Building more just, healthy relationships between people and establishing a more sustainable dynamic with the Earth

Author: Kevin Cross

Tell Fort Collins City Council You Want Ranked Choice Voting

Too often, mayoral and city council elections are a choice between three or more candidates and the winner can win with less than 50% of the votes.  Ranked choice voting (RCV) ensures that the winner of an election will represent the largest group of people.  Let’s ditch the notion of just voting for the lesser of the two evils and start picking leaders that represent our views.  If you support RCV and want to use it for our Fort Collins municipal elections, please email the City Council letting them know you’re a supporter.

A sample letter is provided below.  Please personalize if you can!  And if you’re interested in more information about bringing RCV to Fort Collins, please review the salon materials posted here.

To: CityLeaders@fcgov.com

Subject: RCV in Fort Collins

Dear City Councilmembers,

I am a voter in Fort Collins city elections and a fan of Ranked Choice Voting.

I support the City Council referring RCV to the November 2022 ballot for use in our next city election in April 2023.

I intend to vote YES!

Sincerely,

[your name]

Tell Fort Collins City Council to Provide Adequate Funding for the CAP

The Fort Collins Recommended Budget for 2022 does not provide adequate funding to achieve the City’s ambitious 2030 Climate Action Plan (CAP) goal.  If all items in the recommended budget are funded, community greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions will drop by about 2.6% in 2022.  In order to meet the City’s goal of 80% emissions reductions by 2030 compared to 2005 levels, GHG emissions reductions for the rest of the decade will need to be approximately 7% each year through the end of the decade.

Please send a short e-mail to City Council (cityleaders@fcgov.com) and tell them that it’s important to provide adequate funding for the CAP.  Here are a few “talking points”:

  • The City has an ambitious goal of reducing community greenhouse gas pollution 80% by 2030 compared to 2005 levels.  It’s important that the City’s budget keep us on track to meeting that goal.
  • Given recent record-breaking wildfires, hurricanes, and heat waves, the time to act on the climate crisis is now.
  • According to City staff, if all items in the 2022 Recommended Budget are funded, community emissions will decrease 2.6% next year.  To stay on track to the 2030 goal, we need to reduce our emissions by 6 – 7% annually.  The City needs to do more to protect the climate than what’s in the Recommended Budget.
  • The City of Fort Collins passed a climate emergency resolution in 2019.  It’s important that we match our words with deeds by committing the funds necessary to reach our commitments to reducing GHG pollution.
  • Areas in the Recommended Budget where we can do better are the Utilities Energy Services offer, which provides assistance to help Utilities customers reduce their use of electricity and natural gas, and Transportation and Mobility offers, which fund electric buses, bicycle, and pedestrian infrastructure.

For more background, see the Fort Collins Sustainability Group’s Statement on the Fort Collins 2022 Recommended Budget, which is available here.  The Fort Collins 2022 Recommended Budget is available here.

Thank you for supporting the Fort Collins Climate Action Plan!

Ask Congress to Support a Strong Build Back Better Budget

When Congress returns from its recess in September, it will resume work on the “Build Back Better Budget.” It’s important that this budget include the investments needed to both to mitigate and adapt to the climate crisis.  Please send a short letter to Colorado’s Congressional Delegation to make sure they receive this message.

Please write to Senator Michael Bennet, Senator John Hickenlooper, and your representative (see list here) asking them to support a strong “Build Back Better Budget.”  A sample e-message is provided below; please personalize if you have time.  If you don’t have time, just copy, paste, add the appropriate names, and send.

Dear Senator/Representative XXX:

Please support a Build Back Better Budget when you return from your August recess that addresses the climate crisis at the scale required.  The science has never been clearer that time is running out to avert the worst harms of climate breakdown.  Drought, wildfires, torrential downpours, heat waves and other extreme weather is battering communities from Arizona to Michigan to Florida, wreaking havoc in rural communities, cities and everywhere between.  We must act now with a climate budget that invests in our future.

