Of Pipelines and Banks, Climate Uprisings in New York!

Nationally, the climate movement is organizing and growing quickly after years of treading water. The combination of the Green New Deal, the youth-led climate strikes, and radical demands for climate action from Extinction Rebellion to frontline communities across the world, has energized the movement to begin to meet the problem at the scale of what is needed.

And in the midst of it New York City’s climate movement is rising!

This week has been big. The long term campaign led by a robust local coalition, against the billion dollar Williams Pipeline scored a major victory as the State of New York rejected the company’s permit application (albeit temporarily). The projectfails to meet New York State’s rigorous water quality standards,” the department said.

The pipeline was planned to run 37 miles, connecting natural gas fields in Pennsylvania to New Jersey and New York. Its operator, the Oklahoma-based Williams Companies, pitched it as a crucial addition to the region’s energy infrastructure, one that would deliver enough fuel to satisfy New York’s booming energy needs and stave off a looming shortage.

And the battle is not over as the pipeline is still awaiting permits from the state of New Jersey.

Image via Erik McGregor.

Another NYC centered campaign slowly building steam has been targeting the largest funder of fossil fuels…. JPMorgan Chase (JPMC). For almost two years, campaigners with Rainforest Action Network, 350 Seattle, a host of Indigenous groups and others have been making life hell for Chase CEO Jaime Dimon, other top execs, board members and various Chase branches around the country.

In New York, organizers have focused on the company’s headquarters in midtown Manhattan with action after action. This week, climate activists erected and scaled a 24-ft tall steel tripod directly in front JPMorgan Chase bank’s headquarters, protesting their egregious funding of fossil fuels.

As one organizer said:

“we’re here to tell them we won’t put up with business as usual. While more species are going extinct, wildfires ravage the west, cities are lost to sea level rise and more water is polluted from spilled pipelines, we call on CEO Jamie Dimon of Chase Bank, the world’s biggest funder of fossil fuels, to stand on the right side of history.”

Currently, the global political establishment is being woken up to the climate crisis. New York is often seen as a center for media, finance, corporate power, national and global politics, etc, and as campaigns, local and globally heat up than New York becomes an increasingly natural place for climate uprisings.

Bay Area: Indigenous and Climate Activists Blockade #OilyWells Fargo HQ

Swarming the front of Oily Wells.

via Oily Wells

Today in San Francisco, a coalition of over 50 organizations, organized by 350 Silicon Valley, blockaded the global headquarters of Well Fargo.

The action culminated a 3-day 34-mile march at the front door of the banking giant’s global headquarters with an Indigenous grandmother’s led sit-in across the front doors and a simultaneously organized barrel blockade across San Francisco’s iconic California Street.

Below is 350 Silicon Valley’s press release and lots of reasons Wells Fargo needs to be put out of business:

SF Rally Targets “OilyWells” Fargo’s Funding of Big Oil

Alarmed by Climate Crisis, Hundreds Expected as Multi-Day March Ends

PALO ALTO, CA – At a mass rally in front of Wells Fargo Bank’s global headquarters at noon (PDT) today, demonstrators will call on Big Oil’s largest lender to halt its financing of fossil fuels and invest instead in clean energy solutions to the climate crisis

The rally aims to expose another aspect of the scandal-plagued bank’s unethical practices—its central role in the ever-expanding oil and gas industry—at a time when the U.N. has called for “rapid and far reaching” action within 12 years to avert environmental, social and economic catastrophe caused by ever-rising carbon emissions.

Idle No More SF Bay blocking the front doors to Wells Fargo world HQ.

The rally caps the historic 3-day March for Fossil Fuel Freedom (34 miles from Palo Alto to SF) with hundreds of marchers from more than 50 Bay Area grassroots organizations. Marchers paused at a series of “stagecoach stops” to hear talks by former Richmond Mayor Gayle McLaughlin, Redwood City Mayor Ian Bain, and other prominent environmental and labor activists; and to sing along with The Raging Grannies and Thrive Street Choir. The march and associated events are all part of a campaign, led by 350 Silicon Valley, to rename the nation’s fourth largest bank “Oily Wells.”

“Oily Wells has a dirty-energy secret, backing the biggest new projects and profiting handsomely from climate chaos” says Stew Plock, vice president of 350 Silicon Valley, lead organizer of the rally. “If they don’t quit, then consumers and investors should quit them.”

The bank is a leading lender to the fracking industry and on pipelines carrying Canadian tar sands, one of the most environmentally damaging sources of fuel (including the proposed Line 3 in Minnesota and Keystone XL in the Midwest). [EDITOR’S NOTE: For more on Wells Fargo’s dirty-energy funding, see the 10th annual Fossil Fuel Finance Report Card, led by Rainforest Action Network, embargoed until March 20.]

Barrel blockade.

“We urge Oily Wells to become the first major U.S. bank to avoid all fossil fuel infrastructure projects, as a few big European banks have already begun to do,” says Isabella Zizi, an organizer with Idle No More SF Bay. “If you cut off the flow of money, you can cut off the flow of oil. That’s why the divestment movement is so important.”

350 Silicon Valley’s partners include SEIU 1021 and 521, Sierra Club, Diablo Rising Tide, Idle No More SF Bay, Rainforest Action Network, Sunrise Movement, California Interfaith Power & Light, Sunflower Alliance, and Extinction Rebellion. They join hundreds of other groups in calling for divestment from fossil fuels, and a prohibition on oil and gas infrastructure.

