Hooray for Scrappy Climate Action!

What a month!

Scrappy resistance to fossil fuels, its financiers and the politicians that love them has hit new levels with the goal of meeting the scale of the climate crisis with equal amounts of people powered momentum. As a result, climate and anti-fossil fuels action, both large and small, has spread globally.

The climate uprising centered around Extinction Rebellion has shaken the political establishment in London and iis spreading to other parts of the world. But we mustn’t forget that for decades, we’ve seen communities in countries like China and India rising up by the tens of thousands against mining and polluting power plants. And for more than a decade in North America, an Indigenous and frontline-led effort against coal, oil and gas have fought hard against mountaintop removal, coal mining, fracking and pipelines.

Now, today, a new report says that over 50% of new pipelines globally are being built in the U.S. and Canada. Report co-author Ted Nace said “This is a whole energy system not compatible with global climate survival. These pipelines are locking in huge emissions for 40 to 50 years at a time, with the scientists saying we have to move in 10 years. These pipelines are a bet that the world won’t get serious about climate change, allowing the incumbency of oil and gas to strengthen.” At the same time, a new phase of infrastructure fights with state governments passing anti-protest laws throughout the country. In North America, we’re in for a long struggle to counter climate change and extraction.

The past couple of weeks have seen scrappy action hit western governments, banks and carbon intensive industries most responsible for climate change again.

In the U.S.:

  • Anchorage, Alaska: Trouble-makers with Alaska Rising Tide dropped off a banner in protest of the government’s move to mine the state’s Pebble Mine.
  • Appalachia: In Virginia, the Yellow Finch tree-sit has stopped the Mountain Valley Pipeline (MVP) in its tracks for over 200 days.  An epic battle has lasted for over a year where scrappy action that has included multiple landowner-led tree-sits, monopods, equipment lockdowns, bird-dogs of corporate CEOs and politicians and an impressive grassroots organizing effort. The MVP has been delayed for at least a year and the campaign is far from over.
  • Austin, TXXR Austin occupied a JPMorgan Chase branch with three members super gluing themselves inside the branch.
  • “Bank on Climate” Day of Action—In 22 cities, Rainforest Action Network and 350 Seattle organized rowdy actions in 22 cities against top climate financiers JPMorgan Chase and Wells Fargo. From corporate office occupations in Boulder, San Francisco and Minneapolis to the shutdown of all 44 Chase branches in Seattle to a banner hang at Grand Central Station in New York to the bird-dogging of Chase CEO Jamie Dimon during a congressional hearing in Washington D.C. (and much much more), the funders of the climate crisis are receiving well deserved heat.
  • Eugene, OR—XR Eugene teamed up with Cascadia Forest Defenders to launch a tree-sit in in town to draw a connection between forest destruction and climate destruction.
  • Los Angeles—Two members of Extinction Rebellion Los Angeles super-glued themselves to the top of the NBC/Universal Studios globe demanding that NBC (a major media outlet) prioritize climate change as a daily news topic and reject fossil fuel commercials. Four members of the team were arrested and charged with felonies.

    Two climate activists super glued to the top of the Universal Studios globe in Los Angeles.

  • NYC— Climate activists with Extinction Rebellion NYC shut down traffic outside New York City Hall Wednesday, partially blocking access to the Brooklyn Bridge and staging a die-in to demand radical action on climate change.
  • Portland, OR— Eleven people were arrested after building a garden in the train tracks as a creative blockade against the Zenith export terminal.
  • Washington D.C.: And in the U.S. capital, two of our comrades with Beyond Extreme Energy occupied to top of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) building for six hours demanding a “Federal Renewable Energy Commission.”

Elsewhere:

  • London: In meeting the crisis at the scale that is needed, Extinction Rebellion UK occupied London for ten days. They’ve shut down traffic routes, disrupted the “Tube,” protested Heathrow Airport and targeted politicians and bankers. With over 1000 arrests, the Met Police found themselves with full jails and crowds of more willing participants.
  • Paris: More than 2,000 climate activists held a nonviolent blockade of France’s environment ministry just outside of Paris on Friday, calling out government complicity with fossil fuel companies and the banks that fund them. Climate activists are calling it one of the largest acts of civil disobedience in French history. The blockade also successfully targeted French oil giant Total; Société Générale, an investment bank that funds dirty energy projects; and a state-run electric utility that relies heavily on nuclear power.

    Climate activists sit in at French environmental ministry in Paris. Pic via Democracy Now!

  • Rotterdam: Today, over 40 climate activists occupied the Engie coalfired power station
  • The rest of world : In other cities around the world, Extinction Rebellion has disrupted business as usual in India, Germany, Spain, Denmark and more.

As Paul Street recently paraphrased radical historian Howard Zinn:

“Howard Zinn was right. It’s not just about who’s sitting in the White House or the Governor’s mansion or the Mayor’s office or the city council seat.  It’s also and above all about who’s sitting in the streets, who’s disrupting, who’s monkey-wrenching, whose idling capital, who’s occupying the pipeline construction sites, the highways, the workplaces, the town-halls, the financial districts, the corporate headquarters, and universities beneath and beyond the biennial and quadrennial candidate-centered big money big media major party electoral extravaganzas that are sold to us as “politics” – the only politics that matters. This is true about fighting racist police violence. It’s true about labor rights and decent wages.  It’s true about all that and more and it’s true about saving livable ecology.”

We’re up against some very bad players. The worst in the world. Maybe the worst in the history of the world. It’s time for serious organizing and hardscrabble actions.

See you in the streets.

Mountain Valley Pipeline: Yellow Finch Tree-sits Hit 213 Days!

