We’re in the process of organizing a mass non-violent civil disobedience to coincide with Power Shift 2009. In late February 2009, the Energy Action Coalition will host over 10,000 climate activists focusing generally on making climate change, clean energy, and green jobs a priority for the new administration. Greenpeace, Rainforest Action Network, the Ruckus Society, Chesapeake Climate Action Network and a host of others are planning a mass non-violent civil disobedience, with a goal of organizing over 1,000 people, to cross the line and sit-in at the Capital Coal Plant.
The Capital Coal Plant is a mixed-burning facility that provides heat/steam/refrigeration to the entire Capitol Complex, including Congress. As part of the Greening The Capitol initiative, the House of Representatives has opted to replace their share of usage of the plant with natural gas and implement broad efficiency measures, the Senate has refused to do so, and continues to use coal. But our goal is not just to clean up this plant alone – it’s to demand a complete transformation in our national energy policies and priorities.
The action will follow a rally for the Powershift Lobby Day on Capitol Hill, and will begin around 1:00pm. To be clear – this action is NOT an official part of Powershift or EAC, but is organized by allies, and is working closely with Powershift/EAC to ensure complimentary outcomes and smooth logistics.
While still being developed – the likely scenario for this activity would be in the direction of peaceful sit-in at the power plant. We aim to create an action framework that is accessible to all – from students, to elderly, to parents, to notable public figures and beyond. We envision a structured event that includes agreed-upon action guidelines, extensive training on non-violence, and a respectful tone that participants would be asked to abide by. We will have a legal team organized to support participants and will have prior discussion with authorities as to our non-violent intentions.
Goals, objectives, and strategy
- Create a moment, image, and a situation that will help accelerate a major shift in the political and cultural consciousness regarding the urgency and scope of required action to address the climate crisis.
- Press the new administration to take decisive action on climate and energy issues, within the first 100 days of office by using this coal plant as an iconic symbol of the problems of US Energy policy.
- Create a transformative, positive experience for the participants that further commit them to the movement, and demystifies the effective role of non-violent direct action in creating social change.
This event will turn a corner for the climate movement – we have already won battles showing that climate change is real and that politicians and industry must take action; now we are amplifying the urgency and depth of the required responses. Civil disobedience has played a vital role in all movements for justice, and echoing recent calls of people like Al Gore, James Hansen, Wendell Berry and others – we feel it is time to escalate our tactics and our demands, and show the new administration that the American people are demanding and taking action to in response to the urgency and seriousness of the climate crisis.
We need you, and your group, to join us as we make history by organizing the largest civil disobedience for the climate in American history.
What You Can Do:
This peaceful action is about building the climate justice movement; about shifting the public’s understanding of the climate crisis; and inspiring others to act. We want to see a broad coalition of allies endorsing and supporting this action, and ensure the action reflects a diverse movement.
- Join us in Washington DC on March 2nd!
- Encourage your organization to publicly endorse this action
- Get involved in shaping the messaging and planning of the event
- Help mobilize your membership, networks, or constituents to support this action.
For further information, or to endorse this action with your organization, please visit http://capitalclimateaction.org
The following organizations have endorsed and are supporting the Capitol Power Plant mass civil disobedience. To add your group to this list, please contact Matt(dot)Leonard (at) greenpeace (dot) org
- Blue Ridge Earth First!
- Chesapeake Climate Action Network
- Coal River Mountain Watch
- Energy Justice Network
- Free The Planet! – Ohio State University
- Global Exchange
- Green Delaware
- Mountain Justice
- Ohio Valley Environmental Coalition
- Rainforest Action Network
- Rising Tide North America
- Student Environmental Action Coalition
- The Ruckus Society