Take Non-Violent Direct Action for Climate Justice!; New York City, September 17-24, 2014

Take Non-Violent Direct Action for Climate Justice!

New York City | September 17-24, 2014

International Week of Solidarity with Frontline Communities Around the World

solstice_600On September 23rd, political and corporate leaders are meeting at the United Nations in New York City for the Climate Summit 2014. This summit represents yet another step towards the corporate takeover of the UN climate negotiations, and the privatization of land, water and air resources under the guise of a global climate compact.

Meanwhile, as communities on the frontlines of climate change, we are the ones cultivating real, place-based solutions to address the global ecological crises. Indigenous peoples’ communities, communities of color and working-class white communities that are the first and most impacted by the storms, floods and droughts, are organizing to create millions of family-supporting jobs in clean energy, public transportation, zero waste, food sovereignty, community housing and ecosystem restoration.

We are organizing to stop pollution and poverty at the source, confronting the extreme energy corporations causing the climate crisis. As we write, our friends and comrades around the world are putting their bodies on the line to stop the corporations responsible – mining corporations; oil, coal and gas companies; pipelines and refineries; biofuels plantations; nuclear power plants; waste and biomass incinerators, and a myriad other industries profiteering from the destruction of our communities, our cultures and our ecosystems.

From Mesa to Mountaintop, from Hood to Holler – join us as we meet the scale and urgency of the crisis by standing in solidarity with all frontlines of resistance and resilience around the world, and taking non-violent direct action against the corporations driving the extractive economy.

We call on our allies to:

  • Join us in the streets of NYC for a week of creative non-violent actions for Climate Justice
  • Organize a delegation to join the Peoples March & People’s Climate Justice Summit in NYC
  • Organize a creative action in your home community that highlights local solutions to climate change
  • Spread this /call to action/ amongst your respective networks and social media outlets

Our demands of local, national and international decision-makers are simple:

Support us in building Just Transition pathways away from the “dig, burn, dump” economy, and towards “local, living economies” where communities and workers are in charge!

Join us in solidarity – in the streets of New York City, in your own community, and around the world!

Alliance for Appalachia • ACE for Environmental Justice • Asian Pacific Environmental Network • Black Mesa Water Coalition • Catskills Mountainkeeper • Center for Earth, Energy and Democracy • Center for Story-based Strategy • Communities for a Better Environment • Community to Community Development • Cornell Global Labor Institute • East Michigan Environmental Action Council • Energy Justice Network • Environmental Justice and Climate Change Initiative • Global Alliance for Incinerator Alternatives • Global Justice Ecology Project • Grassroots Global Justice Alliance • Grassroots International • Indigenous Environmental Network • Institute for Policy Studies • Ironbound Community Corporation • Jobs With Justice • Just Transition Alliance • Kentuckians for the Commonwealth • Labor Community Strategy Center • Labor Network for Sustainability • Little Village Environmental Justice Organization • Missourians Organizing for Reform and Empowerment • Movement Generation • Movement Strategy Center • NAACP Climate Justice Initiative • New York City EJ Alliance • People Organizing to Demand Environmental and Economic Rights (PODER) • POWER • Right to the City Alliance • Rising Tide North America • Ruckus Society • Southwest Organizing Project • Southwest Workers Union • UPROSE

Stay tuned for more information on action plans being developed in the coming weeks.

For more information, and to share your local action plans with us, contact sharon@ruckus.org or nyc@risingtidenorthamerica.org, or go to www.ourpowercampaign.org

Eight Jailed After Alpha HQ Blockade and Banner Hang

lockCross-posted from the RAMPS Campaign

Update: Five of the eight have been bailed out.  The remaining three are expected to have bail hearings on Wednesday or Thursday. Read all updates here.

June 23, 2014. Bristol, VA All of our friends arrested in the Alpha headquarters action were arraigned in front of a judge this morning after spending the weekend in Jail. While none of them can be released from jail until their bail is set, only some of them will get bail hearings this afternoon. If enough donations are made to the legal defense fund, we may be able to get some of them out of jail today or tomorrow!  While it’s looking like half or more of our friends won’t be able to get a hearing today, we hope to raise money in the interim so that we’re able to make bail as soon as it is set.

Over the past decade, the Mountain Justice Legal Defense Fund has made it possible for countless people to risk arrest in actions and for our movement to bail those arrested out when they needed it. Donations to the legal defense fund are usually used not just once, but again and again as court cases are resolved and those funds return. In other words, one donation can help action after action over the years. Right now, our fund is critically low because many activists are still out on bail for other Mountain Justice actions that have happened this year.

If you can, please donate to the legal fund to make it possible to bail out the 8 people in jail now and to support our ongoing work.

