Tuesday, May 14, 2019

What Will It Take?

What will it take to start a revolution in this country?

That's a question our guest commentator asks.  This past week, the Lake Erie Bill of Rights suffered yet another set-back courtesy of the establishment. (You can read the press release below.) Also, Republicans in the state of Ohio in a last minute "tax cut" piece of legislation (HB 166) slipped in an extra paragraph outlawing all Rights of Nature laws--effectively negating the LEBOR citizens' initiative. All this is happening during a very rainy spring, predicted to lead to a moderate to severe blue-green algal bloom this summer on Lake Erie.

Poisoned drinking water? No guaranteed health care? Low wages? What will it take?

Judge Denies Toledoans and Lake Erie 
Access to Court
Denies People their Right to Defend Local Law Recognizing Rights of Lake Erie

May 8, 2019

Toledo, OH: On Tuesday, May 7th, Toledoans for Safe Water (TSW) and the Lake Erie Ecosystem were denied their motion to intervene in the lawsuit brought by Drewes Farm Partnership of Wood County against the City of Toledo. The corporate-driven lawsuit seeks to overturn the Lake Erie Bill of Rights (LEBOR).

The people of Toledo voted on February 26th to adopt a charter amendment recognizing legal rights for Lake Erie. However, in his decision, Judge Zouhary not only refuses to acknowledge Rights of Nature as a legal concept – he even refuses to hear arguments made in its favor.

The court allowed the State of Ohio to intervene on May 1st as a plaintiff on the side of Drewes Farms. Judge Zouhary held in his ruling that the City will amply represent the people and Lake Erie. But neither the City law department nor its outside counsel have any experience advancing or defending Rights of Nature laws.

“We gained international recognition for advancing this groundbreaking law, but our own government refuses to recognize our rights. Our own government refuses to recognize the environmental crises faced by Lake Erie and the 11 million human lives she sustains,” stated Crystal Jankowski, organizer with TSW. “The courts do not have the authority to allow the continued poisoning of Great Lake Erie, or to take away our right to protect our community.”

The Community Environmental Legal Defense Fund (CELDF) has provided legal support to the community group, assisting in drafting the LEBOR, defending Toledoans’ right to vote on the initiative, and today defending the newly adopted charter amendment. The group filed a stay today and plans to appeal this unjust decision.

TSW’s Markie Miller stated, “The state is once again attempting to silence the people of Toledo. First, it was the state administrative branch of government attempting to keep us off the ballot. Now it is the judicial branch keeping us out of the courtroom. But the people of Toledo won’t be going away anytime soon. Lake Erie needs our protection.”


What Will It Take?
by Sean Nestor

People my age are struggling with depression, heroin addiction, and suicide in record numbers.

Schools and churches are regularly shot up by far right extremists.

The government fights on every level to keep your water polluted.

People die daily because they can't afford health care.

We're still in the longest war in our nation's history, and even though its bankrupted us, we're still looking to start more.

Immigrants are being tortured and dying in concentration camps.

Black people are executed in the streets by trigger-happy law enforcement who are largely immune from accountability.

We jail more people than any other country on the planet.

The president openly defies the law and threatens anyone who tries to hold him accountable.

Laws are made almost exclusively for the benefit of wealthy corporations and not for citizens.

Gerrymandering insulates your state and federal lawmakers from political challengers who aren't also incredibly rich.

Journalism is dying and being replaced with partisan propaganda networks.

Federal intelligence agencies routinely spy on our digital communications without warrants.

Student debt is destroying higher education while public schools get gutted to fund charters.

Climate change is causing more floods and hurricanes than we can respond to, and we have no real plan to address it.

We're ending the existence of countless species who have been here for millennia.

What's your breaking point? Where's the line for you that says we simply can't persist with this system of government anymore?

If it's not these things -- then what is it? What will it take?

BIO: Sean Nestor is an activist who worked on the Lake Erie Bill of Rights, among other citizens' initiatives.


From Friends of the Earth:
Yesterday, the UN released a report saying the world faces ecological collapse unless we take urgent action to change our social and economic systems to protect the environment.

The devastating report shows how the massive global decline of bees and other insects, along with other critical species, is setting us on a path to catastrophe. And this decline is largely thanks to industrial agriculture and the use of toxic pesticides.

But instead of shifting our economy and environmental policy to address this looming crisis, Donald Trump is continuing to hand over our planet to Big Ag. Right now his EPA is considering greenlighting the continued use of glyphosate -- a.k.a. Monsanto’s Roundup®. We need your help to stop it!

Roundup® is linked to the decline of the iconic monarch butterfly. The pesticide wipes out milkweed, the only food young monarchs eat. It’s a simple formula, more Roundup® = less milkweed = fewer monarchs.

