Tuesday, December 20, 2022

EP 49: John Gage: A Grassroots Movement for a Carbon Cashback System


John Gage

The Carbon Cashback Initiative - Putting Climate Power in the Hands of Citizens

Building on earlier Successes, CCL Ramps up the Effort to Put Carbon Cashback on Town Warrants

Listen here:


John Gage, NH State Coordinator for the National Citizen's Climate Lobby, this episode's guest, makes the case that - while our individual efforts to reduce our carbon footprints are important - national and International change is only achieved through the power of all our efforts taken together.

50 years ago Bobby Kennedy - a radical centrist in his own right - put it this way.

"Each time a man stands up for an ideal, or acts to improve the lot of others, or strikes out against injustice, he sends forth a tiny ripple of hope, and crossing each other from a million different centers of energy and daring those ripples build a current which can sweep down the mightiest walls of oppression and resistance."

~ Robert F. Kennedy

Drawing on this notion of the power of our collective efforts, Climate activists from across the country - led by the non-partisan Citizen's Climate Lobby and the conservative Climate Leadership Council - have embraced the idea of a Carbon fee and direct dividend payments to citizens - circumventing the bureaucracy of traditional taxation methods and putting the revenues from the carbon fee directly into the pockets of every citizen.

Striking right at the heart of the problem - the need to dramatically reduce the amount of carbon that we are putting into the atmosphere - they propose a creative market-based idea called - among other things - the Carbon Cashback Initiative: Marshaling the forces of grassroots activists, citizens through their local governments and both State and Federal initiatives.

Simply put, Carbon Cashback recognizes that we all pay the price of putting more and more carbon into our atmosphere, But it is only the emitters of that carbon who currently profit. 

To use an old bridge builder's term, Carbon Cashback "trues up" the shortcomings of the market and rewards those who make substantial progress in reducing their carbon footprint, making them more competitive in the international marketplace and at the same time making the planet safer for all of us.

Links and Resources

Show Notes: 


Kudos to Representative Ann McLane Kuster who has joined as a sponsor of the federal bill. Contact your Rep and Senators to ask them to get on board!

Humorous video by CCL about the "far middle": https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nmCVs8gXyO0.

CCL's 2-minute Introductory video:  https://youtu.be/9oyguP4nLv0

carboncashback.org/celebration for previous NH Carbon Cash-Back town warrant article resolution results.  And we currently have about 10 town champions currently working on this effort for their towns' 2023 annual town meetings, and we would love to add more.

CCL uses a different climate resolution process for cities - the town champion works directly with the City Council (with our help as much as they like) to produce the resolution.  "We've done that in Portsmouth, Durham, and Keene.  Links to those city resolutions and many of the towns' resolutions are available in the "Towns Passed" list on carboncashback.org."

The NH Network also produced a "Local Action, Global Impact" event that featured how to do a citizens' petitioned warrant article in general, and the Carbon Cash-Back warrant article in particular, among other local actions.  That starts here:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TGAmRm2g39M&t=2087s.

Sunday, November 27, 2022

Ep 48: New England School of the Arts TO OPEN IN FALL 2023


New England School of the Arts TO OPEN IN FALL 2023

Listen here link:

As part of our launch for NESA, we are sponsoring a benefit concert and silent auction to support the scholarship needs for this new and innovative arts school. The concert and silent auction will take place at Lebanon Opera House on Saturday, February 4th at 7pm. The event will feature video testimonials from celebrities such as Emily Saliers from the Indigo Girls, acclaimed conductor Bruce Adolphe and local musicians Noah Kahan and Hans Williams as well as other live musicians and performers such as the Dance CollectiveLebanon Ballet SchoolWR Ballet Academy, Sylvie Rudolf, Tommy Crawford, Julie Ness, Tristan Bellerive, Norman McMullen and many others. Guest speakers will include Dr. Mike Casey from Dartmouth College and comedian Cindy Pierce.
Purchase your tickets here:
We hope to see you there! Please feel free to share with friends and family via social media and email. 
Warmest regards,
Jenny and Carl Chambers

  • Carl Chambers


    Carl Chambers  has served in administration for the better part of his career as well as an adjunct professor, grant manager, curriculum director and English teacher. Carl is a member of the Screen Actors Guild and has done professional session work as a bass guitarist. He is excited to realize his family's vision of founding a school for the arts that supports all students who strive for an arts-focused, progressive, education.
  • Co-Founder of the School

  • Jennifer Chambers


    Jennifer completed her undergraduate degree in Music Education from DePaul School of Music, DePaul University in Chicago, Illinois, and her Master’s in Vocal Performance from Hunter College in New York. Jennifer has taught in London, New York City, and most recently has been the Music Coordinator at Hanover High School for 10 years. She currently serves on the NH All-State choral committee and is the President-elect for the New England Music Festival Association. She holds her CAGS from New England College and is one of the founding members of NESA. 
Partial list of collaborating organizations:
Ava Gallery and Art Center (https://avagallery.org/),  CCBA (Carter Community Building Association https://joinccba.org/), Lebanon Opera House https://lebanonoperahouse.org/, Upper Valley Music Center https://uvmusic.org/, Rassias Center at Dartmouth https://rassias.dartmouth.edu/ Lebanon Ballet School https://lebanonballetschool.com/ Upper Valley Baroque https://www.uppervalleybaroque.org/, Artistree https://artistreevt.org/ Pentangle Arts https://pentanglearts.org/  JAG Productions https://www.jagproductionsvt.com/  Junction Arts & Media https://uvjam.org/ Off the Grid Productions https://www.offthegridproductions.com/and River Valley Community College https://www.rivervalley.edu/. 

Thursday, November 17, 2022

Making Your Voice Heard - The NH Network: Environment, Energy, Climate: Susan Richman and Patricia Martin

Making Your Voice Heard - 
The NH Network:  Environment, Energy, Climate: 
Susan Richman and Patricia Martin

Pat Martin campaigned hard for local NH state representatives who were committed to local action on climate change, but found her candidates on the losing side in those elections. Rather than waiting for the next election, and the uncertain promise that they held Pat has chosen a third path, she has opened up communication with her newly elected representatives with a letter that provides a model we all could use now, to build the relationships needed for change now.

Pat, is a member of a growing and well-informed network of local grassroots organizations that are pooling their expertise and energy - if you will - to actively reach out to make their voices heard on the triple threats of climate, energy and environmental sustainability. Pat and my second guest, Susan Richman who serves as the communications director of the NH Network for Environment, Energy and Climate are an example of the many environmental patriots who are speaking out to make sure that all of our voices are heard and that we work to build bridges between people of goodwill with the hope that calling other in will be more effective than simply calling them out.

This podcast is important not only because it stresses the power we have when we join together to make our voices heard, but because it offers some real and pragmatic ideas for what we can do right now as citizens of New Hampshire and the planet to foster change and sustainability.

Listen here:


Pat's letter to her newly elected state Reps:

Dear friends and Honorables,
Thank you for running to represent your neighbors in Rindge as well as Jaffrey and Dublin.  Congratulations to the winners.  In many cases it was a hard fought and close race.  There is so much on the line in these times, that I really hoped we would be electing climate champions who understand the connections between a warming planet, climate refugees, and the anxiety our children feel in the face of increasing violence and no serious effort underway to transition us to clean energy.
At the candidate's forum I know I heard John say that he always gets back to constituents on issues and legislation.  That has been my experience with him.  I might not always like the answer, but he affords me the consideration of responding.  Perhaps I don't have good email addresses for our other representatives?  Please let me know whether you received this email.  There's always the option of Letters to the Editor, of course. 
My plan for this year is to treat my elected representatives the way I would have treated the candidates I supported.  I am extremely concerned about the climate crisis that is facing us and will be tracking legislation as part of a group of scientists, engineers, former utility employees and legislators.  I hope I can count on my representatives to take my concerns seriously and lobby for or at least represent my perspective?  I've come to the conclusion that the planet can't wait for us to elect the right people, we have to get the people we elected to do the right thing.  We can only do that if we share the information and perspectives we have with those we've elected. 
My plan for the year is to be an active constituent and a resource to you if you need information about energy related legislation.  I planned to do that if my preferred candidates were elected, so please don't regard this as an attack on you at all.   If we hope to leave a livable planet for our children, we're going to have to learn to be adults and work together.
Thank you!

Pat Martin

NH Network:  Environment, Energy, Climate
Re-Think Plastic with the Ten Towns • Ten Actions Toolkit
Home:  603-868-2758

Tuesday, November 1, 2022

Episode 1 The Radical Centrist

What is a Radical Centrist?

This entry and podcast is pinned to the top of our show notes so that listeners have access to our very first podcast, providing them with an overview of Radical Centrist philosophy. It was orginally produced in January of 2019.

Show links and notes

Free Joseph "He is Here"


So here we are.

There’s an old Chinese curse: “May you live in interesting times”. Of course most of us would not characterize these times as “interesting”. Horrifying, discouraging, frightening, maybe but interesting - no probably not. A hundred years from now, if America survives, and the planet survives, students of history may characterize these times as merely interesting.

For most Americans, watching the President and his cabinet and the executive team that he is overseeing is like watching a car crash in slow motion. We know that it’s coming. We just don’t know when the point of impact will be. More important, we don’t know whether it will be a fiery pileup or one car plowing into the Tree of Liberty and Decency; a tree that has been painfully and lovingly nurtured; nourished with the blood, sweat and tears of patriots, as it grew and expanded for more than 200 years.

The recent elections may have swung to the left but there was much more happening here than that. As Steve Schmidt, a former aid to John McCain has characterized the wave of voters as a “Coalition of the Decent” from all political parties, one of the most astute observations in recent memory.

This “coalition of the decent” is not the army of any political party, though polling shows them leaning heavily toward the Democrats at the moment. They want a return to a sense of normalcy and security; but don’t mistake this for the status quo ante. Big changes are coming and the question is whether those changes will be created from the center out or from the excesses of the pendulum’s swing.

There is a common misunderstanding about the political spectrum. Many envision it as a line extending from left to right with the two extremes far apart. However, most political scientists say that it is more accurately described as a circle where the extremes come together at the final point of the circle. In such a diagram, the extremes represent a more authoritarian view of the world from either the traditional “left” or “right”. In other words, everyone at the intersection of the left and the right wants to infringe on our liberties - just for different reasons. At the margins we face a choice between the morality police and the nanny state.

The good news is that the vast majority of us are not located on that small junction of the spectrum. They lead nuanced lives focused on family, work and community - in both its most narrow and its broadest sense. . . local community, the American community and the community of the planet. Furthermore, as frustrated as we may be with the actions of the President, positive change continues at the state, local and regional levels.

The bad news is that a growing number of our elected officials of both parties are congregated around that unnuanced point.

For the sake of discussion, let’s leave our current President out of this. He is, we hope, an aberration . . . A symptom of the frustration and marginalization of a significant number of our citizens amid the tumultuous changes taking place in our world. It is likely he will be gone after the 2020 Presidential election - perhaps even before it. He will certainly be irrelevant to the longer term national dialogue except as an example of what we don’t want. The misanthrope that proves the rule. But the challenges that brought him to the Presidency will remain unless we change the game.

If I’m right about this, and I believe I am, in 2020 the American people will be engaged in one of the most consequential elections in our history.