Our friends who were arrested near Alpha’s headquarters thought a lot about the issue before taking action. Here are the statements that they made about why they are organizing against Alpha Natural Resources:

Galen pic for website

 

Galen

“I’m participating in this action in solidarity with my friends in Appalachia whose daily lives are affected by Alpha Natural Resources’ operations. I’m also doing this to send a message to Alpha that they cannot continue the wholesale destruction of mountain communities.”

Maleny
maleny for website

 

“Those who got arrested in this action, who were protesting against the unethical practices of Alpha Natural Resources, aren’t the true criminals. The true criminals are those who are ordering the destruction of these beautiful mountains, symbols of history, culture, and community.”

Camilo for website

Camilo

“Extreme extraction is very close to my family’s story, and the destruction of mountains is near to my heart. My father’s hometown in Peru is right next to the largest gold mine in the world, Yanacocha. As long as I can remember, I’ve had family who worked in the mine – and against it. My grandfather taught me that according to his indigenous beliefs, each mountain has an Apu – its own spirit. I’m here today in solidarity with the people of Appalachia, to demand an end to Alpha’s mountaintop removal mining. I’m standing up for the mountains and all of the life that depends on them.”

Dakota
Dakota for website

 

“How can we live in a society where corporations like Alpha are allowed to strip the land, blow up mountains, pollute the water and the air we breathe? People are sick and dying because of mountaintop removal, and it’s time we held corporations accountable.”

roger

Roger

“I oppose MTR because it harms life.  I risked arrest alongside friends practically guaranteed for it because of what has left the sphere of risk and entered into reality and living history for Appalachian communities, working and incarcerated people, and the mountains that sustain them.  I will not negotiate on the right to clean water and decent livelihood for everyone.  Instead I will act to ensure it.”

BREAKING: Rising Tide Vermont, Addison County Residents, Stage Sit-In at Public Service Board Demanding a Halt to Pipeline Construction

RT VT 34Montpelier, VT – Landowners and climate activists opposed to the Vermont Fracked Gas pipeline staged a sit-in today at the Department of Public Service, calling on the agency and the Public Service Board to suspend pipeline construction until they address possible widespread hazardous soil and water contamination along the proposed pipeline route.

“We’re here to let the Department and the Board know that without adequate intervention, pipeline construction threatens to disturb soils contaminated with hazardous chemicals,” said Jonathan Shapiro, of Rising Tide Vermont.

The demonstrators, including several Monkton landowners who live along the proposed pipeline route, are concerned that pipeline construction along the VELCO corridor could expose more people and water to contaminated soils.

Dangerous levels of Pentachlorophenol (PCP), a wood preservative used to treat utility poles, showed up in a Monkton resident’s drinking water last month. [1] The contamination was caused by VELCO maintenance work in preparation for the proposed fracked gas pipeline.

PCP is classified as a probable human carcinogen. [2] Short-term exposure can cause ear, eye and respiratory irritation, and lead to liver and kidney complications.  A bill to regulate treated utility poles was introduced in the Vermont legislature in 2012, due to previous cases of PCP contamination in the state. [3]

Over twenty-five Monkton residents also plan to file a motion with the Board today, requesting that they investigate the issue of contamination. Monkton resident Selena Peyser submitted a similar request to the Board on May 7. The Board has not responded to this request at all.

“I’m deeply concerned that pipeline construction could expose toxic soil, and the state agencies charged with protecting the public from this sort of thing are sweeping our concerns under the rug,” said Maren Vasatka, a Monkton homeowner. Vasatka is currently embroiled in a battle with Vermont Gas over an easement to run the pipeline through her property, along the VELCO corridor.

Over 20 miles of the pipeline route runs alongside the VELCO corridor in Chittenden and Addison counties. The recent contamination incident in Monkton raises concerns about contamination along the rest of the corridor.

“I can’t imagine why the Public Service Board, Department of Public Service and Vermont Gas would want to risk poisoning water instead of taking time to perform adequate testing,” Vasatka said.

The demonstrators, who planned to maintain the sit-in until the Board or the Department of Public Service agreed to pursue the matter, drew connections to larger issues of soil and water contamination caused by fracking.

“From the frackfields of Alberta to the farmland of Addison County, fracking infrastructure is threatening our land, water and our health,” Shapiro said.

Rising Tide urged supporters to attend the upcoming public hearing on Phase 2 of the pipeline this Thursday, June 12, at 7 pm at Middlebury High School.

