iOS app Android app

Brendan Smith
GET UPDATES FROM Brendan Smith
Brendan Smith is co-founder of Voices for a Sustainable Future

Entries by Brendan Smith

Fixing Old Water and Gas Pipelines Would Create Far More Jobs Than Building Keystone XL

(2) Comments | Posted January 24, 2014 | 2:48 PM

In the coming months, President Obama will decide whether to approve the permit for the Keystone XL pipeline, which would transport crude tar-sands oil from Alberta to the Gulf of Mexico. We know that the pipeline would greatly aggravate climate change, allowing massive amounts of the world's dirtiest oil to...

Read Post

The Flobots: Reviving the Poetry of Politics

(3) Comments | Posted January 24, 2013 | 2:50 PM

In 2006, Neil Young told the Los Angeles Times that the silence of young songwriters during the Bush era compelled him to retake the stage as a protest singer: "I was waiting for someone to come along, some young singer 18 to 22 years old, to write these...

Read Post

Do the Math: Invest While We Divest

(1) Comments | Posted November 13, 2012 | 3:14 PM

Do you want your college tuition or tax dollars invested to increase droughts, storms, forest fires, and crop failures -- and an unending series of Katrinas and Sandys?  Or do you want them used to lower greenhouse gases on your campus and in your community? That is the stark choice...

Read Post

Farming the Urban Sea

(6) Comments | Posted October 11, 2012 | 3:39 PM

They're back: Blue mussels and menhaden have returned to Long Island Sound this year in huge numbers. On this 40th anniversary of the Clean Water Act, many of us are celebrating their homecoming as a sign of the progress made reviving the sound. More needs to be done, but this...

Read Post

A Birthday Anthem for the 99 Percent

(12) Comments | Posted September 18, 2012 | 12:50 PM

Happy birthday, Occupy. One year ago, as the rest of the country cowered under the iron heel of the 1 percent, seemingly out of thin air you appeared in Zuccotti Park -- a virgin birth that stunned bankers and inspired masses.

So let's celebrate. But how about skipping the tired...

Read Post

4 New Ways Climate Activists Can Organize in an Age of Extreme Weather

(17) Comments | Posted August 23, 2012 | 6:49 PM

A new insurgent force has joined the climate wars: planet Earth.

This summer, she's blanketed two-thirds of the country in drought; turned New Mexico and Colorado into blazing infernos; crumbled roads in Alaska and Texas with record-breaking temperatures; and, in biblical fashion, shut down a nuclear...

Read Post

Dirty vs. Green Jobs: Labor's Keystone Dilemma

(10) Comments | Posted March 11, 2012 | 5:55 PM

These are tough times to be a construction worker in America. While other sectors of the economy are showing signs of life, the unemployment rate in the construction industry is getting worse, not better -- rising from 16 percent to 17 percent in January.

It is against this...

Read Post

Keystone XL Opponents Need a Jobs Program

(4) Comments | Posted February 2, 2012 | 4:03 PM

Opponents of the Keystone XL pipeline are taking a well-deserved victory lap. The Obama administration's decision to reject TransCanada's pipeline proposal -- at least for now -- represents an historic win for the environmental movement, and reveals the potency of the emerging alignment between the environmental, anti-corporate, Occupy and other...

Read Post

Climate Change: A Dagger Pointed at Your Job?

(2) Comments | Posted September 28, 2011 | 5:17 PM

[Drafted with Jeremy Brecher]

Climate change has arrived in America. What will it mean for your job?

Climate change affecting my job? Many people have never even considered the possibility. They have been misled by false assurances like the testimony of Douglas W. Elmendorf, the director of the supposedly objective...

Read Post

The Keystone Pipeline: Too Dirty for George W. Bush?

(1) Comments | Posted September 22, 2011 | 11:36 AM

Drafted with Jeremy Brecher.

