An Open Letter from Environmental & Climate Justice Organizations on May Day

via Climate Workers

An Open Letter from Environmental & Climate Justice Organizations on May Day

Worker power, immigrant rights, and racial justice must be at the heart of environmental and climate movements

As environmental and climate justice organizations, we declare our support for protests planned for International Workers Day (“May Day”), May 1st, 2017 and for workers who choose to participate by honoring the general strike.

International Workers’ Day was first established to commemorate the deaths of workers fighting for the 8-hour work day in Chicago in 1886. It has long been a day to uplift the struggles, honor the sacrifices, and celebrate the triumphs of working people across the world. The day has taken special significance in the U.S. since May 1st, 2006 when 1.5 million immigrants and their allies took to the streets to protest racist immigration policies.

Today, workers face unprecedented attacks on wages, benefits, workplace safety, and the right to organize free from fear and retaliation. But we know that we are all stronger when workers in our communities have safe, fair, and dignified employment with which they can support their families without fear of deportation or violence.

The effects of our fossil fuel economy fall first and worst on working class communities, communities of color, immigrants, and indigenous peoples who have not only contributed the least to climate disruption, but have the least resources to shoulder the burden of a transition to a new, climate-friendly economy. It is these frontline communities who are also at the forefront of change and whose solutions and leadership we most need.

As organizations working to transition our economy away from profit-seeking resource extraction toward ecological resilience and economic democracy, we know that worker power has to be at the heart of that transition.

We urgently need the wisdom and skills of millions of workers to transform our food, water, waste, transit, and energy systems in order to live within the finite resources of this planet that we call home. But the Trump agenda only promises jobs building more prison cells, border walls, bombs, and oil pipelines. Workers deserve not only fair wages, but work that makes our ecosystems and communities more resilient, not destroys them.

Extraordinary times call for extraordinary measures. No significant social change in this country has come without tremendous risk and sacrifice by ordinary people – from workers who walk off the job to water protectors facing down water cannons and attack dogs.

As environmental and climate justice organizations, we support workers who choose to walk off their jobs on May 1st because we know that the fight to protect land, water, air and soil is inseparable from the fight to protect the life and dignity of workers, migrants, and communities of color.

To workers participating in protests on May 1st, we say: “Thank you. You deserve better. And we’ve got your back.”

To that end, we join with unions and worker-led organizations throughout the country in asking that there be NO RETALIATION against any worker – union or non union – who exercises their rights by taking time off from work on May 1. Further, should workers face retaliation, we pledge our strong support for efforts to defend those workers.

To sign your organization onto letter and to specify what type of support you can pledge, click here.

 

AUTHORED BY

Climate Workers and Movement Generation Justice & Ecology Project

 

SIGNED BY

350.org

350 Bay Area

350 Mass for a Better Future

350 Santa Barbara

Amazon Watch

AMP Creeks Council

Asian Pacific Environmental Network

Azul

Bay Area Justice Funders Network

Bay Area Labor Committee for Peace & Justice

Bay Area System Change Not Climate Change

Beyond Extreme Energy

Blue Heart

California Environmental Justice Alliance

Center for Economic Democracy

Center for Environmental Health

Center for Popular Democracy

Center on Race, Poverty & the Environment

Climate Justice Alliance

Climate Justice Project

Climate Workers

CODEPINK

CoFED

Corporate Accountability International

Diablo Rising Tide

Filipino / American Coalition for Environmental Solidarity (FACES)

Food Empowerment Project

Food First

Friends of Broward Detainees

Friends of the Earth

Fund for Democratic Communities

GAIA: Global Alliance for Incinerator Alternatives

Global Climate Convergence

Global Environmental Justice Project

Grassroots Global Justice

Greenbelt Climate Action Network

Greenpeace

Groundswell Fund

Industrial Workers of the World

Labor Network for Sustainability

Liberty Tree Foundation

Little Village Environmental Justice Organization

Missourians Organizing for Reform and Empowerment (MORE)

