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CALC Earns BRING’s RE:think Business Certification

 

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CALC has been awarded certification from BRING’s RE:think Business program for taking steps to reduce waste and save resources!

Since March of 2016, we’ve been working one-on-one with a sustainability management expert. Through BRING’s RE:think Business program, CALC has identified and achieved several conservation measures, including improvements to our recycling, composting, and energy management systems.

Our mission is to advance peace and justice, and at CALC we believe that environmental responsibility is critical to that mission. We’re so proud to be recognized by BRING for our sustainability efforts. We’ve always been passionate about recycling here, but BRING’s consultant showed us how to take it even further, with minimal effort and zero expense – in fact, we’re saving money on our energy bills!

#REthinkBusiness

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CALC Then and Now

 

 

 

 

Global Warming’s Unacknowledged Threat—The Pentagon

Global Warming’s Unacknowledged Threat—The Pentagon

By Gar Smith / Environmentalists Against War

During the November 15 Democratic Presidential Debate, Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders sounded an alarm that “climate change is directly related to the growth of terrorism.” Citing a CIA study, Sanders warned that countries around the world are “going to be struggling over limited amounts of water, limited amounts of land to grow their crops and you’re going to see all kinds of international conflict.”

On November 8, the World Bank predicted that climate change is on track to drive 100 million people into poverty by 2030. And, in March, a National Geographic study linked climate change to the conflict in Syria: “A severe drought, worsened by a warming climate, drove Syrian farmers to abandon their crops and flock to cities, helping trigger a civil war that has killed hundreds of thousands of people.”

The sobering insight that climate change can accelerate violence should weigh heavily on the minds of delegates to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change set to begin November 30 in Paris—a city that, on November 13, suffered grievously from the blowback of the Syrian conflict. But there is another looming threat that needs to be addressed.

Put simply: War and militarism also fuel climate change.

From November 30 to December 11, delegates from more than 190 nations will convene in Paris to address the increasingly visible threats of climate disruption. The 21st Conference of the Parties (aka COP21) is expected to draw 25,000 official delegates intent on crafting a legally binding pact to keep global warming below 2°C.

But it is difficult to imagine the delegates reaching this goal when one of the largest contributors to global-warming has no intention of agreeing to reduce its pollution. The problem in this case is neither China nor the United States. Instead, the culprit is the Pentagon.

The Pentagon’s Carbon Boot print

The Pentagon occupies 6,000 bases in the US and more than 1,000 bases (the exact number is disputed) in 60-plus foreign countries. According to its FY 2010 Base Structure Report, the Pentagon’s global empire includes more than 539,000 facilities at 5,000 sites covering more than 28 million acres.

The Pentagon has admitted to burning 350,000 barrels of oil a day (only 35 countries in the world consume more) but that doesn’t include oil burned by contractors and weapons suppliers. It does, however, include providing fuel for more than 28,000 armored vehicles, thousands of helicopters, hundreds of jet fighters and bombers and vast fleets of Navy vessels. The Air Force accounts for about half of the Pentagon’s operational energy consumption, followed by the Navy (33%) and Army (15%). In 2012, oil accounted for nearly 80% of the Pentagon’s energy consumption, followed by electricity, natural gas and coal.

Ironically, most of the Pentagon’s oil is consumed in operations directed at protecting America’s access to foreign oil and maritime shipping lanes. In short, the consumption of oil relies on consuming more oil. This is not a sustainable energy model.

The amount of oil burned—and the burden of smoke released—increases whenever the Pentagon goes to war. (Indeed, human history’s most combustible mix may well prove to be oil and testosterone.) Oil Change International estimates the Pentagon’s 2003-2007 $2 trillion Iraq War generated more than three million metric tons of CO2 pollution per month.

The Pentagon: A Privileged Polluter

Yet, despite being the planet’s single greatest institutional consumer of fossil fuels, the Pentagon has been granted a unique exemption from reducing—or even reporting—its pollution. The US won this prize during the 1998 Kyoto Protocol negotiations (COP4) after the Pentagon insisted on a “national security provision” that would place its operations beyond global scrutiny or control. As Undersecretary of State Stuart Eizenstat recalled: “Every requirement the Defense Department and uniformed military who were at Kyoto by my side said they wanted, they got.” (Also exempted from pollution regulation: all Pentagon weapons testing, military exercises, NATO operations and “peacekeeping” missions.)

After winning this concession, however, the US Senate refused to ratify the Kyoto Accord, the House amended the Pentagon budget to ban any “restriction of armed forces under the Kyoto Protocol,” and George W. Bush rejected the entire climate treaty because it “would cause serious harm to the US economy” (by which he clearly meant the U.S. oil and gas industries).

Today, the Pentagon consumes one percent of all the country’s oil and around 80 percent of all the oil burned by federal government. President Barack Obama recently received praise for his Executive Order requiring federal agencies to cut greenhouse gas emissions by 2020, but Obama’s EO specifically exempted the Pentagon from having to report its contribution to climate chaos. (As a practical matter, the Pentagon has been forced to act. With battlefield gas costing $400 a gallon and naval bases at risk of flooding from rising seas, the Pentagon managed to trim its domestic greenhouse-gas emissions by 9 percent between 2008-2012 and hopes to achieve a 34 percent reduction by 2020.)

