Eat Less Meat

If you care about helping the environment during an administration that seems to be shaping up to do everything in its power to roll back climate measures, one of the best things that you can do is to eat less meat. You could also give up meat altogether, but that’s not realistic for everyone, and even cutting back can make a huge dent.

This NPR article does a great job at visualizing how many resources go into making a hamburger patty, as well as showing how much meat Americans eat per year, on average. If you’re too lazy to click the link, spoiler, it’s a LOT.

Continue reading “Eat Less Meat”

Act for Racial Justice

If you’re white, check out this great graphic, which explains how white people can move from Actors to Allies to Accomplices in the fight for racial justice.

From the creators:

The ideas captured on this website, very much a work in progress, have been developed to support White people to act for racial justice. It draws from ideas and resources developed mostly by Black, Brown and People of Color, and has been edited by Black, Brown, and People of Color.  I recognize that categorizing actions under the labels of Actor, Ally, and Accomplice is an oversimplification, but hopefully this chart challenges all of us White folks to go outside of our comfort zones, take some bigger risks, and make some more significant sacrifices because this is what we’ve been asked to do by those most impacted by racism, colonialism, patriarchy, white supremacy, xenophobia, and hyper-capitalism. I believe that for real change to occur, we must confront and challenge all people, policies, systems, etc., that maintain privileges and power for White people.

Check out their suggestions, and pick at least one or two actions that you can take this week… and then build from there!

Ask the House Oversight Committee to Investigate Russia’s Possible Influence on the Election

House Rep. Elijah Cummings (D – Maryland) has asked House Oversight Committee Chairman, Rep. Jason Chaffetz, asking for a bipartisan review of possible Russian interference with the 2016 Presidential Election. While this is not likely to change the outcome of the election, it’s still a vital step in the protection of our democracy and its systems.

Per a CNN article covering the letter:

The Democrat congressman said that though the hacks were on Democratic groups, the outrage at Russia’s actions should be bipartisan.
“Elections are the bedrock of our nation’s democracy,” Cummings wrote. “Any attempt by a foreign power to undermine them is a direct attack on our core democratic values, and it should chill every member of Congress and American — red or blue — to the core.”
Call Rep. Chaffetz and the House Oversight Committee and request that the Committee take action into reviewing this possible interference by calling 202-225-5074 & (801) 851-2500, and let them know that you support a bipartisan review into Russian activity surrounding the election.

Subscribe to the re:act Newsletter and Do Everything In It

I saw this amazing weekly newsletter by Derek Nelson on Twitter the other day. It’s called re:act, and you can sign up here. If you do, you’ll get a weekly email with several concrete statements/actions by the Trump administration, and specific instructions for how to push back on them. Obviously, that’s very similar to what I’m trying to do with this blog, but I don’t think this is an area where competition should be viewed as the enemy. I urge everyone who’s enjoying this blog to sign up for this newsletter and follow all of the suggestions each week! And then, of course, come to the blog and see what my suggestion(s) of the day are.

Here’s a sample of the content of re:act from the Nov. 15th newsletter:

1. “Trump draws sharp rebuke, concerns over newly appointed chief White House strategist Stephen Bannon”

What’s happening:
Bannon is a white nationalist who has published stories like “The Solution to Online ‘Harassment’ Is Simple: Women Should Log Off,”  “Bill Kristol: Renegade Jew,” and “Gabby Giffords: The Gun Control Movement’s Human Shield”. His ex-wife said in a court declaration that he “he didn’t want the girls going to school with Jews.” He will now have a desk next to the Oval Office. Pressure is mounting for Trump to rescind the appointment.

What you can do #1: (Approx 8 minutes)
Call Paul Ryan’s office at (202) 225-0600. There is no vote on this position, but this clearly passes any previous precedent for withdrawing.

Read and act on “How To Call Your Representative To Protest Steve Bannon’s White House Appointment”

Donate to the Southern Poverty Law Center, which has already denounced Bannon:

2. “Donald Trump plans to immediately deport 2 to 3 million undocumented immigrants”

What’s happening:
Trump now plans to immediately deport up to 3 million undocumented immigrants who he says are criminals, a figure given “two pinocchios” by the Washington Post.

What you can do #2:  (Approx 6 minutes)
Join the ACLU, which promises to be “be eternally vigilant every single day of your presidency” on the issue of deportations.

Send along 5 Important Things You Need To Know About DACA During a Trump Presidency”  to any immigrant youth that may be impacted.

Sign the United We Dream petition to stop specific deportations.

3. “Attacks on Muslim Americans Fuel Increase in Hate Crime, F.B.I. Says”

What’s happening:
There were a total of 5,818 hate crimes in the U.S. in 2015, including a 67% jump in crimes against Muslim-Americans, the highest since 2001. Attacks against transgender people also sharply increased.

