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

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 of Solidarity With The Delta Five

San Francisco, CA– Rising Tide North America released this statement in response to the conclusion of the trial for the five climate activists charged for blockading an oil train in 2014 in Everett, WA:RisingTideSeaSept

“Rising Tide North America stands in solidarity with our friends and allies Abby Brockway, Patrick Mazza, Michael Lapointe, Jackie Minchew, and Liz Spoerri, ( the Delta Five), who had a decision rendered today by a Washington court on two counts. The Delta Five successfully blockaded a mile long oil train in the BNSF Delta railyard in Everett,WA for over eight hours in September, 2014.

“The first count of trespass, they were found “guilty.” On the second count of obstructing an oil train, they were found “not guilty.” The “necessity defense” which had been the cornerstone of their defense was thrown out by Judge Anthony Howard at the end of the trial when the judge instructed the jury to not consider whether the Delta Five acted out of necessity to stop climate change.

“We applaud their courageous action and for building a strong community response to the catastrophic climate change being perpetuated by Big Oil’s doomsday economy.

“The Delta Five’s action threatened Big Oil millions of dollars in lost profit.  One BNSF Railroad official said “One train can be millions in revenue. “When you have a backup on a system, this impacts yard activity, the ports are impacted from ships, then you have passenger and commuter (traffic) in the corridor. It’s a time-sensitive, very busy terminal area. We can’t tolerate it. They can voice their opinion, but we don’t want them on our property. We’re trying to conduct our business.” Corporations and the government don’t want a climate movement willing to take such risks to stop such abhorrent destruction costing them untold profits.

“Our democracy is broken. Our voices are not heard. Corporations own politicians in Washington D.C. and state capitols across the country making it impossible for ordinary people to have a voice on crucial issues such as global warming. Large environmental groups are also compromised as they pander to politicians and seek funding from corporate donors.  The Delta Five’s action is an example of a powerful and courageous direct action that is needed in our society.

“As we watch social justice and environmental uprisings across North America from ongoing fights against oil and gas infrastructure in places like Utah and Rhode Island to Black Lives Matter actions across the United States to the Indigenous resistance happening in response to fossil fuel infrastructure in Ontario and British Colombia, the actions and words of ordinary people are beginning to be heard more and more. The trial of the Delta Five only further pierces the veil our elected and corporate leaders have over the general public. The power in the Delta Five’s direct action and their willingness to go to trial, and possibly jail, to advance the climate movement gives us hope.

“Our fight is only beginning.”

Thanks for all your support.
Donate to the Delta 5 at www.Delta5.org

RTNA Analysis: The Climate Movement’s Pipeline Preoccupation

Originally posted in Earth Island Journal

The Climate Movement’s Pipeline Preoccupation

Yes, Keystone XL is horrible – but so are plenty of other fossil fuel infrastructure plans

By Arielle Klagsbrun, David Osborn, Kirby Spangler and Maryam Adrangi

Architecturally, a keystone is the wedge-shaped piece at the crown of an arch that locks the other pieces in place. Without the keystone, the building blocks of an archway will tumble and fall, with no support system for the weight of the arch. Much of the United States climate movement right now is structured like an archway, with all of its blocks resting on a keystone – President Obama’s decision on the Keystone XL pipeline.

This is a dangerous place to be. Once Barack Obama makes his decision on the pipeline, be it approval or rejection, the keystone will disappear. Without this piece, we could see the weight of the arch tumble down, potentially losing throngs of newly inspired climate activists. As members of Rising Tide North America, a continental network of grassroots groups taking direct action and finding community-based solutions to the root causes of the climate crisis, we believe that to build the climate justice movement we need, we can have no keystone – no singular solution, campaign, project, or decision maker.

The Keystone XL fight was constructed around picking one proposed project to focus on with a clear elected decider, who had campaigned on addressing climate change. The strategy of DC-focused green groups has been to pressure President Obama to say “no” to Keystone by raising as many controversies as possible about the pipeline and by bringing increased scrutiny to Keystone XL through arrestable demonstrations. Similarly, in Canada, the fight over Enbridge’s Northern Gateway tar sands pipeline has unfolded in much the same way, with green groups appealing to politicians to reject Northern Gateway.