Climate Chaos: Deception and Denial

According to recent exposés, Exxon executives knew the company’s products were stoking global temperatures but they opted to put “profits before planet” and conspired to secretly finance three decades of deception. Similarly, the Pentagon has been well aware that its operations were wrecking our planetary habitat. In 2014, Pentagon chief Chuck Hagel identified climate change as a “threat multiplier” that will endanger national security by increasing “global instability, hunger, poverty, and conflict.” As far back as 2001, Pentagon strategists have been preparing to capitalize on the problem by planning for “ice-free” operations in the Arctic—in anticipation of US-Russian conflicts over access to polar oil.

In 2014, Tom Ridge, George W. Bush’s Homeland Security chief, stated flat-out that climate change posed “a real serious problem” that “would bring destruction and economic damage.” But climate deniers in Congress continue to prevail. Ignoring Ridge’s warnings, a majority of House Republicans hammered an amendment onto the National Defense Authorization bill that banned the Pentagon from spending any funds on researching climate change or sustainable development. “The climate . . . has always been changing,” Rep. David McKinley (R-W.Va) said dismissively. “[W]hy should Congress divert funds from the mission of our military and national security to support a political ideology?”

Since 1980, the US has experienced 178 “billion dollar” weather events that have caused more than $1 trillion in damages. In 2014 alone, there were eight “billion dollar” weather calamities.

In September 2015, the World Health Organization warned climate change would claim 250,000 million lives between 2030 and 2050 at a cost of $2-4 billion a year and a study in Nature Climate Change estimated the economic damage from greenhouse emissions could top $326 trillion. (If the global warming causes the permafrost to melt and release its trapped carbon dioxide and methane gases, the economic damage could exceed $492 trillion.)

In October 2015 (the hottest October in recorded weather history), BloombergBusiness expressed alarm over a joint study by scientists at Stanford and the University of California at Berkeley that predicted global warning “could cause 10 times as much damage to the global economy as previously estimated, slashing output as much as 23 percent by the end of the century.”

This is more than a matter of “political ideology.”

The Pentagon’s role in weather disruption needs to become part of the climate discussion. Oil barrels and gun barrels both pose a threat to our survival. If we hope to stabilize our climate, we will need to start spending less money on war.

Gar Smith is co-founder of Environmentalists Against War and Editor Emeritus of Earth Island Journal. He is the author of Nuclear Roulette: The Truth about the Most Dangerous Energy Source on Earth (Chelsea Green). Email: gar-smith@earthlink.net

The Completed Youth Mural- “People’s Resistance”

 

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In honor of CALC’s 50th anniversary, we decided to coordinate a new youth mural in CALC’s front yard under the theme of “50 years of social justice struggles”. We recruited a diverse group of teens, who came together for one week to reflect on the theme and create a mural that powerfully portrays positive social change.

In addition to empowering youth, this project resulted in an emotionally compelling (and truly beautiful) mural. This mural, in the heart of Eugene’s historic Whiteaker neighborhood, will be viewed for years to come by thousands of people, who will be reminded again and again that activism is integral to Lane County’s vitality and future. The youth have titled their mural “People’s Resistance“.

Here’s the kids hard at work on the mural:

 

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And check out youth muralist Sammy Flores at the mural debut, giving a moving speech about what this project means to all of those who worked so hard on it:

 

 


 

This project was made possible by financial contributions from the Eugene Human Rights Commission and the Oregon Country Fair. We would also like to thank Red Barn Natural Grocery, Forrest Paint Co., Eugene Emeralds, Lane Transit District, Sundance Natural Foods, and New Day Bakery for their generous donations.

Many thanks also go out to adult volunteers Johanis Tadeo, Larry Dobberstein, Judith Hankin, Lucas Brinkerhoff, Sasha Tuckey, and Pam Woodell. We would especially like to thank our volunteer Mural Coordinator Extraordinaire, Jessilyn Brinkerhoff at Wild Cloud Creative– THANK YOU!!

 


 

 

Minorities still feel Eugene’s historical link to the Ku Klux Klan

Minorities still feel Eugene’s historical link to the Ku Klux Klan

 

The Ku Klux Klan came to Oregon in 1921.

By 1922, the KKK had a foothold in the state and held its first parade through the streets of Eugene and burned a cross atop Skinner Butte.

Today, the KKK doesn’t march or burn crosses in public.

Yet black people like former UO law professor Robin Morris Collin don’t think much has changed. Collin has lived all over the country, including the South, and says Eugene is the most racist place she has ever lived.

“It got to the point where I tensed my shoulders every time I walked down the sidewalk,” Collin said. “Because I could tell that when I came up on a group of people I was expected to step off of the sidewalk to get out of their way.”

At UO, administration has been trying to increase its faculty diversity for the last five years, but the administration has to overcome a long history of white supremacy in Eugene.

Last November, the Black Student Task Force demanded that UO administration change the name of two halls on campus — Deady Hall, the first campus building, and Dunn Hall — because of their namesakes’ racist pasts.

