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Determined, Not Defeated


Determined, Not Defeated

Michael Brune

This post is a slightly edited version of remarks I gave at the National Press Club in Washington, D.C., yesterday.

This was a deeply disappointing election for the United States — and the world. For people all over the country, the pain, anger, and fear at the prospect of a Trump presidency are very real.


In the words of Joe Hill, "Don't mourn, organize". It is doubtful that these were his last words but there is no doubt that he said them in the face of defeat and what appeared to be a hopeless situation. He literally went to the wall for his principles. That is the difference between the tough-minded labor organizers of the last century, the ones that used to be the backbone of the Democratic Party, and the hand-wringing liberals of today.

This nation elected an out-n-out fascist for president last week. It may very well be the end of elections, the Constitution, and our civil liberties. The emerging police state already has the internment camps ready and waiting. Guantanamo is still open for business. It will take more than people out in the streets with signs every four years or so to confront this situation. Organize and resist. Hold to your principles and be ready to go to the wall for them.


While Trump appears to be another George W. Bush when it comes to climate there is a danger that he is taking too much attention away from the negative roles being played by many Republican governors. If we are to successful in combating change in the US the states are going to have to play the major role, not the federal government. Just look at what states like California and New York are doing and that becomes obvious. I think the biggest problem that Trump poses is that he may not be willing to give money to developing countries for mitigation and adaptation. That money is critical for getting the developing countries to reduce emissions, and they are source of the majority of emissions and their role in producing emissions will expand as time goes on. Other developed countries could provide the additional money but there is no indication they would be willing to do so. US money for developing countries may prove to be vital for moving forward.


Dear Michael, my former colleague,

This is Jonas LaMattery-Brownell. I am now teaching adolescents in a psychiatric hospital. It is quite wonderful, I am so lucky to have meaningful work I can survive on. I am currently developing with a small group of colleagues more curriculum on climate change, and I hope to win a grant proposal I put in to create a small garden with my hospitalized students which can open up both educational and therapeutic possibilities.

Thank you for your work with Sierra Club, your work to make this organization more relevant to our biggest environmental challenges.

I want to share with you one humble question: Can you give serious consideration to the possibilities of addressing climate change ALSO through advocating the promise of reducing dependence on animal agriculture? Personally, I have gone vegan after learning of this industry's tremendous role not only in climate change but also in a plethora of environmental harms--and also because I wish, as much as I can, to not partake in killing animals or making them miserable. Not everyone can go vegan, but many U.S. people can, when given facts and seeing a community of support, choose to eat much less meat and to give careful consideration to veganism.

I am sure you are aware of the following resources and organizations on this subject, but I share them here for all to discover: