Vermont Climate Council holds BIPOC-only public hearing

By Guy Page

On Tuesday night, a BIPOC-only meeting was sponsored, publicized, and facilitated by the Vermont Climate Council, a state board empowered by the Global Warming Solutions Act (GWSA) to recommend reductions in carbon emissions.

The GWSA specifies addressing the climate change impacts on BIPOC Vermonters.

state of Vermont

Former state Rep. Kiah Morris

Vermont Climate Council consultant and meeting facilitator Kiah Morris began the meeting with the Land Acknowledgement — a statement something like the mirror image of the Pledge of Allegiance, in which the land of the state of Vermont is acknowledged as belonging to native Americans.

She also compared the “present day reality of migrant day farmworkers” to slavery. And she took pains to not leave Lake Champlain out of the Land Acknowledgement. She said she breaks out in rashes whenever she goes in the water, and that fish and shellfish are not safe to eat due to toxic chemicals.

Morris then restated the purpose of discouraging non-BIPOC people from participating: BIPOC Vermonters need an “affinity space” to express a perspective that “is not often welcome, that is not often acceptable.” Vermont has historically “not done a good job” with affirming BIPOC perspectives, and is not doing so now, either, she claimed.

“We are all losing if we do not all come together,” Morris said. “We must all honor each other in these spaces.”

Morris lamented the inability of some to “honor these spaces.” She claimed some people last week sought to join the meeting as “voyeurs and potentially to act as disrupters.”

Morris then stated ground rules for media coverage, including asking permission to use any information presented. “We ask you to do that outside of this space,” she added.

Morris then referred to the gathering as a “public meeting.” According to long-held understandings of freedom of speech and of the press, anything said at a government-sponsored public meeting is considered fair game for publication. Permission after the fact is not needed.

Many of the concerns raised by the BIPOC-only attendees had little direct link to being BIPOC in Vermont.

One woman said Vermont could use more bio-gas energy. A Grand Isle resident said his flat, island county is prone to climate-related flash floods. “That costs us more money. We need to find a way to make our homes more flash-flood resilient.”

However, at least one explicit intersection between race and climate was mentioned. An indigenous Vermonter pointed to the historic injustices of Big Hydro in Canada, the source of about a quarter of Vermont’s electricity.

Canadian Hydro power is responsible for flooding indigenous people out of their ancestral lands, he said. He noted the irony: in the development of low-carbon power deemed necessary to limit future flooding caused by global warming, many indigenous peoples lost their homes to intentional, man-made flooding.

“North of the border there have been thousands of indigenous peoples who have become climate refugees due to flooding,” he said. He called for a moratorium on Big Hydro in the U.S. and Canada and it “needs to be replaced by a more ethical, more responsible source.”

Recommendations made last night will submitted for inclusion in the Council’s pending Action Plan. The next meeting of the full Climate Council is scheduled for Nov. 9.

Guy Page is publisher of the Vermont Daily Chronicle. Reprinted with permission.

Images courtesy of Wikimedia Commons/Ardfern and state of Vermont

5 thoughts on “Vermont Climate Council holds BIPOC-only public hearing

  1. I think kaah missed a few history classes.. the “Native Americans” took the land
    by force killing who ever other NA’s who were there to claim it for their own.. they also took them as slaves just like her ancestors did in Africa… So since they didn’t have government structure or even written word they were bound to lose out to smarter more industrious peoples.. that’s a fact jack and for the climate I’d think Africans would love a more Warming climate…Just another race baiting hustler..and where’s the ACLU to denounce this raciest gov meeting????

  2. Google Kiah Morris. Some months ago she started another exclusive/divisive monthly discussion. That’s her personality. Did you see her explosion at Mayor Weinberger on WCAX news when he removed Tyeastia Green from overseeing the Burlington policing contracts? Ugly.

    As one legislature said, she is militant.

  3. “We are all losing if we do not all come together” so the meeting is limited to BIPOC? So we’re all losing, Kiah? To a dogmatic cult, all non-believers are heretics denying the One and Only Incontestable Revealed Truth. As Biden said at the Iowa state fair: “We accept Truth over facts.” To debate the issue with those who contest it would be blasphemous. It could soil the pristine minds of the True Believers. The AGW cult has said as much in denying debate.

  4. Kiah Morris is a racial agitator. Creating meetings that discriminate in attendance based on race is unjustifiable, antagonistic, and illegal when done by government actors. In its pursuit of “Equity,” why don’t Kiah Morris and the Climate Council address the extremely regressive wealth redistribution that has been created by “net metering” programs in Vermont? That would be a credible effort at equity, rather than idiotic claims about migrant workers — let Kiah go work with some white farmers for a few weeks this winter, while they LOSE money daily. Kiah Morris merely creates division and hate, while tooting her fake “We must all honor each other in these spaces” baloney. She is an opportunist, and reflects what a joke the Climate Council really is.

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