Colorado Rising Tide: Mountain Strong in the Face of Climate Crisis & Injustice

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Hundreds rally on a frack well site in Weld County, CO.

Colorado Rising Tide: Mountain Strong in the Face of Climate Crisis & Injustice

When the “once-a-millennium” flood that hit Colorado in 2013 subsided, it took lives and wreaked devastation for weeks on our communities. The secondary destruction was heaviest around Castle Rock and Pueblo, the two cities in the state with the largest numbers of non-white communities.  We as a community cared for the wealthy, white communities like Estes Park and Lyons where the devastation was the most costly, but didn’t at all consider what it means to be downstream in a non-white community.  There was, and still, no urgency towards the needs of communities of color when climate disruption events occur, and that’s only one part of the oppressive nature of climate change.

Beyond floods, Coloradans experience unparalleled wildfires, drought and more. The communities that face hardship most often aren’t the stories we read about in the news. Pine beetle impacts on pine forests are an important story about climate change–but so is the tragedy of people who are forced to drink water contaminated by fracking byproducts, like those who were left out in the cold when the downstream flood waste from 1,300 fracking wells impacted their water supplies in 2013. We need to take a hard look at what we are fighting for and who we are leaving behind. Here and abroad, we as a global society have failed large swaths of Black, Brown and Indigenous community members and continue to by not considering and addressing the direct and acute impacts of climate disruption experienced “first and worst” by these communities.

In Paris at the COP21 this past December, governments slowly and methodically stripped away language addressing imperative issues such as the rights of indigenous peoples to their land. And, worse yet, an agreement emerged bereft of it enforceable, legally binding language or accountability measures.  A similar scenario is occurring in Colorado right now with, for instance, the Supreme Court overruling people’s rights to regulate fracking within their communities. The oil and gas extraction industry are running amok in our governments and the gardens of our homes with impunity.

One of the Colorado climate movement’s central failures is that we have not addressed what strength looks like when fighting an onslaught of fossil fuel extraction activities that threaten lives. We haven’t made the connection here that when we declare ourselves as Strong (Colorado Strong, and so on) after a catastrophic climate disruption, we are in fact declaring ourselves as resilient to climate change. But, are we doing the work that makes us resilient? Are we building that resilience among the most vulnerable around us? Are we sharing resources and fostering a culture of diversity? And are we comprehending the notion that diversity is not simply a function of numbers, but also that of equally and mutually distributed power?

Mountain Strong individuals are on the front lines fighting fossil fuel extraction proactively and unequivocally. This fight is necessary because the lack of accountability for the harm the industry’s mess leaves behind is worth fighting for; we, especially communities of color, including Indigenous communities, are struggling for our lives and the right to maintain legacies that existed long before “nations” like the United States even existed. This fight steers us towards getting ourselves into a place like Germany where recently wind power created so much that they had to pay residents to power their homes and not the other way around. Being Mountain Strong means being focused on genuine, effective action and solutions to climate crises that arise and that starts with Colorado leading and keeping fossil fuels in the ground. And being Mountain Strong also means leading by listening, especially to the people, communities, and struggles that have existed and persevered long before the first environmental non-profit was pondered.

We have what it takes to stop the worst impacts of the climate crisis in our state, to protect Colorado homes and communities–particularly communities of color, and to be a national leader in solutions and innovation. We can meet this challenge. We can be Mountain Strong in a way that is inclusive, affable and fierce simultaneously. But for this to occur in a way that is efficacious we must allow for more seats at the table, and we must accept and burn into our collective consciousness that as long as the most vulnerable communities, people of color, especially women, rightfully believe that they are not only fighting the fossil fuel system but also the system that is supposed to be fighting that system, our movement will remain bifurcated, ineffective and a dream deferred.

Colorado Rising Tide is the Denver, CO chapter of Rising Tide North America. Rising Tide North America is an all-volunteer grassroots organizing in Canada, the U.S., and Mexico who confronts the root causes of climate change with protests and events. You can find out more about Colorado Rising Tide here.

LIVE BLOG: Climate Resistance Breaks Free from Fossil Fuels

For the past week, across the world people have been standing up to power of the fossil fuel industry.  Rising Tide North America will be sharing live updates from Break Free actions through the weekend.

