Activism

Thumbnail image for A Photo Essay of Sunday’s San Diego People’s Climate March – The Time for Change is Now

A Photo Essay of Sunday’s San Diego People’s Climate March – The Time for Change is Now

by At Large 09.22.2014 Activism

By Court Allen 

310,000 people marched in NYC Sunday to make politicians and world leaders focus on Climate Change in the upcoming United Nation’s Climate Summit. That’s right – 310,000 people.  All in one place. All with one message – the time for change is now.

Here in San Diego, roughly 1,500 people gathered, marched and added their voice to the cause of Climate Justice. The march went from the Civic Center over to Broadway and then on to the County Administration building along Harbor Drive. Speeches were made, signs were held high, pledges were signed.

Our numbers were not as impressive as NYC, to be sure, but we made ourselves heard, and perhaps most importantly, we were not alone. Around the world, in hundreds of other cities, literally hundreds of thousands added their voice to this cause with similar marches.  This was a global event. It is judged to be the largest environmental protest ever.

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Thumbnail image for UT-San Diego: To Be? Or Not to Be?

UT-San Diego: To Be? Or Not to Be?

by Doug Porter 09.22.2014 Activism

By Doug Porter

The Reader broke the news this weekend, confirming speculation that “Papa Doug” Manchester is looking to unload San Diego’s daily newspaper.

Columnist Don Bauder, citing rumors among local business executives and insiders at the newspaper, ran with a story on Thursday saying that downtown real estate developer and philanthropist Malin Burnham was raising money for takeover. The paper would become a nonprofit, according to this account, and acquiring the company’s real estate was not part of the negotiations.

On Saturday Matt Potter reached Burham by phone, who confirmed a deal was in the works, telling the Reader reporter, “announcement of a fundraising campaign to provide operating cash for the new operation awaits IRS approval of the venture.”

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Thumbnail image for Escondido’s Park That’s Not a Park, Owned by the Mayor’s Family

Escondido’s Park That’s Not a Park, Owned by the Mayor’s Family

by At Large 09.22.2014 Environment

By Don Greene / Escondido Democrats

Budget discussions at the City of Escondido have for the last 4 years focused on a more streamlined approach to spending.  The City Council has cut back on many programs and amenities, none more so than our Parks and Recreation Department.

I drive past Grove Park and Washington Park and admire that the city has set aside outdoor space for its residents. The question always comes to mind as to why would we want to cheapen these areas or outright sell them off?  Why wouldn’t we want to preserve these spaces for the residents to enjoy?

Of course, with budget cuts, the city is having a hard time maintaining the programming at our city parks.  The move to make the Recreation Department as close to a “full cost recovery department” as possible, has stripped away many of the amenities that our parks offered to our residents. Many of the amenities at our local parks have fallen into disrepair and there doesn’t seem to be money in the budget to fix these problems. With limited amenities, our parks are not being used by residents.

There have been proposals such as the Water Park and the BMX Track slotted for Kit Carson Park.  These projects would have been, presumably, a public/private partnership that would have brought more revenue and more visitors to the city.  Opponents of these measures argued that we would lose valuable green space.  But our parks are not the only source of green space in the city.

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Thumbnail image for ‘I Believe That We Will Win’ – San Diego Activists Rise Above the Fray

‘I Believe That We Will Win’ – San Diego Activists Rise Above the Fray

by Doug Porter 09.19.2014 Activism

By Doug Porter

The six hundred forty six columns and stories I’ve written about San Diego in this space over the past 27 months have led me to an awareness of just how vital activism has become in this community.

Howard Zinn, loathed by right-wingers everywhere, writes from the perspective that  activism and social movements are driving forces in history.This is different from the heroes/villains methodology or the feast/famine/war/peace way [how the mass media see the world] of understanding the course of events.

