Sunday, January 27, 2013

Environmentalists unite against Keystone XL!

On the national front, one item of news especially caught my attention this week.

The Sierra Club has recanted their 120 year old policy against civil disobedience. For the first time ever, they'll join in act of peaceful civil resistance—to oppose the Keystone XL pipeline. After hearing this news, I was inspired to join the movement too. I have signed up to march on Capital Hill on February 17th. You can join as well, via

And watch this video, to get psyched!

Additionally, I sent my letter to President Obama, to urge him to to block the Keystone XL Pipeline. Among other things, I said:

"Your administration faces a stark choice on whether to take serious, concerted action to solve the climate crisis. Superstorm Sandy gave us a hint of the destructive power of global warming. If global warming continues unchecked, extreme weather events will exacerbate, to make the 2012 spate of record-breaking heat, forest fires, droughts, and hurricanes seem modest by comparison.


The real path to economic prosperity is the creation of new jobs to convert America to a green economy, with solar energy, public transportation, local organic farms, and strong investments in parks and public lands. Public works programs and initiatives for green energy will simultaneously lift the economy and reduce global warming. The Keystone XL Pipeline does neither.

I urge you to stand by the eloquent promises of your inauguration speech. “We will respond to the threat of climate change, knowing that the failure to do so would betray our children and future generations.” In order to meet your stated goals, the Keystone XL Pipeline must be stopped. "

The people of CREDO Action sent an open letter yet stronger than mine, a few excerpts of which I will post below. (Click here for full text or to cosign the letter.)

To meet your call on climate change, your "all of the above" energy policy must end.
“Your support for fracking and drilling, coal mines and pipelines, continues to obliterate the progress you could be making with your administration's gas mileage rule, or your investments in renewable energy. Even if you finally issue a carbon pollution rule that addresses existing sources of pollution, it will mean nothing if you are simultaneously lighting the fuses on carbon bombs by approving the Keystone XL pipeline, Arctic drilling, or fossil fuel export projects.


Mr. President, we are urging you to do as our other Illinois president did when confronted with the great moral issue of his time: to take bold, decisive action to end one great societal ill, changing the economy in the process, and usher in a new era of American freedom, security and prosperity.
“This is the moment. We will support you. But you must lead and take action, starting first and foremost with your rejection of the presidential permit required by the Keystone XL pipeline, which is your decision and yours alone.” 

It is my hope and expectation that we will succeed to block this pipeline. However, for permanent success, there must be a systemic change of the sort that the CREDO authors mention. Our federal government should launch a project to transition to a green economy. And we could create millions of jobs in the process. We need a project whose magnitude equals or exceeds that of Franklin Roosevelt's New Deal ... a “Green New Deal” to borrow a term from 2012 Green Party presidential candidate Jill Stein. Frustratingly, I have not yet seen a loud enough public outcry for such an undertaking. I hope that the proposed Keystone XL pipeline can serve as a wake up call. First, we must stop the pipeline. Next, we must attack the problem at its source, the outmoded energy policy and infrastructure which creates the demand for dirty tar sands oil. The shift won't happen easily. But with so much at stake, it is time that we start acting with the same drive and determination which once put humans on the moon.  Or to quote President Obama: "Yes we can!"

Video by folks from; CREDO letter by Becky Bond, Michael Kieschnick, and Elijah Zarlin; © to respective creators.

Sunday, January 13, 2013

Marmot TV

Following up on the success of Frog Stories, I am developing a new comic book, to be a set of stories starring mountain wildlife.  One of the stories will be a collaboration with Steve Bissette (of Swamp Thing fame); he is at work on the script.  And I have started a solo story with the page above.  I based this page upon a good session of "Marmot TV".  Marmot TV is an experience shared by rangers at Crater Lake National Park.  Behind Sleepy Hollow (the dwelling place of seasonal employees), there is a talus slope, which is quiet by day.  But at dusk, against a purple sky, the pikas and marmots and Douglas squirrels emerge from under rocks and out of trees, and they frolic.  Sometimes, we go out and watch.  Hence, Marmot TV does not involve telecommunication technologies--just our eyes and ears, a viewing adventure we could share with Paleolithic man.  On a warm night in late summer, Lesley and I explored the rocky slopes, and had the good fortune to encounter a porcupine--who promptly huffed and turned and crawled inside a cave, evidently concerned that the biped mammals could be dangerous.  I intend to postulate some adventures for the spiny rodent, wherein he encounters fearsome denizens of the forest.

My cartooning process varies--this time I seem to be developing the pictures first, and will add the words later.  Sometimes, the order is reversed.  While I labor at these new images and text, my fans can seek wisdom and entertainment in Frog Stories.  This well-received comic book on wildlife is available from my etsy store, only a few clicks away, at a cost of only several dollars.  Additionally, I recommend a visit to a nearby forest, to experience real frogs and mammals!

Happy 2013, one and all!