October is the pump-king of all months! Did you know that 80% of the U.S.’s pumpkin crop is available for harvest just in October alone? RE-AMP states Illinois and Ohio are two of the top five pumpkin-producing states, and according to the University of Illinois, 95% of the country’s pumpkins are harvested in Illinois! Let’s carve to the chase and have a gourd time with October’s Network updates. In the Connections Section, learn all about our newest member organization, North Dakota Native Vote, and see how members participated in the recent Global Climate Strike. Get updates from the Steering Committee, the Utility Task Force, and learn about RE-AMP ramping up our Twitter presence in Collective Strategy. Then, in the Capacity Building Section, watch a recording of our recent Plastics & Climate webinar, find out more about the new RE-AMP Book Club, and read up on the amazing goals of our 2019-2020 Global Warming Strategic Action Fund grantees. Upcoming events and job postings from Network member organizations and are listed below, as well.
Have a story to share? Connect with Community Manager, Sarah Ann Shanahan today at firstname.lastname@example.org.
North Dakota Native Vote (NDNV) is the newest Full RE-AMP Member Organization with Nicole Donaghy (formerly of North Dakota Resource Council) leading the charge. As Nicole tells us, NDNV was founded during the 2018 election as a project of Montana Native Vote to help organize and fight back against a voter suppression law that went into effect just weeks before Election Day. NDNV’s main purpose was to educate voters on the new law, help people update their addresses and identification cards, and increase voter turnout.
The voter suppression law, which disproportionately burdened Native Americans in North Dakota, is among a nationwide trend of laws and regulations put into place by state authorities across the country. By narrowing who is eligible to vote, the result often suppresses registration and participation in elections of minorities, low income residents, and college students.
North Dakota Native Vote works to engage tribal members in constructing a representative democracy by working in communities both on and off reservations to create and affect policy and equal representation for the Native people of North Dakota. We will do this by fostering sustainable positive social change in our communities through community organizing, mobilization, leadership development, education, civic engagement, and public policy advocacy.
It is important for NDNV to be a part of REAMP because our tribal communities are leading many movements to protect our mother Earth. We continue to honor our first instruction to protect all life for future generations. The Midwest has a rich history of the tribes that continue to inhabit traditional lands and we believe that collaboration is crucial to equitably decarbonize our region.
Climate Strike Action from Around the Network
On September 20th, millions of people around the world joined together to participate in a Global Climate Strike. Here are some pictures of RE-AMP members across the Midwest taking part in this historic event and continuing the fight for climate action!
Tonyisha Harris with the Illinois Environmental Council shared pictures from the Youth Climate Strike she attended in Chicago, IL. She said of the strike, “It was exhilarating to see so many people attend and feel the energy in the air for a collective action. Everyone in attendance was demanding climate action and I was proud to see people of different backgrounds and ages, especially young people like me, fighting for a future.”
Jessica Collingsworth also attended the climate strike in Chicago. She snapped some great pics of the event and her colleagues, James Gignac, Meghan Hassett, Sital Sathia, Leslie Morrison, and Edyta Sitko, participating on behalf of the Union of Concerned Scientists!
Rev. Cindy Crane of the Lutheran Office for Public Policy in Wisconsin, Cassie Steiner, with the Sierra Club, and RE-AMP’s Chief Network Officer, Melissa Gavin, all participated in Madison, WI’s climate strike and shared their pictures from the event:
(Melissa Gavin) (Sierra Club & 350 Madison Climate Action Team)
(Sierra Club & 350 Madison Climate Action Team)
Sean Carroll, RE-AMP’s Organizing Hub Director, joined the strike in St. Paul, MN and told us there was “lots of great energy!”
Task Force Meeting Recap & November Summit
This summer, a task force of eight RE-AMP members (see below for the list) conducted 24 interviews with an array of people from across the Midwest. The interviewees and task force had expertise that included energy policy, facility management, housing advocacy, environmental justice, solar businesses, commissioner experience, rural electric coop business development, and consumer advocacy. The task force then came together for two days to synthesize findings and tee up conversations for our larger RE-AMP Network.
In accordance with our overall Equitable Deep Decarbonization Framework, the task force agreed we wanted to pursue a world with equitably-controlled clean energy that enriches human health, ecosystems, and well-being, while strengthening and connecting communities. One important component of that, we agreed, is to see access to clean energy recognized as an enforceable human right. We are still compiling and refining the materials we produced, and look forward to sharing a full report before the summit, but in brief, we focused mainly on eight themes:
- Access to Energy
- Access to Information
- Redress for Harms Done
- Participation in Decision-Making
- Clean Energy Technology & Infrastructure
- Finance & Capital
- Utility Business Model
The Task Force included:
Dorothy Barnett, Climate + Energy Project
Carolyn Berninger, Minnesota Center for Environmental Advocacy
Robert Blake, Minnesota Interfaith Power & Light
Nicole Donaghy, North Dakota Native Vote
Melissa Gavin, RE-AMP
Courtney Hanson, People for Community Recovery
Robin Lisowski, Slipstream
Uma Outka, Climate + Energy Project
Miguel Yanez, Environmental & Energy Study Institute
*Staffed by Gail Francis, RE-AMP’s Strategic Director
On November 14 & 15, the RE-AMP Network will host a summit of leaders from across the Midwest to lay the groundwork for campaigns to make access to clean energy a legally enforceable right. Some of you may have a strong background in a human rights framework, while others of you may be new to the idea. Likewise, some of you may have close connections with existing power structures, while others might spend more time agitating from the outside. What we are looking for is people who can bring critical thinking and collaborative mindsets. We are looking for people who have a track record of making meaningful change, whether at the grassroots level, in the courtrooms, or in the Capitol.
