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The Justice & Peace eWeekly is a weekly survey of upcoming events, local news and activism opportunities. Feel free to forward this to anyone you know who might be interested.

 


Week of April 27, 2020


 

Slow Lift of Restrictions Begins This Week

Activists Will Face Long Climb Up in New Normal

A limited number of small Colorado retail businesses will begin offering curbside service this week, in preparation for a partial opening of storefront businesses May 1. The state iproceeding with lifting stay-at-home orders in a slow and methodical fashion, with restaurants and bars not expected to open for even reduced table services until late May. Gov. Jared Polis and governors in other states have warned citizens that schools, stadiums, and large concert venues may not open during calendar year 2020. And with the threat of a fall resurgence always present, health care officials warn that our vigilance must remain in place for at least the next year.

The Covid-19 virus already has led to countless acts of compassion and empathy, as shut-in people try to help neighbors and friends. We are bound to be asked to step up again this summer, as small businesses and nonprofits alike launch fundraisers just to stay alive. (PPJPC definitely will be struggling this year, but we’ll save fundraisers for a later date.) Our toughest task moving forward is to reinforce the message “we are all in this together” in every venue – international, national, and local. Unfortunately, this will not be taken for granted by many.

The offer by many China business leaders to offer help to the U.S., for example, is greeted with suspicion by many in the nation, who anticipate a new superpower rivalry with China in a post-corona era should be taken for granted. Similarly, good health practices and social distancing has become a cultural-warfare meme. Many rightists (and some on the left) see the refusal to wear masks as an act of social defiance of the omnipresent state. Governors and the White House go back and forth on the lifting of restrictions. Occasionally, President Trump has criticized Republican leaders like the governor of Georgia who go too far too fast. But more often, the president provides a bully pulpit for rightist groups who use protests against stay-at-home orders as a means to protest science itself. Gov. Gretchen Whitmer of Michigan was forced to scale back restrictions when armed protesters appeared at her home last week. Facebook has been banning survivalist militia groups who promote “boogaloo,” a code word for civil war. German Chancellor Angela Merkel, scarcely an alarmist, has warned that far-right groups may attempt to take over Germany if social distancing is in place all year long.

In this ominous summer, we must reinforce our message of peace and compassion first, even as others seek to challenge this message. We are examining the prospects for all PPJPC activities, including Peace Camp. As of now, Hillside Center anticipates small-group activities can take place the last week of July, the time of Peace Camp, but we will continue to update our membership as quarantine conditions become clearer.

Marian House remains in need of such items as disposable bags and utensils, peanut butter, lunch meat, canned tuna, fresh fruit and vegetables, and granola bars. You can contact them at (719) 475-7314, for times to drop off donations at the soup kitchen at 14 W. Bijou.

For rural families in need, Fresh Here iStart Center (formerly High Plains Helping Hands) needs virtually every food item for its food pantry. The center is located near the corner of Woodmen and Black Forest, at 7375 Adventure Way.

Activists may be restricted to home during the quarantine, but that does not mean opportunities for caring have disappeared. One of the most useful clearinghouses for information relevant to El Paso County is the new Facebook group, Mutual Aid in Colorado Springs During Covid-19 Epidemic, organized by Anthony Maro and Tammy Carlen Jagels. You can find the group HERE:  

We urge all members and friends of PPJPC while homebound to not give in to depression and fear.  Always feel free to reach out to others of similar interests through our Facebook page or web site. The pandemic crisis may still lead to better societal organizing possibilities. Place hope before fear.


 

Concrete Couch Seeks Students (and Teachers) for Online Courses
 

Our friends at Concrete Couch have joined school districts and nonprofits in offering online distance-learning classes. All are invited to visit concretecouch.org for the latest list of courses. In general, Mondays are reserved for courses on growing or preparing food; Tuesdays are for art; Wednesdays, construction; Thursdays for science; Fridays for mindful movement such as yoga and dance; and Saturdays are a wild card! Steve Wolf tells us that Concrete Couch is looking for teachers, too, so drop him a line at teach@concretecouch.org.
 
 

Peak Environment Podcast 57 Returns to Critical Issue of PFAS Contamination

This is our third podcast on this subject (though not in a row), and this may be our latest and greatest.

The PFAS Story in El Paso County Colorado
You can’t escape toxic PFAS chemicals. They are everywhere. Get an update on what we know and what’s being done about water contamination by PFAS (Perfluoroalklsubstance). Groundwater and surface water in portions of the Pikes Peak Region is known to have PFAS contamination, due to years of firefighting exercises at Peterson Field and the Air Force Academy (PFAS have been an ingredient in firefighting foam for decades). 