This week in San Diego is, I think, a validation of Zinn’s approach. Even as battles were lost (the Chamber of Misery’s minimum wage referendum), other struggles were victorious (the taxi drivers’ quest for reform). This weekend’s People’s Climate March in downtown is just one manifestation of 2700 other rallies around the world making the point that the world can no longer afford to delay substantive action on this issue.

Today’s column will discuss some of the many fronts for activism in San Diego and around the nation.

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Thumbnail image for Who Runs San Diego? How Do You Solve a Problem like Sea World?

Who Runs San Diego? How Do You Solve a Problem like Sea World?

by At Large 09.19.2014 Activism

Shamu, we hardly knew ye

By Linda Perine / San Diego Woman’s Democratic Club

For most of us it has been a slow, painful process to understand that our love affair with cute, cuddly, smiley Shamu has made us participants in a cold-blooded business that imprisons and mistreats sentient, social creatures in ways that turn the stomach and shock the conscience.

Concerned environmentalist and civic leaders have been telling us for years that the capture of orcas was nasty and brutal involving bombs and machine guns, the violent separation of babies from their mothers and resulting in injury and death to many orcas in the wild. Books criticizing the Sea World business model and its exploitation of captive whales and dolphins just did not register.

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Thumbnail image for Readers Write:  The Community Effort behind the Arrest of a Suspect in the North Park Assaults

Readers Write: The Community Effort behind the Arrest of a Suspect in the North Park Assaults

by At Large 09.19.2014 Activism

By Alan Bennett

North Park citizens were intimately involved in the arrest of David Angelo Drake, a 23-year-old male as a suspect in the sexual assaults on women in North Park over the past four months. The San Diego resident was scheduled to be arraigned September 11, 2014, at the downtown courthouse. Mr. Drake was taken into custody into custody near the corner of Fifth Avenue and Washington Street.

This was possible because a North Park resident took the time to get involved. The tipsters words to me were: “I did not expect that I would solve the puzzle, but I knew that I had to try and that I was going to keep at it until I figured it out.” Although bedridden, the tipster suspected having seen the emblem on the suspect’s Tee shirt caught on a closed circuit television. That image was vague but familiar. After four hours, searching Tee shirt websites, a match was made.

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Thumbnail image for As Study Shows Poverty Rising in San Diego, Campaign to Shame Restaurant Industry Over Wages Emerges

As Study Shows Poverty Rising in San Diego, Campaign to Shame Restaurant Industry Over Wages Emerges

by Doug Porter 09.18.2014 Activism

By Doug Porter

The poverty rate in San Diego has risen over the past year according to data released by U.S. Census Bureau this week. A total of 209,045 San Diegans (15.8%)  lived below the federal poverty level last year, including more than 64,000 children (21.9%) of all children in the city.  

The release of this report comes two days after the San Diego Chamber of Commerce claimed success in a referendum campaign effectively halting implementation of a local minimum wage increase. Much of the money for that campaign reportedly came via the California Restaurant Association.

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Thumbnail image for San Diego Really Has It All

San Diego Really Has It All

by Junco Canché 09.18.2014 Cartoons
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Thumbnail image for Inside an Outsider’s Campaign for Political Office – An Unprecedented Win

Inside an Outsider’s Campaign for Political Office – An Unprecedented Win

by Lori Saldaña 09.18.2014 Activism

By Lori Saldaña / Part Four of Four

Yesterday Lori Saldaña discussed the realities of putting together a door-to-door campaign.

I’ll always remember the shock, joy and celebration my volunteers, friends and family experienced when the first voting results came in on Election night, shortly after 9 pm. I was leading in the 3-way results by 10 points, with 40% of the vote going to me and  30% going to each of my two opponents.  The number varied little over the ensuing hours, ultimately staying there for the remainder of the night.

We had overcome the odds and won big, despite being outspent by a ridiculous amount.

