WEEKEND GOOD NEWS EDITION – Saturday, June 3rd


Welcome to the weekend!

It’s been another craaazy week, but that’s not going to stop us from bringing you all the good news we can find. In days like these, we need to take time to celebrate each and every win, appreciate all the hard work everyone is doing, and also remember that none of us is in this alone. There are so many people working side by side and across this country to create an America that is smarter, stronger, more inclusive, more just, and more environmentally sustainable. While the majority of the headlines might make you want to crawl back under the covers and/or pour another glass of wine (depending on the time of day), we hope that this week’s selection of Good News Items will make you smile and stir the little bird of hope in your heart.

Thanks for being here & see you on the front lines!

 

Let’s begin with 45’s announcement that the U.S. is bailing on the Paris Agreement … because – believe it or not – there’s lots of good news to be had on this topic:

 

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So, of course, this is a horrific and monumentally ignorant decision. We all know that. All the scientists know that. Most of the world knows that. But, it still came as quite a shock late this week when our “leader” stood in the Rose Garden and glibly said that he was elected to represent the citizens of Pittsburgh, not Paris. Well, that turned out to be his first mistake because Pittsburgh’s Democratic Mayor Bill Peduto was having none of it. In an interview with CNN’s Wolf Blitzer, Peduto pointed out that 80% of the Pittsburgh vote was for Hillary Clinton, and also shared how Pittsburgh was a great example of a city that had turned itself around in terms of major air pollution. When asked if he had a message for the president, Peduto said, “What you did was not only bad for the economy of this country, but also weakened America in this world.” Damn straight.

Closer to home, Boston Globe writer Indira A.R. Lakshmanan – who is a native of Pittsburgh – published an enlightening piece titled, Mr. Trump, you don’t know Pittsburgh like I know Pittsburgh. I’m not going to call it a smackdown, exactly, but give it a read and see what you think. (Whatever you call it, I’m sending Indira a virtual high five.) Researchers at MIT also called the president on the inaccuracies of statements in his speech and came this close to saying that he twisted the facts to suit his own agenda. In a post on the MIT Technology Review, James Temple writes that  Erwan Monier, coauthor of the study and principal research scientist at MIT’s department of Earth, Atmospheric, and Planetary Sciences, says “It appears … that the White House cherry picked the lowest number they could find among studies that explored the impact of the climate accord.” Naughty-naughty.

And, finally, in a rousing and wide-sweeping effort to do the right thing, mayors and governors all across the country responded to the president’s ill-advised decision by joining together to say that they are committed to adopting, honoring, and upholding the Paris Agreement … even if the federal government is not. As of this writing, 186 mayors (and counting!) have signed an open letter posted on Medium saying that they will stick with the Paris Agreement. Nice going! (For more details – visit the Mayors National Climate Action Agenda.)

Not to be outdone (or perhaps because of the avalanche of calls I assume his office received after I waited 20 minutes on hold trying to get through), on Friday afternoon Governor Charlie Baker officially joining the United States Climate Alliance, an alliance formed one day earlier by New York’s Governor Cuomo.

Finally, there’s this: Bloomberg pledges $15M to UN to cover US climate share. Way to step up.

 

In other good news on the environmental front …

 

And, in other news – locally and elsewhere …

 

And here are a few selections from Jen Hofmann’s weekly “Action Checklist for Americans of Conscience.” (It’s free and it’s fabulous if you want to sign up.)

 

And here are a few picks from a newly discovered and awesome source of good news: What Went Right:
  • Cities and States Do the Right Thing: Tennessee became the first state to offer a free two-year college education to all residents. The Seattle City Council unanimously passed significant police reform, bolstering community oversight of the department’s disciplinary system, creating a powerful civilian inspector general and civilian supervision of internal investigations. Denver reduced the penalty to less than a year of jail for many criminal ordinances so that undocumented immigrants convicted of these violations can avoid federal rules that can put them on the radar for deportation when they are convicted of crimes carrying a penalty of a year in jail.
  • Strong Women: Kim Reynolds (R) was sworn as Iowa’s first woman governor. She started in politics as the treasurer of a rural county in Iowa, start small, dream big, think long-term strategy. Charlene Diggs was hired as the first African-American woman police officer in Beckley WV, the NY Jets (that’s a National Football League team for those of you not familiar with sports) hired Collette Smith making her the first female coach in Jets history and the second for the league, and Rocky Mount, NC hired Rochelle D. Small-Toney as their first female City Manager.

 

In slightly snarky news …