If the Democrats have lurched just as far to the other end of the spectrum, they will lose any purchase they have gained during the Trump years. If the Republicans have not regained their center it may not matter in the short-run but in the long-run it will all matter a great deal. We need a strong two party system. . . especially for what lies ahead.

The world is shifting beneath our feet. If the results of the 2016 and 2018 election have not been a forewarning, then take a look around.

The marginal costs of products move ever lower in response to enhanced productivity but who will buy the products when technology has replaced the human hands that once made them?

To whom will those products be delivered when the trucks delivering them are driverless or they are flown through the air by drones?

Where will we employ the taxi drivers, the line workers, the coal miners?
Don’t panic. There are answers to these questions . . . but they do not lie in the worn out dogmas of the past.

They will not be found in the “invisible hand” of the markets.
Nor are they the domain of the nanny state where everything is provided to everyone and the incentive for improving one’s lot is lost. These are challenges that call for leadership that is both bold and inclusive. Leadership at every level from our communities right on up to the Oval Office. Leaders who call all of us to the task of continuing the Great American Journey, not by shrinking from the challenges but by overcoming them.

It will come as no surprise from someone who proudly declares himself to be a radical centrist, that I am seeking common ground where it is possible and respect and civility where it is not. The problems we face are too great for us to devolve into a nation of whiners, mefers, and thumbsuckers.

Some will say that we need more government. Some will say we need less government. These dogmas are as outmoded as the great struggle that brought them into focus one hundred years ago.
The days of the simple Command Economy vs. Market Economy are drawing to a close.

The left vs. right debate no longer serves us well, if it ever did.
We are a nation in search of a new paradigm. A paradigm that remains true to the central ideas and ideals of the American vision of Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness. A nation with a place for everyone: Where the working class is not marginalized; where the wealthy are not villainized; where the poor have a real pathway out of poverty, where the middle class is expanding, not shrinking; where it matters not what your skin color is or who you choose to love or what you choose to call yourself; where the opportunity for a meaningful life is recast to reflect a new set of realities and participation in the ongoing Great American Journey is an imperative. The leadership we require will challenge the people to help define this new paradigm, crafted by evolution not revolution and built from the center out, not from the margins. That leadership will come from all of us.

So what is a Radical Centrist; and is Radical Centrism the basis of such a new paradigm?

So What is a Radical Centrist?

The term Radical Centrist arose in the waning days of the 20th Century. In fact, I recall using it myself when I was running for Governor of New Hampshire in 1994. I’m not sure where I had heard the term, but I knew that it applied so I adopted it. For me it meant that I was more interested in solutions than partisan bickering and was drawn to those solutions that involved rethinking approaches to public policy in big ways. I was not interested in just seeking compromise around the edges, I wanted to reform institutions fundamentally to enhance the democratic system and to empower individuals, communities and states. That’s where the use of the word “Radical” stems from. It’s not that I was, or wanted to be, a bomb thrower. What I wanted to do was to approach public policy in a more holistic manner, first asking if the current approaches and institutions were achieving what they were intended to achieve and then asking how we might work across political ideologies to rethink them in unique ways that were more empowering, more entrepreneurial, more in keeping with the American idea.

The idea of Radical Centrism has been fleshed out a bit more in the early years of the 21st Century, though it is still the domain of a few hardy pioneers. Because it is still in its infancy it is also populated by some folks who seem to have a very different view of what it means to be a Radical Centrist. The best way to sort them out is to look at or listen to what they have to say and to determine whether they have anything constructive to say or they are just using their platform for their snarky interpretations of current events.

When his future wife Jackie ask a young John F. Kennedy how he would describe himself politically he answered “an Idealist without illusion” This is evolving to be a central tenet of Radical Centrism, idealism without illusion that manifests itself in real solutions to real problems. Those solutions involve fundamental reform of institutions and efforts to bend the curve in ways that enhance those institutions that seem to be functioning reasonably well.

