May 31, 2017

Two year Carbon Redux Challenge: Intro


For months, #45 has been deliberating about whether to stay or leave the Paris Agreement.  Even if he decides to stay, he has already deeply undercut the US’s ability to uphold our commitments.  His executive orders rescinding the Clean Power Plan, automotive efficiency standards, and threats to undercut California’s clean air waiver point to a pernicious disregard for human and environmental health.

The timing for this backwards leadership could not be worse.  It is possible that we have already passed the critical juncture where we could have limited the damage from climate change by reducing our emissions.   Instability in the Antarctic ice sheet  suggests that the melting of reflective ice in the poles may be proceeding at a faster rate than had been originally anticipated, spinning into a feedback loop of accelerating global warming.  The signs of precariousness for our species abound. Name a species or ecosystem, and you will find it is embattled–even insects have experienced significant declines. The moment for powerful leadership to prevent crisis came and went years ago, and we now find ourselves at the precipice with a leader who seems compelled to push us into the abyss.

Powerless as we seem, we still may have a shot at keeping ourselves from going over the edge.  In addition to political and protest actions like the Science and Climate marches held last month, we have the simple power of our wallets.   How we each choose to act, and what we buy (or refuse to buy) is the ultimate driver of both climate change and political calculus.



2 Year Carbon Diet

So here we are.  We still have 3.5 years to go before we can expect any change in the leadership vacuum on this topic.  At the current pace of climate change acceleration, that simply won’t be soon enough. And even if it were, we need to send a powerful message about whether CO2 reduction is even possible in a world with 7 billion people and growing.

This is the moment, right now, to make the sacrifice, and to do something. 

What if everyone on the planet who had the luxury to do so—especially all of us wealthy Americans, conscientiously spent 2 years living in such a way as to reduce our personal CO2 generation by half?

We know the big generators of greenhouse gasses.  We do have the power to reduce them.  Here’s what it would take:

  • Reduce air travel by half
  • Reduce driving by half
  • Reduce KWH (kilowatt hours of electricity) used by half
  • Reduce consumption of animal products by half… or, if you are already a vegan, reduce your consumption of rain forest-based products (exotic oils such as palm oil and coconut oil, chocolate, coffee, tea) by half
  • Reduce plastic use by half.

If we were ever going to try to do this, now would be the time.  We know exactly how to do it.  This stuff seems like it doesn’t matter, but if enough of us did it, it would matter tremendously.  It would show that we do have the power to care, to collectivize, and to defend the future.   It would show policy makers and corporations that they will not be rewarded for pushing back clean air standards, by externalizing the costs of production, of valuing profits over people.

What do you think?  Could you sign onto this pledge?  Would you, could you?  For the grand kids?  For the Great Barrier Reef?  For the future of life on earth?

Let me know in the comments, or on social media at #2yrCO2.


May 19, 2017

Trash Dissection 1

Note to readers: Before the election of #45, was largely focused on ‘small lifestyle changes that can make a difference.’  Recent events have made it harder and harder to rest easy in the mantra of ‘thinking globally and acting locally.’  But hey, now that we’re knee-deep in this madness, it’s time to keep working on the ‘small local actions’ as a lifeline against despair.  Along these lines, I’m participating in an experiment where you keep all your trash and recycling for a week and then end the week by sorting through it all, noting what items are recyclable in your area, and what is not.   Week 1 results below:



A friend recently said that nothing had been as destructive to the waste-reduction movement as recycling.  Recycling, especially if you’re not especially fastidious about it, is a glorious guilt sink.  You take things you shouldn’t really have done, and you dump them in the blue bin, hoping that they will come to a good end.  You’ve done your part, now the system miraculously works.  If you live (like I do) in a city with single stream recycling, and communal blue recycling bins, there is never a system of accountability where your trash could be rejected– so you just keep tossing things in there optimistically.