The Build Back Better Budget must make bold, ambitious investments in the following areas:

  • A plan to cut carbon pollution from power plants by at least 80%.  The Colorado Coalition for a Livable Climate (CCLC) has called for 98% greenhouse gas pollution reductions from Colorado’s utility sector by 2030.
  • A gradual phase-out of oil and gas production over the coming decade.  The CCLC has called for 10% per year reductions in greenhouse gas emissions for a full phase-out of oil and gas production in Colorado by 2030.  People employed in the oil and gas sector can be put to work shutting down wells as production declines.
  • More clean energy jobs and a civilian climate corps to provide good jobs addressing the climate crisis to everyone who wishes to work in this area.
  • Retrofitting homes and schools to be energy efficient.
  • Affordable public transit.
  • Tax credits that expand the electric vehicle market and boost manufacturing of electric cars, trucks and buses
  • Charging stations and EV infrastructure

Additionally, the Build Back Better Budget should include a carbon fee and dividend to discourage the use of fossil fuels and return a portion of receipts to citizens and U.S. residents.

The climate crisis and environmental injustice have been ignored for far too long.  This is no time for half-measures; we must act boldly now.  Please do everything you can to pass a strong Build Back Better Budget.

Sincerely,

Your Name

Thank Ben and Jerry’s for its Recent Decision in Support of Palestinian Rights!

Last week, Ben & Jerry’s announced that it would stop selling ice cream in Israeli settlements in the occupied Palestinian territory. “We believe it is inconsistent with our values for Ben & Jerry’s ice cream to be sold in the Occupied Palestinian Territory (OPT),” the statement reads. “We also hear and recognize the concerns shared with us by our fans and trusted partners.”  This decision came after a long grassroots pressure campaign led by Vermonters for Justice in Palestine, and supported locally by Strength Through Peace.

After Israel’s most recent attack on Gaza and its forced removals of Arab families from their homes in East Jerusalem, members of the U.S. Congress and media have given increased attention to what Human Rights Watch and Israel’s respected human rights organization, B’tselem, have described as Israel’s apartheid policies and practices.

Ben and Jerry’s decision hit a nerve in the State of Israel, elected leaders of which have unleashed a fire-storm of criticism of Ben & Jerry’s and calls for legal action under anti-boycott laws in the U.S. That criticism has resonated with some members of the U.S. Congress.

Ben and Jerry’s needs to feel a little love for taking a stance in support of Palestinian rights! Please send a short note to them through their website here letting them know that you appreciate their decision to end sales of their products in the occupied Palestinian territory. And if you’re a fan of ice cream, stop by our local Ben & Jerry’s franchise and enjoy a cup or cone. When you do, make a point of thanking staff for the company’s recent decision.

Keep Climate in the Infrastructure Bill

Tell Colorado’s Senators: No Climate, No Deal!

President Biden’s original infrastructure proposal (more formally, the American Jobs Plan) included major investments related to mitigating and adapting to the climate crisis.  However, the compromise bill designed to make infrastructure spending more palatable to Senate Republicans contains very little in the way of climate initiatives. 

Colorado’s Senators need to hear from us: “No Climate, No Deal!” Please write to Senator Michael Bennet and Senator John Hickenlooper to let them know that infrastructure programs must include a focus on the climate crisis. A sample e-message is provided below; please personalize.

Dear Senator XXX:

Please oppose any infrastructure compromise that does not include major investments in mitigating and adapting to the climate crisis.

The original American Jobs Plan included funding to make the electric grid 100% carbon-free by 2035, to switch from gasoline-powered vehicles to electric-powered vehicles, and to make buildings and other structures more resilient to climate-related hazards.  This represents a good first step for our nation in doing its part to respond to the climate crisis, although much more will be required in the years to come.

The Senate majority should not cave in to the Senate minority’s refusal to acknowledge the reality of the climate crisis.  Spending at the scale needed to address the climate crisis must be approved through reconciliation before any compromise infrastructure bill designed to gain support from climate change deniers is approved. No climate, no deal!

Sincerely,

Your Name

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