Movement Generation Justice & Ecology Project

Movement Strategy Center

NAACP Portland Branch

National Economic and Social Rights Initiative

New Economy Coalition

New Jim Crow Movement – Vallejo

No Coal in Oakland

North Bay Organizing Project

Oakland Climate Action Coalition

Occidental Arts and Ecology Center

Oil Change International

People’s Action

People’s Climate Movement – Bay Area

PODER (People Organizing to Demand Environmental & Economic Rights)

Post Carbon Institute

Power Shift Network

Pesticide Action Network North America

Planting Justice

Popular Resistance

Railroad Workers United

Raizes Collective

Rainforest Action Network

Real Pickles

Right to the City Boston

Rising Tide North America

Rising Tide Sacramento

Sierra Club

Sierra Club Massachusetts Chapter

Sierra Club San Francisco Bay Chapter

Sonoma County Conservation Action

Students for a Just & Stable Future

Sunflower Alliance

SustainUS

The LEAP

Urban Habitat

U.S. Department of of Arts and Culture

U.S. Federation of Worker Cooperatives

U.S. Human Rights Network

 

Rising Tide North America Solidarity Delegation to the Philippines Begins!

philippines_typhoon2This week, Rising Tiders from Portland and Seattle traveled to the Philippines on a solidarity mission to visit Indigenous communities in Mindanao on the frontlines of climate destruction, capitalism and imperialism.

They will be traveling in Kidapawan, currently in a state of calamity due to a crippling drought and the recent site of a massacre in which farmers and indigenous folk were fired upon after setting up a street blockade to demand that inaccessible government food rations be distributed.

And then traveling to Davao for two human rights conferences: the International Coalition for Human Rights in the Philippines general assembly, and the International Conference on Peoples’ Rights in the Philippines.

As the group has said:

“We believe that joining our allies on this trip to the Philippines is the most important way we can show our solidarity with this People of Color led movement in the United States, and our allies in the Global South. In fact it is the thing we have been repeatedly asked to do by our BAYAN kasamas.”

Historically conditioned as a colonial experiment and geographically located in the rapidly changing climate of the Global South, the Philippines stands as a frontline nation against political and environmental repression.  As international mining companies seek to drive communities off their ancestral mineral-rich land, the Philippine Armed Forces uses its monopoly on violence to enforce this destructive logic of capital accumulation, while escalating deforestation is wiping out ecosystems, poisoning water sources, and removing natural sources of carbon sequestration.

Meanwhile, though the country is hardly industrialized enough to be a major contributor to climate change, it bears some of the worst effects, such as increased risk from sea level rise and massive typhoons.  Yet despite it all, the Filipino people rise up and resist.  Now is the time for uncompromising solidarity with our allies in the Philippines fighting for their right to life, dignity, and a world in which we all can live.

Transnational solidarity is an important step in fighting the root causes of climate change. Furthermore, ensuring that our allies in the Philippines fighting for their right to life, dignity, and a world in which we all can live are given support and solidarity from the Global North.

###

BREAKING: Climate activists launch daring occupation of the California PUC, calling for agency to shut down all gas storage facilities