Part of this exercise of keeping one’s trash for a week is to actually to through the recycling and research what items can and can’t be recycled.  When I look at the guidelines provided by the City of Los Angeles, it appears that almost everything can be recycled– but it’s hard to tell.  When is something too soiled with food/ grease to be unrecyclable (pizza)?  What about items (paper plates, ice cream container) that appear to be coated in plastic?   What about the ‘soft plastic’ bags that come from the produce aisle at the grocery store, or wrapped the birthday card you bought at papyrus?  They look like two completely different types of soft plastic– can they be mixed together in a larger plastic bag and then recycled?  The photo above is pretty representative of my recycling, which typically exceeds the volume of my weekly trash by a lot.  But when I start breaking it down, I see a lot of items that I’m un-sure about in terms of true recyclability, such as:


DSC03238Turns out most receipts today are coated in plastic– something called  ‘thermal coating.’  This makes them unrecyclable in the City of Los Angeles.  Lesson learned!  I’ve been throwing them in there for 2 years, contaminating the waste stream.  Because they are coated in endocrine-disrupting plastic (BPA), they also can’t be added to my worm or compost bin, or I will be contributing to the plasticization of my own home food system.  Receipts = trash.   Much as I hate typing in my email to get receipts, I think I’m going to do that more often.

Other random paper+plastic bits


Once I learned receipts weren’t recyclable, I started looking more closely at the other small bits of paper I’d thought were recyclable.  And what I found was that many paper items are mixed with/ fused with plastic, with adhesive, or (as in the case of these baggage claim tickets), both.

Also disqualified are paper cups, containers and plates that have been coated with plastic.  (See the paper plate and ice cream container I’d hoped to recycle, above).  I’m still not sure  if the ice cream containers are recyclable or not… But I guess coffee cups are not.

Soft Plastic

In the ‘surprisingly recyclable’ category? Plastic bags.  In many places, ‘soft plastic’ is a recycling contaminant that gunks up machines and conveyor belts.  But here in LA, apparently you can recycle them.  What do they recycle these into?  I have no idea.  Does it matter that some are one kind of plastic and some are another?  Again, no clue.  We’ve been working to reduce our production of these bags by using resuable bags in the bulk and produce aisle, but somehow, soft plastic still finds us.  Example: we had to fly to Ohio to find a house this past week, and they put our baby’s car eat in an enormous plastic bag prior to putting it on the conveyor belt, despite my protestations.  In spite of the enormous bag, the car seat was still delayed, and we ended up borrowing one from the airline when we arrived (why can’t it work this way to begin with???)  So there’s that.  I was pretty proud of our attempt at family zero waste travel over all, but the car seat bag was a pretty big sore spot.


In addition to the recycling we discarded a plastic grocery bag’s worth of trash.  I didn’t dissect the trash since this was my ‘warm up’ week for this exercise–and also because the stuff in there includes hair and the dust bunnies and dental floss.  A more noble approach to these items would be to compost them, but because much of my compost ends up at the school, I keep it clean of stuff like that.

So What?

One of my astute co-workers was talking about how she makes herself a Kurig coffee everyday (with a notorious, unrecyclable plastic ‘K-cup.’   She was saying how it made her feel guilty, but at the same time, she had recently learned that the entire floor she worked on was going to be demolished in a renovation for a new tenant, and that everything left behind would be thrown in the trash.  Compared to the wasteful scale of standard corporate practice, she said, her daily K-cup just doesn’t seem like a problem.

Half of me completely agrees with her.  Rather than collecting, dissecting, and writing about our trash, it seems it would be more impactful to convince our friends and neighbors to fly less and eat less meat.  Or to develop policy that forces building managers to re-use the stuff in office spaces instead of chucking it out each time a new tenant moves in.  .  Taken in the grand scheme of things, getting really nutzo about reducing the amount of plastic waste we each produce as individuals almost seems like a distraction from real issues.

At the same time, it seems to me that we often only learn to care  about big issues by starting with the small, personal ones.  Some of the people who I’ve met through the Zero Waste movement are the most incredible leaders when it comes to big systems changes, but they learned their bravery and commitment by starting small.  It takes guts to walk into a store and stand up for your re-usable container, especially if it means educating employees about their own corporate policy.  But you do that enough times, and you start to get serious about the systems that underpin our habits.   I don’t think my colleague would have cared about the grotesque waste inherent to commercial office renovation if there hadn’t been a campaign out there that also made her worry about her daily K-cup.