May 15th,Whiting, IN [4:42pm CST]- Civil disobedience underway in Whiting at the gates of the BP refinery.

May 15th, Aliso Canyon, CA [1:30pm PST]- People blocking entrance into Porter Ranch.

May 15th, Whiting, IN [3:25 pm CST]- March approaching front gates of BP refinery.

May 15th, Aliso Canyon, CA, [1:11pm PST]- From Rising Tide SoCal: “Activists are converging now in the Porter Ranch, Aliso Canyon area. Authorities have not yet arrived. Rising Tide So Cal is there. We will do our best to bring you updates. Porter Ranch has been the invisible BP.”

 

May 15th, Anacortes, WA, [12:44pm PST]-Refinery entrance blockaded!

May 15th, Brazil [2:21pm GMT-2] – March in Brazil against fossil fuels.

May 15th,Whiting, IN [12:30pm CST]- Break Free Midwest on the move.

 

May 15th, Washington DC, [1:01 pm EST]- Rallying up at the White House.

May 15th, Anacortes, WA, [9:55am PST]- At least 52 arrested at train track blockade. Support their legal fund: bit.ly/legaldonate

May 15th, Whiting, IN, [9:48am CST]- Both sides prepare for today’s action in Whiting, IN.

May 15th, Proschim, Germany [4:19pm GMT +2]- Police kettling Endegelaende activists at Vattenfall coal mine. Shutdown of mine by thousands continues. 

May 15th, Anacortes, WA [6:09am PST]- Police raid Break Free PNW blockade encampment early this morning.

May 14th, Albany, NY [6:17pm EST]- Tents up on bomb train tracks awaiting police to move in. Police have ordered occupiers to vacate tracks. Response? “We’ll sleep on it and get back to you.”

May 14th, Los Angeles, CA [2:01pm PST]- Crowd gathering at city hall in LA.

May 14th, Thornton, CO [3:15pm MST]- Break Free Colorado blockades fracking wells and storage tanks in Weld County, CO.

 

May 14th, Burnaby, British Columbia [12:36am PST]- Break Free Canada shuts down the Kinder Morgan tar sands terminal by land and sea.

May 14th, Anacortes, WA [11:36am PST]- Hundreds prepare to march in the Pacific Northwest.

May 14th, Anacortes, WA [11:27 am PST]- Kayatktivists are heading off to blockade the Shell/Tesoro refinery by sea.

May 14th, Albany, NY [12:50pm EST]- No bomb trains in Albany today.

May 14th, Ecuador [12:27pm EST]- March on the refineria del Pacifico.

May 14th, Albany, NY [12:23pm EST]- Rail occupation begins as over a thousand swarm for health and safety at the Port of Albany.

May 14th, Albany, NY [12:20pm EST]- Follow two actions on live stream in Albany.

May 14th, Vancouver, BC [9:17 am PST]-  Crowd gathering in Vancouver to take action.

May 14th, Anacortes, WA [9:10 am PST]- Green Party presidential candidate Dr. Jill Stein to the join the Kayaktivist flotilla in the Pacific Northwest.

May 14th, Proschim, Germany [5:03 pm GMT +2]- Arrests happening at the Vattenfall coal mine.

May 14th, Thornton, CO [9:40 am MST]- Statement from Colorado Rising Tide: “Mountain Strong in the Face of Climate Crisis and Injustice.”

May 14th, Albany, NY [11:40am EST]- March on the bomb trains about to begin.

May 14th, Proschim, Germany [4:55 pm GMT +2]- Day 2 at the Vattenfall coal mine. Thousands gather and march to shut it down again.

May 14th, Albany, NY [10:27 am EST]- Crowd gathering to shut down the bomb trains.

May 14th, Thornton, CO [7:31 AM MST]- Hundreds have occupied frack well site in Weld County, CO. Bill McKibben, CO Rep Joe Salazar and Jonny 5 and the Flobots join the action. 

May 13th, Proschim, Germany- Video of protesters at a German coal mine run by Swedish power company Vattenfall — occupying the pit, giant excavators and a conveyor belt.

May 13th, Skagit Valley Free State, WA- Over 150 protesters are locked to rail tracks in Washington blocking all oil train traffic to largest overlooked point source of carbon pollution. Members of the group have set up tents!

