Thursday, July 18, 2019
Asian & Latino Coalition Forum
Des Moines, Iowa
Bird Dogs: Samantha Kuhn, Valerie Madison, Shaun Ahern, Ed Fallon
Sam thanked Andrew Yang for saying “climate is existential threat #1,” and asked if he would launch a climate mobilization as his first act as president. Yang insisted that passing the “Freedom Dividend” should come first. After that, he would work on infrastructure, climate change, and other priorities. To us, his claim that climate is existential threat #1 rings hollow when it’s buried in his list of priorities.
We talked with Yang after the formal program, and he said he is on board with a climate debate. When we pressed him on how long he thought it would take to pass the Freedom Dividend, he didn’t seem to have an answer. Climate bird dogs should keep pushing Yang to commit to making an all-out climate mobilization his first act as president.
Sunday, April 28, 2019
Bird Dogs: Sid Barfoot, Kathy Byrnes, Beth Chrzastek, Ed Fallon, Lysa Fisk, Osric Jamerson, Sheila Knoploh-Odole, Samantha Kuhn, Pascha Morgan, Matthew Peirce, Todd Steichen
Dressed as penguins, Bold Iowa members staged an action at Andrew Yang’s campaign event in Des Moines today, calling Mr. Yang out for remarks he has made on climate change, and challenging him to prioritize the climate crisis. Six activists dressed as penguins were supported by other Bold Iowa members throughout the audience, two holding a large banner reading “LET THE PENGUINS SPEAK!” Today’s action marked an escalation in Bold Iowa’s Climate Bird Dog campaign to convince presidential candidates to make the climate crisis their top priority.
Why penguins? Sid Barfoot explains in her question to Mr. Yang: “In the past when asked about climate change, you’ve said that the attitude of people who are struggling financially is that the penguins can wait in line. Full disclosure, I’m not a penguin. I’m a person with financial struggles dressed as a penguin. Those of us at the bottom, we’re the least responsible for carbon emissions — yet we’re the most vulnerable to the consequences of a changing climate. Sure, we penguins would love an extra $1,000 per month. But we just found out that the second largest penguin colony in Antarctica collapsed due to ice melt. Meanwhile, 150,000 people were displaced last year by the deadliest wildfire ever in California, and just this year, thousands were displaced by the unprecedented flooding in the Midwest. Neither people nor penguins have time to wait in line while our next president spends political capital on anything like universal basic income. Our question is, will you adjust your campaign’s focus and make averting climate catastrophe your number-one priority, so that both people and penguins win?”
This action resulted in the mainstream media reporting on climate change, in The Des Moines Register (twice), WHO TV Channel 13, Iowa City Press-Citizen, twice in USA Today, and a brief mention in Politico.
Friday, February 8, 2019
Bird Dogs: Kathy Byrnes, Ed Fallon
Ed and Kathy questioned Yang on climate change. Indicative of the disconnect that many politicians and candidates exhibit, Yang spoke forcefully about climate change, calling it “existential threat 1A.” Good, but then he went on to propose solutions that were, to put it mildly, off the wall.
Yang offers three specific proposals to address climate change:
1. Give every American $1,000 per month, which would move poor people beyond “a mindset of scarcity.” The poor would then begin to care about climate change and the future. Kathy and Ed found this idea embarrassingly out of touch and, well, demeaning.
2. Pack dirt around glaciers to slow the rate of melt. For real. He said that.
3. Since money in politics is partially to blame for America’s inaction on climate change (we agree), Yang wants to give every American $100 to donate to the political candidate of their choice. We’d love to see the bureaucracy needed to enforce such a bizarre scheme.