From the Center

Fossil Fuels are back in the headlines again with a terrible oil leak from a ruptured pipeline along the southern California coast caused by a boat anchor. Remember how they promised after the Santa Barbara oil disaster (which was the trigger for the first Earth Day) that they would make fossil fuel extraction and transportation failsafe so there would be no more ecological calamities? Oops! 

Then there’s the so called “Bipartisan” physical Infrastructure Bill which, unfortunately, will do little to address the coal, oil and gas use that is driving climate change. Even worse, many sections of the bill, if not removed, will fund these bad actions. If this eventually passes, it will be celebrated as a return to the world before the Trump-cult where politicians reached across the partisan divide, to compromise where necessary, and work toward the wrong shared goals. But it will be business as usual when it comes to the defining challenge of our time: the climate crisis. The bill provides nothing substantial to expedite the country’s urgent need to transition towards renewable energy. To quote Greta Thunberg, “Blah, blah, blah. Green economy. Blah blah blah” (while) “Our hopes and ambitions drown in their empty promises.”

Which brings us right here to the North Coast where we were just rudely awakened from our cannabis/covid burnout stupor with news that some billionaire (who’s not Rob Arkley) wants to rebuild the railroad south through the Eel and Russian River watersheds. As if that wouldn’t be bad enough on its own, this guy wants to ship coal from Wyoming to China by way of Humboldt Bay. Of course, this has created a chorus of outrage, but we need to be on guard for the potential ole’ bait and switch. After all the rage and resolutions, the promoters could easily say ok we won’t ship coal, we’ll ship something else, and we won’t try and rebuild the line south, we’ll go east. We must keep our eyes on the prize, Humboldt Bay that is, and the need to block yet another (and any) attempt to turn shallow Humboldt Bay into a deep-water port with rail access to the rest of the United States. The bay is the real lynchpin in any of these greedy schemes; without a deep-water port none of these scams work.

Congratulations to our affiliate group Zero Waste Humboldt! In 2014, Zero Waste Humboldt (ZWH) established the countywide Zero Waste Day as an annual time to celebrate local successes, recognize inspiring models, examine the state of waste reduction work within Humboldt County, and educate the public about waste prevention and reuse methods. This year is ZWH’s tenth anniversary and we intend to recognize the successes within our community while looking towards the future. 

For Zero Waste Day 2021, ZWH will provide presentations to local governments countywide about the changes and progress made in Zero Waste. There will also be activities such as tours of reuse and composting sites and a from-the-comfort-of-your-own-home Zoom film showing. Zero Waste Humboldt is excited to celebrate and connect after being isolated this past year.  Participate in Zero Waste Day on November 15, 2021!

We have some exciting new additions to our staff here at the Center, and they’ve really hit the ground running! Our Coastal Programs Intern, Lea Eider, and our Work Study Student, Reina Trombetta, and I had the opportunity to teach a group of students at Mistwood Elementary School about trash identification, how to do cleanups, and how to collect data during a cleanup. The students were then able to teach the younger class what they had learned, and then went out on Indigenous Peoples’ Day to do a beach cleanup at Agate Beach. Lea and Reina did beautifully working with the children, and we all had a great time. We are so excited to be getting back into classrooms and teaching the youth about environmental education again!

Our new EcoNews Intern, Elena, has also impressed us. You’ll see some of her articles in EcoNews starting this month! Elena’s focus on the intersections between social and environmental justice are a perfect match for the direction we want to take EcoNews. We feel fortunate to have found such a wonderful team member to contribute in that way.

In closing, it feels important to mention the Thanksgiving holiday many of us will be celebrating with our families this month. As a descendent of settlers who have been part of colonizing this country for centuries, and as a settler in California myself, I always try to remind myself of the importance of our histories — both as a nation and as individual people. Our nation is guilty of some of the most atrocious crimes that can be conceived, and though it is easy to point our fingers and blame other people for the wrongs they have caused, we must always remember to evaluate our own involvement in the continuation of those harms.

Of the many aspects of the Thanksgiving holiday season that have never felt honest or positive, is Black Friday. As American consumers, we are told to go out and spend at all costs, and given a huge incentive to do so on this particular day. What Black Friday does is preserve and propel greed in our minds and bodies, which is the foundation of colonization and everything that goes along with that. If we think of the true spirit of Thanksgiving, and wish to celebrate what we are grateful for, then why have a day (the very next day, in fact) to showcase how truly unthankful we are – where we show ourselves that we just want more

With that being said, I am thankful for you taking the time to read EcoNews, and for continuing to work towards improving your own relationship with the world around you.