March 8, 2017, International Women’s Day marks the centennial of the 1917 Russian Revolution where years of tension, suffering, abject poverty, long bread lines and short rations converged on what is now St Petersburg.  Women textile workers began demonstrating in the streets for “bread and peace” inaugurating a revolution that in just seven days forced the abdication of Tsar Nicholas II forever ending Tsarist Russia and, for better or worse, forming a brand new provisional government.


Not bad for a week’s work and a definitive testament to the power of both women and collective action.

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Climate, or more specifically climate change, along with human caused global warming is a very touchy subject in Coos County, or at least that is my experience. Despite overwhelming consensus in the scientific community and recent revelations that even Exxon/Mobil has been aware of the human impact of fossil-fuel use on climate since as early as 1977 people argue with me that the climate always changes. No one will argue this isn’t true.  Our planet is a dynamic, jumble of complex ecosystems that evolve over time. It is the rate of change, since the industrial revolution that is at issue, hence the name of this program.


According to the EPA, while records show “…the climate system varies naturally over a wide range of time scales. In general, climate changes prior to the Industrial Revolution in the 1700s can be explained by natural causes, such as changes in solar energy, volcanic eruptions, and natural changes in greenhouse gas (GHG) concentrations.”


“Research indicates that natural causes do not explain most observed warming, especially warming since the mid-20thcentury.”


The record March snowfall here on the coast may ultimately affect the outcome of a Yale University opinion study but according to the study less than 50% of Coos County believes global warming is now or will impact us within the next ten years. Once again, I want to remind listeners that the shellfish hatchery industry employs 3,000 people on the Northern Pacific Coast and the industry was almost destroyed this year due to global warming caused ocean acidification.


Why do masses of people, a majority, suddenly, almost overnight, overcome institutional, generational and social conditioning and take to the streets?  Ultimately, what contributed to the success of the 1917 Russian Revolution and Arab Spring of 2011 was, in my opinion at least, the people had nothing to left to lose. The circumstance was so desperate that not acting, not rising-up against unjust laws and not challenging the authority that keeps them oppressed is completely out of the question.


Not everyone agrees that our planet’s health is an immediate priority, according to the Yale poll but one thing we can see from the empirical data is our existing environmental regulations and environmental activism are not saving the planet. The decade old has failed to stop CO2 from climbing steadily and we now have 407PPM CO2 in our atmosphere. Greenpeace, formed 40 years ago has brought about neither peace nor the consistent use of green sustainable solutions. Not that these and other environmental organizations are not doing good and valuable work, they are, but most of their actions are directed toward appealing to a higher authority, the “decision makers” as if we the people are not the ultimate authority.


With President Trump draining the swamp and stocking it with fossil-fuel crocodiles and Goldman Sachs vampire squids, perhaps it is time to consider new, more effective strategies.


Ken Ward from Willamette Weekly

Ken Ward from Willamette Weekly

Here to talk to us on this very topic is the excellent Ken Ward, one of the founders of the