What you can do #3:  (Approx 2 minutes)
Review the Anti-Defamation League’s Action Center, and sign up for updates.

Consider giving Muslim-Americans a powerful voice by supporting Keith Ellison for the next DNC Chair. Ellison is a six-term progressive Minnesota representative and one of two Muslims in Congress. Bernie Sanders can deliver your signature for support here.

4. “Ryan Plans to Phase Out Medicare in 2017”

What’s happening:
“I’ve heard a few people say that it’s not 100% clear here that Ryan is calling for Medicare Phase Out. It is 100% clear. Ryan has a standard, openly enunciated position in favor of Medicare Phase Out. It’s on his website. It’s explained explicitly right there.” – Josh Marshall, TPM

What you can do #4: (Approx 15 minutes)
Let these purple state Republican Senators who serve on the Finance Committee (which oversees Medicare) know if you find a Medicare phase-out acceptable. Calls are much more likely to spur action than email.

Iowa: Chuck Grassley – (202) 224-3744
Georgia: Johnny Isakson – (202) 224-3643
Ohio: Rob Portman –  (202) 224-3353
Nevada: Dean Heller –  (202) 224-6244

5. “Facebook is taking steps to eliminate fake news and hoaxes that some critics have suggested might have influenced the 2016 presidential election, CEO Mark Zuckerberg says”

What’s happening:
This may seem trivial with everything else that’s going on, but fake news is having real consequences. Google’s top result for “final election results” goes to a fake news site with manufactured numbers saying Trump won. A false story of Pope Francis endorsing Donald Trump was seen by 1.2 million people. This is important, and Mark Zuckerberg needs to be challenged when he says that “the idea fake news on Facebook… influenced the election in any way is a pretty crazy idea.” Social media outlets cannot have it both ways: they can’t say they influence buying decisions and democratic uprisings, while also saying that they can’t affect elections here at home by serving as a platform for misleading content.

What you can do #5:  (Approx 3 minutes)
Respond to Mark Zuckerberg’s Facebook post addressing the controversy:

Let Facebook’s feedback team know directly how urgent of a task this is:

Contest the Appointment of Racist & Anti-Semite Stephen Bannon as Chief Strategist

Stephen Bannon, from Breitbart, is a racist, anti-semite, misogynist… the list goes on. His appointment is a clear indicator of how the Trump administration really feels about the rights and human dignity of million of Americans – at the minimum apathetic, and probably actively hostile. I’m already seeing people saying that Bannon’s words have been rhetoric at his journalism job. Great if true, but I’m planning on taking him at his vile word until proven otherwise.

So how to push back? I’ve seen the following list floating around Facebook:

Here’s a concrete action a friend of a friend proposed: Friends, let’s seek a tactical victory this week. Let’s try to stop the Bannon appointment. Presidents have had to back down before, for comparatively minor reasons. (Some of us are old enough to remember Zoe Baird and Kimba Wood, Bill Clinton’s two AG appointments, who had to withdraw for failing to pay Social Security taxes.) Let’s not assume this is a done deal.
Let’s do what we can to stop this. I have enclosed a list of actions below. Please feel free to add to this, especially those of you with organizing experience (some of whom I’ve tagged).

1) If you live in the US, call your Representatives and Senators and tell them this is unacceptable.
2) Paul Ryan is feigning ignorance again. Call his office at (202) 225-3031 and let him know that this is not ok. Same with Majority Leader McConnell, (202) 224-2541.
3) Call out the media when they report the Bannon appointment as a straight news story or refer to him as a “Breitbart executive” or a “provocateur,” but don’t call him what he is: a white supremacist, anti-semite, misogynist. Don’t let them normalize.
4) Where protests are ongoing, make this the focus, with signs, chants, etc. Next week we can turn out attention to other things. But for now let’s focus like a laser on this.
5) Let’s get religious groups on board; maybe even mainstream business groups, like the Chamber of Commerce (202-659-6000).
6) Contact other people of influence–College presidents, high-profile coaches and anyone else who has a public megaphone.
We can do this. #stopbannon

An additional step proposed by one of my Facebook friends was to sign this petition by Southern Poverty Law Center. Calling reps and other Senate/House leaders is more effective, but every little bit can help.

Call Out and Stop Harassment and Violence

Hate crimes have already risen across the country, mirroring similar rises in violence in Britain following Brexit. If you see someone being harassed or attacked, there are a number of ways that you can help stop the situation from continuing. We can’t afford to stand by and allow harassment to happen unchecked.

Continue reading “Call Out and Stop Harassment and Violence”