All of which brings me back to my personal waste stream.  There are some things that I’m not willing to change about my waste stream at this point.  I’m not giving up dental floss or toilet paper, and I probably can’t give up store-bought flour tortillas until I quit my job and have time to make handmade.  But there is a lot of plastic trash I have given up, and in almost every instance, my life has become easier or more enjoyable as a result.  Bringing awareness to what I throw away (or don’t) has opened my eyes to many of the dysfunctional defaults in our society– defaults that claim to be built on sanitation or convenience, but which often are built on profits for corporations.

So I’ll be dissecting my trash again next week, because as silly as it sounds, it might just be the way to start making the big changes we need.  I encourage you to join me!

April 29, 2017

Turning Momentum from People’s Climate March into Action: 2 Year Carbon Diet

Day 28 of 28 brainstorming signs for the #peoplesclimatemarch #peoplesclimate #climatemarch #pcm. Today’s theme: pivot or perish. After 28 days mulling over the hazards of climate change, I want to turn momentum into action. I started work today on some exciting plans for a #2yrCO2 diet campaign, to take us from 2018 to 2020. If we could demonstrate an intentional, collaborative slowing in CO2 emissions over this critical period (we just hit 412 ppm CO2 at the Mauna Loa observatory this week, and we believe 350 ppm or less is safe…), it would be the signal that we really do have what it takes to be the owners of the future. But we must pivot toward reductions NOW. Our governments may lag, but we don’t have to sit idly by and let this critical moment for humanity pass away. Stay tuned for more!

April 28, 2017

Curated Collection: Greatest Hits Leading Up to the People’s Climate March

img_5530.jpgI spend more time than I should casting about on the internet to see what political signs and artwork others are making… The Women’s March and the Science March were incredible wellsprings of creativity, I think in part because both of those marches ‘rose above’ politics in many cases, and because they featured a core demographic (women, scientists), and for whatever reason, identity politics always seems to be a driver of creativity. From a the perspective of developing signs, I think the Climate March is slightly more challenged. The climate risk is so cross-cutting that it doesn’t impact just one group– though identifying those groups that will be harmed first and disproportionately seems to be an important part of the message–hence the “People’s” Climate March. Messaging also has to walk a fine line between reflecting the true urgency of the situation while avoiding becoming so desperate or doomsday that people tune out. Tipping to far in either direction is easy.

To illustrate what I’m saying, I feel suspicious of messages that don’t reflect urgency, or have a clear direction for action. As much as I love this “Make earth cool again” poster for it’s lightness, I dislike it because it leaves open 1) WHO is in charge of ‘making earth cool’ and thereby puts nobody on the hook, and 2) doesn’t really point to any plan, policy (or sacrifice) that might need to happen in order to ‘make her cool.’ I’m afraid to say that I want to hear more ‘real talk’ about climate at this stage in the game.make earth cool again

On the flip side, we have this poster– “State of Climate Emergency” from Paris 2015. This one is not light, and does reflect urgency (clearly), but because it similarly doesn’t offer any clear target or actions for ‘what to do about it,’ it comes off as just straight-up doom and gloom. la-na-pol-trump-paris-20170427

Annyway, I know my fellow marchers will prevail with amazing signs in spite of these challenges, and wanted to show some of my early favorite memes:

Children and Families
I was surprised at how strongly affected my 8-year-old was by the “R.I.P. Great Barrier Reef‘ tombstone sketch I did for day 10 of my brainstorm. He didn’t want to look at it as I was drawing, and was stricken when I explained the challenge our coral reefs are up against. I think that we do enough climate action-type work in our lives that he was able to connect his sadness to something actionable– but it did remind me that I’ve had 30 or so years to process my feelings about species loss, while the sadness of it is new and fresh for him. How to bring children into this work without giving them a complex, (or seeding their future disregard for climate because it seems to sad and insurmountable) requires creativity.

I give credit to whoever thought of the idea of doing ‘pollinator parades’ for children and families, where kids can dress up as bees and butterflies as a way of ‘representing’ these VIP insects that are under threat. See this one here:

While I am personally on the fence about whether my family should carry tombstones (now that we’ve talked through it!) or join one of these pollinator parades, I think these are a way to make the march fun and positive, which is incredibly important for our youngest members (they will have PLENTY of time for grief later on.)


One of the things I’m like the most about the People’s Climate March is it’s focus on equity, resilience and environmental justice.  My favorite sign in that category (below) shows women and kids drowning, while businessmen float up on umbrellas.  I’m pretty sure this was done for the first People’s Climate March in New York.  This is a hard concept to get across gracefully, and I think this sign carries it off.


