Climate & Earthcare News & Notes: NYS ballot info & ways to support education for Kenyan girls


Margaret McCasland
 

In addition to the content in this email about the ballot proposition to add environmental rights to the NYS Constitution, here is a link to an op ed in the Ithaca Journal on the subject:

---------- Forwarded message ---------
From: Margaret McCasland <mamccasland@...>
Date: Mon, Nov 1, 2021 at 5:48 AM
Subject: Climate & Earthcare News & Notes: NYS ballot info & ways to support education for Kenyan girls
To: Margaret McCasland <margaret@...>


this issue of News & Notes can also be viewed online (with better formatting) as a google doc: November CJWG/EWG News & Notes


Climate & Earthcare News & Notes 

from NYYM’s Climate Justice Working Group & Earthcare Working Group


November 2021


Our world is a tapestry of interconnected problems and challenges, but also of interwoven, synergistic solutions. Just as various forms of injustices based on race, gender, class, religion, etc, interact in ways that magnify their impacts, these intersections can guide us to synergistic solutions with multiple and growing benefits.  This issue features a Quaker led-program which addresses gender inequality and climate justice by promoting the education of girls in Kenya.


IN THIS ISSUE: To jump straight to a section of interest (such as “Events” or “Resources”), click on the blue heading for that section. A link with a blue flag or “bookmark” will appear. Then click on the bookmark to jump to that section. 


EVENTS   

1. Tuesday Nov. 2 is Election Day: NY is considering adding everyone’sright to clean air and water, and a healthful environment” to the Bill of Rights section of the NYS Constitution. See RESOURCES for more info on this ballot proposition and on elections in NY, NJ and CT.

2. Doughnuts, Quakers, & Green Economics: A Conversation with the Climate Justice Working Group. Tuesday NOVEMBER 9th at 7:30pm via zoom.


ACTIONS & ACTIVITIES   Introducing a new way for NYYM Friends to support the education of girls in Kenya as a way to address social and climate justice. 


JOYS  & CONCERNS COP26, the UN Climate Change Conference being held in Glasgow, Scotland, this week, is both a joy and a concern. Some solutions to climate change also reduce social and economic inequities.


RESOURCES   

  • Info for voters on the NYS ballot proposition and on elections in NY, NJ and CT.

  • Details on how to support the education of girls in Kenya.

  • More background on COP26, including QEW and QUNO.



ABOUT OUR WORKING GROUPS Where to learn more about us & how to join our meetings.

 

ABOUT THE NEWSLETTER  Where to send items for the next issue, how to unsubscribe, etc.



EVENTS   

  1. Tuesday Nov. 2 is Election Day. While this is an “off year” for most national races, there are many important state and local offices and propositions on the ballot. New York State has one Ballot Proposition which is especially important this year. 

NYS Proposition 2 is a simple 15-word addition to the Bill of Rights section of the New York State Constitution stating, “Each person shall have a right to clean air and water, and a healthful environment.” From NY Renews: “Establishing these rights for all New Yorkers provides a strong legal foundation for our communities to fight back against polluters.”  See the RESOURCES section for more background on Prop 2.

To find out what is happening in your community, the non-partisan League of Women Voters has information for voters in CT, NJ, NY (and a few other states in the Northeast) on their election information website: <VOTE411.org> 


2. Doughnuts, Quakers, & Green Economics: A Conversation with the Climate Justice Working Group  Tuesday, November 9th at 7:30pm via zoom.


Zoom link and resources will be emailed to all registrants. Register HERE.  


      We will show a 15 minute TED talk by Kate Raworth, who originated Doughnut Economics, explaining why an economy based on endless growth is neither ecological nor ethical, followed by an informal discussion of how "The Doughnut of social and planetary boundaries … acts as a compass for human progress this century."

      “Doughnut economics” is a visual framework (shaped like a doughnut or a lifesaver ring) with an inner boundary that marks the social foundation below which people lack access to essential services and resources and an outer boundary that marks the ecological ceiling. Between the two sets of boundaries lies the ecologically safe and socially just space for humanity.

      Originated by Raworth in 2012 as part of her work for Oxfam, and popularized in her 2017 book, Doughnut Economics, the framework builds on the work of 20th c economists EF Schumacher (Small Is Beautiful) and Kenneth Boulding, an American Quaker who was an early proponent of the concept of “Spaceship Earth.” 