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Thumbnail image for California Fish Stories – How Some Seafood Has ‘Come back’ and How San Diego’s Bluefin Tuna ‘Is On the Way Out’

California Fish Stories – How Some Seafood Has ‘Come back’ and How San Diego’s Bluefin Tuna ‘Is On the Way Out’

by Frank Gormlie 09.18.2014 Business

By Frank Gormlie / OB Rag

There’s mixed California fish stories right now. There’s good and bad.

Twenty-one species of commercial fish have just come off the ‘watch list’ and are no longer on the ‘avoid list’.

On the other hand, at the same time, the population of Bluefin Tuna – popular here in San Diego – has plunged to just 4% of its historic highs on a worldwide basis.

It was recently announced that 21 commercially important species of West Coast groundfish have been removed from the “Avoid” list. This was announced by the prestigious Monterey Bay Aquarium Seafood Watch program. They were upgraded to either “Best Choice” or “Good Alternative”, and includes species such as sablefish, rockfish typical sold as “snapper,” and popular flatfish species caught by bottom-trawl and other methods.

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Thumbnail image for DIY Resistance: Find Rock Bottom

DIY Resistance: Find Rock Bottom

by Will Falk 09.18.2014 Activism

By Will Falk

The August San Diego sun was hot. I spread a white blanket on the white concrete floor of a patio behind another mental health hospital, opened the book I asked my mother to bring me – Derrick Jensen’s Dreams, and tried to make myself as comfortable as possible.

The sun beat down and the sweat pooled on my palms. I closed the book not wanting my sweat to blur Jensen’s exploration of the role of the supernatural in resisting this culture of death. I couldn’t focus anyway. I couldn’t forget why I was there.

It was my second suicide attempt in four months.

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Thumbnail image for Chamber of Misery’s Million Dollar Campaign Halts San Diego’s Minimum Wage Increase

Chamber of Misery’s Million Dollar Campaign Halts San Diego’s Minimum Wage Increase

by Doug Porter 09.17.2014 Activism

By Doug Porter

San Diego Regional Chamber of Commerce CEO Jerry Sanders took to the airwaves yesterday to announce his group of paid canvassers had gathered 56,000 signatures (at up to $12 each) towards implementing their plan to keep the working poor in poverty for as long as possible.

There was no longer any pretense about a “small business coalition” fighting to save mom and pop stores from bankruptcy or simply getting this issue before the voters. This campaign was about the power of the wealthy to dictate policy to the city. This was and is about the sustaining an economic model that asks taxpayers to subsidize lower tiers of workers via government programs while corporations rack up record profits.

By the time financial reports reveal just how much money was spent by the Chamber and their corporate allies in the hospitality industry spent to gather signatures, the San Diego clerk’s office will have certified the results. I’ll venture a guess that they spent over a million bucks, probably not including the hotel rooms provided for vagabond canvassers from as far away as Michigan and Ohio.

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Thumbnail image for Inside an Outsider’s Campaign for Political Office – “We Walk, We Win”

Inside an Outsider’s Campaign for Political Office – “We Walk, We Win”

by Lori Saldaña 09.17.2014 Activism

By Lori Saldaña / Part Three of Four 

Yesterday Lori Saldaña discussed the path to her decision to mount a grass-roots campaign for the California Assembly in 2004. She really didn’t have a choice: all the political pros around thought she was too much of an outsider.

I decided to give up on getting support from Sacramento. My volunteers and I adopted the motto “We Walk, We Win.”

A typical weekday would be: make calls to raise money in the morning (rarely more than a few hundred dollars), walk precincts in the afternoon (rarely actually talking to voters at that time of day), then teach in the evening. On weekends I would walk 4 precincts: 2 on Saturday, 2 more on Sunday.

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Thumbnail image for A Little Plea for Ending Violence Against Women

A Little Plea for Ending Violence Against Women

by Ernie McCray 09.17.2014 Activism

By Ernie McCray

I can’t seem to free my mind of images of Janay Palmer Rice being so utterly beaten down and humiliated in a hotel casino elevator. My heart reaches way out to her.