A report on this history conducted by three historians was published on August 5, and revealed that Deady ran for political office on a pro-slavery platform, and Dunn was the local Exalted Cyclops, leader of the Eugene Klan.

Christina Jackson, an advisor for black and African retention at UO, says the responsibility for change doesn’t all fall on the university. To Jackson, who is black, Eugene is not the all-inclusive community it is often heralded as.

“When I was planning to move here from Michigan, people kept on telling me that Eugene was a really friendly and welcoming community,” Jackson said. “But in my experience, Eugene is not as friendly toward people of color as people would lead you to believe.”

Eugene has never had a robust black community, and that has contributed a lot to what Jackson sees as cultural ignorance in a lot of Eugenians.

Edmund F. Martin took this photograph in 1921. Much has changed in downtown Eugene since that time, but the Tiffany building, located on the right side of the street still stands. The building was opened for use in 1902.

Edmund F. Martin took this photograph in 1921. Much has changed in downtown Eugene since that time, but the Tiffany building, located on the right side of the street still stands. The building was opened for use in 1902.

 

“When people have never had to have interactions with or form relationships with black people, they come into those interactions with a lot of preconceived notions of what black people are like,” Jackson said. “I’ve noticed people greet me and others with, ‘What up?’ instead of a normal ‘Hello,’ because there is an assumption that that is how all black people talk.”

Eugene is 1.4 percent black, according to the American Community Survey, and the overwhelming whiteness of Eugene comes from a long history of minority exclusion, since before Oregon was even a state.

Slavery was illegal in the Oregon Territory, but many settlers brought slaves along the Oregon Trail, according to The End of the Oregon Trail Interpretive Society. These slaves had to be freed within three years of settling in Oregon, but they were then forced to move elsewhere. Many did not have the means to do so and were then subjected to violent laws.

Oregon was the first state to be admitted to the Union with exclusion laws in its constitution, according to Lane Historical Society archives. These laws forbade African-Americans from settling in Oregon. Any who did were required to be whipped twice a year until convinced to leave. This punishment was later reduced to manual labor.

Despite this history, Oregonians were by-and-large shocked that the KKK found such a responsive population here in the ‘20’s.

After recruiting heavily in urban areas, the Klan set its sights on University of Oregon, according to research conducted by former UO history professor Eckard V. Toy. Toy writes that university administration was opposed to the Klan on campus and discouraged students from joining.

Many students rejected it too.

“The university is no more a place for the white-robed Ku Klux Klan than is the great state of Oregon,” one 1922 editorial by Oregon Daily Emerald staff read.

Governor Ben Olcott denied the KKK had any political or social influence in Oregon, which would be disproven when he was defeated in the 1922 election by KKK-backed Democrat Walter Pierce, who won by a landslide, according to LHS records and the Oregon Encyclopedia.

In 1923, the Klan boasted over 35,000 members in a state that had just over 783,000 people, which some historians estimate was the largest per capita of any state in the country.

Traces of the KKK still linger. Two Eugene men admitted in a May 2008 trial to pouring flammable liquid in the shape of a cross and the letters “KKK” on the front lawn of a black family’s residence, according to the Human Rights Commission of Eugene.

This history still plays a large role in the current lack of diversity in Oregon, according the Jackson.

“When you build an institution, it’s going to be affected by what’s already there,” Jackson said. “Racism doesn’t exist in a vacuum. The best thing to do is just acknowledge that history and acknowledge that that creates a certain kind of community here.”

There’s current evidence to support this claim.

Dr. Anselmo Villanueva, an ethnic studies professor who has taught at UO and Lane Community College, started an informal list 15 years ago of professionals of color who have left Eugene. He still adds to it.

He calls this list “The eXit Files” and estimates that the number of names today is near 350.

Talking to these people, Villanueva found that Eugene’s racist attitude and a lack of support for them in their professions were main reasons for leaving.

“Organizations in Eugene say that they are doing everything they can to hire and retain diverse staff, but they are losing all these people,” Villanueva said.

One professional who left was Robin Morris Collin, a former professor of law at UO. She left Eugene for Salem in 2003, where she joined the faculty of Willamette University.

Collin, who teaches environmental law, said that she had very little support for her work from her colleagues, and she noticed racist attitudes while living in Eugene.

“It’s the hardest place to speak out against it because people don’t want to see it and they don’t want to hear it,” Collin said. “They are completely blind to anything that goes against that image of Eugene as a liberal and friendly place.”

But the City of Eugene has recently worked to create a more welcoming environment, according to Jennifer Van Der Haeghen of the Office of Human Rights and Neighborhood Involvement in Eugene.

Eugenians can report acts of discrimination or civil rights issues, not just racial discrimination, to the HRNI Office online, by phone, or in person. The office publishes an annual report of hate and bias in Eugene. Race is often the most cited type of discrimination reported. In 2014, the office received 22 reports, and six of these were race-related.

“When hate and bias activity occurs it undermines our vision for a safe and welcoming environment,” Van Der Haeghen said. “Hate and bigotry has been, over and over, denounced as not acceptable here.”

 

 

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