Image retrieved October 20, 2021, from https://doughnuteconomics.org/about-doughnut-economics 


ACTIONS & ACTIVITIES     Friends from North America have long worked closely with Friends in Africa through Friends United Meeting (FUM), one of the wider Quaker bodies NYYM is part of. FUM has a new project in Kenya, building on long-standing ties with schools and communities there, which will focus on funding and supporting girls in getting a secondary education. This issue’s action is a preliminary appeal for donations to a matching fund being coordinated by Christopher Sammond. 


From Christopher: Generous Friends from NYYM have committed thus far to $5,500 for a matching fund for each of the next four years, and the Climate Justice Working Group has committed another $500 for this year's matching fund for this project. It's my hope that we can build the matching fund up to $10,000 before we publicize this throughout NYYM and beyond in a week or two.  


Please consider if you are able to commit to the matching fund either for one year, or for all of the next four years, to support girls going on to secondary school in Kenya.  We are particularly interested in four year commitments as we will only be granting as many scholarships as we can be sure will be supported for all four years, so that we don't start a girl off with support, and then have to withdraw it.


Thank You!  


Below is the appeal which will go out from FUM (tho reformatted for the newsletter), once the matching fund has been finalized.  A copy of the donation form is also in the RESOURCES section of this newsletter. For this initial appeal, be sure to note if your donation is a contribution to the matching fund.


Educate a Girl, Save the Planet   


October 2021 


Everyone wants to do something about climate disruption, but most of us don’t know where we  could even start. The problem is so enormous, how could we ever do anything that would make a  difference? Project Drawdown has a table of Solutions with over eighty ways to reduce heat-trapping  gases in our atmosphere. Their analyses found the combination of “Educating Girls” and “Family  Planning” to be the second most effective climate solution. Thus, helping educate girls is one of the most  effective things we can do, right now. And while there are a host of other great reasons to support the  education of girls in developing countries, having such a pronounced impact on climate disruption may  be among the best. 

Perhaps the greatest difficulty in funding girl child education lies in having reliable contacts in the locales where the girls live so that all of the funds go to supporting girls education, and making sure that they are distributed fairly and equitably. Friends United Meeting 

has been doing just that for some years at the Lindi School in the Kibera Slum, the largest slum in Africa, and at the Samburu and Turkana missions in Northwest Kenya.

NYYM Friends have had connections with the Lindi School, and also with the Chwele Girls High School. Generous NYYM Friends have offered matching funds to send promising girls from these locales on to secondary schools for four years, opening a door for them to a much brighter future. 

Your gift to girl-child education, made before the end of 2021, will be matched up to $(TBD by level of initial support from NYYM Friends). Funds raised beyond the matching amount will be included in the scholarship account available for girls from the Lindi School, Chwele Girls High School, and the existing projects in Turkana and Samburu. Friends are encouraged to direct your gift to a  particular area or have FUM apply your gift at whichever site is most needed. 

     Now is an opportune time to invest in the life-changing work of girl-child education! If you have  questions about these scholarships or if you wish to consider different charitable giving options for  this effort (donating an IRA, bequest gift, gift annuity, etc.), please contact Colin Saxton, FUM’s  Advancement Officer/North American Ministries Director, at colinsa@... or 503-550-1599



JOYS  & CONCERNS: COP26, the UN Climate Change Conference being held in Glasgow, Scotland, this week, is both a joy and a concern. COP stands for “Conference of Parties” (to the UN Convention on Climate Change). 

Paraphrasing climate scientist Katherine Hayhoe: At Rio in 1992, the world noticed that global warming was a problem and agreed to do something, with no specific plans. At Paris in 2015, the COP all the world’s countries agreed to keep warming below 2ºC, and to try for 1.5ºC. However the specific pledges individual countries are bringing to Glasgow would allow warming to rise to 2.7ºC (nearly 5ºF). Glasgow is where the world gets to decide what will actually be done.

CONCERNS: Keeping warming below 1.5ºC is a great challenge in terms of scope, scale and speed. The global average for 2020 was 1.2ºC (2ºF) above pre-industrial levels, and is already having disastrous results in many parts of the world. At the current rate, we may reach +1.5°C in the next 15 years. So far, too many decisions have been made by policy makers doing short-term thinking about factors that affect the already wealthy. According to Hayhoe, “We’re moving in the right direction, but we are not moving fast enough.” 