The numbers are staggering. Monarch populations have declined nearly 70 percent in the past two decades. This corresponds with the massive increase in the use of Roundup®.

Monarchs and other pollinators are the canaries in the corn fields. Entire ecosystems rely on insects. If pesticides wipe out those insects, the impacts could be devastating – for butterflies, but also for our food system and communities who depend on healthy ecosystems around the world.

The only way to stop this catastrophic collapse is to get pesticides like Roundup® out of our food system and shift to organic, regenerative farming. The Trump administration is threatening to move us in the opposite direction. We need your help to stop it.

The UN report calls for urgent regulatory change and makes a compelling case for “transformational change.” That means we need to address our global economic, financial and social systems. We can no longer afford to tackle the crises of climate, biodiversity and economic inequality separately – we must address them together.

Getting Roundup® out of our food system is one important step toward doing that. The pesticide makes millions in profits for Monsanto -- which it can pour back into our political system to avoid further regulation. Additionally, the impacts of our industrial agriculture system are greatest on rural communities and farmworkers who are highly exposed to Roundup and other toxic pesticides.

In other words, one simple action -- banning Roundup® -- could have a huge impact on communities around the country. At the same time, it would stem the decline of monarch butterflies and other essential pollinators. And it would put power back in the hands of people like you and me, not Big Ag companies like Monsanto.

The EPA is required to consider the opinion of people like you as it weighs whether to restrict Roundup®. So we need you to speak up now.

Standing with you,
Tiffany Finck-Haynes,
Pesticides and pollinators program manager,
Friends of the Earth

From Food & Water Watch:

We are facing a global climate crisis, but instead of focusing on moving toward clean, renewable energy, the Senate is considering a bill that would invest tens of millions of dollars in dirty and dangerous fracking. Let your Senators know we don't need more fracking!

This bill is camouflaged as a measure to position the U.S. as the top energy provider in Europe, and, if passed, it would lock in our dependence on fossil fuels for decades to come.1

That means even more dangerous pipelines, more pollution, more contaminated water and more devastated communities!

This bill passed almost unanimously in the House — and quickly! — so we need to act fast to stop it in the Senate. Contact your Senators today and tell them to vote NO!
We don't need more fracking. Tell you Senators to vote no on S704.
Because of the current administration’s blatant efforts to make it easier for the fossil fuel industry to pollute our air and water, it is more essential than ever that Congress resist all efforts that would increase fossil fuel production.2,3,4
Fracking pollutes our air and drinking water and worsens climate change. We need to keep fossil fuels in the ground and to reject all new fossil fuel infrastructure. It is unacceptable that the oil and gas industry profits off fracking at our expense.5
No more fracking
We must align our policy with the reality of the climate crisis we face. We need to move forward with real climate solutions, and instead support a REAL Green New Deal that would ban fracking, keep fossil fuels in the ground and make a just transition to 100% clean, renewable energy! Tell your Senators to oppose this and any legislation that fails to move toward a clean energy future.
Onward together,

Wenonah Hauter
Executive Director
Food & Water Watch

1. House Democrats Voted for a Natural Gas Future, and Nobody Noticed, Walker Bragman, Paste Magazine, April 4, 2019.
2. Trump Takes Advantage of Europe's Fossil Fuel Dependence, Food & Water Watch, July 5, 2017.
3. Trump Signs Orders to Speed Up Oil and Gas Pipeline Construction, Clifford Krauss, New York Times, April 10, 2019.
4. Trump Unveils Plan to Open Nearly All of U.S. Offshore Waters to Drilling, Food & Water Watch, January 4, 2018.
5. Fracking, Food & Water Watch.


  1. I saw a meme on Facebook where a Capitalist lectures an environmentalist "You environmentalists can't seem to understand that the destruction of the ecology is vital for a thriving economy." I'm afraid that's too close to the bone to be funny. What will it take for people to rise up and say NO MORE!

    1. People seem very willing to put up with or are just plain tolerant of the abuse of our natural resources. If they're okay with our drinking water becoming increasingly polluted, then what about the air? Why bother with any clean air standards? Breathing isn't necessary for life, is it? (*sarcasm*)

  2. What it will take to really start a violent revolution in this country is the oceans rise and flood the coastal cities causing refugees to flood the rest of the country. Then all those 2nd Amendment advocates will load up their weapons and set about protecting themselves from refugees. Washington will be underwater and the government will collapse. Some of the coastal state governments will also collapse. It will be an ugly mess and was completely avoidable until we allowed the corporate oligopoly to take over. Now it is inevitable.

    1. I agree with you that the climate crisis is going to play a big factor in how we go about changing this corrupt system. Let's hope it inspires people to change things for the better, sooner, and not allow things to disintegrate as you predict.


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