Countering Climate Disinformation in Conversations and in the Media with PA IPL & JEA
This meeting, recorded Wednesday, November 16, 2022, is part of PA IPL’s ongoing partnership with Jewish Earth Alliance (JEA).
TOPIC: Countering Climate Disinformation In Conversations and In the Media
SPEAKER: Maegan Ramirez, Climate Justice Outreach Coordinator for the Union of Concerned Scientists
This joint session with JEA focuses on how to have difficult conversations and how to bridge the divide.
Maegan Ramirez is a program coordinator with the Climate & Energy program at the Union of Concerned Scientists. In her role, she supports the Climate Impacts team and helped establish a programmatic Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion team. Prior to joining UCS, Maegan completed a research internship at the National Endowment for the Arts. She has also worked in higher education at the University of Texas at El Paso, and served as a Congressional District Leader for the ONE Campaign, which focuses on ending extreme poverty and preventable diseases. Maegan holds a BA in creative writing and political science from the University of Texas at El Paso, and an MFA in creative writing from American University.
JEA provides ongoing training and templates for monthly letter writing campaigns to local, state, and federal officials. The meetings provide a template, information, and guidance for all those who are interested in amplifying the message of Climate Justice.
Once you learn how easy Jewish Earth Alliance makes it, through their background information and template letter, for everyone to write letters to their federal officials, we hope you will write to your members of Congress now and for the next few months.
The topic of this year’s conference, Environmental Justice & Human Resilience, is at the core of PA IPL’s mission. We seek to inspire and mobilize people of faith and conscience to take bold and just action on climate change. This must start and continue with work in and with the frontline communities most directly and immediately affected by climate change.
Our keynote speaker will be Dr. Joylette Portlock, Executive Director, Sustainable Pittsburgh. Prior to her role at Sustainable Pittsburgh, Dr. Portlock served as Associate Director of Science and Research at the Carnegie Museum of Natural History and as Executive Director of Communitopia, a nonprofit based in Pittsburgh that focuses on climate change communication. She holds a bachelor’s degree in biology with a minor in anthropology from MIT and a Ph.D. in genetics from Stanford University. Her work focuses on building community around sustainability topics, with a particular interest in making important scientific, technical or complex information accessible and useful. Dr. Portlock has worked on environmental issues at the local, state, and federal level, and also currently serves on the Allegheny County Board of Health.
We are pleased to offer a virtual keynote address & response panel session that will be broadcast across PA as well as two workshops in each of our four in-person locations: Philadelphia (SE PA), Scranton (NE PA), Lancaster (Central PA), and Pittsburgh (SW PA). There will be breaks with refreshments, between the sessions, at the in-person locations.
Scranton/NE PA Sessions: The Congregation of the Sisters, Servants of the Immaculate Heart of Mary: Welcoming Space 1. Connecting Environmental Justice & Environmental Law 2. Integrating Organic Farming & The Performing Arts
Lancaster/Central PA Sessions: Lutheran Church of the Good Shepherd 1. Building Equitable Local Climate Resilience 2. Developing a Congregational Creation Care Program
Pittsburgh/SW PA Sessions: Duquesne University: College Hall, Rooms 104-105 1. The Healing Spirit of the Earth 2. Successes & Challenges in Frontline Communities
A Reflection and short Refreshment Session will close the Annual Conference between 3:50pm – 4pm at each in-person location.
Please join us and register today. The next page will permit you to complete your registration by indicating whether you will attend the virtual Keynote Session only, or whether you will attend virtually plus attend the regional Workshop session closest to you. A ZOOM link for the Keynote Address will be emailed to you when you register.
PA IPL Staff & Board Members look forward to connecting with you virtually or after the Workshops in your region on Sunday, November 13th, 1pm – 4pm.
All are welcome to attend. We also welcome any suggestions regarding sponsorships for this year’s conference. If you or your organization/company are interested in advertising or speaking directly to the PA IPL community please reach out to Kathy Hrabovsky at firstname.lastname@example.org or submit your sponsorship here.
Register here and receive an email providing the link for the Keynote Address.