I like this one also.



Keep It In The Ground


separate oil and statesmokestack washington monument


Dire Consequences


A great series of tongue-in-cheek travel posters from:



Before-and-after National Parkposters from 2017-04-27 23-56-43


And this:




I love this “It’s In Our Hands” campaign.  Really, we can’t kick this one down the road for someone else to deal with.  It’s about everyone making the decision to hold themselves and their representatives accountable.



Ending with humor:



April 27, 2017

Printable Signs for the People’s Climate March Day 26

Help People Retreat
Day 26 of 28 brainstorming signs for the People’s Climate March Now that we’re closing in on the march date (this Saturday 4/29 in a location near you!) it’s time to work on some customized signs for everyone in the family. Today’s sign is custom-built for the Floridians in my life. This sign was inspired by last weekend’s New York Times article on the National Flood Insurance Program, which provides subsidized insurance to property owners flood-prone areas. Congress attempted to ‘unsubsidize’ the program in 2012, and quickly found that market-rate flood insurance effectively condemned large amounts of low-lying coastal properties. Congress re-subsidized the program in 2014. From the article: “the N.F.I.P. was meant to encourage safer building practices, but instead it created a perverse incentive — a moral hazard — to build, and to stay, in flood-prone areas by bailing people out repeatedly and by spreading, and in that way hiding, the true costs of risk. ”

At some point in the next 50 years, even under an optimistic CO2 reduction scenario, coastal property owners are going to have to face the reality that the feds cannot bear the cost of increased disasters in low-lying areas. The flood insurance program will end, and it will become cost-prohibitive to reside in many of these communities. Denying this reality, and continuing to subsidize residences that will be underwater in the near-term doesn’t really help anyone, least of all low-income residents who may be relying on the resale value of their house to retire. A managed retreat program for low-income property owners in flood-prone Florida communities needs to be put in place as soon as possible, and should be managed and paid for by the State of Florida. If #Florida is looking for an inventive financing mechanism to pay for managed retreat, perhaps they might want to have a look at seeking climate reparations from real estate developers like Donald Trump.

I also wanted to provide a few black and white printable signs. The idea with these is that you can print them at low cost on colored 11×17 paper (see printing instructions here), or on white paper and then color them in. Take a picture and send to me or tag me @carlablackmar on instagram or @cablackpot at twitter if you use one! Each image below links to a printable 11×17 PDF document. You can download these and send to the printer, or even send the link directly.


People Power

U Turn

great barrier reefarctic tundra

mexicancloud forests

April 25, 2017

People’s Climate March Signs: Days 14-25


For Days 14 through 25 of 28 brainstorming signs for the People’s Climate March, I tried to focus especially on the self-reinforcing cycles and feedback loops of climate change. The tendency of climate change to reinforce itself once it gets started is one of the most frightening things about this challenge. The biggest of these climate change feedback loops is pretty well known– increased heat melts the polar ice caps, without the reflective white of polar ice, more heat is absorbed, raising temperatures even further. At the same time, permafrost in polar regions also melts, releasing methane and CO2 that has been trapped for millennia into the atmosphere, and increasing greenhouse gas emissions, further accelerating the heat-trapping greenhouse effect. The possibility that incremental warming could lead to extensive and accelerating warming is something we need to look at realistically, because we are on the precipice of kicking this (and many other) feedback loops into overdrive. In California we are already seeing some of these feedback loops (specifically the one related to tree death due to climate change and drought) play out. I was so honored to hear that someone from Yosemite had taken a sign inspired by the tree feedback loop (above, and on the web if you an email subscriber) to the Yosemite March for Science. We need to raise awareness about the urgency of the moment we are in, and I think building and understanding of the feedback loops can play an important part in that.

