Tuesday, October 22, 2019

Tell media: Stop accepting fossil fuel advertisements

Petition to major media outlets:
"Stop accepting advertisements in any form from fossil fuel companies and their allies."
Add your name:
Sign the petition ►
Swedish newspaper Dagens ETC used to get almost 20% of its income from fossil fuel advertising. Then the newspaper chose to give it all up for the good of the planet.1
While Dagens ETC is choosing planet over profit, major American media outlets are making the opposite choice — far too many are sponsored by Big Oil and regularly run deceptive advertisements that appear to be news stories or independent op-eds. It's no surprise that these outlets rarely cover climate change news or actively promote dangerous climate deniers.2
When news programs fail to inform Americans about the existential threat of climate change, building the political will for bold action is nearly impossible. We need major media outlets to follow Dagens ETC's lead and reject fossil-fuel advertising, starting now.
It's not just FOX News – almost every major media outlet helps Big Oil spread its propaganda. Chevron, BP and Koch Industries have sponsored POLITICO and Axios, two agenda-setting political outlets widely read on Capitol Hill. Many news companies, including POLITICO, The New York Times and The Washington Post, run "native ads" from fossil-fuel companies that look misleadingly similar to regular newspaper stories or editorial pieces. Viewers who tuned into the Democratic primary debates on cable and network TV saw countless fossil-fuel ads but rarely heard the candidates asked about climate change.3,4
Thanks to this terrible coverage, almost 90% of Americans don’t know that there is a scientific consensus on global warming.5 TV coverage of climate change plunged in 2018 from already-low levels in 2017, according to research by Media Matters. And a slight increase in coverage in 2019 is mostly because of rabid FOX News fear-mongering about the Green New Deal.6 Big Oil's public relations henchmen have bragged in the past about using paid advertising to influence coverage, and fossil-fuel companies' continued willingness to pour money into ads suggests it works.7
Young activists with the group Extinction Rebellion USA recently protested outside the New York Times and demanded that media companies stop accepting fossil-fuel advertising. As one of the strikers wrote, "We will never get the action we need to save our planet when most people still don’t know there is a crisis to begin with."8 It's long past time to ramp up the pressure on the media industry to stop putting fossil fuel profits ahead of the planet we all live on.
Tell major media outlets: Stop accepting fossil fuel advertisements. Click below to sign the petition:
- Heidi Hess, CREDO Action
Add your name:
Sign the petition ►
References:
  1. Sandra Laville, "Swedish newspaper stops taking adverts from fossil fuel firms," The Guardian, Sept. 26, 2019.
  2. Amy Westervelt, "Why Are ‘The New York Times’ and ‘The Washington Post’ Producing Ads for Big Oil?" The Nation, April 22, 2019.
  3. Ibid.
  4. Alexandria Villaseñor, "Why I’m Climate Striking Against Fox News on Friday," The Nation, June 26, 2019.
  5. Ruairí Arrieta-Kenna, "Almost 90% of Americans don’t know there’s scientific consensus on global warming," Vox, July 6, 2017.
  6. Lisa Hymas, "Climate silence was the big problem in 2018. In 2019, we've got new challenges." Media Matters, April 3, 2019.
  7. Westervelt, "Why Are ‘The New York Times’ and ‘The Washington Post’ Producing Ads for Big Oil?"
  8. Villaseñor, "Why I’m Climate Striking Against Fox News on Friday."
More Information 

Oil Companies Are Trying to Rebrand Themselves on Social Media - On Earth 

Monday, October 21, 2019

Public Comment: Don’t Open The Tongass National Forest To Logging


The Tongass National Forest is a temperate rainforest that sequesters more carbon per acre than just about any other forest on the planet. But the Trump Administration wants to open over half of this important habitat to logging and new roads. That’s bad news for the climate, as cutting down all those trees will release their stored carbon and contribute to global heating.

The good news is that the public has a voice. Between now and December 17, the Forest Service is collecting public comments.

You can act on climate by submitting a comment either at the link below or by emailing akroadlessrule@fs.fed.us.

The most effective public comments are unique and personal, but be sure to include that you’re opposed to new roads in this pristine wilderness. 

Alaska Roadless Rulemaking #5451: comment on this project here:


Image credit: Gillfoto

Tell Nestlé to pay farmers a fair minimum price on cocoa


How far would you go for a cheap chocolate treat?

Would you deny cocoa farmers a living wage, leaving them with little choice but to pull their children out of school to work the fields so their family can survive?