November 3, 2022 President Joseph R. Biden The White House 1600 Pennsylvania Ave, NW Washington, DC 20500
Dear President Biden:
The undersigned organizations appreciate that your administration has restored rigorous, science-based decision-making to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and other federal agencies as they develop solutions for pollution that will protect public health. Turning the page on the disastrous and deadly anti-science agenda of the previous administration is literally a matter of life and death for people across the nation. While we were encouraged to see the introduction of many important safeguards in your Spring 2022 plan we write to share our deep concern that many of the actions continue to be delayed. Time is of the utmost essence, but for a number of these actions, the timeline is already slipping into 2023. We believe the science is clear and that there is quite literally no time for delay in setting strong limits on air pollution, specifically for fine particulate matter (PM 2.5) or soot.
Soot pollution exposure causes increased infant mortality, cardiovascular disease, asthma, diabetes, cognitive impairments, and even premature death. As is often the case, these health burdens are disproportionately borne by communities already overburdened by pollution, particularly lower-income households and communities of color who are more likely to live near heavily polluting facilities and high-traffic roadways. Simply put, soot is deadly. And each day that passes without updated limits is another day that millions of Americans are exposed to unhealthy and potentially deadly levels of soot pollution. Additionally, the delay in pushing forward a strong soot pollution standard is also holding back the co-benefits we would see for nature and our ecosystems as well as in reductions in other air and climate pollution.
We are united in our call for the EPA to set the strongest possible protections to limit soot pollution without delay. Specifically, we call on your administration to quickly set National Ambient Air Quality Standards (NAAQS) for fine particulate matter pollution of no higher than 8 micrograms per cubic meter (μg/m3) for the annual standard and no higher than 25 μg/m3 for the 24-hour standard. Doing so could avoid nearly 20,000 premature deaths annually. It will also begin to mitigate long-standing environmental and health injustices faced by fenceline communities and will benefit people and the environment across the country.
In August, we applauded the advancement of the soot pollution standards to interagency review at the Office of Management and Budget (OMB). However, we are deeply concerned to see that polluters secured additional meetings–sometimes more than once–further delaying the process at the expense of improved health and environmental justice outcomes for communities that have borne the brunt of this pollution. OMB has already exceeded the mandated 90-day deadline on several appliance efficiency standards and for pollutants like hydrofluorocarbons, giving us cause for concern. Knowing that the mercury and air toxics standards and methane safeguards are also languishing adds to the frustration. We hoped this soot standard would come open for public comment by the end of summer, consistent with EPA’s public statements, but it is now approaching November without a proposal in sight.
Mr. President, Americans are depending on your administration to protect their right to clean air and healthy communities. People need and deserve to know if their air is safe to breathe. Without science-based, updated air quality standards, too many remain in the dark regarding their local conditions. That is why we need solutions for pollution–and we need them now. We urge you to move quickly to advance and finalize stronger soot pollution standards and to swiftly move all rules forward that protect public health, stave off the worst of the climate crisis, and improve the quality of our lives. Every additional day of delay means hazy skies and more toxic soot pollution in the lungs of our vulnerable children and seniors. We urge you to act as swiftly and boldly as possible. The eyes of our community, the nation, and the world are upon you.
On Wednesday, October 26th at 6:30pm the Southwest PA Chapter of PA IPL held it’s quarterly meeting & program. They began with a Reflection and updates on PA IPL happenings around the state. Then they had a conversation with Gillian Graber, Executive Director and Co-Founder of Protect PT, a nonprofit organization dedicated to ensuring residents’ safety, security, and quality of life by engaging in education and advocacy to protect the economic, environmental, and legal rights of the people in Westmoreland and Allegheny counties.
Sign up here if you would like to join the Pittsburgh & SW PA IPL Chapter!
For our October 24th program, Owen Taylor speaks to us about the vision for the company he began. He is a seed nerd who loves growing Southern Italian and Irish heirlooms and supporting the community food sovereignty movement through seed keeping.
Truelove Seeds is a farm-based seed company offering culturally important and open pollinated vegetable, herb, and flower seeds. Their seeds are grown by more than 50 small-scale urban and rural farmers committed to community food sovereignty, cultural preservation, and sustainable agriculture. They share all profits directly with growers: 50% of each packet sale goes back to the farmer who grew it! Truelove Seeds believes that keeping seeds is an act of truelove for our ancestors and our collective future.