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09.30.09

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News Blast

By Gretchen Giles


Count the ways

"What do you call a climate-change campaigner sitting on an airplane?" asks Bill McKibben in a recent Times of London essay. "Sheepish," he answers. Yet McKibben, a leading global climate change activist seen this summer on the Colbert Report and ubiquitous in the science press, plans to spend only 10 days this year at his upstate New York home. The rest of the time he's in the air and on the ground tirelessly working to promote 350 Day, slated for Oct. 24, and his 350.org nonprofit.

According to climate-change scientists reporting on Arctic melt in 2007, any carbon in the atmosphere above 350 parts per million exceeds sustainability for "the planet on which civilization developed." At 350 ppm, in other words, there is some chance that the earth as we know it can continue to support human activity with natural phenomena to which we are accustomed (i.e., rain in the winter, not September).McKibben has recently signed on as a fellow with Sebastopol's Post-Carbon Institute. His alignment makes Sonoma County the only municipality in the United States invited to attend the Dec. 7 climate-change conference in Copenhagen. McKibben comes to Santa Rosa on Friday, Oct. 2, to explain the concepts behind 350 Day (which the Bohemian will be lauding Oct. 21 with a special issue devoted to the subject). Bill McKibben appears at the Sonoma Country Day School on Friday, Oct. 2, at 7pm. 4400 Day School Place, Santa Rosa. $10–$15. 707.284.3200.


Frank talk

Massachusetts democrat Barney Frank, chair of the U.S. Financial Services Committee, has been called a radical so many times that the word slides wearily off him. The second member of Congress to be openly gay, Frank's surname suits him, as he is not one to mince words. On the record advocating for gay rights, civil liberties, environmental protections and fair housing, among other things, he is one of the more powerful leaders in Washington, even more so now that Democrats hold the majority. "If I had the power to block things when I was in the minority," Frank told a regional Massachusetts newspaper last year, "I wouldn't have started with Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. I would have blocked the Iraq war, the Patriot Act, hundreds of billions of dollars in tax cuts to rich people, bills to weaken the Environmental Protection Agency and a very flawed prescription-drug program."Frank is very much in the majority when he appears on Saturday, Oct. 10, from 10am to noon at a fundraiser just in time for the release of a new biography, Barney Frank: The Story of America's Only Left-handed, Gay, Jewish Congressman, written by Stuart Weisberg. He appears at the Flamingo Hotel, 2777 Fourth St., Santa Rosa. $50. 617.268.2221.


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