We hope to come away from this meeting with a strong foundation for highly strategic action teams to flesh out the plans for an audacious shift in how we move forward to include everyone, electrify everything and decarbonize electricity.
Are you ready to help build and execute strategies to make it a reality? There may still be space to join this Summit! Contact Gail Francis (email@example.com) for more information.
Update from the Steering Committee
The RE-AMP Steering Committee met for their in-person fall retreat in Minneapolis on September 17th to evaluate work to date in 2019 and begin planning for 2020. Together, Steering Committee members and staff reviewed the 2019 Network workplan and progress on the goals set for 2019:
1) Help RE-AMP members develop collective strategy and work collaboratively toward inclusive, equitable climate solutions in the Midwest
2) Raise RE-AMP’s profile as the network known for setting collective strategy and working collaboratively toward inclusive, equitable climate solutions in the Midwest
3) Begin early work on engagement in Midwest elections in 2020 and 2022
4) Ensure RE-AMP is adequately resourced to effectively carry out its work
Much progress has been made on the 2019 goals based on metrics for success set by the Steering Committee at the beginning of the year. Pivoting toward the future, the Steering Committee discussed opportunities for continued and new work in 2020. The outcome of the day long retreat was a list of priorities for both the 2020 budget and the 2020 Network workplan, which will include RE-AMP’s Annual Meeting in Detroit, State Table funding, funding for regional collaboration, an in-person strategy summit (topic to be determined), trainings to help members think systemically and act collaboratively, continued build out of our social systems mapping, and new analysis on greenhouse gas emissions and equity in the region.
RE-AMP on Twitter
RE-AMP’s on Twitter! Follow us @reamp. We’ll be amplifying the great work happening by our members and boosting the conversations our members are highlighting. Have thoughts on how we can use our Twitter account to further our Network goals? Reach out to Organizing Hub Director, Sean Carroll (firstname.lastname@example.org). Happy Tweeting!
Plastics and Climate Webinar Recap
On October 16th, Carroll Muffett, President & CEO of the Center for International Environmental Law, led a webinar for RE-AMP to provide an in-depth look at the relationship between plastics and climate. Plastic is a pollutant of unique concern, as it does not break down quickly and instead accumulates in the environment as more is produced. It carries toxic impacts throughout its lifecycle — from the impacts of oil and gas drilling, to plastic refining and manufacture, to waste management, to plastic pollution that ends up in our oceans and environment.
We see this story play out here in the Midwest: frac sand is mined in Wisconsin, transported to North Dakota to extract fracked gas, which is shipped to the Ohio River Valley to produce plastics, which are often ultimately incinerated in Midwestern states like Michigan and Minnesota, contributing to climate change and human health hazards in every step of the lifecycle.
Less known but no less important are the impacts of that lifecycle on our climate and the role of plastics as a major contributor to climate change. Yet, just as the world is coming to realize the dangers of plastic pollution and take action to prevent it, the petrochemical industry is poised to invest billions to expand plastic production by 40 percent in the next few decades. If they succeed, we will vastly exceed our carbon budget and negate the significant gains the Midwest has made in renewable energy over the last 15 years.
RE-AMP Book Club
In November, RE-AMP members will be meeting to host a book club on Dr. Robin DiAgelo’s White Fragility: Why It’s So Hard For White People To Talk About Racism. This will be an opportunity for each of us to dive more deeply into our own personal analysis around racism, as well as to develop a sense of a shared political analysis with other network members.
We will be hosting video calls on the book mid-November and December, and all members are welcome to join. Even if you aren’t able to read the whole book, you are still absolutely welcome to join the discussion. We’ll do a short recap of the content at the beginning of the call, but in addition, the book will really serve as a jumping off point for thinking and talking about how these principles play out in our work and in our lives.
If you’d like to join, contact Sean Carroll (email@example.com), RE-AMP’s Organizing Hub Director, for details about when the group is meeting.
Global Warming Strategic Action Fund 2019-2020
The Network is eager to share with you the goals of the state climate tables as they have been approved, thus far, for the 2019-2020 Global Warming Strategic Action Fund. The ongoing, ambitious, and the determined efforts of all state table members is commended and deeply appreciated. This is sure to be an exciting year!
OH: In response to HB 6, a coal and nuclear bailout and repeal of the state’s energy efficiency law, the Ohio Energy Table will be engaging community members across the state through a series of forums on the Ohio Equitable Energy Tour.
MI: Empower Michigan is building power and equity across the state to create a bottom up vision for energy by shifting the narrative to include health, affordability, and democracy in energy decision-making.
WI: The Wisconsin Climate Table’s goal is to make Wisconsin a leader on climate action in the Midwest, and they will be building on the successes of local work being done throughout the state as a way to tap into state-level opportunities with a more climate-friendly Governor, the state’s new sustainability office, and being the host state of the upcoming Democratic National Convention.
MN: The Minnesota Climate Table is working to help organizations across the state center equity as a foundational aspect of their campaigns, and they’re doing that by supporting leadership of a BIPOC Table (black, indigenous, people of color) in the state.
IA: The Iowa State Table is developing a Rate Payers’ Bill of Rights through expansive outreach effort, stakeholder analysis, and meetings with stakeholders including communities facing high energy burdens.
ND: North Dakota’s State Table will be doing assessments and one-on-one meetings in both Indian Country and urban centers to understand barriers and a path forward on equitable deep decarbonization. They are also building power by looking at the root causes of climate change issues in their state, looking at anti-gerrymandering initiatives and corruption issues.
Strategic Planning Resources Webinar | November 6
Equitably Decarbonizing Utilities Summit | November 14 & 15
RE-AMP Steering Committee Meeting | November 19
Level Two and Level Three Action Team Applications Due | November 29
Network Thinking Academies | December 3-5