Day 25 of 28 brainstorming signs for the #PeoplesClimateMarch #climatemarch #PCM #peoplesmarch. Today's theme: It's the economists, stupid. I forget where I first saw that… and I feel a little badly about repeating it, because in the last few years I've met some revolutionary economists who are a part of the solution. BUT, with some notable exceptions, it's hard not to see classical economics as an essential player in accelerating climate change. @PaulHawken sums this 'devil-may-care' attitude perfectly with ".we are stealing from the future, selling it in the present, and calling it GDP." We are beginning to entertain better measures than #GDP such as happiness/ per-capita resource use, but we need to move even faster. What we measure matters, and as long as a booming stock market continues to be the bellweather of economic success, our future is in big trouble. #externalities #gdp #economics #climateaction #crookedwalk

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Thanks to @zerowasterva for the inspiration for day 22 of 28 brainstorming signs for the #peoplesclimatemarch #peoplesclimate #climatemarch #pcm coming up this Saturday 4/29 in DC and globally. The secret about marches? They're actually pretty fun. Sometimes you stand around in the heat/cold for to long, sometimes your kid throws a fit, but in my short history of marching, I've found its uplifting to go out and see the many other people that care. #climateaction doesn't have to be all misery and sadness… There is a great tradition of fun, playfulness, performance and art in climate action– just check out the film "The Yes Men Are Revolting" on Amazon streaming for a flavor of the wacky stunts people pull. #stayengaged #staywoke #yesmen

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Day 21 of 28 brainstorming signs for the #peoplesclimatemarch #peoplesclimate #climatemarch #pcm. Today's theme: what are YOU doing to act in climate? Is there more you could be doing? Here's a photo of a coal-fired power plant I took when flying into #cincinnati this AM. We need both to fight the man that continues to let #blackcarbon be an acceptable byproduct of our power demands. We also need to #reduce those demands to begin with through simple acts of energy conservation. My motivation? I just imagine that the lights, the electric kettle, the ever-running #dvr box were pumping little smokestacks of their #co2 directly into my house. That usually motivates me to get up and turn off all the power strips. Let's make conservation the default. #flexyourpower #climateaction

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Day 20 of 28 brainstorming signs for the #peoplesclimatemarch #climatemarch #peoplesclimate #pcm. Today's theme: America is toxic… The things we do to keep our public spaces and properties "presentable" and "tidy," whether the routine use of residential pesticides and herbicides, or simply the act of mowing the lawn (think: diesel emissions combined with habitat elimination as the matrix of plants that might be in a meadow environment are decapitated before they an flower… ) Our 'maintenance' practices have outsized impacts on dying bee, bird and animal populations, not to mention serious consequences for our own health. While The use of many agricultural pesticides is heavily monitored, home/residential use typically is not. In one longitudinal study of the health of Salinas Valley farm workers, it was shown that residential toxins (flame retardants, pthalates- stuff all Americans are heavily exposed to) were more evident and carcinogenic in farm workers' bodies than their agricultural exposures. Time to re-think those #lawns #lawnmaintenance. #savethebees #foodnotlawns #rewilding #habitatrestoration @miraclegro

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For day 19 of 28 brainstorming signs for the #peoplesclimatemarch #climatemarch, returning to the topic of feedback loops. Last night I read an article describing the vastly increasing rates of tree death in Southern California, and I just can't get it out of my head. The article describes massive tree losses across species due to borer beetle, drought, and other diseases. I knew something was up, because there are astounding numbers of dead trees both in my hometown of #SanDiego and in my adopted home of #LosAngeles. Losing these trees couldn't come at a worse time for our communities as we brace for increased high heat days, we need #urbangreening more than ever. #climatechange #climateaction #feedbackloop #treepeople #treesaretheanswer

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Day 11 of 14 brainstorming signs for the #MarchForScience #ScienceMarch and day 18 of 28 brainstorming signs for the #PeoplesClimateMarch. Taking a little breather today to remind everyone to get out there! I went out at lunchtime yesterday with a sign promoting both marches, and walked around the insanely busy intersection near my house in Los Angeles for 45 minutes. As I waited to cross at each street corner, I started asking people "So, are you going to be marching this Saturday, or are you going to be marching next Saturday?" Assuming people cared, and wanted to be engaged turned out to be an effective tactic. My fellow lunch breakers and I had quite a number of of substantive discussions about the Administration's approach to both science and climate change as I walked around in a the intersection 10 times. I'm going to say that getting out there and talking with neighbors and strangers about these issues was one of the more faith-giving experiences I've had of late. #WeDoCare #YesWeCan #JustTransition. #whyImarch