Ask Nestlé and Pladis ... Along with French sugar and cocoa trader giant SucDen, the makers of KitKat bars, Godiva chocolates, and McVitie's biscuits won’t support a new policy that would lift millions of farmers out of extreme poverty.

All cocoa farmers worldwide deserve a fair shot and a living income. If this momentum fails, there probably won’t be another opportunity for decades to come. That’s why together, we need to act right now to name and shame the companies who’d rather hoard chocolate profits than ensure their workers are decently paid.

Tell Nestlé, Pladis, and SucDen to support a fair price for cocoa farmers in West Africa and around the world!

The governments of Ghana and Ivory Coast took the historic initiative to work together to raise the minimum cocoa price. If these West African nations that make up 63% of the globe’s cocoa supply succeed, other chocolate-producing countries will likely follow suit.

Farmers in Ghana, the Ivory Coast, Cameroon, Nigeria, Indonesia, Ecuador and a few other countries in Latin America produce almost all of the world’s cocoa, but corporations like Nestlé and Pladis in the 100 billion dollar a year chocolate industry want to get away with paying them pennies for their efforts.

The result of that cost-cutting? When asked this year, Nestlé couldn’t guarantee the chocolate in its KitKat and Aero bars was produced without child labour. This has to end NOW.

Tell Nestlé, Pladis, and SucDen to pay farmers their fair share: Support a fair minimum price on cocoa - worldwide!

This new West African cocoa price -- about $2600 per tonne, more fair for farmers than even Rainforest Alliance -- is a huge step towards keeping chocolate companies’ greed in check and ensuring farmers won’t have to put their kids to work.

Other chocolate giants like Uncommon Cacao and Valhrona have already come out with some support for a better global floor price. Why won’t Nestlé, Pladis, and SucDen do the same?

Chocolate should be a sweet reward to brighten up our day, not a bitter blight on our conscience. As consumers, we have the right to demand better. It worked for us last year, when SumOfUs members like you helped get major chocolate companies to commit to progressive new anti-deforestation policies for cocoa. You helped defend forests from the chocolate industry’s greed. Now, it’s time to defend farmers, too — working for people and planet.

Tell Nestlé, Pladis, and SucDen to pay farmers their fair share: Support a fair minimum price on cocoa - worldwide!


More information

Friday, October 18, 2019

Ay Mariposa, a new film about border wall resistance, premiers at The Loft Cinema on October 26.


On Saturday, October 26 at 2pm, a new documentary about the US-Mexico borderlands will premiere at The Loft Cinema, presented by Sierra Club Borderlands. The film, Ay Mariposa, portrays life on the border, and the struggle of three borderlands residents in the lengthening shadow of the wall.

** Watch the trailer at https://vimeo.com/347416276

The film will be followed by a discussion with Director Krista Schlyer, film stars Zulema Hernandez and Juventina Herrera, and O’odham land and human rights defender Nellie Jo David, moderated by Lupe Sotelo of Latino Outdoors.

The film’s subjects include: Marianna Trevino Wright, Director of the National Butterfly Center; Zulema Hernandez, a Mexican immigrant and life-long migrant farmworker; and the butterfly, a creature fighting for survival in a landscape where more than 95 percent of its habitat is long gone and much of what remains lies directly in the path of the wall.

Ay Mariposa is the work of long-time borderlands documentarian Krista Schlyer and award-winning filmmakers Jenny Nichols and Morgan Heim, who have followed the events unfolding in South Texas since Donald Trump vowed to complete the border barrier that has been under intermittent construction since the 1990s. Schlyer, the film’s director and author of the acclaimed 2012 book Continental Divide: Wildlife, People and the Border Wall, has documented the rise of walls on the United States’ border for more than a decade.

“More than 700 miles of border barriers have been constructed since the 1990s,” Schlyer says. “The completion of the border wall under the Trump administration would seal the fate of some of the most endangered animals in North America, and fundamentally alter the existence of every borderlands resident. Ay Mariposa aims to spark a discussion about the deep emotions that have led us to this moment, and the unacceptable consequences of a border wall.”

Event Details

What: Ay Mariposa Tucson Premiere Screening
When/ Where: Saturday, October 26, 2019, 2:00 pm, The Loft Cinema, 3233 E Speedway, Tucson.

