Tim McDonnell joined the Climate Desk after stints at Mother Jones and Sierra magazine, where he nurtured his interest in environmental journalism. Originally from Tucson, Tim loves tortillas and epic walks.
On the one-year anniversary of Occupy Wall Street, Green Party presidential candidate Jill Stein rallies the troops at "Storm Wall Street."
Here's one thing Barack Obama and Mitt Romney have in common: They don't have to battle for attention with a squad of dancing jellyfish puppets. Jill Stein did, and won. The Green Party presidential candidate spent yesterday morning in Manhattan's Financial District with the environmental contingent of Occupy Wall Street, dodging cops, patiently waiting out street theater performances, and shouting hoarsely into the People's Mic.
"Wall Street has put our climate in crisis," Stein yelled, to an ample wiggling of spirit fingers. "It's up to us to lead the way on the economy and the climate."
Occupy Wall Street has long eschewed party politics, which makes the appearance of this long-shot presidential contender slightly discordant. But to see Stein, for whom environmental issues are a campaign centerpiece, marks an apex in what Occupy's environmental organizers call a yearlong struggle to bring climate change to the forefront of the movement.
Stein, 62, is a Harvard-educated physician who first entered politics ten years ago as a Green-Rainbow Party candidate for Massachusetts governor, after years of public health activism. Despite her greatest electoral success being a seat on the Lexington, Mass., Town Meeting in 2005 and 2008, Stein will go head to head with Obama and Romney in at least 38 states this November, making her a contender for the votes of environmentally conscious Occupiers nationwide who are dissatisfied with both mainstream parties' mollifying of the fossil fuel industry.
Stein isn't naïve about her chances for the White House. But she's running anyway, because in her mind both parties are tarred by the same brush.
"Without our voices there is no public interest, it's just corporate spin campaigns competing with each other for more corporate dollars."
Twelve months after they slept, ate, and occasionally got arrested with the demonstrators, our team of journalists has returned to Lower Manhattan to follow #s17 protesters observing the birthday of Occupy Wall Street. Below is our Storify of MJ street reporting, plus updates from our friends and colleagues across the internets (please be patient: The Storify may take a few seconds to load):
SEIADespite claims from a certain Republican vice-presidential candidate that the failure of Solyndra was a sign of a "make-believe market" for solar power, and grumblings from Republican congressmen and Mitt Romney about the merits of investment in solar power technology, a new report today indicates that many of the country's biggest companies are still committed to bringing more sunlight into their energy portfolios.
Walmart uses more solar power than any other US company, according to the Solar Energy Industries Association. All told, the twenty companies on the list had 279,122 kilowatts of solar installed by mid-2012, accounting for roughly twelve percent of America's total solar capacity.
This summer could be dubbed the Great Melt. The belt of ice surrounding the Arctic has melted to its lowest level in history, a record seen by many scientists as evidence of long-term climate change. Adding to environmentalists' fears, Royal Dutch Shell sunk its first drill bit into the Arctic seabed, taking the first steps in American offshore oil exploration in these frigid waters.
Today, a new book by photographer James Balog, Ice: Portraits of Vanishing Glaciers, captures in vivid color just what's at stake as climate change erodes ice in some of the world's most extreme places. Balog shared six of his favorites with Climate Desk:
James Balog has spent the last 30 years donning crampons, paddling canoes, and hopping into dog sleds and helicopters to capture the world's ice on film. He's been everywhere from Bolivia and Nepal to Alaska and Montana to France and Switzerland, in an ongoing project that he says is "about getting in close to ice and experiencing all its colors and textures and shapes."
This summer's record melt in the Arctic, Balog told Climate Desk as he was en route to a glacier shoot in Iceland, is a reminder that "ice is the canary in the coal mine—you can touch and see and hear climate change."
We at the Climate Desk plugged a few climate change keywords into word clouds for a side-by-side comparison of how frequently they appear in the two platforms. If a word appears in one and not the other, it's because it isn't used in the latter. For a reference on the sizes, "oil" appears ten times in the GOP platform; "climate change" appears twenty times in the Democratic platform:
To judge a candidate by counting how many times they throw out certain buzzwords is a dangerous strategy. As David Roberts points out, even if President Obama repeated the words "climate change" like a mantra from now until November 6 and won the election, it doesn't mean major cap-and-trade legislation would pass in his second term.
Still, how—and how much—Republicans and Democrats address climate change in their official party platforms can be a telling indication of where their priorities lie. Maybe even more telling is what they don't include: the GOP platform never uses the word "renewables"; the Dems never mention Keystone XL.