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Day 15 of 28 brainstorming signs for the #peoplesclimatemarch, #climatemarch. Today's theme: urgency. The scientific community has been aware of the threat presented by #climatechange since the 70s. Corporations and the US military have been planning for the effects of climate change for 20 years, though some (ExxonMobil) have intentionally disguised their awareness from the public. Now the threat has arrived. Swift, intense action to reduce climate pollutants may still help us avoid the most dire outcomes, but many of climate changes destructive, self-reinforcing cycles have already ramped into overdrive, and the degree of global politically instability we now see is directly connected. In order to meet this moment, we need to organize with urgency and vision. This is #whyimarch. #peoplesclimatemarch #pcm

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April 22, 2017

March for Science/ Happy Earth Day

Wow, I’ve been watching the speeches from the DC March for Science this morning, and it’s truly inspirational. Bi-partisan, positive, and actionable. It’s streaming on facebook (Washington post) and on DemocracyNow. I’m sure you can also go back and watch it.

I’ve had to make a hard decision about what to do with my Earth Day, and as much as I really want to get out there for the March for Science, my local school community needs me for our school clean-up, (I organize the school gardens). Tough call! But ‘think global, act local,” right? Some slogans never go outta style.

My son and I ARE ‘participating virtually’ via the following picture… we are Ms. Frizzle and Arnold from ‘the Magic Schoolbus,’ and we are ‘marching’ for science on social media!

Also below (on web for email subscribers) is my final day 14 of 14 “March For Science” sign concept. Let me know what you think! And if you can, get out there!

Parting thought for day 14 of 14 brainstorming signs for the #marchforscience taking place tomorrow, 4/22, all over the world. So often we hear that science (or technology) will save us. 'We'll invent something." But we've invented a lot of amazing things, and we still find ourselves in a pretty good bind. Helping ourselves out will REQUIRE science, but will also require incredible human coordination, cooperation, and forethought… All at a scale and level of abstraction vastly beyond our evolutionary EQ. The discourse around the #sciencemarch gives me hope, because it is demanding that our social system listen to, fund, balance, and participate in science. I hope this is the dawn of social systems that are up to the challenge of helping science save us. #dos #climateaction #peoplesclimatemarch

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April 21, 2017

Brainstorming Signs for the March for Science, Days 1-13

Once I got started thinking of signs for the People’s Climate March, I began to feel remiss that I wasn’t doing anything for the March for Science (this Saturday, 4/22). I find this one a little trickier– since, as one sign puts it “Technology Owes Ecology an Apology.” But science and technology cut both ways, and to me, the goal of the Science March is to help “Tilt Science Toward Justice” through public investment.

Here’s what we’ve come up with for the first 13 days (please view on web if you are an email subscriber):

Day 4 of 14 brainstorming signs for the #marchforscience in D.C. & cities across the U.S. Today's theme: sometimes high-tech science points toward low-tech solutions. Rather than waiting for science to save us, we should listen when it points us to solutions we already have. The #ITHIM model tells us that we can meet our climate goals and substantially move the dial on diseases of physical inactivity by shifting transportation towards #walking and #biking instead of driving. Shade trees and #greenroofs deflect the sun's energy, reducing urban heat island effect and making our streets more pleasant for walking and biking. Many of our solutions are already at hand, and we need the social IQ to implement them. #lowtech #peoplesclimatemarch #Pcm #climatemarchsigns #whyimarch

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Day 9 of 14 brainstorming signs for the #marchforscience #sciencemarch. Getting braver with today's theme: we need to talk about climate engineering. Climate engineering involves interventions designed to artificially cool earth's atmosphere, such as the dispersal of particulates or vapor into the upper atmosphere. Some of these interventions are affordable enough that they could be undertaken by lone governments. While the idea sounds good–stalling for time while we organize to reduce climate pollutants, the complexity of climate and the over-leveraged reality of 7 billion residents on earth make it likely that we could see severe unintended consequences from these actions. We need to talk about risks, benefits, international regulation and what we might do instead (hint: Paris Agreement commitments and more) before this turns into a debacle. #peoplesclimatemarch #climateengineering #ethicalscience #climateaction

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Day 10 of 14 Brainstorming Signs for the #MarchForScience, #ScienceMarch. Today's theme: public funding for sustainable science. A number of the most important scientific research projects are currently under threat. When agencies like the #EPA experience funding cuts, it undermines policy that might help us protect our public and global health. Decisions like Pruitt's to ignore science that demonstrates harm does not bode well for scientific investments in the future. At the same time, increased funding is being directed to the military-industrial complex. R&D for violence is neither sustainable nor in the public interest, and is primarily a 'give' to private military contractors. Science in the hands of an authoritarian state is dangerous.

