probably know by now, TransCanada wants to build the KXL pipeline to transport diluted bitumen (dilbit) from the tar sands of northern Alberta across the US Midwest heartland to the Gulf Coast for sale on the global oil market. TransCanada needs approval from the US State Department and President Obama to construct a pipeline across the US/Canada border. The approval process has been stalled for years due to persistent grassroots opposition and in recent months held up due to a lawsuit brought by landowners in Nebraska who successfully argued in lower courts that the planned route of the pipeline was illegally drawn and granted the builders improper use of eminent domain. While waiting for the Nebraska Supreme Court to decide whether to uphold the lower court’s decision, the permit for the pipeline’s path through South Dakota expired leaving the oil giant facing the dilemma of having no legal route for the pipeline while oil prices on the global market are plummeting cutting into their profit margin for a product that is the most expensive (and filthiest) fossil fuel to extract, transport and refine.

The most recent bit of political drama in this ongoing saga was played out in the lame duck Congress when Mary Landrieu, the embattled Democratic Senator from Louisiana, bet the catfish farm on a Hail Mary attempt to pass a bill that would have approved construction of the Keystone pipeline. The bill was defeated by a razor-thin margin of one vote, and Landrieu lost her seat in a December run-off to Republican challenger Bill Cassidy. 350.org credits this victory to citizen activists who made phone calls to fence-sitting senators as well as Occupy-style sit-ins at the offices of Senators Tom Carper of Delaware and Michael Bennet of Colorado at which 350 DC activists were arrested.

KleebOrganizer for 350.org Duncan Meisel introduced Jane Kleeb, Executive Director of Bold Nebraska. Kleeb informed listeners that the Nebraska Supreme Court decision could come soon, and expressed the belief that whatever the Court decides, the outcome will be bad for TransCanada. If the lower court decision is upheld, there is no legal route for the pipeline through Nebraska, but even if they strike down the lower court, the lawsuit has shone a light on risks to the environment that reveal shortcomings and omissions in the State Department’s Environmental Impact Statement which could solidify grassroots opposition and give Obama some political cover for a decision to reject the pipeline. One other possibility is that the Supreme Court could decide that the landowners do not have standing as plaintiffs and that could cause more delays and uncertainly in a legal process that has already held up the pipeline for several months. Kleeb is encouraged that President Obama has recently stated that building the pipeline poses catastrophic environmental risks while offering few jobs or other economic benefit and takes these statements as an indication that the President is poised to reject the pipeline outright if it lands on his desk, as seems likely to happen in the near future.

GoodtoothNext to speak was Dallas Goldtooth, Keystone XL Campaigner at the Indigenous Environmental Network. He described the situation in South Dakota where indigenous Lakota, Dakota and Sioux have strong legal and moral standing in opposing the re-permitting of the pipeline route through their lands. A hearing on January 6, 2015 could see TransCanada’s appeal to extend the permit dismissed on the grounds that the tribes were not properly consulted in the permitting process, a right that is established in federal law and the importance of which was recently cited in a speech by Interior Secretary Sally Jewell. If the permit is not extended, a lengthy new feasibility study would be required, giving both native and non-native landowners the opportunity to make their voices and opposition to the tar sands projects heard. Goldtooth and Meisel stressed that tar sands extraction is a vicious process that lays waste to pristine boreal wilderness, endangers wildlife, and is also destructive to human health and society as well. The increase in violence against women near the “man camps” similar projects have already created is a serious problem that bears consideration in the approval process.

Sara Shor, 350.org Keystone XL Campaign Manager, pointed out that Mitch McConnell, who will be Senate Majority Leader in 2015, has pledged to bring up another vote to approve the Keystone XL. We can expect such a bill to be tied to must-pass legislation in the manner seen with partisan give-away riders that were attached to the so-called CRomnibus bill in early December. Any such action, in addition to events unfolding in Nebraska and South Dakota, could trigger calls for activists to participate in anti-KXL actions all across the country and at very short notice. The NoKXL Pledge of Resistance, for instance, is prepared to engage in broadly distributed acts of civil disobedience as soon as the decision lands on the President’s desk. Asked what would happen if, despite all the efforts to oppose the Keystone XL, President Obama does approve the pipeline, Shor replied, “All hell will break loose. This pipeline is not getting built.”