The Keystone XL pipeline, recently approved by the U.S. State Department and awaiting President Obama's declaration that it is in the "national interest," will carry oil that is too dirty for the U.S. government to buy -- under legislation signed by George W. Bush!

...
Read Post

The Sustainable Seafood Myth

(16) Comments | Posted August 1, 2011 | 11:27 PM

Stroll by any Whole Foods seafood counter and you will see color-coded fish: Green for fully sustainable, yellow for partially sustainable, and red for fish threatened by overfishing or grown on polluting fish farms. Buy a "green" fish and you eat guilt free, confident that you are doing your part...

Read Post

Pipeline Climate Disaster: The Keystone XL Pipeline and Labour

(10) Comments | Posted July 18, 2011 | 8:00 AM

More than two million American construction workers -- nearly one in five -- are currently unemployed. Factories that produce building materials are operating at only half their capacity. So when a private company proposes a project that it claims will spur the creation of 118,000 new...

Read Post

Calling All Artists: The Climate Movement Needs You

(1) Comments | Posted June 21, 2011 | 11:56 AM

[Drafted with Joe Uehlein]

Throughout history artists have joined forces with political movements to battle injustice and demand a better and more beautiful world. Picasso's "Guernica" captured the horrors of the German bombing of civilians in 1937. "Solidarity Forever," "We Shall Overcome," and "Give Peace a Chance" expressed the optimism...

Read Post

Are Progressives in Denial About Climate Change?

(296) Comments | Posted June 10, 2011 | 5:32 PM

[Drafted with Jeremy Brecher]

If you listen to right wing commentators, you might think American progressives are leading the charge to protect our planet from climate change. Would that it were so!

All around the country, progressives are fighting to make our world a better place to live. In...

Read Post

Citing Jobs and Environment, More Unions Backing EPA

(0) Comments | Posted May 1, 2011 | 4:28 PM

[Drafted with Jeremy Brecher]

At the start of 2011, as the energy corporations, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and the Tea Party launched their assault on environmental protection and the EPA, it looked like public opinion and organized labor might just be swept along. Instead, much of the public and...

Read Post

Should We Remain Silent About Climate Change?

(128) Comments | Posted March 31, 2011 | 7:19 PM

[Drafted with Jeremy Brecher]

To talk of climate change or not to talk of climate change -- that is the question.

For the last several years many of the biggest players in the climate movement have argued that to save the planet we need to purge the words "global warming"...

Read Post

Obama Needs a Just Transition Taskforce

(44) Comments | Posted March 1, 2011 | 3:02 PM

[Drafted with Jeremy Brecher]

President Barack Obama recently established a Presidential Council on Jobs and Competitiveness.  He stated at the first meeting, "The biggest challenge we're seeing right now is that unemployment is way too high."  He asked them to come up with "some concrete deliverables" to lower the 9%...

Read Post

New Study Reveals the Benefits of EPA Regulation for Workers

(3) Comments | Posted February 9, 2011 | 8:30 PM

[Drafted with Jeremy Brecher]

You can hear the echo chamber reverberate the talking points:

• The Independent Petroleum Association of America complains that drilling permits and pollution are curbing job growth.

• The head of the National Association of Manufacturers and the governor of Virginia write a joint article called...

Read Post

5 Reasons Why EPA Regulation of Greenhouse Gasses Is Good for Labor

(2) Comments | Posted November 30, 2010 | 12:45 PM

[Drafted with Jeremy Brecher]

With the collapse of climate protection legislation in Congress, the Environmental Protection Agency, acting under a mandate from the US Supreme Court, is stepping in to regulate the greenhouse gas emissions that are causing climate change. At the end of 2009, it issued an "endangerment finding"...

Read Post

Fighting Doom: The New Politics of Climate Change

(10) Comments | Posted November 22, 2010 | 5:26 PM

I am not an environmentalist. But all I think about these days is the climate crisis.

I admit I have arrived late to the party. Only recently have I begun to realize what others have known for decades: The climate crisis is not, at its core, an environmental issue. In...

Read Post