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Day 11 of 14 brainstorming signs for the #MarchForScience #ScienceMarch and day 18 of 28 brainstorming signs for the #PeoplesClimateMarch. Taking a little breather today to promote both events. I went out with a sign promoting the marches yesterday at lunchtime and walked around the insanely busy intersection near my house in Los Angeles for 45 minutes. As I waited to cross at each street corner, I started asking people "So, are you going to be marching this Saturday, or are you going to be marching next Saturday?" Assuming people cared, and wanted to be engaged turned out to be an effective tactic. My fellow lunch breakers and I had quite a number of of substantive discussions about the Administration's approach to both science and climate change as I walked around in a the intersection 10 times. I'm going to say that getting out there and talking with neighbors and strangers about these issues was one of the more faith-giving experiences I've had of late. #WeDoCare #YesWeCan #JustTransition. #whyImarch

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Day 13 of 14 brainstorming signs for the #MarchForScience #ScienceMarch. Special thanks to @colortheheart for 'Women's Health" coloring page that is a background for today's topic: Let's give women access to family planning, and control our population the humane way! Why? The 'au natural' way of population control (overpopulation > resource shortage > violence > starvation > genocide) isn't so great. When women are given the tools to elect their own family size, they choose fewer children, and match the numbers of children to the resources they believe will be available. Reproductive choice is one of science's greatest gifts, and one of the most powerful tools we have to balance human life on earth. Let's make it work! #makeitwork #reproductivechoice #peoplesclimatemarch #climatemarch #whyimarch #globalgagrule #globalgagrulesucks

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April 19, 2017

Climate March Signs: Days 7-13

Below (on website for email subscribers) are the concepts for 7-12 of 28 days brainstorming sign ideas for the People’s Climate March. I wish I could say that I was running out of ideas… This batch of signs is focused particularly on the fact that the burden of climate change is likely to fall most heavily on the communities and people least responsible for creating the problem– primarily residents of the “global south”– those without economic resources, living close to the vagaries of weather and climate disturbance. Though the idea of climate reparations has come up somewhat in global talks, there has was little in the way of commitment from the ‘global North’ to address the already dire drought driving famine and conflict in countries like Somalia, South Sudan and Nigeria, or to think about what relocation might look like for a country like Bangladesh, where many millions live subsistence lifestyles in the path of sea level rise. The idea that our approach to climate resilience needs to focus first on the most vulnerable communities has relevance on a global scale, but also domestically and locally, as became abundantly clear in each of the recent natural disasters experienced in this country, from Katrina, to this past summer’s flooding in North Carolina.

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Day 10 of 28 brainstorming signs for the #peoplesclimatemarch, #climatemarch theme: RIP Great Barrier Reef #tombstone. Water temperatures and ocean acidification from CO2 in the atmosphere are causing massive die-offs of the microscopic animals that make up living coral reefs worldwide. As summer winds down in the southern hemisphere, the Great Barrier reef has experienced a third year of extensive coral bleaching. We must now face the possibility that the reef will bleach entirely in the next few years, an enormous #climatechange caused blow to biodiversity. A bright line has been drawn for me. How can I live my life so that there is some possibility that my children and grandchildren could possibly live in a world with living coral reefs? #climateaction #whyimarch #climatechangeisreal #greatbarrierreef #pcm #climatemarchsigns

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Day 11 of 28 brainstorming signs for the #peoplesclimatemarch, #climatemarch on 4/29 in DC and cities nationwide. My 8-year old son saw my sketch for the #greatbarrierreef tombstone today, and asked if it was true that it was dead. When I explained a bit about what was happening, and about the March, he immediately wanted to go. I think he feels like there is this looming crisis (he is our kid, so he hears about it a lot) but that everyone around him is in denial. Today, I started in on a sketch of some of the classic themes I know will be there on 4/29: including #keepitinthegorund #ThereIsNoPlanetB #PeopleOverProfits #ClimateChangeIsReal #NoMasPlomo, and threw a tombstone in there for good measure. I hope anyone following along with this project will find a sign they relate to here, or maybe send an idea in on the comments?