You can find the latest podcast here:
http://studio809radio.com/peak-environment-57-pfas-story/

And don’t forget to check out Podcast 56 on wolves, created in conjunction with Pikes Peak Area Sierra Club, which examines the necessity of wolves in the Colorado ecosystem. Colorado needs wolves – not merely to restore a natural balance or the wildness that we all seek – though wolves will do that if they are present for long enough, in sufficient numbers and with wide enough distribution  – but also to ensure that we pass on a Colorado intact, with a complete suite of native wildlife, to enrich future generations.
Podcast 56 is at:
http://studio809radio.com/peak-env-56-co-needs-wolves/

 

PPJPC Seeks Interest for Officers of Board

While we at PPJPC identified potential board members at our Feb. 29 annual meeting, we are seeking your help as we reconstitute post-quarantine. If you are interested in nominating yourself or someone else to a board position, contact us at info@ppjpc.org or media@ppjpc.org. After double-checking with candidates, we will send out a slate of board candidates for member approval.

 

Blanket Donations Still Needed at Springs Rescue Mission, Salvation Army Shelter

The appeal for blankets for homeless people continues on.  Our two local shelters say the need is still there. In fact, the Salvation Army has been forced to rent blankets. Additionally, donations of towels are also requested.  Both shelters offer the opportunity to shower for their guests. 
Gently used blankets, comforters, quilts, or throws – along with towels- can be dropped off as follows.  The Salvation Army accepts donations Mon- Fri, 9 am thru noon at their R. J. Montgomery Center, 709 S. Sierra, near Cimarron.  The Rescue Mission donation warehouse, west of their main campus, is located at 111 W. Las Vegas St. with drop off times Mon- Fri 9:30am-4:30pm and Sat 9-11am. 
If you have a heart to help a homeless person, please consider donating new or used items.


 

Active for Justice Podcast Covers Plowshares Nuns' March 5 Speeches

Thanks to Greg, Dave, Rick, and everyone at Studio 809 (who are currently on a virus semi-sabbatical) for editing the presentation Ardeth Platte and Carol Gilbert gave at All Souls Church on March 5. We were lucky to host the sisters for several events prior to the quarantine being enacted locally. We have also listed the latest two Peak Environment podcasts of Studio 809 below, though it may be a few weeks before additional podcasts are added.

Plowshares Podcast here:
http://studio809radio.com/active-justice-yes-humanity-mar-05-2020/
 

Moms Demand Action Responds to Domestic Violence by Aiding TESSA

Early indicators, during the stay-at-home orders/social distancing, suggest a rise in intimate partner violence and domestic violence killings. Respond with us with hope and help. 
 
Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense - COS local group
Supply Drive for TESSA Safehouse
April 19-May 8  Spread the word and collect supplies 
May 9-10 Porch pick-ups and delivery to TESSA
TESSA is in critical need of many supplies, and we ask that you provide new and full-sized items only. These include:
  • Hand Soap
    Dish Soap
    Vinyl Gloves
    Disinfectant Spray
    Size 5 & 6 Diapers
    Toilet Paper
    Paper Towels
    Hand Sanitizer
    Self care items (face mask, mani/pedi kits, hair brushes/combs, hair accessories)
Please RSVP by clicking this link and we will arrange to pick up your items on May 9 or May 10.
https://act.everytown.org/event/moms-demand-action-event/33232/signup/?akid=&source=mda-web--event-search
If you would like to volunteer to make porch pick-ups of collected supplies please email Julie or Deb at actnow232@gmail.com
If you are in an abusive relationship contact TESSA SafeLine at 719-633-3819.  Call 911 if you are in immediate danger. 
 

Colorado Springs Utilities Board Puts Rates, Environment on Equal Footing

The Colorado Springs Utilities Board, a group consisting of all City Council members, voted last week to put cost and environmental impact on equal footing when determining the future of renewable energy and the Drake coal plant in the mix for Colorado Springs Utilities. Lindsay Facknitz of Sierra Club’s Beyond Coal project called the vote a victory for keeping environmental concerns in the forefront. She said the citizen input on CSU’s energy futures survey helped drive the vote. That survey will be up for more citizen input until May 3 HERE.