However, the mainstream Keystone XL and Northern Gateway campaigns operate on a flawed assumption that the climate movement can compel our elected leaders to respond to the climate crisis with nothing more than an effective communications strategy. Mainstream political parties in both the US and Canada are tied to and dependent on the fossil fuel industry and corporate capitalism. As seen in similar campaigns in 2009 to pass a climate bill in the United States and to ratify an international climate treaty in Copenhagen, the system is rigged against us. Putting Obama and Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper at the keystone of the archway creates a flawed narrative that if we, as grassroots groups, work hard enough to stack the building blocks correctly to support them, then elected officials will do what we want. Social change happens when local communities lead, and only then will politicians follow. While we must name and acknowledge power holders like Obama, our movement must empower local communities to make decisions and take action on the causes of the climate crisis in their backyards.

Because of the assumption that the climate movement can trust even “sympathetic” politicians like Obama, these campaigns rely on lifting up one project above all else. Certain language used has made it seem like Keystone XL is an extreme project, with unusual fraud and other injustices associated with it. Indeed the Keystone XL project is extreme and unjust, as is every fossil fuel project and every piece of the extraction economy. While, for example, the conflict of interests between the State Department, TransCanada and Environmental Resources Management in the United States, and Enbridge and federal politicians in Canada, must be publicized, it should be clear that this government/industry relationship is the norm, not the exception.

The “game over for climate” narrative is also problematic.  With both the Keystone and Northern Gateway campaigns, it automatically sets up a hierarchy of projects and extractive types that will inevitably pit communities against each other. Our movement can never question if Keystone XL is worse than Flanagan South (an Enbridge pipeline running from Illinois to Oklahoma), or whether tar sands, fracking or mountaintop removal coal mining is worse. We must reject all these forms of extreme energy for their effects on the climate and the injustices they bring to the people at every stage of the extraction process. Our work must be broad so as to connect fights across the continent into a movement that truly addresses the root causes of social, economic, and climate injustice. We must call for what we really need – the end to all new fossil fuel infrastructure and extraction. The pipeline placed yesterday in British Columbia, the most recent drag lines added in Wyoming, and the fracking wells built in Pennsylvania need to be the last ones ever built. And we should say that.

This narrative has additionally set up a make-or-break attitude about these pipeline fights that risks that the movement will contract and lose people regardless of the decision on them. The Keystone XL and Northern Gateway fights have engaged hundreds of thousands of people, with many embracing direct action and civil disobedience tactics for the first time. This escalation and level of engagement is inspiring. But the absolutist “game over” language chances to lose many of them. If Obama approves the Keystone XL pipeline, what’s to stop many from thinking that this is in fact “game over” for the climate? And if Obama rejects Keystone XL, what’s to stop many from thinking that the climate crisis is therefore solved? We need those using the “game over” rhetoric to lay out the climate crisis’ root causes – because just as one project is not the end of humanity, stopping one project will not stop runaway climate change.

The fights over Keystone XL and Northern Gateway have been undoubtedly inspiring. We are seeing the beginnings of the escalation necessary to end extreme energy extraction, stave off the worst effects of the climate crisis, and make a just transition to equitable societies. Grassroots groups engaging in and training for direct action such as the Tar Sands Blockade, Great Plains Tar Sands Resistance, the Unist’ot’en Camp, and Moccasins on the Ground have shown us how direct action can empower local communities and push establishment green groups to embrace bolder tactics. Our movement is indeed growing, and people are willing to put their bodies on the line; an April poll by the Yale Project on Climate Change Communication found one in eight Americans would engage in civil disobedience around global warming.

However, before the Keystone XL and Northern Gateway mainstream campaigns come to an end, we all must recognize the dangers of having an archway approach to movement building. It is the danger of relying on political power-holders, cutting too narrow campaigns, excluding a systemic analysis of root causes, and, ultimately, failing to create a broad-based movement. We must begin to discuss and develop our steps on how we should shift our strategy, realign priorities, escalate direct action, support local groups and campaigns, and keep as many new activists involved as possible.

We are up against the world’s largest corporations, who are attempting to extract, transport and burn fossil fuels at an unprecedented rate, all as the climate crisis spins out of control. The climate justice movement should have no keystone because we must match them everywhere they are – and they are everywhere. To match them, we need a movement of communities all across the continent and the world taking direct action to stop the extraction industry, finding community-based solutions, and addressing the root causes of the climate crisis.

Arielle Klagsbrun is an organizer with Missourians Organizing for Reform and Empowerment and Rising Tide North America, and is a 2013 Brower Youth Award winner. David Osborn is climate organizer with Portland Rising Tide and Rising Tide North America. He is also a faculty member at Portland State University. Maryam Adrangi is a campaigner with the Council of Canadians and an organizer with Rising Tide Vancouver, Coast Salish Territories. Kirby Spangler works with the Castle Mountain Coalition and Alaska Rising Ride.