Gov. Jay Inslee (Washington) is No April Fool on Climate Change

by Duane Nichols on April 1, 2019

Gov. Jay Islee at Columbia Univ. on March 15th

Jay Inslee, Climate Candidate and Eco-Dude on the Campaign Trail

From an Article by Andrew Marantz, The New Yorker, April 1, 2019 Issue

When the Washington governor rubbed elbows with students during a climate strike at Columbia University, he avoided the Dianne Feinstein trap.

The last Friday of winter was unseasonably warm, and Naomi Hollard, a senior at Columbia University, stood on campus in jeans and a T-shirt. “We have twelve years to save the planet,” she said, facing a camera.

“That’s great,” a documentary producer said, out of frame. “Can you do one where you hit that just a little harder?”

“We have twelve years to save the planet!” Hollard said. “Amazing,” the producer said.

At 11 A.M., Hollard ascended the steps of Low Library and picked up a bullhorn. About fifty people had gathered—Columbia students holding placards, middle-school students wearing backpacks—for a “climate strike,” one of thousands taking place worldwide that day. “The idea is that students walk out of class to demand action on climate change,” Hollard said. “In our case, a lot of students are already gone.” Midterms had just ended, and spring break was about to begin. “Still, this turnout is great. Maybe word got out that we had a Presidential candidate coming.”

She was referring to Jay Inslee, the governor of Washington, who was, at that moment, walking through the campus’s wrought-iron gates. Inslee, sixty-eight, is tall and handsome in a John Lindsay-ish way: silver hair, blue eyes, square jaw. He is running for the Democratic nomination, on what is essentially a single-issue platform. “If we don’t solve climate change, we won’t be around to solve anything else,” he said. “I believe, when you’ve got one shot, you take it.” He moved through the crowd, dispensing folksiness. “Heya, man,” he said, shaking hands with a sophomore named Zachary Kimmel. “What’re you majoring in, Zach?” History. “Well, that’s fantastic.”

B. Junahli Hunter, an eighty-year-old woman with a streak of blue in her hair, tapped Inslee on the shoulder. “I just donated to you!” she said. “I believe that the underlying problem with the world is contempt for others, and that the solution is compassion. I also wrote an essay about nonbinary sexuality way back in the seventies!”

Oh, cool,” Inslee said.

He walked up the steps, and Hollard handed him the bullhorn. “I just met a young man named Zach Kimmel,” Inslee said. “He’s studying history. And here’s what Zach knows: studying history is great, but making history is even better, and you’re making history here today.” The demonstrators cheered. A few sang “This Little Light of Mine.” Kimmel, standing in the crowd, called his mother, in Brooklyn. “I was an anecdote!” he said.

The Columbia strike was organized by the Sunrise Movement, a national network of young climate activists. Last month, a group of kids, some of them third graders, went to Senator Dianne Feinstein’s office in San Francisco. They urged her to support the Green New Deal and live-streamed her response on Facebook. Feinstein has been a professional politician for fifty years, but she has apparently not mastered the art of keeping one’s cool around small children. “You come in here, and you say it has to be my way or the highway,” Feinstein said. “I don’t respond to that.” (A week later came the “Saturday Night Live” parody: “I don’t come into your first-grade classroom and knock the Elmer’s glue out of your mouth, do I?”)

Inslee, at Columbia, seemed determined to clear the low bar that Feinstein had set. “I love this stuff, man,” he told a senior named Alex Loznak. “It reminds me of the protest language of the sixties and seventies—‘Right on, brother,’ all that stuff.” In 1972, Inslee was on a year abroad in Stockholm. “The U.N. was holding its first-ever summit on the environment, and we were there, outside, holding up signs about biodiversity,” Inslee said. “I’m a little grayer now, maybe a little better dressed, but it’s still the same fight.”

He climbed into a Chevy Suburban and headed to midtown for a fund-raising lunch. An hour later, he was back in the Suburban. The driver, a Washington state trooper, pulled up at Columbus Circle, where climate strikers were converging for a march. Inslee got out, put on a suit jacket, and strolled through the crowd.

“Who’s the guy in the suit?” a student wearing a Gloria Steinem pin asked. “My mom’s gonna vote for him,” her friend said.

A group of students stood across the street from the Trump International Hotel holding signs (“There Is No Planet B”), and Inslee started to approach them for a selfie. Then they took up a chant—“Fuck Donald Trump!”—and Inslee backed off.

Alex Loznak, the Columbia senior, marched a few feet behind Inslee. “I wish I’d been able to push him a bit on his exact schedule for decarbonization,” he said. “But he does seem sincere.” Loznak is one of twenty-one young plaintiffs in Juliana v. United States, a federal lawsuit, currently on appeal, alleging that the government is violating citizens’ rights by destroying the environment. “If Inslee can do it, I’m all for it. I’m withholding the Loznak endorsement for now, but I think he’d make a good President.” ♦

{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

CCAN (Virginia) April 1, 2019 at 11:04 am

To: Residents of Virginia and Surrounding States

From: Chesapeake Climate Action Network (CCAN)

I have alarming news.

Bad budget language that passed in the waning days of this year’s turbulent General Assembly would completely undermine Virginia’s efforts to participate in the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative, or RGGI. It would do so by by preventing any use of state funds to begin efforts to cut harmful carbon pollution from power plants.

Governor Northam recently struck down this language, but his amendments allowing climate action to move forward will be before lawmakers on April 3 when they return to Richmond for the one-day “Veto Session.”

This is urgent: We need 51 votes in the House of Delegates and 21 votes in the Virginia Senate for these climate-friendly amendments to move forward. And we only have a couple days to ratchet up the pressure.

Tell Your Lawmakers to Protect Public Health and Our Economy by Funding Climate Action

On April 19, the Air Pollution Control Board is scheduled to vote on the biggest step forward Virginia’s ever taken to address climate change: a first-of-its-kind rule slashing carbon pollution from our state’s dirtiest power plants by 30 percent over the coming decade and allowing us to trade with the larger, multi-state carbon marketplace set up under RGGI.

If we don’t successfully kill this bad budget language, this important step forward on climate is in jeopardy.

We need as many of our members as possible to weigh in with their statehouse representatives demanding a clean budget that supports climate action. We simply can’t afford to delay action any longer. Please join us in this fight.

Sincerely, Harrison Wallace
Virginia Director, CCAN Action Fund

NOTE: The mission of the CCAN Action Fund is to effect change in public policy at local, state and national levels to directly address the threat of global warming. Through voter education, lobbying and participation in the electoral process, we seek to move our country into a leadership position on the most urgent global issue of our time — the climate crisis.


Leave a Comment

Previous post:

Next post: