Let me introduce myself!
I am Lisa Ceazan. This is the initial entry for what I hope is at least a quarterly blog on my activities as Olympia Indivisible’s Environmental Liaison.
I moved to Olympia from Los Angeles in June 2017. I’m retired now, but was a social worker and then diverted to horticulture after a period of years staying at home raising my adopted daughter.
My passion for protecting the environment stems a great deal from my horticultural and garden design experience, in which I focused on native plants and climate-appropriate, low-environmental impact gardens.
I joined Olympia Indivisible (OI) in January, 2018 as a member of the Endorsements Team. I left the team in 2019 to focus on environmental activism. I’m still engaged in other OI teams that help me pursue that focus. On the State and County Legislative Team, I recommend and then track important environmental legislation. On the Members of Congress team, I suggest environmental issues for our agenda and then speak for them in meetings with our Congressperson. I write many of the Calls to Action that involve environmental advocacy (e.g. legislation, Rocky Prairie.) I am also a member of the Thurston Climate Action Team (TCAT) and represent Olympia Indivisible on the TCAT Coordinating Council.
I’ll get into specifics of my actions and those of the teams I’m involved in, as well as a report on environmental legislation in the most recent legislative session in future blog posts. But first, I will say a few words about the Covid-19 pandemic.
Covid-19 and Climate Change
We’re all struggling with the coronavirus pandemic and shutdown in personal ways. I don’t want to exacerbate any anxiety or grief many may be experiencing. However, I find it useful to use this period of withdrawal for reflection on values and “normal” behaviors, personal and community.
I’m sure you have all read about the beneficial changes the world is seeing as our activities slow down:
It’s important to know that scientists are researching how human impact on ecosystems may contribute to the release of novel viral and bacterial diseases. There’s the melting of permafrost at the poles, causing the release of ancient microbes that may contribute to future pandemics. Destruction of habitat and warming climate cause animals to migrate to other areas as they seek to survive, sometimes interfacing with humans in ways they never have before. The Center for Biological Diversity recently released this statement:
“In the past 40 years, the worst human pandemics and epidemics — HIV, SARS, avian flu, swine flu, Ebola and Zika — all stemmed from trading or consuming animals and destroying their habitat.
The solution couldn't be clearer as we face this pandemic: We must ban wildlife trade to reduce disease risk and save animals from overexploitation. But when asked, last week, if banning wildlife trade is a priority, President Trump just shrugged. That's the wrong response.”
Dr. Aaron Bernstein, a pediatrician and Interim Director of The Center for Climate, Health, and the Global Environment at Harvard's T.H. Chan School of Public Health (Harvard C-CHANGE), in an Inside Climate News interview, stated that science may soon reveal connections between Covid-19 and climate change:
“I think the strongest links I see are actually related, first of all, to air pollution, and fossil fuels as a source of air pollution, and fossil fuels, of course, are the major cause of climate change…Given what we know now, it would be very surprising to find that air pollution didn't affect the risk of people either getting the disease or getting sicker when they do get the disease.
But we have other examples. We see this extraordinary migration to the poles. We're watching all kinds of life forms run away from the heat, and that has led to the spread of pathogens, because animals that carry pathogens came in contact with other animals that didn't carry those pathogens and there was transmission. The constraints upon animal migration because of habitat loss may force animals into closer proximity. The bottom line here is that if you wanted to prevent the spread of pathogens, the emergence of pathogens, as we see not just with people and COVID, but as well with wildlife, you wouldn't transform the climate. Because that forces species to come into contact with other species that may be vulnerable to infections. There are lots of forces, and habitat loss is a major contributor to it.”
In the Inside Climate News article, “Our Growing Food Demands Will Lead to More Corona-like Viruses”, we learn that “As agriculture expands, habitats will shrink. That will likely lead to higher numbers of the species that transmit deadly diseases.”It may be time to re-evaluate what and how much we consume and the impact it has on the planet and the animals and plants with whom we share it.
Environmental Priorities Coalition Lobby Day - January 30, 2020
The Environmental Priorities Coalition (EPC) is composed of 20 state environmental groups that collaborate in presenting workshops and organizing lobbying for top priority legislation.
This year they were:
Approximately 400 people, including a busload of Environmental Studies students from the Evergreen State College participated. Every person I talked to was so well-informed and articulate about the cause we were there to advocate for.
It was really uplifting for this senior citizen to interact with college students and made me aware of how we need more intergenerational dialogue. We all share the same passion and enthusiasm for trying to end and/or reverse the damage done to our precious and vulnerable wildlife, waterways, and forests.
In the photo, is a group of us who live in Legislation District-22 at the Capitol, where we lobbied Representatives Beth Doglio and Laurie Dolan and Senator Sam Hunt on the four priority bills.
You’ll all recognize Beth; I am to the right of the woman in the red jacket. She is Ari Simmons, a young, dynamic leader who was our lobbying group organizer. She works for Olympia Community Solar and is involved with Sunrise Olympia. She is so impressive – kind, well-organized, knowledgeable, and courageous.
At a hearing in the House Energy and Environment committee on the Sustainable Farms and Fields bill this past legislative session, she read a lesson about Karma to the committee! She’s fairly well-known in the environmental community and I have no doubt will continue to be a rising star and a major contributor to environmental advocacy.
Invitation for submissions from other environmental activists
It was decided a year ago that having an OI environmental team would be duplicative, given the number of powerful local and state environmental groups, and the fact that OI is not a dedicated environmental organization. However, protecting the environment was voted the #1 priority by members at the annual all-member meeting in January, 2019.
I’ve been doing my best to represent OI in my various activities and to bring back to OI issues I think we should support and engage in.
I welcome any other OI members who are environmental activists to submit relevant items or community information to this blog. Let’s share our advocacy work with all our members and encourage their engagement as well!
I may be contacted by Email.