Grandmothers to Grandmothers
December 2022 Newsletter  
Dear Grandmothers,
Whew! We’re finally almost finished with 2022. What a workout!
In the election, the hard work of Grandmothers and so many others helped avert total disaster– so now we’re back to the job of continuing to fight, against scary odds, for democracy, justice, and the environment. COP 27 didn’t help much, although it was nice that rich countries agreed in theory (without any specifics) that they should help pay poor countries for the damage caused by climate catastrophe. And many wonderful climate justice activists from all over the world used the occasion to connect and amplify their work.
So onto 2023 – continuing to build our power to create a just, sustainable future.

Help stop Oakland airport expansion
The Port of Oakland is proposing 17 new gates at the Oakland Airport. More flights equal more global heating emissions and more pollution and noise for nearby communities. Dozens of climate/environmental organizations are mobilized to oppose the expansion.

Please sign this petition to the Port of Oakland Board of Commissioners and relevant elected officials to voice your concerns about this proposed contribution to climate breakdown and environmental injustice. More info here.
Environmental Justice for All Act

Frontline communities worked with progressive members of Congress to create this landmark bill. The Environmental Justice for All Act would enable frontline communities to hold polluters accountable in court for projects that use federal funds and engage in environmental discrimination. It contains bold policies that will strengthen the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) to require federal agencies to consider the cumulative and disproportionate impacts of pollution on low-income communities and communities of color and would use new fees on oil, gas, and coal companies to fund investments in environmental justice communities. Join Climate Hawks Vote, Code Pink, and others by signing the petition to support this bill.

Send a holiday card to big banks: No investments in new fossil fuels


Four big banks -- Bank of America, Chase, Citibank, and Wells Fargo—are bankrolling the climate crisis. Join Third Act in sending holiday cards to their CEOs, telling them to make a healthy New Year’s Resolution: No investments in new fossil fuels.   You can edit the letter to tell them personally why you don’t want the banks to use your money to invest in dirty energy projects that are wrecking our planet and our future.

See our new Third Act Working group  (below: in our Inside Story section) to get involved in more pieces of the buildup for Third Act’s Banking on Our Future Action on March 21, 2023


1000 Grandmothers INFORMATION SESSIONS on Zoom!
Learn about our history, the Principles that guide our work, and all the various ways to get involved!  Look below: (Inside story) for dates and contact info.
Shellmound Prayer March 
Photo: Corrina Gould

On November 25, the Grandmothers participated in an inspiring Shellmound Prayer March led by tribal leaders of the Confederated Villages of Lisjan and the Sogorea Te' land trust. The line of some 500 marchers, stretching along the Berkeley shoreline, commemorated the existence & obliteration of the West Berkeley and Emeryville Shellmounds, formerly ceremonial and funerary sites for the East Bay’s Ohlone people. 

Ohlone elder Corrina Gould spokeswoman Corrina Gould expressed: "humble gratitude to all of those 500 friends/allies and accomplices that showed up today in love and prayer from the West Berkeley Shellmound to Emeryville Shellmound.  I am in awe where the ancestors brought us together.  23 years ago a handful of us showed up to pray and protest the desecration of the Emeryville Shellmound and we continued to show up every year with many of you.  Today we walked from the oldest village site to the largest, three miles of prayers, using our feet and hearts to guide us."

More information about the 425 original Shellmounds around the San Francisco Bay, and the location of those that still exist here


On November 28, Grandmothers showed up at a Chevron station in Oakland, part of a statewide day of action in support of the bill currently in the California legislature to tax the excess profits of oil and gas companies. 

A thousand thanks to all the grandmothers who collectively wrote more than 10,000 cards and letters to voters in swing states; put in hundreds of hours making calls and sending text messages; and even pounded the pavement putting in more than 200 hours of canvassing! A special shout out to our six fabulous election teams and everyone who jumped back into action for the Georgia runoff election.

We are through with our work on the 2022 midterm elections, at last! Together we made an impressive contribution to stopping the red wave that was predicted. We look forward to reconvening for the next critical elections where the fate of future generations is at stake. Thanks to all of you who showed up to help preserve our democracy. Great work!


Key Fossil Fuel Monitoring Efforts and How You can Participate

How Young Activists Upended the Politics of Climate Change

Youth climate justice groups like Zero Hour & Sunrise have energized Gen Z by strategic use of social media and direct non-violent action.

How to Pay for Climate Justice When Polluters Have All the Money For the first time the UN COP27 ended with an agreement for a loss and damage fund for the effects on vulnerable nations hit hard by climate disasters.  It’s not enough and loosely defined, but a start. Bill McKibben lays out possible pathways for funding compensation and creating energy resources for countries of the Global South.

How is the war on Ukraine impacting the environment? 
In Crude Accountability’s blog, Contributions to the Climate Crisis: The Unexpected Cost of Russia’s War in Ukraine, we get a snapshot of its effects. “According to Ruslan Strilets, Ukraine’s Minister of Environmental Protection and Natural Resources, 31 million tons of CO2 emissions were released into the atmosphere during the first seven months of the war; this is roughly equivalent to the CO2 emissions produced by the whole of New Zealand annually. He predicts that post-war reconstruction could produce an additional 79 million tons of GHG emissions. To read the full article about the war’s impact on other areas of the environment, click here and here

California Attorney General Bonta is on his game––Investigating plastic bag makers and their lies:
Carbon Offsets

Many companies and countries claim they “offset” the greenhouse gases they produce by buying "carbon credits" from entities that are removing CO2 from the atmosphere somewhere else. They subtract that amount of carbon from reports of their emissions, many claiming their carbon impact is, or will be soon, “net zero.” So they keep spewing out GHG -- but the other side of the equation isn't working.

At the recent COP 27 climate negotiations, U.N. Secretary General António Guterres denounced “net zero greenwashing” -- "bogus net-zero pledges to cover up massive fossil fuel expansion."

Carbon removal credits are based on industrial carbon capture projects or “nature based” CO2 absorption. As we reported In November, so far industrial carbon removal projects overall have failed, actually slightly increasing CO2 in the atmosphere.

The record of “nature-based” carbon removal is not much better. Companies sell carbon credits for planting trees, because trees remove CO2 from the atmosphere. They also sell credits for not cutting down trees in a particular area. Critics have identified big problems:
  • “Leakage” – You can sell credits for not cutting down part of a forest, then cut down another part of a forest 
  • “Additionality” – Maybe the forest would not have been cut down anyway.
  • “Permanence” – Carbon stored in plants will be released again when the plants die. This is true for trees, all the more true for carbon stored in soil. And credits have been sold for preserving forests that were later destroyed by wildfires or other climate-related events.
  • “Measurement” – Forests are such complex ecosystems that any estimate of how much carbon they emit is approximate and subjective.
  • The “land gap” – there is not nearly enough “empty” land on earth to plant enough trees to make a difference.
Many studies have shown that nature-based carbon offset programs have not done what they promise, and some are based on outright fraud. The Nature Conservancy, for example, is famous for selling credits for preserving forests they were already protecting. 

What’s the harm if carbon projects don’t work? Because when they buy credits, companies can claim they are “carbon neutral” while their emissions continue or increase, creating the illusion that we’re slowing climate change when we are not.

Carbon markets can be profitable: some consulting companies are in the business of certifying carbon sequestration projects, but they have an incentive to be lenient so they will be hired again. Still others make money by buying and selling carbon credits. 
In addition, companies selling credits for absorbing carbon have violated the rights of indigenous and traditional farming communities. For example, one project evicted thousands of Ugandan farmers from their land so they could plant trees on it. 