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Day 12 of 28 brainstorming signs for the #peoplesclimatemarch, #climatemarch. Today's theme: climate resilience is predicated on equity, and vice versa. Extreme disparities in wealth, education, and the built environment make some communities significantly more vulnerable to the extreme weather, cost increases, and displacement associated with climate change than those with ample resources. This is true domestically and globally. We need to make funding work to build equity into all climate mitigation and adaptation strategies. Climate resilience for wealthy people/ wealthy nations isn't resilience at all, and leaves behind those least responsible for creating this crisis. #climatedebt #yesmen #justtransition #climatejustice.

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April 13, 2017

Signs for the People’s Climate March: Days 1-6

One of the ironies of my sign brainstorming project for the Women’s March was that in an effort to cover the many different reasons for that protest, I really didn’t have time to get deep into developing signs or postcards for any one issue. Climate Change was a big area of oversight. The topic is enormous, cross-cutting, and urgent. It’s also something I think about a lot, and wanted to take some time to address.

I’ve decided to set about brainstorming a sign-a-day for the People’s Climate March on 4/29. Unlike my Women’s March work, I’m not making printable signs this time around–I honestly think signs are more effective when they are handmade. This is really more articulating the many reasons we need to get out there and march, and to start spelling out what we should be saying both _to ourselves_ and to our elected representatives about climate action.

Below (on the website, if you receive this by email) are the first six sign ideas. You can see these arrive daily by following me on instagram @carlablackmar.

Day 4 of 28 brainstorming signs for the #peoplesclimatemarch on 4/29 in Washington D.C. and in cities across the US. Today's concept: the real reason behind climate denial–climate change is profitable in the short term for corporations in power. No more polar ice? It's easier to drill! Flooded coastal communities? Someone (probably a military contractor) gets to profit selling cities the giant pumps and dikes we will need to keep the water out as long as we can–and when saltwater intrusion destroys our wells, they'll sell us water they stole ( @nestle ) in enormous plastic flats that have to be trucked in at great expense. On the contrary, they can't profit off of the low-tech, people-powered solutions that would empower is to prevent #climatechange, so they deny its reality. It's not ignorance, it's willful sabotage for profit. #DontBuyIt #boycott #divest #climateaction #climatechange #lastchance #climatemarchsigns #climatemarch #Womensmarch #whyImarch #hearmyvoice #trumpastrophe #divestoil #divestdapl

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Day 5 of 28 brainstorming signs for the #peoplesclimatemarch on 4/29 in Washington D.C. and in cities across the US. Today's concept: #peoplepower! Capitalism is laser-focused on making cheap things at tremendous human cost. What if we re-focused our value on quality of life instead of material wealth, on people power rather than fossil-fuel power? The #bicycle is the perfect symbol of people power– yet turn on the TV any night of the week and you will never find an ad selling you a bicycle–it's too simple and cheap. What if we de-escalated the culture of constantly working and spending on that next #newcar, and as a culture, chise to #bikeinstead? #climateaction #climatechange #lastchance #climatemarchsigns #climatemarch #Womensmarch #whyImarch #hearmyvoice #trumpastrophe #zerowastelifestyle #carbonlight #divestmentlifestyle #fossilfuelfree #fossilfreefuture

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Day 6 of 28 brainstorming signs for the #peoplesclimatemarch on 4/29 in Washington D.C. and in cities across the US. Today's concept: pay for parking! Since the invention of the car, US taxpayers have provided enormous subsidies to vehicle users, the auto industry, and the real estate industry. These subsidies enabled #whiteflight, racial segregation, #suburbanization, #bigboxstores, and on and on. We take these subsidies completely for granted, to the point where even the #leftist liberals get irate when they have to #payforparking. At the same time, charging for parking has been shown to be one of the most powerful deterrents to driving, encouraging people to seek other solutions. Let's look our prioritization of cars over people square in the face. Every time you park for free, or drive on a FREEway, or do pretty much anything in a car, your actions have a high invisible cost. #stopwhining and pay up. Look at it as your daily #climateaction. #climatechange #climatemarchsigns #climatemarch #divest #fossilfreefuture

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