Facknitz told Beyond Coal members CSU is going to be adding new energy sources to our electric grid over the next 10 - 20 years. What do we want our energy sources to be? Solar, Wind, Batteries, Natural Gas, Coal, Hydro, etc. How much and how fast do we want CSU to retire our old, expensive, dirty coal plants (Drake and Nixon)? 
1) Put your money where your preferences are: the first couple questions ask you how much "extra" you would be willing to pay (if any) to switch to certain sources. This does not mean it WILL cost more. They just want to see if you'd be willing to pay extra and how much extra. To clarify this kind of question, here's an example: 
Do I want my electricity to come from natural gas? NoSo, am I willing to pay extra for natural gas IF it cost a bit extra from my current electric bill? No, therefore
Example survey answer: No Increase
Do I want my electricity to come from new renewable resources (solar, battery, wind)? YES! Could and would I be willing to pay more? Yes. If so, how much more?
Example survey answer: between $2 - 15 extra a month
("Extra Cost" answer options: $2, $5, $10, $15, More than $15. See attached document for clarity)
Obviously, you are the judge of your finances. If you cannot afford any rate increases (especially during this uncertain time) please say so on the survey. CSU just wants to get a sense of what energy sources we value.  
2) "Of the 5 pathways you listed, which do you prefer?" If you want to make the greatest impact on climate change locally, then choose "New Renewable Resources" or "Early Coal Retirement" pathway. The other pathways are less optimal if your objective is to have the greatest impact on climate change because they either have a less aggressive carbon reduction plan, or they will use new natural gas plants. (Not good)
The rest of the survey has other interesting questions that are clear to understand and don't need extra explanation. 
3) All CSU customers (renters, home owners, business owners, etc) can fill out this survey
4) You do NOT need your account number to fill it out. Just your address. 
5) CSU prefers one survey per household. 
PS: CSU has NOT finished estimating what any particular "Pathway" would cost. They will start to present that information the first week of May. 
 
2) Tell 5 - 10 friends to fill out the survey
​I would not be telling you to do this if it wasn't important. Getting a significant amount of people to fill out this survey WILL influence city council's vote to change to renewable energy. 
I trust you know how to get ahold of your friends and family and get them to fill out the survey. Me? I'm calling everyone in my phone. I find phone calls get people energized to keep spreading the word. And we're doing a lot of that these days while we're at home! 
3) Help Spread the Survey word on Social Media
Since this survey is one of the last big actions we can take to advocate for a clean energy future for Colorado Springs, I'm going to send you two emails this month. 
The next e-mail will have example social media posts you can use to spread the word on the survey. Please read over the email because it has great facts you can use for emailing or calling city council.

A) New action blog
At this link, you will find the blog about what's going on with the EIRP! to share with your friends! Remember, we purposefully aren't getting too into the weeds here so that we can more easily engage folks who generally care about clean energy or climate. We don't want folks to be scared away from making their voice heard just because they don't know what EIRP stands for...that would be most people!
You'll also find online links to our Colorado Springs coal fact sheets in the blog.
B) Social media guidance for survey distribution
The goal is to create a buzz online about what's going on with clean energy in Colorado Springs and to get as many people as possible to take the survey in favor of carbon reductions and climate action. PLEASE post on social media to help get the word out! Be sure to use the link provided below, as it will allow us to track how many people click on the survey.
Stay tuned for more resources!
 
Help Us Get Colorado Springs to a Fossil Free Future!
Let’s build a social media movement together #FossilFreeCOS
How Can You and Your Community Help?
Colorado Springs Utilities (CSU) just released a survey asking their customers what kind of steps CSU should take to cut carbon pollution that will combat climate change. We want to make sure ALL customers in Colorado Springs have a say in how they get their power. You can use your personal, business, and organization’s digital presence to get the survey out! Hit up your listservs, post on your social media platforms, and ask your friends and family to do the same! Feel free to use the language and images below or create your own. 
But make sure to tag Colorado Springs Utilities (Facebook: @coloradospringsutilities; Twitter: @CSUtilities) and use the hashtag #FossilFreeCOS. And don’t forget to include a link to the survey: https://bit.ly/2UZNRxM
 
Sample Post 1:
CSU is running the LAST survey for their city energy plan being finalized this summer and they want to hear from you! Take 5 minutes to let @coloradospringsutilities know that you want carbon-free, clean energy in your hometown: https://bit.ly/2UZNRxM 
Renewable energy is cheaper than out-dated fossil fuels all across the country. In Colorado Springs, customers could be saving millions by turning to wind and solar. Thanks for making a difference. #FossilFreeCOS 
 
 
 

PPJPC Offers Sound System for Community Group Rental

PPJPC has partnered with Studio 809 to purchase a portable sound system appropriate for indoor or outdoor use. If you are interested in arranging the use of this sound system, contact Victoria at (719) 632-6189.

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