There are those who hold the view that “She should leave” like that’s as easy as it seems. “She’s just with him for the money,” others say, as though there isn’t a poor woman out there somewhere, in this very moment probably, getting stomped unmercifully by some ruthless man who doesn’t, as they used to say, have a pot to pee in. And the woman will stay in the relationship.

Look, I don’t know Janay’s story but the pain I see ingrained on her beautiful brown face seems to be of an intense emotional variety, that kind of pain that takes over a person’s life when they live under the dominance of another human being, feeling there is nowhere to run, nowhere to hide. Because the vicious brutes among us will track you down. It’s downright dangerous to run.

Now, there are women who are victims of violence who wake up and say “Enough of this” and find a way to end the abuse, but way too many don’t. I’ve read that it takes an average of seven attacks before a woman leaves her abuser.

The only thing approaching a positive, in this horrible incident involving Janay, is that we, as a society, got to see a video of it. With the imagery still fresh in our minds maybe we will be compelled to find ways to make women safer in our world.

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Thumbnail image for Why We March : Stepping Forth for a Planet in Peril

Why We March : Stepping Forth for a Planet in Peril

by Source 09.17.2014 Activism

By Eddie Bautista, La Tonya Crisp-Sauray, and Bill McKibben / TomDispatch

On Sunday, September 21st, a huge crowd will march through the middle of Manhattan. It will almost certainly be the largest rally about climate change in human history, and one of the largest political protests in many years in New York. More than 1,000 groups are coordinating the march — environmental justice groups, faith groups, labor groups — which means there’s no one policy ask. Instead, it’s designed to serve as a loud and pointed reminder to our leaders, gathering that week at the United Nations to discuss global warming, that the next great movement of the planet’s citizens centers on our survival and their pathetic inaction.

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Thumbnail image for Inside an Outsider’s Campaign for Elected Office – Battle Lines Are Drawn

Inside an Outsider’s Campaign for Elected Office – Battle Lines Are Drawn

by Lori Saldaña 09.16.2014 Activism

By Lori Saldaña / Part Two of Four

In Part One of this series, Lori Saldaña discussed her motivations and personal considerations leading up to her run for the California Assembly in 2004. At the end of yesterday’s installment, she’d just been told by a Los Angeles woman’s organization at the end of a fundraising presentation that they viewed her a good candidate for school board, not the statehouse.

They ultimately endorsed my opponent- a woman with no prior elected experience who had worked as a pollster for the state teacher’s union. This basically meant she had the support of many of the “progressive” insiders in Sacramento and, therefore, the capacity to raise lots and lots of money.

As far as they were concerned, money was the key to winning. My policy work, community ties, Presidential appointment etc. paled in comparison.

Fortunately, I was unwilling to accept these evaluations as the final say on my qualifications to run, or my ability to serve in state-level office.  I kept looking for support in the district, ignoring the “third house” in Sacramento and focusing on developing a grassroots campaign.

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Thumbnail image for Inside an Outsider’s Campaign for Elected Office – Motivations and Considerations

Inside an Outsider’s Campaign for Elected Office – Motivations and Considerations

by Lori Saldaña 09.15.2014 Activism

By Lori Saldaña /Part One of Four

As I listen to news reports on Hilary Clinton’s activities in Iowa, and the “Ready for Hillary” campaign theme that has spread for the past year, I think of my own motivations and considerations when I first discussed the possibility of becoming a candidate for State Assembly 12 years ago.

Ms. Clinton has discussed the impending birth of her  grandchild as something that gives her pause.   She is a veteran of decades of campaigns and elections, and understands what I did not in 2002: time with family often disappears, subsumed by the demands of a competitive election.

Her reflections on becoming a grandmother for the first time remind me of my own grandmother- Dorothy Brecht. In her 97 years of life she saw women earn the right to vote, men take to skies in planes for the first time, and then land on the moon. She wanted very much to see her granddaughter become the first in our family to hold elected office.