Radical Centrists seek ways to build solutions from the Center out, actively looking for ways to find common ground - through a marriage of idealism, realism and practicality. and between those who consider themselves conservatives and those who consider themselves progressive. Market solutions, vigorously supervised by democratic institutions, especially those that have a dynamic component allowing for institutions to continuously reinvent themselves to better serve their mission and the public are the preferred approach. Furthermore, Radical Centrists seek approaches that respect and empower individuals and eschew the temptation to make assumptions that villanise the wealthy, criminalize the poor or demonize the “other” among us, including those in the “other party”.

Radical Centrists see the middle class, in both the US and in other nations, as the glue that provides stability to democratic institutions. For that reason they tend toward globalism as a force for positive change but are equally aware that globalization must be tempered with political institutions that help define and enforce norms - as Steven Levitsky and Daniel Ziblatt described in their groundbreaking book “How Democracies Die” - Norms that are the soft guardrails of democracy*.

Only in doing this can we ensure the survival of both democracy and capitalism, by continuously reforming and reinventing them both -

As Bhu Srinivasan (Boo Srinivassen) said in his celebrated book Americana - recognizing Capitalism - not an ideology - but an operating system . . . in need of regular updating and improvement.

Only in this way can we assure that Capitalism 2.0 thrives, and once again begins raising the living standards of the United states after nearly 50 years of declining wealth and income among the lower 90% of Americans. Capitalism can be the tide that lifts all boats but to do that it must serve a higher purpose than the mere accumulation of wealth.

Radical Centrists draw their inspiration from a broad ranging group of thought leaders, beginning with the United States most famous pragmatists Benjamin Franklin and George Washington our only Independent President and a man who had little use for parties and factions. Franklin spent time with my father’s people, the Iroquois, learning about their democratic confederacy and, drawing on his inspirational visit, he became a driving force behind many of the compromises that enabled our founding fathers to find common ground during the Constitutional Convention in Philadelphia. Washington, in what is arguably the most often quoted Farewell address in American history, warned of the dangers of factionalism and ideology. Others like Teddy Roosevelt; Jeremy Rifkin following in the footsteps of Alvin and Heidi Toffler, Margaret Chase Smith the fiercely independent Republican from Maine; and Earl Warren who deftly led the US Supreme Court and helped to engineer decisions like Brown v Board of Education, Baker Vs. Carr establishing the precedent of One-Man-One-Vote; and the Miranda decision protecting the rights of the accused, among many others.

Jon Stewart, though he might not embrace the label is perhaps the best example of a Radical Centrist today and the fact that so many people, especially young people, look to him as an honest broker of truth whose razor sharp sense of humor helps both to bridge the gap between ideologies and at the same time to brook no fools, is an icon of Radical Centrism. Thomas Friedman of the New York Times is likewise an individual who seeks solutions where they are to be found without concern for the label attached.

Jon Avlon, Editor of the Daily Beast is among the journalists who can be identified as a radical centrist. His book on Washington’s Farewell Address is something of a treatise on Radical Centrism built around Washington’s Farewell address.

Radical Centrism is not a manifestation of the mushy middle, where we simply seek to split the difference. It is not even the more often stated goal of seeking common ground, though that can be useful, but too often even that just involves making concessions and accommodations that leave all sides feeling less than satisfied. Instead it involves creating new ground. . . building anew upon the rubble of what has failed us.

In the weeks and months to come I hope to bring you podcasts, interviews and writings that further expand this notion and provide concrete examples of radical centrist ideas being proposed by myself and others. I hope you will join us.

Thanks for joining me for the Radical Centrist Podcast. One way to do so is to become a patron of The Radical Centrist on Patreon. For as little as a $1.00 a month you can become a member and help me avoid the annoying need to solicit advertisers and waste part of the podcast with their drivel.


Notes & Links
Bhu Srinivasan Ted Talk
Capitalism isn't an ideology -- it's an operating system

Free Joseph Music