Swing Left Climate related Postcard event – Rockport, Sept 21

Our local Swing Left group is organizing another round of postcard writing. The Rockport event is on Sept 21st, but there are events around the Cape.

I will let the group explain in a letter that came over the transom this morning, from Swing Left.

… I think that most of our projects between now and November will be geared toward the VA state elections – to make sure we hold the VA House of Delegates and elect Democrats to statewide office.

Through our Swing Left Greater Boston (now Swing Blue Alliance) contacts, I have signed on to a project being conducted by Sister District Action Network.  The project is a well-designed experiment to determine if voters who have high scores in support of a specific issue and who don’t always vote will turn out in greater number (and hopefully in opposition) if they know that their Republican incumbent votes against their position on that issue. If this turns out to be effective it could be a great tool in 2022. If you want the details, go to the last section of these slides (the section entitled “Votes and Values):  Sister District Postcard Program training slides.  

Our postcards will be to voters who are strongly in favor of addressing climate change.

I have 100 packets of 25 postcards and hope to get them all out next week so we can do another round.  You will need to return them to the pickup host or me because they will be sent to a central location and mailed from VA. $2.50/packet to me and you will need 25 postcard stamps (and let me know if you want more than one packet in the convenient spot at the sign up link!).Pick up schedule and RSVP links:

SALEM:  Monday, Sept 20, 10am-6pm, at Chris Malstrom’s, 45 Essex St (Pick up on patio off Hardy Street), RSVP https://www.mobilize.us/swingleftnorthshore/event/414108/

MARBLEHEAD: Tuesday, Sept 21, 10am-6pm, at Lynn Nadeau’s, 10 Surf St, RSVP https://www.mobilize.us/swingleftnorthshore/event/414110/

ROCKPORT: Tuesday, Sept 21, 3pm-6pm, at Diane Vella’s, 17 King St, RSVP https://www.mobilize.us/swingleftnorthshore/event/414284/

BEVERLY: Wednesday, Sept 22, 10am-6pm, at Ruth Rich’s, 63 Baker Ave, RSVP https://www.mobilize.us/swingleftnorthshore/event/414288/

MANCHESTER: Wednesday, Sept 22, 10am-6pm, at Sandy Bodmer-Turner’s , 89 School St, RSVP https://www.mobilize.us/swingleftnorthshore/event/414289/

GLOUCESTER: Thursday, Sept 23, 10am-6pm, at Elizabeth Bish’s 18 Perkins St, RSVP https://www.mobilize.us/swingleftnorthshore/event/414290/

SWAMPSCOTT: Thursday, Sept 23, 10am-6pm, at Alix Smullin’s, 22 Woodbine Ave, RSVP https://www.mobilize.us/swingleftnorthshore/event/414294/

Thanks!!! Chris, Lynn, Diane, Ruth, Sandy, Elizabeth and Alix “

Martha Gach Trees & Climate Change

This is a great presentation about the value of trees in the fight to control the effects of climate change, that was given recently to the Rockport Garden Club https://rockportgardenclub.org/.

A big contribution to the future of your neighborhood, street and the world can be made simply by planting and nurturing the right trees and bushes in your own yard.

If you are a new homeowner in town, our local garden club is not just the group that makes the town properties look so fabulous, although they are that. They are also leaders in town efforts to combat climate change, preserve wetlands, and reduce contamination of our water table and runoff into the ocean.

And, they have a hardworking volunteer Invasive Species group that helps homeowners follow the proper process necessary to rid their property of invasive growth in a safe and legal manner and plant service providing trees and bushes in its wake.

INVEST in America Act – working its way through the Senate

The US Senate worked through the weekend to advance HR 3684, the INVEST in America Act. This page describes the current state of H.R. 3684, its Cosponsors, Text and Amendments.

https://www.congress.gov/bill/117th-congress/house-bill/3684

Brief summary from congress.gov:

Investing in a New Vision for the Environment and Surface Transportation in America Act or the INVEST in America Act

This bill addresses provisions related to federal-aid highway, transit, highway safety, motor carrier, research, hazardous materials, and rail programs of the Department of Transportation (DOT).

Among other provisions, the bill

  • extends FY2021 enacted levels through FY2022 for federal-aid highway, transit, and safety programs;
  • reauthorizes for FY2023-FY2026 several surface transportation programs, including the federal-aid highway program, transit programs, highway safety, motor carrier safety, and rail programs;
  • addresses climate change, including strategies to reduce the climate change impacts of the surface transportation system and a vulnerability assessment to identify opportunities to enhance the resilience of the surface transportation system and ensure the efficient use of federal resources;
  • revises Buy America procurement requirements for highways, mass transit, and rail;
  • establishes a rebuild rural bridges program to improve the safety and state of good repair of bridges in rural communities;
  • implements new safety requirements across all transportation modes; and
  • directs DOT to establish a pilot program to demonstrate a national motor vehicle per-mile user fee to restore and maintain the long-term solvency of the Highway Trust Fund and achieve and maintain a state of good repair in the surface transportation system.’

Postcards for early voting – multiple opportunities

From Swing Left North Shore/Cape Ann – 

I hope you are all having a great summer AND can find a little time for postcarding!!!