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For complete details, visit https://oilywells.com/.

 

RSVP! Scaling Our Climate Resistance Tour: Strategies and Stories from the German Climate Justice Movement

We all know that policy doesn’t get people free. Social change happens when people lead. Not corporations, not politicians… actual people.

But, as climate justice activists and organizers, how do we mobilize the numbers needed to truly stop the fossil fuel industry, topple the systems that let it run amuck, and create truly decentralized and democratized energy systems??

RSVP HERE!!

To answer this question, we’re excited to announce that Rising Tide North America is going on a U.S. tour this February through April with radical climate justice group Ende Gelände to share stories from Germany’s wildly successful mass mobilizations.

  • WHAT: Join German activists from Ende Gelände on their US tour as they share stories from organizing successful mass climate justice mobilizations — including their 6,000 person direct action against enormous open-cast lignite coal mines
  • RSVP: Get tour updates by signing up here.
  • WHERE: Across the U.S.
  • WHEN: February to April (Specific dates are below and here)
  • ONLINE WEBINAR RSVP HERE

A strong and diverse radical climate justice movement — called Ende Gelände (“Here and No Further”) — has been growing in Germany.

Last fall, they organized 6,000 people to collectively block a coal mine. No small feat, right? Demonstrators invaded mining pits, danced in front of the diggers, slept on the railways, and provoked pictures that made the connection between climate chaos and capitalism and exposed the dirty truth behind the German energy transition “Energiewende”.

To be crystal clear, politicians and corporations will not solve the climate crisis.

To win, we need to build a mass grassroots movement that uses direct action to bring down the fossil fuel industry and demand a just transition to decentralized and democratized energy systems. We also need to abolish false solutions like carbon trading and green capitalism; confront far-right “populist” lies for what they are; build international solidarity; use local and municipal power-building strategies; and, take leadership for the first and worst hit by pollution and climate catastrophes.

If the momentum of the Green New Deal and Extinction Rebellion has shown us anything, it’s the importance of building power on the ground and supporting communities taking action to win a world that’s livable for everyone.

Donate to the tour so we can get around!

West Coast: February 21 – March 16

East Coast/Appalachia/Midwest: March 6 – April 2

RSVP link: https://actionnetwork.org/forms/scaling-up-the-resistance-tour-strategies-and-stories-from-the-german-climate-justice-movement?source=direct_link&

Oklahoma Glitter Environmental Activists Headed To Trial!

okvia Great Plains Tar Sands Resistance

Oklahoma Environmental Activists Headed To Trial

Contact: Stefan Warner
Phone: 405-283-6140
Email: gptsrmedia@gmail.com
Date: 6/27/2016

On December 13th, 2013, Moriah Stephenson and Stefan Warner were arrested while taking part in a non-violent peaceful protest. The two activists were taken into custody after hanging a glittery Hunger Games themed banner in the open-to- the public atrium of the Devon Energy Center. The activists were booked into the Oklahoma County Jail under the felony charge Terrorism Hoax, which carries up to 10 years in prison. The activists’ arrest gained international media attention due to the severity of the arresting charge. Documents obtained by journalists proved that the Joint Terrorism Task Force, TransCanada Corporation, and the Oklahoma City Police had met together prior to the construction of the Keystone XL pipeline to strategize ways to prosecute environmental activists as terrorists. The terrorism hoax charges have been dropped, but Stefan Warner and Moriah Stephenson will stand trial for misdemeanor disorderly conduct on June 30 th at 8 am in the Oklahoma City Courthouse. A charge which their lawyer argues is still a violation of free speech.

The glittery banner in question read, “The Odds Are Never in Our Favor.” The banner highlights the disproportionate ways in which oil and gas development occurs, granting power, wealth, and access to oil corporations while disenfranchising communities of color and low-income- rural communities. The reality that “The Odds Are Never in Our Favor” has become even more clear in recent years as the State’s budget deficit has resulted in funding cuts for public education and public needs programs while continuing to offer tax incentives to large oil corporations. Warner and Stephenson had no intention of causing panic or alarm, they simply were using free speech to highlight the similarities between The Hunger Games series and our everyday lives in Oklahoma: a small group of people profit off of the resources and labor of many, while exploiting marginalized communities. These activists wanted to highlight at least three primary injustices perpetrated by Devon Energy: 1) Devon Energy is
involved in extracting and transporting tar sands oil, the heavy and toxic crude that the Keystone XL pipeline carries from Canada to the Gulf of Mexico to be sold on the global market, 2) Devon Energy’s practice of tar sands extraction is environmental racism, most negatively impacting low-income, indigenous communities in Canada and across the U.S. such as the Lubicon Cree First Nation, Mikisew Cree First Nation and Athabasca Chipewyan First Nation 3) Devon Energy lobbies for and receives large tax incentives which have resulted in the disastrous budget deficit Oklahoma is currently facing.

In all of these ways the dominance of the oil and gas industry and the failure of the Oklahoma state government to
diversify the economy create a situation in which “The Odds Are Never in Our Favor.” These activists’ arrest highlights another way that “The Odds Are Never in Our Favor,” violation of free speech. The odds are not in our
favor when the oil and gas industry is protected when environmental catastrophe or economic crisis occurs, but
individual residents are persecuted for spilling glitter from a banner.

Stephenson and Warner invite community members to be present at their trial on June 30th at 8 AM.

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