Protect the Clean Power Plan - a mother's story

Today I joined hundreds of people in publicly testifying at an Environmental Protection Agency hearing. The EPA, under the leadership of fossil fuel industry shill Scott Pruitt, is proposing to repeal the Clean Power Plan - without a replacement. As one woman put it, "repealing the CPP without a replacement is like moving out of your house without having a new place to move into." 

I was invited to testify by Moms Clean Air Force - who advised me to tell a personal story about how climate change and air quality affected me. So I shared a story about how Elliot was trapped by the Sonoma fires last fall. Even the former Charles Koch Institute guy seemed moved. Here is my three minute testimony:

Vanessa Warheit testifies at the 2/28/18 EPA Listening Session in San Francisco, on EPA's proposed repeal of the Clean Power Plan.

Lisa Hoyos' 12-year old son was the last to speak in the afternoon's session. “I shouldn’t be here," he said, "I should be in school, or studying for my math test. I’m here because I’m afraid of what my future is going to be. The fact that the EPA, who are supposed to protect our environment, are talking about repealing a rule to protect our air - I can’t wrap my brain around it. I want to have a future where I don’t have to worry about this. Where my kids - if I have kids - don’t have to worry about this."

He spoke without notes, looking all three EPA administrators in the eye. He told them about his fears for the future. "When you think about all this testimony later," he concluded, "I want you to remember my face: the face of the future generation.”

 12-year old citizen testifying to the EPA on proposed repeal of the Clean Power Plan.

12-year old citizen testifying to the EPA on proposed repeal of the Clean Power Plan.

Transport Decarbonization Alliance launched at One Planet Summit

Very good news - last week’s One Planet Summit in Paris included the announcement of a new international alliance aimed at decarbonizing transportation globally. 

 “The attention that transport received and the commitments for climate action in transport that were made during the One Planet Summit are unprecedented. After the One Planet Summit, the transport sector is better positioned in climate change mitigation and adaptation than ever before.”

http://www.ppmc-transport.org/transport-at-one-planet-summit-countries-cities-and-non-governmental-actors-actively-support-the-ppmc-transport-decarbonization-alliance/

Horse v. CO2 Poop

In 1898, the world’s first international urban-planning conference was brought to a standstill because of a seemingly insurmountable crisis: studies were showing that New York City - like other major urban centers around the world - would be under 3 stories of horse manure within 30 years. 

 Horse manure clogging city streets in 19th century cities

Horse manure clogging city streets in 19th century cities

The advent of the streetcar and the automobile, of course, quickly solved that problem. But the advent of the internal combustion engine clearly brought us a new, larger problem: atmospheric carbon dioxide pollution. What would that pollution look like if it was - like horse manure - visible? (Not to mention smellable?)

To answer this question, I got an atmospheric scientist to help me do a back-of the-envelope calculation. We assumed that streets take up 1/3 of San Francisco's 47 sq miles, and we used San Francisco's CO2 emissions only (12.5 tons per person per year – which is far less than the US average of 20 tons per person per year). We used a rough population estimate of 1 million. And here's what we found:

The streets of San Francisco will be 538 feet deep in CO2 poop within one year. That's two thirds of the way up the Transamerica Pyramid. By 2020, we'll have buried the Transamerica Pyramid almost four times. I'll let you calculate what 35 more years of this madness might look like - but I don't think you need to. The upshot is that humanity has never been in poop this deep. 

Kids Jury Award for Best Film!

We're back from a full weekend at the Wild & Scenic Film Festival - and we took home the Kids Jury Award for Best Film! 

 

Our film screened in Grass Valley's huge, historic Del Oro cinema, as part of a program of kids films that started at 9:30am. I was worried we'd have a really small audience - but the giant hall was packed!

It was, in fact - hands down - the best audience we've had yet (at least, for screenings that we've attended). 

 Elliot on the giant screen... 

Elliot on the giant screen... 

 and eating popcorn, at the Del Oro Theater in Grass Valley, CA.

and eating popcorn, at the Del Oro Theater in Grass Valley, CA.

 Answering audience questions onstage at the Del Oro Theater, at the Wild & Scenic Film Festival

Answering audience questions onstage at the Del Oro Theater, at the Wild & Scenic Film Festival

 In the lobby of the Del Oro Theater, with fans of Worse Than Poop!

In the lobby of the Del Oro Theater, with fans of Worse Than Poop!

 Televised interview with Elisa Parker on KVMR at the Wild & Scenic Film Festival

Televised interview with Elisa Parker on KVMR at the Wild & Scenic Film Festival

The festival generously gave us film passes, so we were able to wander from venue to venue, seeing a lot of great films. Elliot's favorite was a student-made short called Distress Call. My favorite was a program on ecological soundscapes - including the jaw-dropping Dutch short The Art of Flying and the fantastic NRDC-funded film Sonic Sea. (I thought I knew about all the ways humans were harming the natural environment - but this film explores how human activity disrupts the sonic environment of undersea mammals in disastrous ways, something I knew almost nothing about.)

 Chris from SYRCL gets us ready for a rainy exploration of the local soundscape at the Wild & Scenic Film Festival

Chris from SYRCL gets us ready for a rainy exploration of the local soundscape at the Wild & Scenic Film Festival

After the soundscapes program, we participated in a nature walk to explore the soundscape of our local environment. It was pouring rain - but it felt good to be outside, and it was fascinating to try using my ears instead of my eyes to orient myself.

 Recording the sound of raindrops on puddles 

Recording the sound of raindrops on puddles 

After the hike, we came back the warm and dry National Hotel, where we enjoyed a presentation on sound editing using Adobe Audition. There has been a revolution, just in the past five years, in our ability to isolate recorded sounds. This demo used sounds recorded in the field by Bernie Krause , subject of the film Nature's Orchestra

 Elliot and his dad learn about sound editing on Adobe Audition

Elliot and his dad learn about sound editing on Adobe Audition

 Happy & exhausted Elliot at festival headquarters

Happy & exhausted Elliot at festival headquarters

 Holding our prize: Kids Jury Award for Best Film, 2016 Wild & Scenic Film Festival

Holding our prize: Kids Jury Award for Best Film, 2016 Wild & Scenic Film Festival



UNAFF Screening, Panel... and Award!

Last week, Worse Than Poop! won the Grand Jury Award for Best Short Film at the United Nations Association Film Festival. We are so honored!

 Vanessa and Elliot take home the Grand Jury Prize for Best Short Film at the 2015 UNAFF.

Vanessa and Elliot take home the Grand Jury Prize for Best Short Film at the 2015 UNAFF.

Held for the past 18 years at Stanford University, the UNAFF seeks to draw attention to the UN's Millenium Development Goals and, going forward, the UN's new Sustainable Development Goals

 Elliot answers a question from the audience at the 2015 UNAFF.

Elliot answers a question from the audience at the 2015 UNAFF.

Our film was scheduled on the last day of the festival, in a section addressing climate change. The other films included DamNation and Antarctic Edge, and afterwards Elliot and I sat on a panel and answered audience questions with filmmakers Matt Stoeker and Dena Seidel.