I was on a call with Andrea Miller at Reclaim our Vote last week and she projected that to maintain pro-voting rights statewide officer holders and House of Delegates in VA, turnout might have to be HIGHER than in the presidential race!!!!! With 45 days of early voting (starting Sept. 17) it is time to get started. (Remember, Reclaim our Vote is a non-profit. We will be writing to inconsistent voters in communities of color where they will disproportionately support the Democratic candidates.)  Mail date Sept. 1.

Pick up packets of 30 postcards ($3 – cash, check or Venmo @Alix-Smullin) and you’ll need 30 36-cent stamps (you may want to order a bunch postal rates increase August 29). Smaller packets than the last few projects – but more writing.

SALEM Monday, August 9, 10am-6pm, home of Chris M, 45 Essex St, RSVP https://www.mobilize.us/swingleftnorthshore/event/405246/

ROCKPORT Tuesday, August 10, 3-6pm, home of Diane V, 17 King St, RSVP https://www.mobilize.us/swingleftnorthshore/event/405247/

MANCHESTER Wednesday, August 11, 4-7pm, home of Sandy B-T, 89 School St, RSVP https://www.mobilize.us/swingleftnorthshore/event/405251/

MARBLEHEAD Wednesday, August 11, 10am-6pm, home of Lynn N, 10 Surf St, RSVP https://www.mobilize.us/swingleftnorthshore/event/405250/

GLOUCESTER Thursday, August 12, 10am-6pm, home of Liz B, 18 Perkins St, RSVP https://www.mobilize.us/swingleftnorthshore/event/405256/

SWAMPSCOTT Thursday, August 12, 10am-6pm, home of Alix S, 22 Woodbine Ave, RSVP https://www.mobilize.us/swingleftnorthshore/event/405255/

IF YOU SEE A PACKET MARKED S1 – NH OR DE – and you could get it right out please feel free to take it instead or in addition – we have a few to finish up sooner rather than later. The Reclaim our Vote don’t need to be mailed until Sept 1 (and not earlier).

Thanks!!!! Alix, Chris, Diane, Liz, Lynn, and Sandy

S1 – Swing Left Postcard event July 20th

Swing Left North Shore/Cape Ann is working again with Common Cause and Swing Blue Alliance on S1 – this time writing to activists in Delaware and asking them to call Sen. Coons and make sure he is doing EVERYTHING to pass *S1. Sen. Coons is a good friend of Pres. Biden so his enthusiastic support for S1 and doing what has to be done with regard to the filibuster to get it passed is one more important step in this process!  

ROCKPORT, Tuesday, July 20, 3-6pm, Diane Vella’s

RSVP https://www.mobilize.us/swingleftnorthshore/event/401597/

Packets of 50 cards with address labels and very short message – $5 to me for the postcards (cash, check or Venmo @Alix-Smullin) – and of course you will need 50 36-cent postcard stamps.

Please use the links above to RSVP – for other questions email alix.smullin@gmail.com or text 781-696-6188.

Thanks, Alix, Ruth, Diane, Sandy, Chris, Liz, and Lynn

*NOTE:  S1

Introduced in Senate (03/17/2021)

For the People Act of 2021

This bill addresses voter access, election integrity and security, campaign finance, and ethics for the three branches of government. 

Specifically, the bill expands voter registration (e.g., automatic and same-day registration) and voting access (e.g., vote-by-mail and early voting). It also limits removing voters from voter rolls.

The bill requires states to establish independent redistricting commissions to carry out congressional redistricting.

Additionally, the bill sets forth provisions related to election security, including sharing intelligence information with state election officials, supporting states in securing their election systems, developing a national strategy to protect U.S. democratic institutions, establishing in the legislative branch the National Commission to Protect United States Democratic Institutions, and other provisions to improve the cybersecurity of election systems.

Further, the bill addresses campaign finance, including by expanding the prohibition on campaign spending by foreign nationals, requiring additional disclosure of campaign-related fundraising and spending, requiring additional disclaimers regarding certain political advertising, and establishing an alternative campaign funding system for certain federal offices.

The bill addresses ethics in all three branches of government, including by requiring a code of conduct for Supreme Court Justices, prohibiting Members of the House from serving on the board of a for-profit entity, and establishing additional conflict-of-interest and ethics provisions for federal employees and the White House.

The bill requires the President, the Vice President, and certain candidates for those offices to disclose 10 years of tax returns.

RDTC Caucus and Meeting July 24

The Rockport Democratic Town Committee will gather at 10:00 AM in the Community Room of the Rockport Police Station, 168 Main Street, on Saturday, July 24th, to caucus to elect delegates to the State Democratic Convention in Lowell on September 25th.  Sign-in will begin at 10:00 AM with the caucus beginning promptly at 10:30. 

Co-chairs Mary Francis and Tom Delaney propose devoting time in the general meeting that will follow the caucus, to share our concerns as well as our hopes for the future of the RDTC. 

All Rockport residents currently registered as Democrats are invited to attend both caucus and general meeting.  

We hope to see you there!

