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Carbon Fee and Dividend

posted Feb 24, 2017, 7:47 AM by Jeanne Newstrom   [ updated Feb 24, 2017, 7:47 AM ]


Citizens’ Climate Lobby Comes to Grand Rapids

What an excellent presentation and response to a the carbon fee and dividend policy promoted by Citizen’s Climate Lobby at the Grand Rapids Area Library on February 18.  The event was sponsored by Earth Circle.  It inspired local citizens to action.  Itasca Progressive Caucus and Earth Circle are planning a subcommittee.

Citizens’ Climate Lobby’s preferred climate solution is known as Carbon Fee and Dividend.   It would create a national system that places a carbon fee on the source of fossil fuels and returns that revenue to households as a monthly energy dividend.   It is a climate change solution that economists and climate scientists alike say is the “best first-step” to preventing the worst impacts of a warming world.

Learn about the policy proposal HERE.

The Citizens’ Climate Lobby’s “CF&D” proposal will not replace taxes, create more regulations, or create a social programs--reasons why the proposal appeals to Republicans. The organization has created  the Climate Solution Caucus in the US House of Representatives.  Citizens in Minnesota’s Congressional District 8 are encouraged to contact Representative Nolan and ask him to find a Republican partner, and join the Caucus.  Currently the Climate Solution Caucus is composed of 12 Democrats and 12 Republicans.

Learn about the Climate Solution Caucus HERE.

Minnesota’s DFL 2016-2017 Action Agenda “supports legislation to aggressively reduce carbon emissions by putting a steadily rising, revenue-neutral fee on carbon that returns all revenue to households in monthly dividends”.  A local subcommittee can work with Two Harbors’ chapter and Duluth’s chapter of Citizens’ Climate Lobby.  Together we can build political will in Congressional District 8 so that U.S. Representative Nolan will not only support “carbon fee-and-dividend” --which he already does--but will make it a champion issue. 

Thanks shout out to Vicki Andrews for organizing the event, and to the presenters: Mike Overend of Two Harbors CCL Chapter and Dr. Eric Enberg of Duluth CCL Chapter.

Latest Climate Report by American Meteorological Society

posted Aug 8, 2016, 9:01 AM by Jeanne Newstrom   [ updated Aug 8, 2016, 9:01 AM ]

State of the Climate 2015 was published August 2016 and is available to read at their site: http://www.ametsoc.net/sotc/StateoftheClimate2015_lowres.pdf.

The report is long--300 pages--but it is easy to zero in on specific information as the table of contents is very complete.  The abstract is excellent.  Reading online is great because graphs and maps may be enlarged. 

Using keyword "Minnesota" in the find feature did not generate any hits.  But grasp the global interconnections in this report; from page 21:

To that end, this year’s SoC has an emphasis on
ecosystems; several chapters have dedicated a sidebar
to the complex relationship between a changing
climate and its impact on living systems. This notion
of connectedness—between climate, landscape, and
life; between our daily work and the expression of
its meaning; between planetary-scale drivers and
humble living things; between the abstraction and
rigor of data and the reality and complexity of their
importance; and especially between one generation
and the next—inspires and informs much of the
work within this volume.

The above infogram (page 24) was published vertically and I have rotated it for better viewing. Enjoy the report and become confident in yourself as an informed citizen.

GMO Labeling: Action Step 2

posted Aug 8, 2016, 8:09 AM by Jeanne Newstrom   [ updated Aug 8, 2016, 8:13 AM ]

Although Itasca County DFLers passed a resolution to label gmo products, President Obama signed the National Bioengineered Food Standard bill on July 29, 2016. and local action on labeling has now halted.  "Secretary of USDA has two (2) years to establish a national bioengineered food disclosure standard, and procedures and requirements relating thereto" [National Law Review].  Our local action step now is to move on and to encourage people to eat organic if they are concerned about the safety of gmo products.

To learn more check out and follow Civil Eats:

Congress Passed a New GMO Labeling Bill. How Will it Work?