Cross-posted from Appalachians Against Pipelines

The Yellow Finch tree sits have a new resident! Scott Ziemer, a 69-year-old grandfather from Virginia, has relieved one of the sitters and is occupying one of the tree sits to protect some of the last remaining trees in the path of the Mountain Valley Pipeline (MVP). This blockade outside of Elliston has been blocking the MVP for 213 days and counting.

Scott says: “I have decided to take action to address the urgent issue of climate change and encourage others to do so as well. By occupying a tree sit in the path of the Mountain Valley pipeline, I am adding my voice to those who are fighting to slow down and stop the burning of fossil fuels, which are the primary cause of climate change.

Scott’s home is close to the proposed Atlantic Coast Pipeline (ACP), which he has been fighting for many years. He is taking a stand with the communities of southwest Virginia as an act of solidarity with all those being harmed by MVP construction.

We’re so excited that Scott has joined us at the Yellow Finch sits, and that he is harnessing his privilege by putting his body on the line to continue blocking MVP construction. While many tree sitters must remain anonymous to protect themselves, Scott has chosen to use his name, voice and identity to draw attention to the fight against MVP. His action reminds us that we need a diversity of tactics, strategies and individuals to resist ALL pipelines and fight ALL fossil fuel extraction.

This time last year, a banner hanging from a monopod read “The Fire Is Catching”. Today, a banner hanging from Scott’s tree sit reads “No Prisons No Pipelines”. We must work across movements and struggles and support each other’s actions to fan the flames of resistance so that fire will continue to spread.

Donate to support continued resistance to the MVP: bit.ly/supportmvpresistance

Or, join us! Email appalachiansagainstpipelines@protonmail.com.

 

Coming to Appalachia! Scaling up the Resistance: Strategies and Stories from the German Climate Justice Movement!

Cross-posted from Appalachians Against Pipelines

Join members of the German direct action collective Ende Gelände on their US tour as they share stories and tactics with local groups about successful mass mobilizations for climate justice. Their group, whose name means “Here and No Further” is founded on principles of frontline struggles, mass mobilization, direct action, and cooperation across organizational and tactical differences.

They have managed to pull off mass actions of amazing scale: last fall, 6,000 people collectively blocked coal infrastructure together! Wearing their emblematic white overalls, demonstrators invaded mining pits, danced in front of the diggers, slept on the railways, and provoked pictures that have raised attention globally and made the connections between climate chaos and capitalism.

Come hear about the growing, diverse and radical climate justice movement in Germany, and hear ways we can link our resistance locally to this international uprising.

There are multiple events in Appalachia to choose from!

(See the whole tour line-up here.)

 

“We Have Stopped it for Another Year”: Mountain Valley Pipeline Tree-Sit Now Over 156 Days

Cross-posted from Appalachians Against Pipelines:

The following is a statement from one of the current tree-sitters in Virginia in the Appalachian region, who is part of an ongoing blockade which is fighting the construction of the Mountain Valley Pipeline. The current tree-sit is now celebrated over 5 months of direct resistance.

“Today marks 156 days since the beginning of the Yellow Finch tree sits, and a lot has changed since then.

The forest around us has undergone seasonal changes, the trees have shed their leaves, and animals have become dormant for the winter months. The tree sits have endured a hurricane, snowstorms, high winds, and below freezing temperatures.

But thanks to the tree sits, this hillside has been able to experience another winter, and another chance at rebirth come springtime. Thanks to the tree sits, there is currently one less forest degraded and destroyed for profit, one less forest ecosystem suffering from fragmented habitat and biodiversity loss. Thanks to the tree sits, there is still a thriving, functioning forest on the hillside above Yellow Finch Lane in Elliston, Va.

Mountain Valley Pipeline wants to cut through one of the last untouched forests in the eastern U.S., blasting through mountains, drilling under rivers, cutting across wetlands, and creating a vast, dark chasm through one of the world’s most beautiful places.

But through all of the combined efforts of direct actions and opposition to MVP, there is currently one less functioning pipeline in the world, one less profitable venture for fossil fuel companies.

This is what it takes. This is how we create a better world. Look at how far we have come in this struggle. We’ve stopped this pipeline for over a year!

To all of the young people who feel hopeless and scared and angry at the world they’re inheriting, I want you to see what we’ve accomplished. Small, dedicated groups of people have managed to do the impossible. This pipeline may not be dead yet, but we have stopped it for another year, and that’s something to celebrate.

In the face of potential impending extraction at the Yellow Finch tree sits, I urge you all to focus on all that we have accomplished so far. I am optimistic that one day we will see a future in which enough people say, ‘no more.’ No more pipelines, no more injustices. We are taking back our power.

As I sat in the courtroom behind Nutty two weeks ago and listened to the Forest Service lie under oath and try to minimize the role they played in aiding MVP last spring, a lot of memories came rushing back to me. I was reminded of the realization I had that there is no state agency left untouched by capitalism — even the agency tasked with protecting public lands is not on our side. Capitalism seeks to drain every last resource left on earth. As long as there is a profit to be made from our natural resources, there will be people willing to exploit them.

Let’s be reminded at this time of how much we owe to those who were willing to take the courageous first steps of nonviolent direct action almost a year ago. Nutty and the Peters Mountain tree sitter’s actions sparked more direct action against the pipeline – which in turn sparked even more.

Let’s continue to grow and learn and support one another in this struggle; let’s figure out what works by just trying things until we figure out what does. Most importantly, let’s share what we’ve learned with other people. The knowledge we share might be the most powerful tool we ever give, or could ever give, to other people. You never know what someone will do with it.

Much love and solidarity,
-Lauren”

Donate to support the tree sits & other resistance to the Mountain Valley Pipeline: bit.ly/supportmvpresistance