[1] Tainted water leads to Addison County concern. http://www.mychamplainvalley.com/story/d/story/tainted-water-leads-to-addison-county-concern/15072/GBXJ8B5ir0-vrcu2GrSZKg

[2] US EPA. Registration Eligibility Decision for Pentachlorophenol. http://www.epa.gov/oppsrrd1/REDs/pentachlorophenol_red.pdf

[3] Vermont Department of Health (2009). Pentachlorophenol contamination of private drinking water from treated utility poles

Eleven Arrested At Peabody Coal’s Annual Shareholder Meeting


peabody AGM11 Activists Arrested At Peabody Coal’s Annual Shareholder Meeting in Clayton

Community members from St. Louis, Black Mesa, and Rocky Branch Unite to Hold Peabody Accountable for Destroying Communities  

ST. LOUIS–Today, for the second time in less than a week, activists were arrested at a Peabody Coal demonstration. 75 people rallied at Peabody’s annual shareholder meeting at the Ritz Carlton in Clayton. Members of the local Take Back St. Louis campaign were joined by Dineh (Navajo) Peabody resisters from Black Mesa and residents from Rocky Branch, Illinois who are currently fighting Peabody’s mine expansion there.

Representatives from Take Back St. Louis, Justice for Rocky Branch, and Tonizhoni Ani had bought shares of Peabody in order to attend the shareholder meeting and voice their concerns to CEO Greg Boyce, but were not allowed into the main meeting room with Peabody executives. When they were placed in an “overflow room,” they walked out of the meeting. The entire rally then marched to the entrance of the Ritz Carlton to deliver a letter outlining the group’s demands to Greg Boyce. Eight people were arrested while trying to enter the Ritz Carlton to deliver the letter. Two other people were arrested attempting to enter the shareholder meeting from the overflow room.

Today’s protest comes less than a week after Wash U Students Against Peabody’s 17 day sit-in ended when seven students were arrested trying to enter their Board of Trustees meeting to encourage Peabody CEO Greg Boyce to resign from the University’s Board of Trustees.

“I am here today to continue to spread the message that the Wash U Students Against Peabody started spreading with their actions over the past weeks,“ said Marshall Johnson, Black Mesa Resident and member of Tonizhoni Ani. “We need to stand up to Peabody on Black Mesa and here in St. Louis so our children and grandchildren and all future generations can have clean water and clean air. I am grateful to Wash U students for standing up for a respectful future for us all.”

Recently, Peabody has been engaging in unprecedented attempts to undermine St. Louis’ local democracy. In late March, Peabody sued to keep the citizen-driven Take Back St. Louis initiative off the ballot and away from voters. The ballot initiative would stop the city’s policy of giving Peabody and other big corporations large tax breaks. Now, in the past few days, Peabody’s lobbyists and Mayor Slay’s lobbyists have inserted amendments into Missouri Senate Bill 672 that would ban the city of St. Louis from “by ballot measure impos[ing] any restriction on any public financial incentive authorized by statute.” The amendment is a blow to local control, stripping the city of the ability to determine its own tax regulation.

“The ballot initiative process exists so that we as city residents can bring our concerns to our government and other city residents. Peabody Coal and Mayor Slay are blatantly attempting to subvert our local democratic process,” said Joretta Wilson, member of the Take Back St. Louis campaign. “We collected 22,000 signatures to put the Take Back St. Louis ballot initiative on the ballot, and now Peabody and Slay’s lobbyists are trying to make the initiative illegal before St. Louis residents even get a chance to vote on the initiative.”

Today’s demonstration united the local Take Back St. Louis campaign with communities fighting Peabody across the nation, including Dineh (Navajo) resistors from Big Mountain/Black Mesa in Arizona, and the Justice for Rocky Branch campaign in Southern Illinois. For decades, these communities have experienced Peabody using its financial power to influence democracy and ensure continued profits without concern for human lives, homes, and futures.

“I am here today to ask Mr. Boyce why our homes and our land are being destroyed for Peabody’s bottom line, “ said Judy Kellen, one of the Rocky Branch residents who tried to enter today’s shareholder meeting.  “Peabody is making profits at the expense of our future and the health of future generations.”

This year marks the 40th year of Indigenous resistance by the Diné (Navajo) communities of Big Mountain and Black Mesa, Arizona to forced relocation from ancestral homelands due to Peabody Coal’s massive strip mining. The effects of the relocation meet all the criteria of the UN’s internationally recognized definition of cultural genocide. Diné (Navajo) resistors on Black Mesa are planning a one-week training camp starting May 16th to demand “not one more relocation” of Indigenous people by Peabody. Members of the Take Back St. Louis campaign will be traveling to Black Mesa for the camp, continuing the increased unity amongst groups fighting Peabody across the country.

More information on Take Back St. Louis is available here: www.TakeBackStLouis.com

More information on the Big Mountain Training Camp is available here: Big Mountain Spring Training Camp

Photos are attached. Video available upon request.

Activists are available for interviews all day.

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