Emboldened by the success of efforts to defeat Mary Landrieu’s last minute legislative maneuvers, opponents of the Keystone XL pipeline such as 350.org and their allies are confident that they have the know-how to handle whatever is thrown at them in the next 2 to 3 months, and they are calling on like-minded folks to join them and build their capacity for effective grassroots action. Visit any of the following websites for more information and to offer your support.

350.org – Stop Keystone XL Team: http://350.org/kxlteam

 

Bold Nebraska: http://boldnebraska.org

 

Indigenous Environmental Network: http://nokxldakota.org

 

NoKXL Pledge of Resistance: http://nokxl.org

Al Gore Praises Inslee's Climate Plan

At the Seattle Westin today, Al Gore spoke to a full banquet room at a fundraiser for Jay Inslee. Gore offered praise for the Washington Governor’s much vaunted plan to combat global warming. Inslee has proposed putting a price on carbon, improving public transportation, encouraging energy efficiency, and increasing use of solar power and electric cars. It remains to be seen how much of this agenda can come to fruition with Republicans still in control of the State Senate.

Nonetheless, it is worth noting that taking a strong stand on addressing the climate crisis has now become an effective campaign fundraising technique. Not so long ago, such a topic would have earned barely a mention from an elected official with such a high profile as Inslee. Gore, author of An Inconvenient Truth, Earth in the Balance, and other books calling for action to address climate change as well as founder of The Climate Reality Project, called Washington’s Governor the best of all U.S. governors on this critically important issue.

While giving a nod to the importance of fully funding education as mandated by the McCleary decision, Inslee spoke at length about his plans to find “market-driven” solutions to the problem of reducing carbon emissions, telling the crowd of likely Democratic donors the importance of seeing the current crisis as not just a danger to be averted but as an opportunity for Washington State to lead the nation and the world in 21st Century green energy technologies, drawing on our State’s history as a leader in the aerospace and software industries. Gore recited a familiar litany of dire predictions of climate chaos, but he also pivoted to a more hopeful message: the cost of clean energy technologies is dropping at rates much faster than predicted just five years ago. When the former Vice President spoke of the lower cost and higher efficiency of solar panels, a couple at my table who had recently installed solar panels on their home gave each other a quiet high-five. (They also told me that homeowners buying solar panels from a Washington State based company can look to having the cost recouped in the form of lower power bills in no more than five years.)

p4pBut while Gore and Inslee were inspirational, the star of the day was 9 year-old Abby Snodgrass, a member of Plant for the Planet, who has taken it upon herself to help in the effort to plant “a thousand billion trees”. She believes children planting one million trees in every country on earth could offset CO2 emissions all on their own, while adults are still talking about doing it. Each tree binds a CO2 intake of 10 kg per year. Abby called on all the adults to follow her example and choose not to be a bystander just because the climate problem seems too big to solve. Abby is right. The message of the day is that we will never solve the problem of global warming by doing nothing. The scope of the problem requires all of us to work together. The plan put forward by Governor Inslee won’t solve the problem by itself, but like Abby planting dozens of trees, it’s a meaningful step in the right direction.

Inspire Seattle: The Political Mind, Climate Crisis, and A New Science of Social Change

Inspire Seattle

InspireSeattle invites YOU to join us at our Social Forum: Saturday, October 4th at 6:30PM.

Main discussion topic for this evening: The Political Mind, Climate Crisis, and A New Science of Social Change

Have you ever wondered how popular support for sensible gun laws, universal health care, and financial reforms that serve the majority of people continually fails to deliver policy outcomes in America? Yes, there is systemic corruption in the U.S. Congress. But this doesn’t explain why the people are unable to reclaim our democracy.

