• What we’re reading: Winners Take All: The Elite Charade of Changing the World by Anand Giridharadas. We’re just starting this book, which is highly recommended by our political friends. The author was a foreign correspondent and columnist for The New York Times for 11 years. Published by Knopf, 288 pages, $26.95.
• Standing ovations cheered on the speakers from Our Children’s Trust on Nov. 9 before the City Club of Eugene. Kelsey Juliana, 22-year-old Eugenean whose name is on the climate case, talked about her climate activism since age 10. Other speakers were: Coreal Riday-White, community engagement manager for Our Children’s Trust; Mary Wood, UO law professor, whose legal theories on the public trust doctrine are basic to their case; and John Davidson, an amicus curiae (friend of the court) in the Juliana case.
While this case is stalled in the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, other significant climate cases are in the news, including the Keystone XL pipeline and a fraud case. On Nov. 8, a federal judge in Montana blocked a permit for construction of the Keystone XL pipeline from Canada, ordering officials to complete an environmental review including climate change. New York’s attorney general sued ExxonMobil for fraud, claiming the company defrauded shareholders by playing down the expected risks of climate change to its business. This is in addition to a recent necessity defense case on the climate litigated by local group Civil Liberties Defense Center. Bring on all these cases, and more. The planet is at stake.
• One example of just how at risk the Earth is from climate change is the California fires, which have killed at least 42 people, destroyed countless homes and broken many hearts as people lost pets, livestock and livelihoods. Pundits and social media posts argue over just who or what is to blame. There’s more than one factor at work here, but at the core is climate change. The media and the public need to do more to ensure climate change stays in the discussion as California moves forward after this disaster and other communities face more challenges.
• Town and gown filled room 175 in the Knight Law Center Monday, Nov. 12, eager to assess and discuss the midterm election with a panel put on by the Morse Center for Law and Politics. Panelists were: Alison Gash, UO political science professor; Margaret Hallock, Ph.D. economist who founded the Morse Center; Jeff Mapes, senior political reporter for OPB; and Kerry Tymchuk, executive director of the Oregon Historical Society. We left with lots of questions: Will the well-oiled Democratic machine that got out the vote in Oregon persist? Who are the 40 Democrats lining up to run for president in 2020? How much did Trump help the election of Gov. Kate Brown? Will this Oregon Legislature, with its Democratic super-majority, move seriously to raise revenue and how? With a gross receipts tax? Value added tax? Finally, will women and minorities continue to grow political power in America?