Organizing Notes

Bruce Gagnon is coordinator of the Global Network Against Weapons & Nuclear Power in Space. He offers his own reflections on organizing and the state of America's declining empire....

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Location: Bath, Maine, United States

The collapsing US military & economic empire is making Washington & NATO even more dangerous. US could not beat the Taliban but thinks it can take on China-Russia-Iran...a sign of psychopathology for sure.

Thursday, November 15, 2012


  • On Wednesday night everyone from our Addams-Melman House went to Portland for an event called Do the Math Tour that featured Bill McKibben and others.  More than 1,300 people turned out for the rally.  The climate change emergency tour made the following case: We can burn 565 more gigatons of carbon dioxide and stay below 2°C of warming — anything more than that risks catastrophe for life on earth. The only problem? Fossil fuel corporations now have 2,795 gigatons in their reserves, five times the safe amount. And they’re planning to burn it all — unless we rise up to stop them.
  •  McKibben promoted the strategy of getting public institutions (colleges, universities, towns and cities) to divest from oil corporations.  The president of Unity College in Maine took the stage to announce that his institution has just become the first school in the nation to vote to divest from fossil fuel corporations.
  • McKibben also announced a protest at the White House on November 18 which is intended to increase the pressure on Obama to do something real about climate change.  Plans are also being developed for more civil disobedience in the months ahead.
  • It is good to see this direct action component growing within the climate change movement.  It's very necessary.  My one disappointment with McKibben and the climate change groups is that so far they have refused to say a mumbling word about the world's biggest polluter (with the world's largest carbon footprint) - the Pentagon.  I am not saying that McKibben has to shut down the military industrial complex - but how about working it into the public education and articulation!
  • This past weekend we sold another car at the Addams-Melman House.  When we moved in we had three cars and sold one almost immediately.  We are now down to one car between Karen, MB and me.  We are walking and hitching rides more than ever.  The fatal flaw is that public transit is weak, weak, weak and almost non-existent in Maine.
  • Why doesn't the climate change movement demand the conversion of the military industrial complex so we can build rail, solar, wind, tidal power and more?


Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm confused - you state that we can burn 565 gt of CO2, but that fuel companies have 2795 gt of fossil fuel? Did you mean to say that we can only burn 565 gt of *fossil fuel*, or are these supposed to be different measurements? I am not familiar with the ratio of how much CO2 each ton of fuel burned produces.

11/16/12, 8:16 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Different fossil fuels produce varying amounts of CO2. Natural gas produces less than coal because of the differing atomic make-up of the molecules. He's saying we can burn fossil fuels that will produce up to 565gt of CO2 equivalent- from any source, but that fossil fuel companies have 2,800gt of CO2 equivalent in their reserves, whether, coal, oil, NG, etc.

12/10/12, 8:46 AM  

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