Answers that work will require that we look within ourselves — at the workings of the political mind and the power of language for shaping the debate. The great linguist, George Lakoff, has brought attention to the vital role that cognitive science plays in this effort. Together we will look at the findings from this cross-cutting synthesis of studies in psychology, neuroscience, anthropology, and related fields to see how our political minds work.

We will then apply these findings to one of the most “wicked problems” facing humanity — the climate crisis brought on by human activities that threaten the future of our global civilization. We explore the moral beliefs, social values, and broad perceptions that have hindered collective action in the past. And we will explore a new science of social change that may be the vital missing piece that has kept our democracies here and around the world from functioning up till now.

Please join us for this important discussion!

Guest Speaker:

Joe Brewer, Culture Designer:

Joe is the Founder of Cognitive Policy Works and a protégé of linguist, George Lakoff. He has three bachelors degrees in physics, mathematics, and interdisciplinary studies and a masters in atmospheric sciences. He is a complexity researcher, innovation strategist, experience designer, and serial social entrepreneur who brings a wealth of expertise to the adoption of sustainable solutions at the cultural scale. Among his notable achievements are the creation of an undergraduate degree program in Earth Systems, Environment and Society at the University of Illinois and design of new collaboration protocols for strategic communications among European NGO’s with WWF-UK and Oxfam, Great Britain. He was an active member of the Center for Complex Systems Research from 2001 to 2005, where he studied pattern formation in self-organizing systems. He was a research fellow at the Rockridge Institute in 2007-08 analyzing political discourse in the United States. He contracted with the International Centre for Earth Simulation in Geneva in 2010-11 to help build a globally-focused high performance computing facility dedicated to holistic simulations of the dynamic Earth. His experiences as a social entrepreneur and cross-disciplinary scholar weave together a combination of skills dedicated to open collaboration, interactive design, and empowered civic action for catalyzing change toward greater resilience in our turbulent world.

Learn more at one of his websites:

http://www.cognitivepolicyworks.com and http://www.changestrategistforhumanity.com

Follow him on Twitter at @cognitivepolicy

See minutes and photos from our last gathering (Obamacare, May 31st) at

http://www.inspireseattle.org/minutes/053114.html]

About InspireSeattle:

InspireSeattle is a progressive network of Seattle-area people sharing ideas and supporting action. InspireSeattle’s vision is to create connection throughout our community and better community through activism. InspireSeattle’s mission is to provide a fun, supportive gathering for people who care deeply about our community, our country and our planet. We embrace progressive policies that improve our society and protect our environment. We discuss current issues, share ideas and activism efforts while striving to inspire additional action. Subscribe (or unsubscribe) to InspireSeattle by visiting www.inspireseattle.org/contact.html.

When: Saturday, October 4th at 6:30PM. Please try to be on time!!!

Where: Bill and Emily’s place, 1640 S. Lane St., Seattle WA 98144, 206-324-3232.

Google map: http://goo.gl/maps/hu7bf

Directions:

1640 S Lane Street

324-3232

(one block north of Dearborn, one block east of Rainier)

Entrance to 1640 S Lane StreetPark on 18th Ave S, between Lane and Weller Streets.Access to the house is down the alley between Lane and Weller Streets, walking west towards Rainier Ave S. The alley dead ends at the house. Blue and steel siding. Metal steps to door…

Format

It’s a potluck: so please help out and bring something to eat and to drink!

6:30 to 7:45: Social time! Eat, drink, relax, and catch up with some other local progressives

Formal discussion and guest speakers, 7:45 to 9:30

Other Announcements – got any?

Rules of Engagement!

1. So that everyone has a chance to participate, please keep your comments short

2. Raise one’s hand to ask a question in lieu of shouting out

3. Respect the points of views of others

4. No arguing of politics during the formal discussion – save that for afterwards!