SAN FRANCISCO – Two Bay Area residents have occupied the ledge above the entrance to the headquarters of the California Public Utilities Commission (PUC) today to protest the PUC’s failure to protect the Golden State from the climate and health impacts of methane from underground natural gas storage facilities.
A well blew out at SoCalGas’ Aliso Canyon facility near Porter Ranch on October 23, 2015. Since then, 96,000 metric tons of methane have escaped into the atmosphere, the equivalent of an additional 505,000 cars on the road for a year. Methane is a greenhouse gas that is 86 times more climate-intensive than carbon dioxide. While SoCalGas reported last week that the leak had been plugged, the Aliso Canyon leak has been responsible for 25% of the state’s daily greenhouse gas emissions.
Aliso Canyon is one of 12 underground natural gas storage facilities in California, and one of 326 nationwide that use depleted oil and gas wells for storage for urban customers.
“While plugging the leak at Aliso Canyon has been a good step, today we are demanding that the PUC shut down all gas storage facilities; until they do, we are occupying the PUC,” said Christy Tennery-Spalding from Diablo Rising Tide, the San Francisco Bay Area chapter of Rising Tide North America.
The PUC is one of two agencies responsible for oversight of underground natural gas storage facilities. The leaking well had not been inspected since 1976. The CEO of SoCalGas reported to the LA Weekly that a safety valve on the well had been removed in 1979.
“It is unconscionable that these regulators are putting people at risk while giving companies a pass. The last time Aliso Canyon was inspected by the PUC was the last time Jerry Brown was governor,” said Kelsey Baker, from Occupy San Francisco Environmental Justice, currently occupying the ledge over the PUC’s headquarters entrance.
SoCalGas is a division of Sempra Energy and uses the Aliso Canyon facility to store natural gas for delivery to 12 natural gas power plants and 21 million consumers in Southern California. Since the blowout, 10,000 of Porter Ranch’s 30,000 residents have fled the community. Governor Jerry Brown declared a state of emergency, requiring the several state agencies to take urgent action.
###
Diablo Rising Tide is the San Francisco Bay Area chapter of Rising Tide North America. Rising Tide North America is an all-volunteer grassroots organizing network in Canada, the U.S., and Mexico who confronts the root causes of climate change with protests and events. You can find out more at www.diablorisingtide.org.

ShellNo! protestors are locked down at the Port of Seattle and need your support!

shell noBREAKING: ShellNo! protestors are locked down at the Port of Seattle right now and need your support!

Early this morning activists set up and deployed a range of technical blockades outside entrances to the port using U-locks, chains, lockboxes, rocking chairs, and other devices. Every entrance of the port was shut down, effectively stopping work on the rig. To sustain this bold action, we need YOU! Come on down and join us right now for an inspiring blockade. Bring your camera, musical instruments, banners, and passion for justice.

LOCATION: Terminal 5, West Seattle (W. Marginal Way and Spokane Street,
Spokane Street Bridge)

As we all know, time is of the essence when it comes to stopping the Polar
Polluter and its evil twin, the Noble Destroyer.

“Shell only has until the end of June to make it up to the Arctic in time to drill this summer. We want to stop them from leaving,” said Blaine Doherty, who is sitting in the road chained to another Seattle resident. “The Port of Seattle has let us down and President Obama has let us down. We can’t afford to let Shell drill in the Arctic if we want this planet to remain habitable.”

After May’s Festival of Resistance, organized by the Shell No! Action Council, another autonomous group called Stop Shell Seattle has called for a month of actions using the tag “June Against Doom”. There have been pickets at the Port for the past 5 days. The goal is to disrupt work on the rig in order to delay its move out of Seattle.

shirly 2The Seattle Raging Grannies chained themselves to rocking chairs for today’s action. “My generation is responsible for how things are today. This rig will destroy any hope of a liveable future for our children and grandchildren,” said Annette Klapstein. “It’s our duty to be out here.”

The groups locked down also highlighted how climate change is already affecting vulnerable communities around the world, such as the recent heatwave in India that has so far resulted in over 2,000 deaths. “The people most impacted by Arctic drilling, and the 2 degrees Celsius warming it will bring, are indigenous people around the world, poor people, and people of the global South,” said Zarna Joshi, one of the Seattle residents who locked down. “When it’s 122 degrees and you’re poor there’s nowhere to hide. The fossil fuel industry’s drive for profit is literally killing people. We’re here to take a stand against these climate-destroying corporations and the governments who support them.”

You can support today’s action with your physical and online presence! Join us at the port and follow our updates via Facebook and Twitter. Donate to our fundraising campaign to support us in paying legal fees. Tell everyone you know and spread the word: Seattle says SHELL NO!