info 11.14.16

Roll Up Your Sleeves
Part 1

Today's MUG is for the 79% of NYC residents who voted for Hillary Clinton, who have made it through the five stages of grief, and are ready to roll up their sleeves. We're focusing on actions to take, large and small, on issues that you care about—support, volunteer, commit, learn, add your name and voice.

If we had to choose one umbrella organization to support, it would be the ACLU. Yes, those wild-eyed lefties who fight for free speech, reproductive freedom, women's rights, racial justice, voting rights, LGBT rights, immigrants' rights and religious liberty. They promise to "stay vigilant—every single day Trump is in office" and ask you to support their campaign It's Time to Fight.

As we noted back in our article from March, Civics in Septic Shock:
The Annenberg Public Policy Center of the University of Pennsylvania survey from 2014 demonstrates the alarming results of a poor civics education.

64% of American adults could not name all three branches of government.

35% could not name a single branch.

To the question "Who has the final responsibility to determine if a law is constitutional or not? The president, Congress, or the Supreme Court?"
38% gave the wrong answer or did not know.

There are organizations committed to reviving civics discourse, including the Civics Renewal Network, iCivics (founded by Sandra Day O'Connor), the Edward M. Kennedy Institute and the Campaign for the Civic Mission of Schools. The Campaign is currently urging Congress to provide funding for social studies grants, which would include improving civics instruction. The icitizen app is also a promising idea.

Civics education alone is not going to solve the country's most intractable problems, yet uninformed students will become low-information voters and make a high-functioning democracy almost unattainable. Do the schools your kids attend teach civics? As Thomas Jefferson wrote, "If a nation expects to be ignorant and free in a state of civilization, it expects what never was and never will be."

The Atlantic has more: Is Trump's Victory the Jump-Start Civics Education Needed?

The existential threat. Trump's pick of Myron Ebell, who asserts that climate change won't be a problem for 100 years or more, reflects the President-Elect's view that climate change is a hoax. There may not be much to be done about Myron Ebell, but signing this petition not to allow Ebell to lead the EPA transition lays down a marker of disapproval for fights to come.

Trump wants to withdraw from the Paris Agreement, which seeks, among other things, to slow the rising global temperature. For a clear-eyed understanding of the consequences of each degree Celsius that the planet warms, Mark Lynas' Six Degrees: Our Future on a Hotter Planet explains it in frightening detail.

One thing each of us can do is to redouble our efforts at home. Global environmental scientist and executive director of the California Academy of Sciences Jonathan Foley gets specific about the use of food, water and energy.

There are many nonprofits doing vital work, including The Sierra Club (which has its own petition to President Obama urging him to safeguard the environment from Donald Trump), Environmental Working Group, Greenpeace, Environmental Defense Fund and Earthworks.

Want some instant gratification? Here it is. Ecosia is a search engine with a difference. Use it just like Google; when you do, 80% of the revenue they get from clicks on accompanying ads goes to plant trees. So far, they've planted over 5 million trees.

When the new IDNYC identification cards law was passed last year, with the specific intent of getting government-issued ID to vulnerable communities, including undocumented immigrants, it contained an important escape clause. Knowing the 2016 election could bring an administration to Washington with different views on immigration, lawmakers allowed for the now 850,000+ database, two-thirds of which are undocumented New Yorkers, to be scrubbed at the end of this year. There are now well-founded concerns that the Trump administration would use this database in its commitment to deportation. Mayor de Blasio promised to "do everything we know how to do to resist that." But he didn't say he was ready to scrap the database. How much more evidence is needed?

IDNYC was a well-intentioned measure that is now, in the wrong hands, a dangerous weapon. If the Trump administration subpoenas the database, does anyone feel confident that, in the current climate, courts will uphold the confidentiality promised by the program? We do not. If you agree, urge the Mayor to start scrubbing. Tweet him at @BilldeBlasio or @NYCMayor, email or call his office, 212.788.3000.

DACA (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals) is also very much under threat. Show your support at United We Dream.

More on Wednesday.

Fourteenth Street Tunnel

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