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.

Utah: Young people sit-in urging Utah Governor to oppose the BLM’s Oil and Gas Sale

Photo Credit: Brooke Larsen

Cross-posted from Wasatch Rising Tide and allies in Utah

Utah Youth Rise Against Oil and Gas Leasing

Young people urge Governor Herbert to oppose the BLM’s March Oil and Gas Sale

SALT LAKE CITY, Utah — On Monday, Utah youth delivered a letter with over 1,500 signatures to Governor Herbert’s office, urging him to request the deferral of all parcels in the Utah Bureau of Land Management’s March oil and gas lease sale. Over 50 community members joined young leaders as they held a sit-in, expressed fears for their future, and shared how the state’s poor air quality has impacted their health. The action comes ten days after over 500 young Utahns, and millions of teens around the world, went on strike for climate action.

Utah’s young climate organizers targeted Governor Herbert to keep him accountable to the resolution he signed last year that acknowledges the threats climate change poses to Utah.

“Governor Herbert has failed my generation,” said Mishka Banuri, a senior at West High. “By acknowledging climate change but not following through with substantive action to dramatically reduce carbon emissions, the Governor is knowingly sacrificing our future.”

photo credit: Carly Ferro

On March 25-26, the Utah BLM is auctioning 217,576 acres of public lands to the oil and gas industry — the largest lease sale since the Bush administration. The BLM has listened to governors in the past. Governor Herbert successfully requested the deferral of parcels near Dinosaur National Monument in 2017, and in more recent months, governors of New Mexico and Colorado have achieved limitations on leasing.

Three students initially met with the Governor’s Deputy Chief of Staff, Mike Mower, on March 19 to deliver the letter and express their demands. They were disappointed with Mower’s response.

“Mower told us he attended the youth climate strike, but only wanted to focus on the students who drove away in their cars, turning climate change into an individual problem,” said Eliza Van Dyk, Westminster student and organizer with Wasatch Rising Tide. “Climate change will not be solved on an individual basis, we need to change our entire energy system and we need elected officials to help, not hinder that transformation.”

During the sit-in, students spoke with Mower again and asked him to take immediate climate action. He said the state would continue their “all of the above” energy strategy.

“Science shows we must drastically reduce carbon emissions in the next 11 years to prevent climate catastrophe. The state’s all of the above energy strategy is unethical and irresponsible.” said Brooke Larsen, coordinator of Uplift Climate. “My generation needs a rapid transition to the renewable energy economy. We will continue to rise to defend our future.”

The action was organized with the support of the following organizations: Utah Youth for Environmental Solutions, Utah Chapter Sierra Club, Southern Utah Wilderness Alliance, Uplift, and Wasatch Rising Tide.

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UPDATE: Yesterday, Utah youth led a sit-in at Governor Herbert’s office, demanding he take action to defend our future. We delivered a letter with over 1,500 signatures calling on the Governor to request the deferral of all parcels in the Bureau of Land Management’s March oil and gas lease sale. We showed that the people of Utah will keep our leaders accountable and continue to rise for a livable climate, clean air, and protection of wild and sacred lands.

On Tuesday, April 2nd at 6pm MST, Utah youth will have a webinar/conference call to discuss next steps in ongoing actions in protest of the Utah Bureau of Land Management’s mass sale of public lands to the oil and gas industry, a recent court decision that says the BLM must consider climate impacts, and the numerous ways the public can rise with us in defense of our future.

Register here: https://zoom.us/webinar/register/WN_g1j4rCGiTJW1H1eszCbhTg

 

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&