Confused about what the bill means and how it might change your shopping experience? Here’s our explainer.


posted Jun 9, 2016, 11:10 AM by Jeanne Newstrom   [ updated Jun 9, 2016, 11:10 AM ]

New strategies are needed to reduce usage of single-use plastic bags in Itasca County.  The BYOB (Bring Your Own Bag) committee of Earth Circle has worked hard to influence Grand Rapids City Council to ban plastic bags from large food markets and big-box stores [the local WalMart uses 5000 per week, not including holidays].  Unfortunately, the city’s legal team nipped the project in the bud, claiming the city didn’t have the power to impose a ban.

I visited with Pat Helmberger, co-chair of the BYOB committee, to learn more about their initiative [June 7, 2016].  What originally caught Pat’s attention and generated her motivation (three years ago) was the horrific descriptions of  “garbage islands” and the effect of plastic on marine life.  She began educating herself and got involved with Earth Circle [Earth Circle is a nonpartisan environmental group that meets on the third Saturday at Grand Rapids Public Library at 2 pm].

The BYOB committee has actively promoted their cause by ~
  •  providing reusable bags and reminder stickers to “to take me shopping”,
  • putting up reminder signage at stores,
  • taking a door-to-door survey and distributing information,
  • petitioning for a city ban on single-use plastic bags,
  • creating Earth Day events,
  • having discussion with civic leaders and giving power point presentations at government and civic organizations,
  • writing letters to the editor,
  • teaching at the Water Legacy Student Summit,
  • showing the movie “Bag It” and donating the movie to Grand Rapids Public Library.

Here is a link to Bag It The Movie:


The BYOB committee has received funding from Grand Rapids Community Foundation, Blandin Foundation, and Lake County Power; additional support has come from Cub Foods, Ogle Market Place, WalMart and the DNR.

Pat’s favorite websites for learning about plastic bag usage and keeping up on environmental concerns are ~

Pat looks forward to a new food market coming to Grand Rapids,ALDI, because the company does not provide free bags; a customer has to bring their own or buy some.  See what's coming:  https://corporate.aldi.us/en/newsroom/ 

Photo: Pat Helmberger and Barb Veit collecting signatures for a ban the bag petition to be presented to the Grand Rapids City Council by the BYOB subcommittee of Earth Circle.
taken March 5, 2016 by J. Newstrom


GMO Labeling: Action Step 1

posted Apr 29, 2016, 2:34 PM by Jeanne Newstrom   [ updated May 5, 2016, 1:08 PM ]

The first step to solving any problem is to define it.   The problem I am referring to is the top environmental resolution passed by the DFL Itasca unit at their county convention on April 2, 2016: "GMO Labeling of food is necessary. We have the right to know if we are buying genetically engineered crops"-- rather surprising as is there not a local initiative (that I am aware of) in Itasca County.  I took steps to contact a member of Earth Circle who had organized a Right to Know gathering at Brewed Awakenings a couple of years ago and discovered she had moved out-of-state.  I found a facebook page "Iron Rangers For GMO Labeling" but the site did not have a local contact.  "So, said the little red hen, I'll just have to study the issue myself."It could be that DFL Itascans were in an uproar when they voted on party resolutions because Minnesota Senator Amy Klobuchar had just passed a "anti gmo-labeling" bill in the USA Agriculture Committee. Here is the link to the Star and Tribune newspaper coverage of her actions: 

       Before I evaluate Klobuchar's actions, before a strategy is planned, before we start a local initiative to ensure products from genetically engineered crops are labeled, we have to understand the concerns.  In my opinion, the organization with the clearest information is the site of Food and Water Watch.  Their stance is "Genetically engineered (GMO) food relies on dangerous pesticides and increases corporate control over the food system. GMOs should be labeled so we have a voice in what we eat."  
          So I have a lot to study; I've signed up for email updates from Food and Water Watch and also Right To Know Minnesota; and I aim to watch legislative actions--a little confused about how to track the process [this article, Opposition stalls U.S. Senate bill aimed at blocking GMO food labelsrefers to bill S 2609, but Congress.gov doesn't reflect such actions].
Jeanne, Environment Committee chair
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