And like that, it’s December, the month of my birthday, which happens to be a *big* one this year. But there is plenty of time for talk of that later.

Were you a Chris Coons or a Mike Braun?

What kind of pie was your favorite on Thanksgiving?

Did you have any big climate conversations? If so, let us know how they went!

This week’s must read: In Florida and elsewhere, GOP pressured over climate change (AP) “With its 1,350 miles of coastline, Florida faces some of the starkest risks from rising oceans,” the article reads. “Higher global temperatures bring extreme weather conditions, including more intense and destructive hurricanes. Miami and other cities could find themselves submerged as glaciers melt into the oceans.”

“This isn’t about the next election. This is about the next several decades and what our environment is going to look like for our children and grandchildren,” said GOP state Rep. Chris Sprowls. “We shouldn’t fall into the same trap on the environment, where we allow the national conversation to dictate and hamstring us from accomplishing practical goals that truly protect our water and make our state beautiful for decades to come.”

LTE of the week: This week’s featured Letter to the Editor was run in the Deseret News. Republicans should get off climate change sidelines, writes BYU student Brianna Kreisel. “I am a young conservative who is concerned about climate change, and I am not alone. At BYU, where I major in pre-med, climate change is a subject of intense discussion among students. Scarcely anyone doubts that human activity is driving it, and all of us want our leaders to solve it.”

??Have an idea for an LTE? Reach out to me and I can help!

? Recycling is fun: Ohio Senator Rob Portman reached across the aisle to introduce with Michigan Senator Debbie Stabenow the RECYCLE Act of 2019, which would help educate consumers about recycling in their communities. According to Portman, “EPA data shows the recycling rate in the U.S. is 35.2% and $9 billion worth of recyclable materials are thrown away each year.”

“Education and outreach is a key pillar to improving recycling rates and reducing contamination in our recycling stream,” Portman said in a statement. “Reports have indicated that one-third of materials that households put into their recycling bins end up in landfills and are not actually recycled. This is in part because there is confusion about what can actually be recycled, which leads to contamination of materials that could otherwise be recycled but instead are landfilled. Education is a key component in both increasing the amount of material that is being recycled and ensuring that the material being put into community and residential recycling programs is actually being recycled. I am pleased to be introducing the RECYCLE Act with Senator Stabenow today, and look forward to working with my colleagues to get it across the finish line.” Several stakeholders praised the effort, including EcoRight ally Mitch Hescox of the Evangelical Environmental Network.

According to Pew’s American Trends Panel (and related to the Portman bill mentioned above) “the majority of Americans are cutting down on food waste (80%), using fewer plastics (72%) and reducing water usage (68%) for environmentally motivated reasons.” (h/t Forbes) On a personal note: stay tuned for a special post from me on the changes I’ve personally made to reduce my plastic footprint.

Do more: Two-thirds of Americans don’t think the Administration is doing enough on climate, according to Pew Research Center polling. Results indicate a generational divide, with 52 percent of 18 to 38-year-old Republicans dissatisfied with government climate action, compared with 41 percent of those aged 38-54, and 31 percent of those aged 55 or above.

The chart strikes quite the visual.

Related, House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy has started meeting with other key Republican lawmakers on a package of climate bills. “It’s really just setting the foundation to counter people who say, ‘Republicans are bad on climate,'” a GOP House source reported to the Washington Examiner’s Josh Siegel. “Well, here’s the counter-narrative.”

Rep. Garret Graves, who serves as the ranking member of the Select Committee on the Climate Crisis, is preparing a report that will be the basis of a broader strategy.

According to Pew’s American Trends Panel (and related to the Portman bill mentioned above) “the majority of Americans are cutting down on food waste (80%), using fewer plastics (72%) and reducing water usage (68%) for environmentally motivated reasons.” (h/t Forbes)

Spotlight on Spokespeople: In the Deseret News article, Climate change ‘converts’ reveal what changed their minds, Spokesperson Nick Huey says “Whatever the solution is, I want something that will preserve my freedoms and that of my family,” while extolling the benefits of a carbon tax. “In my generation, they get it. They understand this is something we should be on board with.” (Check out the link to see a cute picture of Nick with his family.)

RIP, father of the EPA: Bill Ruckelshaus, the first Administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency, who served in the position under two presidents (Nixon and Reagan) passed away last week. He was an outspoken advocate for climate action. “I think we should adopt a Policy #1 that global warming is a real problem, and we are a major contributor to carbon in the atmosphere and we need to take serious steps to reduce it,” he said in an interview.

??Happy birthday: In line with my self-serving assessment that December babies are the best, Rep. Francis Rooney celebrated a birthday on December 4th and our spokesperson Tyler Gillette celebrated on the 5th. ??

In honor of these two crusaders, here’s the best thing currently on the internet. ??????


Have a great weekend. See you next week, when I will come at you from Costa Rica!