According to Amnesty international, as a result of such programs, “Indigenous peoples and local communities experience violence and forced eviction . . . on a massive scale.” While areas managed by traditional indigenous communities show the best results for absorbing carbon and protecting biodiversity.
Meanwhile communities near industries producing greenhouse gases – mainly low-income and communities of color – continue to suffer pollution emitted along with CO2.
COP 27 set up a body to set standards for carbon markets – but the guidelines are vague and include loopholes, like allowing companies and countries to withhold “confidential information.” Creating actual rules for what counts as carbon removal was put off until next year, with rules safeguarding human rights farther in the future. 

John Oliver video on carbon offsets
Chasing Carbon Unicorns
Nature-Based Climate Solutions, Offsets, and Sustainability Capitalism
Integrity Matters, report from the UN High-Level Expert Group on the Net Zero Emissions Commitments of Non-State Actors

All my life, I heard people debate both the efficacy and personal satisfaction of focusing on individual vs. collective solutions to society’s problems.  But from my earliest memories of the civil rights, anti-nuke, and labor movement struggles of my parents’ era – I learned that the bigger the problem, the more the power to change things came from collective action.  Over time, I saw real examples over and over; for example, how workers sometimes got ‘favors’ or ‘good deals’ as individuals, but guaranteed benefits such as sick leave, family leave, health care, relative job security and vacation – those things came only through collective action.  Many times I taught this to my children and groups I worked with, by contrasting how easy it was to break a single wooden matchstick in my hand, compared to the impossibility of breaking 20 of them at a time.  

1000 Grandmothers, as an organization, is often approached to support campaigns to get individuals to do something that is "climate-friendly" – like recycling or buying electric cars.  Everything any individual can do that contributes to separating from fossil fuels, and promoting a clean energy economy is really important.  But the focus of our work as an organization, is on those solutions to the climate crisis that can only be found through collective action.  One Grandmother gave an example: 'urging people to buy electric cars which only a handful of people can afford – has way less potential impact than fighting for expanded, convenient, affordable public transportation.'

There is great worth in each of us living mindful, conscious lives.  But the power of the Climate Justice Movement depends on our capacity to quickly defeat the stranglehold that the fossil fuel industry has on our world. That level of change requires massive collective action. The fossil fuel industry knows that, and this is why they invest so much money, media, and energy into trying to convince each of us to look for individual solutions.  (See "The companies polluting the planet have spent millions to make you think carpooling and recycling will save us")

Changes we make individually are not the solutions that pressure the fossil fuel industry to change.  That kind of pressure only comes when large swaths of people together demand we eliminate the power of the fossil fuel industry, and all their continued extractive activities. Some say that there have been massive shifts in awareness of climate change in the last 5-10 years because many now acknowledge it’s a problem, and even the fact that drastic weather events are related to climate change.  Now we need massive shifts in societal divestments, investments, policies and possibilities.  Those shifts require our building our capacity to come together, unite, and act collectively.   

I love what I first saw on someone’s back at the People’s Climate March NY in 2014 - 
When we strengthen and build our capacity to act together,  we increase the possibility for the level of transformation we need.

Thank you Grandmothers for doing the sweet but hard work of coming together, building relationships and developing partnerships to work for climate justice!

Grandmothers Work: Inside Story

Engagement Committee:

1000 Grandmothers INFORMATION SESSIONS on Zoom!
Learn about our history, the Principles that guide our work, and all the various ways to get involved! 
The next two Info sessions:
Sunday, Jan. 8, 4:00-5:15 PM
Wednesday Feb. 8, 7:00-8:15 PM
Email to register and receive a zoom link.
All welcome, whether you are new, curious, or already involved!