May 13th, Proschim, Germany: 1500 people shut down Europe’s largest coal mine.

May 13th, Albany, NY- Kayak Flotilla and Banner Drop. Up next: Stopping the Bomb Trains.

May 12th, Lakewood, CO- A broad coalition of climate, environmental, Indigenous and social justice groups take action to shut down the Bureau of Land Management’s public lands auction in Lakewood Colorado. 300 march on the auction, over 100 occupy the lobby and 20 risk arrest by sitting in to disrupt the auction.

May 7th, Philadelphia, PA Activists blockade the Philadelphia Energy Solutions oil refinery in, southwest Philly at the Right to Breathe Mobilization.

 

 

 

Rising Tide North America Statement in Response to “Citizens for Local Governance” Smear Campaign in North Texas

DRC_FLIER_50098751Rising Tide North America Statement in Response to “Citizens for Local Governance” Smear Campaign in North Texas

In response to the recent smear campaign on members of Blackland Prairie Rising Tide by “Citizens for Local Governance,” Rising Tide North America issued the following statement:

Rising Tide North America stands in solidarity with our friends in Blackland Prairie Rising Tide and other like-minded individuals in Denton, TX.

A Political Action Committee (PAC) in Texas is targeting residents of Denton who have been organizing to unseat establishment, status-quo candidates in their local City Council elections next month. The PAC is trying to delegitimize all opposition to their crony candidates by falsely asserting that Blackland Prairie Rising Tide (BPRT) is behind it all.

BPRT is in no way involved with any electoral campaigning, though some of its members are being subjected to McCarthyistic attacks. The PAC is attempting to smear all Rising Tide organizing, silence legitimate dissent in Denton and stop the good work being done to end fracking in North Texas. These attacks have come in the form of a website full of inaccuracies about Rising Tide North America, Blackland Prairie Rising Tide and friends in Denton, and a postcard mailed to thousands of registered voters in Denton with similar information.

We condemn the efforts of the Citizens for Local Governance. The organization implies through its smear campaign that dissent and non-violent civil disobedience are wrong and deserve the scrutiny of federal authorities. Citizens for Local Governance includes conservative activists associated with the fossil fuel industry.

Citizens for Local Governance has a moneyed interest in stifling free speech and real liberty from the corporate state. Its members worship at the altar of money, power and status, and thus are directly threatened by Rising Tide North America. For that reason, we know we’re doing our work right when attacked by groups like this. Smear campaigns like this only embolden us in fighting for a just and stable climate.”

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Vermont Pipeline Opponents Scale Tree, Halt Land Clearing for Pipeline?

treevia Rising Tide Vermont

[UPDATE: Day 2 Press Release]

Monkton, Vt. – For the second time in less than a month, opponents of Vermont Gas Systems’ fracked gas pipeline have taken to the trees to prevent pipeline construction in Addison County. An individual is sitting in a platform thirty feet high, effectively stopping crews from clearing the pipeline route.

“As we’ve said before, this pipeline ends with us. We don’t see the state’s decision to support this polluting, expensive pipeline as a legitimate decision, and will continue to get in the way of construction as much as possible,” Addie Herbert of Rising Tide Vermont.

Vermonters from across the state have attempted to stop the pipeline for years, through testifying at public hearings, writing letters, appealing to elected officials and intervening in the controversial Public Service Board process. Many feel they are left with no recourse but to directly intervene in construction.

“The Public Service Board showed their true colors recently, when they proposed barring the public from pipeline hearings,” said Jane Palmer, who’s farm is less than half a mile from the tree sit. “It’s no surprise that people are putting their bodies on the line when the state is putting corporations above democracy.”

Vermont Gas Systems sources its gas from the Western Canada Shale Basin, one of the largest deposits of oil and gas in the world. If built, this pipeline will become a major emitter of greenhouse gas emissions over the coming decades. Opponents see the project as a direct link to the carbon and methane time bomb that scientists have warned

“We’re calling on all who are fighting to increase local control over energy projects in the state to join us in our effort to stop this undesirable pipeline,” Herbert said, in reference to recent legislation aimed at increasing town oversight in regards to renewable energy siting. “If we are to meet our energy needs in this state without wrecking the climate or landscapes of other communities, we need to end this system of unaccountable, corporate-owned energy and build a truly democratic energy system.”