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Thumbnail image for The People’s Climate March – What Will It Take to Save the Planet?

The People’s Climate March – What Will It Take to Save the Planet?

by Jim Miller 09.15.2014 Activism

By Jim Miller and Kelly Mayhew

This coming Sunday, September 21st, is the People’s Climate March in New York City, here in San Diego, and elsewhere around the world.

The organizers hope that it will be “an unprecedented citizen mobilization” occurring “[a]s world leaders meet at the United Nations climate change summit” while marchers demand “the world we know is within our reach: a world with an economy that works for people and the planet; a world safe from the ravages of climate change; a world with good jobs, clean air and water, and healthy communities. . . . Other marches will take place around the world as we collectively call on our leaders to act on climate change.”

More specifically, according to the organizers in San Diego, the march is happening to “call for solutions that work for people and the planet – a rapid transition from fossil fuels to renewables and energy efficiency, and a just and sustainable economy. We will press our elected leaders to implement a strong Climate Action Plan for San Diego; develop sustainable water policies; build affordable mass transit and facilitate healthy communities; and support green jobs and clean energy.”

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Thumbnail image for Grass Roots Campaign For Mayor Heats Up In Imperial Beach : Serge Dedina Wants To Increase Civic Participation

Grass Roots Campaign For Mayor Heats Up In Imperial Beach : Serge Dedina Wants To Increase Civic Participation

by At Large 09.15.2014 Activism

By Barbara Zaragoza

While campaigns in Imperial Beach generally begin on Labor Day, Serge Dedina, co-founder and executive director of WildCoast, has been walking the streets of IB since last May. His run for mayor also happens to be the most comprehensive grass roots campaign in Imperial Beach history.

“No one has ever had more volunteers. No one has integrated the door-to-door campaigning with social media and email blasts. We have a list of 80 volunteers and on a weekly basis we are getting 10-12 people to walk,” said Dedina.

His campaign is gaining traction thanks to his unusual approach.

“My volunteers and I started walking throughout the summer between 5 and 7 days a week. Volunteers will be walking every Saturday until Election Day. That’s the difference with my campaign. It’s really fueled by walking and our volunteers and then the enthusiastic reception in the community.”

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Thumbnail image for Poisoned Chalice Electric Rate “Fixing” Threatens Community Energy in San Diego

Poisoned Chalice Electric Rate “Fixing” Threatens Community Energy in San Diego

by Jay Powell 09.12.2014 Activism

By Jay Powell

“… with the passage of AB 327, the thorny issue of Net Energy Metering and rate design has been given over to the CPUC. … recognize this is a poisoned chalice: the Commission will come under intense pressure to use this authority to protect the interest of the utilities over those of consumers and potential self-generators, all in the name of addressing exaggerated concerns about grid stability, cost and fairness. You—my fellow Commissioners—all must be bold and forthright in defending and strengthening our state’s commitment to clean and distributed energy generation.”

This was one of six parting observations offered by Public Utilities Commissioner Mark Ferron when he resigned from the PUC due to serious health issues in January of this year.

The “poisoned chalice” is what is on the table this next week. Those of you who are trying desperately to mind your “kwhrs” (kilowatt hours) this summer should be aware that you are about to be punished for your conservation, investments in energy efficiency and/or roof top solar.

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Thumbnail image for The Fight to Save the Minimum Wage Hike Intensifies in San Diego

The Fight to Save the Minimum Wage Hike Intensifies in San Diego

by Doug Porter 09.11.2014 Activism

By Doug Porter

The struggle for a better life for nearly two hundred thousand San Diegans continues, as the forces of reaction desperately fight back following passage of an ordinance increasing the local minimum wage by the City Council.

The San Diego Chamber of Commerce, with assistance from corporate hotel and restaurant corporations, has funded a campaign to force the issue to a referendum, which would have the effect of delaying any increase until July, 2016. While their sales pitch started out with the premise that citizens needed to vote on such a measure, it has gotten increasingly desperate in recent days.

