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Massive Wave of Good Climate News Engulfs Hawaii and Threatens the Mainland

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Hold on, good news is on the way!!

This week, Hawaii received its final shipment of coal. Read that again, if you will. 

Its final shipment of coal.

The last delivery arrived at the state’s last functioning coal plant on Wednesday. The shipment to Oahu coincided with the release of the latest IPCC report, the most dire yet, which points to the need to abandon fossil fuels entirely ASAP.

U.N. Secretary General António Guterres warned that, “Climate activists are sometimes depicted as dangerous radicals. But the truly dangerous radicals are the countries increasing the production of fossil fuels.” 

Hawaii’s Governor David Ige signed a bill in 2015 that set a goal for state utilities to generate 100 percent of their electricity from renewables by 2045. Two years ago, another law banned utilities from adding any new coal-powered plants or extending existing coal-burning permits after this year. 

The governor recognizes that there are challenges ahead, but knows the move away from coal is necessary for future generations. “It’s the right move for our communities and the planet, ” he says. “In its time, coal was an important resource for Hawaii and I’d like to thank the workers who have run our last remaining coal plant.” Those forty displaced workers will be offered jobs at solar, wind, and battery storage facilities.

For all of us, there will be changes, challenges, and yes, some sacrifice during our transition to a sane energy future. In Hawaii, renewable energy projects are coming online rapidly, but supply chain issues have slowed construction and electricity rates on Oahu are expected to rise temporarily. Yet with so much of humanity currently enduring wildfires, heat waves, droughts, floods, and horrendous storms, we cannot wait to act.

Hawaii’s courage and bold leadership is more than welcome. As is the U.S. Democratic party’s leadership on the historic climate legislation wending its way through Congress. (Fingers crossed and prayers aloft.)

Could there be hope? I’ve got the champagne chilling.

ABORTION AMBIVALENCE IS NOT AN OPTION

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Those of you who have followed this blog for a while (thank you!) know that I love politics. Probably too much. It’s an addiction, like football or baseball for some people. I follow all the stats, watch every “game,” know most of the players. This makes sense, since I lived and breathed politics during my thirty-year career as an environmental lobbyist on Capitol Hill. 

But it goes deeper than that. I grew up in a well-informed family steeped in the study of world history and engaged in current events. My father worked for the CIA and my older brother campaigned for Bobby Kennedy. Politics was always on the menu at our dinner table, for better or for worse. Some of my fondest family memories involve all of us gathered around our black & white TV set, watching political conventions. I thought this was normal.

MUST WE TALK ABOUT ABORTION?

All this to say that you may or may not have noticed that there is one hot political issue I have never written about in the ten (!!) years I’ve been blogging. Abortion. I hate the topic, and I hate how both sides use it to raise money, win elections, and stoke division and outrage. Such political posturing and messaging is hurtful and/or insulting to women. Abortion is a deeply personal and intimate issue, and every woman I know who has struggled with the decision of whether to terminate an unwanted pregnancy has been through hell, or at least purgatory.

You are not “pro-life” if you don’t support programs that help low-income women who decide to give birth to and raise their child. The GOP has always been intent on shredding the social safety net that provides healthcare, education, and nutrition for these families. You are not a “good Christian” if you verbally or otherwise abuse beleaguered woman and their doctors. 

Likewise, when Democratic strategists decided to adopt the slogan “I (heart) abortion,” I was aghast. Who loves abortion, even if you think of it only as a medical procedure? What a slap in the face to the millions of women who have faced that decision! 

I sometimes want to scream, “Shut up, everybody just shut up!”

And so, I have largely shut up. I remember once trying to cross Massachusetts Avenue with my fellow liberals when a large group of “Right to Life” marchers was wending its way up the street waving pictures of bloody fetuses. My friends were apoplectic. I stupidly said what I was thinking, which was that these people were being manipulated by radical right extremists, but that if a person truly believed that babies were being murdered, shouldn’t they be marching in the streets? 

Oops. That opinion was not allowed. 

THANK YOU KANSAS, FOR SPEAKING UP

I’ve never fit into a proper box. When abortion has been on the ballot in my state, I have voted for choice, but never enthusiastically. It wasn’t “my” issue. Over the years, my ambivalence has meant that I’ve not always been supportive of women friends when they needed me most. I deeply regret that. I hope that I am a more compassionate and less judgmental person than I used to be. 

My opinions and feelings have evolved over time, informed by science, my spiritual beliefs, and my experiences. But that’s the point, isn’t it? MY feelings, MY opinions, MY understanding of spirit and science. It is not MY right to tell anyone else how they should feel or behave, most especially when it comes to their own bodies.

And it’s certainly not the right of the government or a specific religion! Not in America. 

The Supreme Court’s extreme political activism means that I no longer have the luxury of laying low, of being “understanding of both sides.” Nope. I am wiser now. Better late than never, I guess. Ambivalence is not an option. Silence is not an option.

So today I am writing to say THANK YOU to the voters of Kansas. I especially want to thank those who may have been confused, ambivalent, or evolving on the issue of abortion, but who voted to protect a woman’s right to choose. Because in the end, it’s not about abortion and what you think about abortion. It is about abortion RIGHTS. And our basic rights are at stake. So thank you for showing up when you could have stayed home. Thank you for not shutting up. 

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