Tickets: Available online at loftcinema.org

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/events/2450940468307718/

Further information:

AyMariposaFilm.com

Sierraclub.org/borderlands

- Dan Millis, Borderlands Program Manager Sierra Club 

Thursday, October 10, 2019

HUD Proposes New Rule That Would Gut the Fair Housing Act


FAIR HOUSING FOR ALL

In the aftermath of Martin Luther King, Jr.'s assassination, Congress passed the Fair Housing Act with broad, bipartisan support in an effort to curtail widespread segregation and discrimination in housing. It is one of the most critical pieces of legislation advancing racial and gender equality. Now, due to a new rule proposed by the Department of Housing and Urban Development, the Fair Housing Act is at risk of losing critical protections.
At stake is the Disparate Impact protection, which says that banks, landlords, and other housing providers should choose policies that apply fairly to all people. The Disparate Impact rule allows us to recognize and prevent unjustified policies that may appear neutral in theory but disproportionately harm certain groups of people – and ensures that everyone can be treated fairly.
Losing critical housing protections is in the interest of no one but big corporations seeking to benefit from imposing discriminatory policies.
If HUD succeeds in eliminating this protection, we could see the following repercussions:
  • A landlord could evict survivors of domestic violence for calling the police to seek protection from their abuser. This would place survivors of domestic violence and their children at risk of homelessness and further violence.
  • A pregnant parent could be forced by their landlord to move out as soon as they give birth under overly restrictive "one person, one bedroom" occupancy requirements.
  • Tenants with prior criminal records could be denied housing due to overly restrictive criminal record bans, which will overwhelmingly harm African American and Latinx men.
  • A landlord could deny housing to anyone with a prior eviction record – regardless of whether the eviction was dismissed, filed on unlawful grounds, or occurred many years ago. These blanket bans disproportionately block access to safe and stable housing for low-income women of color, who face the greatest risk of eviction.
  • A landlord could exclude applicants who don't hold full-time jobs, preventing people with disabilities or seniors from accessing housing even if they can afford it.
Corporate profits should not outweigh our national interest in promoting diversity or our values of equal opportunity.
HUD is accepting public comments on the proposed rule until October 18. That means we have just weeks to fight the rule and show the government that we, the people, demand they protect us – not corporations.


(Consider personalizing it for more impact.) 

To Secretary Ben Carson:

Withdraw the proposed rule gutting protections against housing discrimination. If implemented, the rule will jeopardize housing access for people of color, survivors of domestic violence, people with disabilities, and many more.

- American Civil Liberties Union

More Information:

The Department of Housing and Urban Development Propose New Rule Aimed At Weakening Ability to File Discrimination Claims - Lawyers' Committee for Civil Rights Under Law - August 19, 2019