The paid canvassers used by GOP consultant Jason Roe and the big business funded “Small Business Coalition” have quit in droves, mostly because they are unable to collect enough signatures to make a living. The bounty for names on their petitions has risen from roughly $2 per signature to $7 each at retail locations and $10 each if done door-to-door.

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Thumbnail image for Beating the War Drums: Beware the Advice of Mission Creeps Cheney and Kissinger

Beating the War Drums: Beware the Advice of Mission Creeps Cheney and Kissinger

by Anna Daniels 09.10.2014 Activism

Are we getting our war on?

By Anna Daniels

Nothing like starting the morning with the Wall Street Journal headline “Cheney Is Still Right” followed by a New York Times correction to their own article in which Dick Cheney was described as “President.” The media has chosen unprosecuted war criminal Dick Cheney as the warm up act for President Obama’s address to the American people this evening, Wednesday September 10, and it does not bode well.

It is impossible to expect any encouraging news tonight about the US’s continued presence in the political and moral quagmire of Iraq and anticipated involvement in the same in Syria. We elected a president–twice– who promised to a war weary citizenry a withdrawal of the US presence in both Afghanistan and Iraq. Now he is assuring us that we will not be involved up to our collective necks (again) in the complicated geo-politics of the region, only up to maybe our knees or waist.

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Thumbnail image for Living the Wage is Indeed a Challenge in San Diego

Living the Wage is Indeed a Challenge in San Diego

by At Large 09.10.2014 Activism

By Todd Gloria / President, San Diego City Council

My morning ritual on most days is to buy a cup of my favorite coffee in Hillcrest. This week I did not do that. I couldn’t because I was trying to live on the minimum wage. After paying for housing and taxes, I had $51 left to spend on all my expenses including food and transportation. This meant carefully considering how to spend every penny, and I couldn’t afford my morning coffee.

My reduced consumption wasn’t limited to coffee. I knew this challenge would require a drastic reduction in what I was able to contribute to the local economy.  I didn’t eat out this week. I didn’t dry clean my clothes. I skipped washing my car. The businesses that I did patronize saw far less of my money than they would in an average week.

As I struggled to live on $51 for one week, I didn’t lose sight of the fact that this is just an experiment for me. For thousands of San Diegans, roughly 38% of us, this is their life every single day.

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Thumbnail image for San Diegans to Demonstrate Against Supreme Court Justice Scalia – Thursday, Sept. 11th

San Diegans to Demonstrate Against Supreme Court Justice Scalia – Thursday, Sept. 11th

by Staff 09.10.2014 Activism

By Staff / OB Rag

Scalia: an Utter Moral Failure

US Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia will be attending the California State Bar Convention that’s being held in San Diego. Justice Scalia will be there on Thursday, September 11.

Women Occupy San Diego and the San Diego Chapter of the National Lawyers Guild will demonstrate against the appearance at 11:30 a.m. Hyatt Grand, 1 Market Place. The demonstration focuses on the Supreme Court’s attacks on the rights of women, workers, minorities, and honest elections.

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Thumbnail image for Are You Ready to ‘Disrupt’? Climate Movement Readies Global Mobilization

Are You Ready to ‘Disrupt’? Climate Movement Readies Global Mobilization

by Source 09.10.2014 Activism

In less than two weeks, the ‘Climate People’s March & Mobilization’ is set to make its mark on history. A new film helps explain where the movement came from and where it’s going.

by Jon Queally/ CommonDreams

On Sunday, Sept. 7, a new documentary film highlighting the intertwined story of the climate crisis and the growing social movement which has grown in response to it was released online for national screenings that took place in people’s home and public meeting spaces.

At just under an hour long, the film—titled ‘Disruption’—was produced with a stated goal to “galvanize a new wave of climate action and climate leadership” across the globe and comes just weeks before the ‘People’s Climate March‘ being organized for New York City that will take place on Sunday, September 21.

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