Indigenous Grandmothers, Protectors & Defenders Rally and Take Action at the Gates of Shell Oil Refinery in Martinez, CA

Indigenous Grandmothers, Protectors & Defenders Rally and Take Action at the Gates of Shell Oil Refinery in Martinez, CA

via Diablo Rising Tide

shell noMartinez, CA:  Early this morning, more than six people have occupied the main entrance to the Shell Oil refinery on Pacheco Boulevard  in Martinez, CA today to protect and defend the land, air, water and soil from pollutants and to protest the company’s environmental and human rights record. Gathering with several dozen other community members, the group intentionally walked onto Shell’s property with the intention of stopping entry into the refinery.

Today’s action at Shell is in response to the Indigenous Women of the Americas Defending Mother Earth Treaty’s call to non-violently rise up and challenge destructive practices corporate harms to the environment on each Solstice and Equinox. The group’s call is to act to ensure healthy air, water, soil, seeds and a safe climate so that life may continue.

“Humanity can live without fossil fuels.  We cannot live without clean air and water.  The oil industry is poisoning the air, water and climate that is necessary for life to exist.  State regulators have let us all down by irresponsibly allowing the oil industry to pollute the natural systems that were to be set aside for human existence.  We’re here today as grandmothers, mothers, aunts and allies to rise up for the future of life on Mother Earth,” said Pennie Opal Plant of Idle No More SF Bay, “Our actions are prayers for the future of life, for the safety of the refinery workers, and for the corporate directors to remember their place within the system of life.”

Citing concerns around a recent Shell pipeline spill in Northern California and the ever-deteriorating air quality of the Bay Area due to the “Refinery Corridor,” which the Martinez refinery is a part of, and ongoing concerns around the global climate, the group called for Indigenous women and their allies to join them in drawing the line to prevent more harms from destroying the environment that life needs to exist.

In late May, hazardous materials crews were sent to clean up as many as 21,000 gallons of oil after a Shell pipeline rupture in Tracy California. According to a 2012 study from Bay Area Air Quality Management District (BAAQMD) on particulate matter, called Understanding Particulate Matter: Protecting Public Health in the San Francisco Bay Area 1, the Shell and Tesoro refineries in Martinez, CA produce the most hazardous air pollutants (hap) per barrel of oil in the Bay Area refinery corridor. Shell’s Arctic drilling operations have been the subject of much environmental opposition in the Northwest over the past year. Finally, Shell has a long international record of human rights and environmental crimes from Nigeria to Ireland.

Protesters at today’s action said that Shell’s continued operations endanger communities, ecosystems and the climate locally in the Bay Area, regionally up and down the West Coast and abroad.

“I live in constant fear for the health and safety of my community,” said Adrian Wilson, who grew up in Contra Costa County and is taking action today at the gates of Shell. “It’s unfair for us to be exposed to this toxic air pollution. Like every good resident I just want to protect and provide for our safety.”

Groups organizing today’s event include Signers of the Indigenous Women of the Americas Defending Mother Earth Treaty, Idle No More SF Bay and Diablo Rising Tide.

  1. BAAQMD. 2012. Summary of PM Report. Bay Area Air Quality Management District. Accessed 6/15/16.

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Idle No More SF Bay Area is a group of Native Americans and our allies rising up for the rights of Indigenous People, Mother Earth and the coming generations. You can learn more at https://www.facebook.com/INMSolidaritySF

The Indigenous Women of the Americas Defending Mother Earth Treaty is an historic treaty signed for the first time during UN Climate Week, September 2015.  There are over 100 signers of this treaty from North, Central and South America.

Diablo Rising Tide is the Bay Area chapter of Rising Tide North America network. Rising Tide is an all-volunteer climate network in Canada, the U.S., and Mexico who confront the root causes of climate change with protests, direct action, and grassroots organizing.The larger Rising Tide network spans four continents and works with activists in North and South America, Europe, and Australia.  You can learn more at www.diablorisingtide.org

Climate Resistance Escalates Against the Fossil Fuel Empire

resistDear Movement,

Escalation begins now.

Last December at the climate talks in Paris, over 200 nations agreed upon a weak and ineffective plan to address climate change. Governments stripped away language addressing the rights of indigenous peoples to their land. They removed reparations for the Global South. And, worse yet, the agreement emerged lacking real mechanisms to halt runaway climate chaos. All with the high praise of U.S. liberal politicians and large environmental organizations.

This week, Shell Oil reported it was responsible for another devastating 90,000 gallon oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico. Pipelines and export terminal projects continue to move forward despite green climate friendly rhetoric from our elected leaders. Coal mines and coal plants continue to operate in many parts of the world. Indigenous and frontline communities continue to carry the burden of climate change from the Alberta tar sands to the rainforests of Indonesia.

Globally, environmental and social justice movements have reacted with escalations against the fossil fuel sector, the banks that fund them and the politicians that love them. In every part of the world, a climate resistance has taken action to stop the industry and the dire impacts it has on communities and eco-systems.

For the past week, the escalation has come at the fossil fuel empire with people powered action. In Philadelphia, climate justice activists joined with a local community fighting a new oil refinery. In Sacramento, CA, farm workers from the ground zero for California’s fracking industry, Kern County, sat in at Gov. Jerry Brown’s office.

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Photo via Trip Jennings

Today, from the seaways and railways of Washington state to the streets of Los Angeles to the frack-filled landscape of Colorado to the Port of Albany, NY to Kinder Morgan’s tar sands terminal in Burnaby BC, mass direct action is spreading across the continent targeting Big Oil, Big Gas and Big Coal.

Tomorrow more action will happen in the Midwest, Washington D.C. and beyond It is critical that we continue to escalate.

Please help by spreading the word by clicking SHARE on this page.

Thanks for all you do.

In struggle and solidarity, Rising Tide North America

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

thornton

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.