Coordinating Committee:  Currently, the Coordinating Committee is continuing to hone in on how to articulate 1000 Grandmothers principle of supporting People of Color/front line group leadership.  We are exploring the overlapping notions of environmental justice, and climate justice.  We are also looking at the implications for local partnerships in our desire to strengthen this priority within our work.  In addition, we are happy to announce that the CC, in the context of growing its partnership with Third Act, has helped establish a new 1000 Grandmothers Working Group that will be working with partners on a national day of action, March 21, 2023.  More to come on this new group - but we are excited that Grandmothers are stepping up to to expand the work of the Grandmothers through a new working group!  It is a reminder , that any members of 1000 Grandmothers can get together to form a working group for a particular climate justice initiative.   We have a sturdy, mutually supportive process to make that happen.  (see our principles and guidelines on our website)

Art Working Group This has been an exciting month for our newly forming Art Group.  We have had wonderful teaching and mentorship from David Solnit, helping us to design, plan, and build new 1000 Grandmother puppets.  We have already completed one (a beautiful water spirit) of four puppets.  As you can see up top, she accompanied us on our Shellmound action along with the other Grandmother puppet that was made by our original art group.  Soon we will complete a grandmother designed out of the thinking and feedback of our SF Circle, as well as a wind spirit and a bird.  This work has been wonderfully creative and collaborative and energizing.

* New *   Third Act Working Group: There is a new Grandmothers Working Group in town, one that is developing a plan to involve Grandmothers in Third Act’s Banking on the Future campaign, a campaign in which 1000 Grandmothers is now a partner.

Third Act’s Banking on the Future Campaign is aimed at getting four huge banks, Chase, Citi, Wells Fargo, and Bank of America, to stop financing or investing in fossil fuel extraction. The Campaign will have a National Day of Action on March 23, 2023, with many people going to the banks to demonstrate and publicly divest our money from the banks. See for more information about the Action.

There will be several escalating phases on the way to March. The first phase involves sending holiday messages to the CEOs of the banks and also to branch bank managers asking them to stop financing fossil fuels. We’re hoping every Grandmother reading this will go to right away and send those letters. Try it, it’s an easy action.

If you’re interested in exploring the possibility of changing banks and/or credit cards, our Working Group will be sending out great resources on how to do that. We’ll also keep you in the loop on each phase of the campaign.

If you have questions or want to get involved with Third Act thru 1000 Grandmothers, contact Nancy Kurshan and China Brotsky



How Beautiful We Were
by Imbolo Mbue

How Beautiful We Were by Imbolo Mbue tells the tragic tale of the poisoning of the fictional African village of Kosawa by the oil company Pexton. Woven into the ecological story are the stories of the clash of generations and cultures, the role of women, the at- times-naïve belief in American saviors, the corruption of governments, both non-violent and violent resistance to tyranny, enduring traditions and irreversible change. While beautiful and at times poetic, the book offers no easy solutions and is written with an unflinching honesty. We Grandmothers, who are keenly aware of the destruction being inflicted on the earth and dedicated to ensuring a future for all grandchildren, will find much to relate to in the struggles of the people of Kosawa. The opening lines of the book are “We should have known the end was near," and be warned, don’t expect a happy ending. And yet despite the battles fought and lost, despite the many dead ends, the ending did not leave me with a feeling of despair. We continue to do what we do because we know what needs to be done.

Video on plastics recycling


1.    A ten-minute video, Chasing Arrows: The Truth About Recycling, explains why the whole current system of labeling and recycling plastic is dishonest and misleading, and offers real solutions that drastically reduce — and honestly regulate — the production of plastic packaging. The video was produced by the Alliance of Mission-Based Recyclers, including the Berkeley Ecology Center.
2.     Quiz on climate change by Project Drawdown
Preventing the worst outcomes of the climate crisis is going to take more than switching to high-efficiency light bulbs. But the most effective ways that individuals, policymakers and businesses can reduce their carbon footprint might surprise you. Find out how much you know about what can be done to fight climate change.
3.     The Gendered and Racial Impacts of the Fossil Fuel Industry in North America and Complicit Financial Institutions, by the Women’s Earth and Climate Action Network (2nd edition) (WECAN)

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