Wednesday, October 9, 2019

Tell Democrats: Stand with Puerto Rico against debt vultures

Petition to 2020 Democratic presidential candidates:
"Return donations from employees of hedge funds invested in Puerto Rico's debt and commit to ending the Financial Oversight and Management Board's control over the economic life of the island"
Add your name:
Sign the petition ►
The vulture funds that are terrorizing the people of Puerto Rico already donated more than $231,000 to 2020 Democratic candidates. Even though the damage the firms are inflicting on Puerto Rico is clear, only Sens. Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren have returned the firms' donations.1What hedge funds are doing to Puerto Rico is despicable. The Wall Street hedge funds, known as vulture funds, that own Puerto Rico's debts are forcing the island to close schools and cut budgets to line their own pockets. Their main tool is an unelected Financial Oversight Management Board, known as the junta, that is imposing brutal austerity on the island to serve the interest of Wall Street over the Puerto Rican people.
Puerto Ricans fighting for their island's future are demanding an end to the junta and for 2020 Democrats to return vulture fund contributions.2  We need to stand in solidarity and echo their demands.
Four hundred public schools have been closed. Local government budgets were slashed by $150 million so far, and another $220 million in cuts are planned. The University of Puerto Rico's budget was cut in half. Those massive cuts are going to the vulture funds that buy up debt for pennies on the dollar and demand repayment in full. These Wall Street vulture funds are costing lives and creating suffering to line their own pockets.3
The heroes of the resistance in Puerto Rico are the people who are rising up against this despicable state of affairs, including by ousting corrupt Gov. Ricardo Rosselló.
Top recipients of vulture fund cash include Michael Bennet ($49,800), Beto O'Rourke ($28,750), John Delaney ($26,300), Joe Biden ($25,350) and Pete Buttigieg ($21,350). Sens. Kamala Harris ($15,500), who co-sponsored a Warren-Sanders bill to cancel Puerto Rico's debts, and Cory Booker ($23,300), who signed a letter demanding the end of the junta, have also not yet returned donations. Sanders and Warren joined other progressive champions in the House of Representatives and Senate in a letter demanding an end to the junta's control over Puerto Rico.4,5
Our friends at the Center for Popular Democracy, Make the Road Action, Vamos4PR Action, New York Communities for Change, Hedge Clippers, Boricuas Unidos en la Diáspora and many more are demanding that 2020 Democrats return dirty money from Puerto Rico vulture funds. As their letter to the candidates puts it so clearly: “You can either stand with the people of Puerto Rico or with the hedge funds that have harmed Puerto Rico. You can’t do both.”6
Tell 2020 Democrats: Stand with Puerto Rico. Click below to sign the petition:
Heidi Hess, CREDO Action
Add your name:
Sign the petition ►
References:
  1. David Dayen, "Hedge Fund Cash Flows to Presidential Candidates—at Puerto Rico’s Expense," The American Prospect, Aug. 22, 2019.
  2. Kate Aronoff and Alleen Brown, "Sanders and Ocasio-Cortez call for reversal of Puerto Rico austerity measures," The Intercept, Sep. 24, 2019.
  3. Dayen, "Hedge Fund Cash Flows to Presidential Candidates—at Puerto Rico’s Expense."
  4. Aronoff and Brown, "Sanders and Ocasio-Cortez call for reversal of Puerto Rico austerity measures."
  5. Dayen, "Hedge Fund Cash Flows to Presidential Candidates—at Puerto Rico’s Expense."
  6. Ibid.

Monday, October 7, 2019

Stop Betsy DeVos from sabotaging investigations


Petition to Congress:
"Pass the Protecting Student Aid Act of 2019."
Add your name:
Sign the petition ►
In 2015, Corinthian Colleges collapsed and left deceived students stuck with debt but no degrees. In the wake of the scandal, the Obama administration created a new team within the Department of Education – the Student Aid Enforcement Unit – to police the billions in grants and loans administered each year. By the time Obama left office, the unit had a dozen attorneys and investigators working around the clock.1,2
Then Betsy DeVos happened.
DeVos spent the last three years sabotaging the investigations unit to make sure scam artists and predatory for-profit schools get a free pass.3 Now, progressives in the House of Representatives have a plan to undo DeVos's damage and protect students, and they need our help.
One of the main targets of the investigative team was . In 2016, DeVry settled with the Department of Education and the Federal Trade Commission and agreed to pay $100 million in damages to the students it defrauded and deceived. When DeVos arrived on the scene, the investigations office was looking into a number of for-profit giants, including DeVry, for deceptive practices, claims about graduates getting jobs and misleading advertising.4
DeVos quickly sabotaged the investigations by reassigning and marginalizing staff, and instructing them to narrow their focus. Today, only three investigators remain, processing applications and engaging in small compliance inquiries. Worst of all, DeVos actually hired the former DeVry dean Julian Schmoke, to oversee the new, toothless investigation team.5
House progressives are fighting back. Reps. Ayanna Pressley, Rashida Tlaib and Donna Shalala teamed up on the Protecting Student Aid Act of 2019, which would make the Student Aid Enforcement Unit official and give it the congressional mandate – along with staff and funding – it needs to do this necessary work.6
Students are nothing but dollar signs to Betsy DeVos and her for-profit college pals. We need tough action to confront her seemingly corrupt appeasement of the most predatory industries within higher education – and that means pointing out that progressives are leading the way.
Stand with House progressives: Stop Betsy DeVos from sabotaging investigations. Click below to sign the petition:
Heidi Hess, CREDO Action
Add your name:
Sign the petition ►
References:
  1. U.S. Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions, "Murray, Senators Denounce Move By Secretary DeVos to End Investigations and Office Responsible for Protecting Students from Predatory Colleges," May 24, 2018.
  2. Danielle Ivory, Erica L. Green and Steve Eder, "Education Department Unwinds Unit Investigating Fraud at For-Profits," The New York Times, May 13, 2018.
  3. Ibid.
  4. Ibid.
  5. Ibid.
  6. Rep. Ayanna Pressley, "Reps. Pressley, Shalala, and Tlaib introduce the Protecting Student Aid Act of 2019," Sep. 20, 2019.