JOYS: One joy is that leaders of some key countries (Britain’s Boris Johnson!) are beginning to listen to climate scientists, to younger generations, to NGO’s such as QEW and QUNO giving in person or virtual presentations, and to people from countries already experiencing serious impacts from Global Climate Disruption. 

Another joy is that research by Project Drawdown has shown that there are many climate solutions which further social justice, economic equity, and protection of biodiversity all at the same time. For example, Quaker programs such as Right Sharing of World Resources (based in India, Kenya and Sierra Leone) support micro-enterprises by women which promote education for their children, ecological agriculture, and climate resilience while strengthening community-based, low carbon economies we need to emulate more here in the US! Project Drawdown has found that educating girls is especially effective at climate-friendly ways of strengthening communities, which is why the Climate Justice Working Group contributed to the Kenyan Girl Child Education project.




RESOURCES    


1. Information for Election Day from the League of Women Voters: 

The League of Women Voters (LWV) is a nonprofit organization founded in 1920 to help women take a larger role in public affairs after they won the right to vote. Their charter was revised in 1973 to allow men to join. The LWV's primary purpose is to encourage voting by registering voters, providing voter information, and advocating for voting rights. While they are non-partisan, the LWV does support progressive public policy positions, such as campaign finance reform, universal health care, abortion rights, climate change action and environmental regulation, and gun control.

  1. General election info for CT, NJ & NY: <VOTE411.org>

  2. A 75 minute video explaining all the ballot measures: https://lwvny.org/voting/

  3. From the their 2 page flyer on the ballot measures:

https://lwvny.org/wp-content/uploads/2021/08/Voters-Guide-2_2021_Aug31.pdf


PROPOSAL NUMBER TWO: Right to Clean Air, Clean Water, and a Healthful Environment


Description of Proposal: The purpose of this proposal is to protect public health and the environment by adding the right of each person to clean air and water and a healthful environment to the Bill of Rights in Article 1 of the New York Constitution.


Question as it Will Appear on Ballot: The proposed amendment to Article 1 of the New York Constitution would establish the right of each person to clean air and water and a healthful environment. Shall the proposed amendment be approved?


PROS:

 • This amendment will require state and local governments and businesses to consider the environment and its citizens’ relationship to it in all decision making. 

 • Advocates in favor of the amendment believe it will create a mechanism for combating environmental racism and rebalancing the inequities communities of color and low-income communities face from disproportionate exposure to pollution and other environment-harming practices.

 • Forty-three states have some form of expression of environmental values in their Constitutions; but only Montana and Pennsylvania have recognized protecting environmental rights as an unchallengeable right, putting environmental rights on par with other political and civil liberties. New York would be the third state to adopt this measure.


CONS:

 • The amendment’s broad language could lead to complications, including frivolous lawsuits against companies with facilities sited under existing environmental rule. 

 • The amendment’s general wording gives great flexibility to the New York courts to interpret and apply the provisions. More details regarding enforcement and definitions, duties and obligations related to environmental rights are required. 

 • Courts could require NY cities and counties to make expensive changes to brick & mortar facilities, or to move, or renovate them. It could be called another “Unfunded Mandate.”



2. DONATION INFORMATION for Educate a Girl, Save the Planet: 

[NOTE: the following form will be used once the matching grant has been set up; if you are contributing to the matching fund, be sure to add a note that your donation is an initial contribution to the matching fund.]



Yes, I want to support Girl Child Education in Kenya and have my gift matched!

Enclosed is my check for $_______________

(Please write check to Friends United Meeting with Girl Child Education in Kenya on the memo line.)


--I will make my contribution of $_______________ at Girl Child Education | Friends United Meeting (Powered by Donorbox)


Please use my gift to support:

  • Girls graduating from the Lindi School in Kibera

  • Students attending Chwele Girls High School

  • Educating girls in Turkana and Samburu

  • At whichever site is most needed


My contact information:

Name: ________________________________________

Email: ________________________________________

Phone: _______________________________________

Address: ______________________________________

_____________________________________________


This form may be sent to Colin Saxton either by scanning it and emailing it to: 

colinsa@... 

or by mailing to:

Friends United Meeting, 101 Quaker Hill Drive, Richmond IN 47374.