Big Data in Small Slices w/ Dianne Finch-Claydon

Democracy depends on good storytelling. Getting your facts right is always important, but in a democratic government, we need more than good data. We need to be able to organize, explore, and convey complex information in ways that humans understand, retain and can use to make predictions from. We need to be able to convince normal non-data trained voters to make the best decisions for the future of our town, our state, our nation and our world.

Luckily, humans are very good at grasping and retaining visual images. So if your story has compelling and informative accompanying images, it has a much better chance of being remembered. Politicians, marketers and religious organizations have known this for a long time.

Rockporter Dianne Finch-Clayton Spoke recently to the Gloucester Lyceum and Sawyer Free Library on her new book Big Data in Small Slices and its accompanying website.

This presentation introduces data visualization itself in nice chewable pieces and serves as a great introduction to a field that has more importance every day.

If you want to learn more about data visualization and how to tell stories from data, this youtube playlist might be a good start.

Transparency in the MA Legislature

At our last RDTC meeting on May 22nd, we heard from local SwingLeft activist Alix Smullin on efforts to improve transparency in the MA Legislative process. Climate related legislation in MA has the broad support of both voters and legislators, yet has difficulty getting passed into law. Alix brought to our attention a recent policy brief by the Climate and Development Lab at Brown CSSN Research Report 2021: Who’s Delaying Climate Action in Massachusetts? TwelveFindings .

1:​ Four distinct industry coalitions lobby against environmentalists
2:​ Testimony in legislative committees is nine to one in support of climate action
3:​ On lobbying, clean energy advocates are outspent more than 3.5 to 1
4:​ Renewable energy interest groups stick to narrow industrial interests
5:​ Utilities lobby against solar energy, but support large hydro & wind power
6:​ Utility companies are uniquely successful throughout the legislative process
7:​ AIM (Associated Industries of Mass.) lobbies and speaks against rapid climate action
8:​ The fossil fuel industry lobbies heavily against pipeline rules, divestment, and carbon pricing
9:​ The real estate industry resists residential energy efficiency bills
10:​ Power generators fight hydro and wind supply
11:​ Opponents no longer deny the reality of climate change, but focus on cost and reliability
12:​ Climate action is tightly controlled by State House committees and leadership’

They recommend, ‘far greater transparency on committee and floor votes, better reporting on lobbying and committee inputs, better controls on utilities, and broader engagement by renewable energy companies in climate policy.’

In other legislative districts, local committees have formed to work with their representatives. Some town committees have joined the effort as a committee.

For more information see A Campaign for Rules Reform by Act on Mass. If you have an interest in joining the local effort to improve transparency, please contact Alix.

Climate Change Summit + Lancet

Happy Earth Day!


Washington Post ‘President Biden on Thursday — Earth Day — is convening dozens of world leaders, including Pope Francis, for a two-day virtual climate summit, with the aim of putting the United States back at the forefront of the global issue after a retrenchment under President Donald Trump.’

Washington Post video of POTUS and VPOTUS opening remarks https://youtu.be/x3bJr1d6120
‘We really have no choice, if we want to get this done’
President Biden’s opening remarks are at the very beginning of the video, after Vice President Harris.

Last week, we introduced the book Drawdown, which identified the most doable solutions to Climate issues. We will return to the Drawdown project, in the future, to drill down into individual solutions, but this week we have focused more on the motivation for taking on these tasks.

We turn today to the Lancet Countdown on Health and Climate
“Climate change underpins all the social and environmental determinants of health but also has positive implications. The Lancet Countdown: Tracking Progress on Health and Climate Change is an international, multi-disciplinary research collaboration between academic institutions following on from the 2015 Lancet Commission on Health and Climate Change.”
https://www.thelancet.com/journals/lancet/article/PIIS0140-6736(20)32290-X/fulltext

The Lancet has created a youtube playlist of short, well crafted, and easily shared, messages on the connections between Climate and Health.

Here are a few examples:
The Lancet Countdown on Health and Climate Change: 2020 report



Lancet Countdown 2020: Challenges and solutions


And finally, the Lancet has recently released a Framework to Guide Planetary Health Education

‘The Planetary Health Education Framework considers five foundational domains that we believe comprise the essence of planetary health knowledge, values, and practice.’

  • ‘Fostering compassion for planet Earth through the recognition of the personal, cognitive, social, and emotional aspects of the education process is the central element of the framework.’
  • ‘Second, the anthropocene and health. The anthropocene is characterized by massive disruptions in earth system processes that have resulted from the ballooning of humanity’s ecological footprint.’
  • ‘Third, systems thinking and complexity. The field of planetary health draws upon approaches to systems thinking that have long been a focus in the field of ecology and describes how various elements interact and coalesce as part of complex systems.’
  • ‘Fourth, equity and justice. Equity and justice in planetary health are founded on the rights of humans and the rights of nature, giving all human populations and ecosystems, present and future, the opportunity to attain their full vitality.’
  • ‘Fifth, movement building and systems change. Effective movement building is needed to solve the urgent planetary health crisis.’

What is ‘systems thinking”? Look forward to more about that next week.

Again….Happy Earth Day!