********

For more information regarding girl-child education or specific projects and places, please view the following websites: 

• Project Drawdown 

https://drawdown.org/ 

• Solutions 

https://drawdown.org/solutions/health-and-education 

• Girl-child education 

https://drawdown.org/references#women-and-girls 

• Other great reasons to support the education of girls 

https://oxfam-india.medium.com/top-10-reasons-to-support-girl-child-education-fed3d7f1bdae 

• Friends United Meeting 

https://www.friendsunitedmeeting.org 

• Lindi School 

https://www.friendsunitedmeeting.org/where-we-work/africa/lindi-friend-school 

• Kibera Slum 

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kibera 

• Samburu Mission 

https://www.friendsunitedmeeting.org/where-we-work/africa/samburu-friends-mission 

• Turkana Mission 

https://www.friendsunitedmeeting.org/where-we-work/africa/turkana-friends-mission2 

• Donate to Girl-Child Education in Kenya 

https://donorbox.org/girl-child-education 



3. More background on COP26 from the UN, QEW and QUNO.


[The report is] a synthesis of climate action plans as communicated in countries’ Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs). The NDC Synthesis report indicates that, while there is a clear trend that greenhouse gas emissions are being reduced over time, nations must urgently redouble their climate efforts if they are to prevent global temperature increases beyond the Paris Agreement’s goal of well below 2C – ideally 1.5C – by the end of the century. [...]

“I congratulate all Parties that have submitted updated or new NDCs", said Patricia Espinosa, Executive Secretary of UN Climate Change. “The synthesis shows that countries are making progress towards the Paris Agreement’s temperature goals. This means that the in-built mechanism set up by the Paris Agreement to allow for a gradual increase of ambition is working”, she added.

This shows just how central the issue of providing support to developing countries really is. We need to peak emissions as soon as possible before 2030 and support developing countries in building up climate resilience. The pledge to mobilize USD 100 billion annually by 2020 was key for enhancing climate action by developing countries. That commitment that was made in the UNFCCC process more than 10 years ago has not yet been fulfilled. It’s time to deliver – COP26 is the place to do so. Developing countries need this support in order to act as ambitiously as possible”, Ms. Espinosa urged. 

The report also contains some worrying findings. The available NDCs of all 191 Parties taken together imply a sizable increase in global GHG emissions in 2030 compared to 2010, of about 16%. According to the latest IPCC findings, such an increase, unless actions are taken immediately, may lead to a temperature rise of about 2.7C by the end of the century.




ABOUT OUR WORKING GROUPS (where to learn more about us & how to join our meetings) 

The Climate Justice Working Group (CJWG): our mission statement from our page on the New York Yearly Meeting website: The Climate Justice Working group encourages and supports direct action to reduce global warming and other harmful human effects on the environment and to restore Earth's ecosystems for the good of all life. By providing resources that will be informative, interactive, action-oriented, and rooted in Quaker witness and testimonies, we hope to inspire action both within and outside the New York Yearly Meeting community. 

The CJWG meets every week from 5-6 pm. Email either of our co-clerks for the zoom link: Margaret McCasland <mamccasland@...> or Peter Close <woolmanj@...>  


The Earthcare Working Group (EWG) is the NYYM connection to Quaker Earthcare Witness, which includes Quakers from around North America. Within our yearly meeting, we support local habitat restoration and resilience, environmental justice, protection of biodiversity, etc. We coordinate with NYYM’s Indian Affairs Committee to support Indigenous environmental groups. We also hold Worship Sharing via zoom, phone &/or non-digital “Earth resonance” during Summer Sessions and periodically throughout the rest of the year. We work with the CJWG on Mini-grants, the Climate Solutions reporting form, and this newsletter. 

The EWG holds a planning meeting once a month on a Wednesday or Thursday evening at 7:15 pm. For the date of our November planning meeting &/or our next Worship Sharing, email co-clerk Margaret McCasland <mamccasland@...>  



 

ABOUT THE NEWSLETTER

    This newsletter is sent to people who signed up to receive email announcements from either NYYM's Earthcare Working Group or NYYM’s Climate Justice Working Group. We also occasionally send out more timely items between newsletters.

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