Tim DeChristopher, Fracking, and Protecting Public Lands

Cross Posted from Public Citizen’s Energy Blog by: Scott McDonald, Public Citizen Summer Intern

The Catskill Mountains and the Hudson Valley face the possibility of serious environmental degradation and water pollution if the hydraulic fracturing moratorium is lifted in New York State. For many who grew up in this area or who currently call it home, this is an appalling and unacceptable possibility. Many people would go to great lengths to protect this pristine piece of land – but exactly how far would you go?

What if you could halt the sale of public lands in the Catskills – land used for hiking, camping, fishing and so much more – to oil and gas companies that plan to build roads and bring in enormous amounts of equipment and trucks to develop the land for drilling?

What if the sale were being rushed through on behalf of the oil and gas industry in an illegal way?

What if you could save 22,000 acres of the land you love?

What if doing so were illegal, and carried a potential sentence of 10 years in prison and a maximum of $750,000 in fines?

It is likely that when considering this hypothetical situation you answered “yes” to each question, until the last one. Your righteous and daring mood probably gave way, as you thought there could be a better way to approach the situation, or that at least you still have a decent job in a tough economy, or that you do not want to risk losing your freedom and being away from your family or kids.

These are all valid considerations.

What if someone else was willing to do this on behalf of the community? Would you defend his actions, or would silently let him be made an example of by overzealous prosecution by the government? Continue reading ‘Tim DeChristopher, Fracking, and Protecting Public Lands’

Open Letter to 1 Sky from Grassroots Organizations

Recently, I was asked to post this letter to the Itsgetttinghotinhere.org community, and upon reading it I felt so excited to share this with you all.  For a while, I too have been feeling the many things laid out in this letter.  While it is is addressed to 1 Sky, I think the lessons and perspectives shared are invaluable to the larger climate community including (but not limited to) larger organizations serving youth such as the Energy Action Coalition and 350.org.

To the Board and Staff of 1 Sky,

We are grassroots and allied organizations representing racial justice, indigenous rights, economic justice, immigrant rights, youth organizing and environmental justice communities actively engaged in Climate Justice organizing.

Given the very necessary discussion spurred by your recent public letter (August 8, 2010), we wanted to share with you some of the work we have been doing to protect people and planet, as well as our reflections on a forward-thinking movement strategy. Your honest reflections on the political moment in which we find ourselves, alongside the open invitation to join in this discussion, are heartening.

Organizing a Powerful Climate Justice Movement
Like you, we recognize Climate Disruption as a central issue of our time. With the right set of strategies and coordinated efforts we can mobilize diverse communities to powerful action. Our organizing strategy for climate justice is to: 1) Organize in, network with and support communities who have found their frontlines[1] of climate justice; 2) Organize with communities to identify their frontlines of climate justice, and 3) Coalesce these communities towards a common agenda that is manifested from locally defined strategies to state and national policy objectives through to international solidarity agreements.

Continue reading ‘Open Letter to 1 Sky from Grassroots Organizations’


As photo curator for 350.org’s International Day of Climate Action, I had the privilege of going through the 20,000 photos that inundated our flickr account.  Through this process, my heart started filling with all of your visual stories, the laughter, the sincerity, the time and effort it took to put an event together.

Out of all the photos that came in, the shots that evoked gasps or rapid chat messages to other 350 organizers were the photos of children and babies.

People have different theories on how to raise children and whether or not they should be involved in campaigns before they have consciousness or opinions.  Speaking as a former infant participating in environmental protests, I am an in full support of the 350kids movement. Continue reading ‘#350Cute’

350 = Survival

It’s just a short 9 days until the International Day of Climate Action on October 24th, where hundreds of thousands people will raise the issue of climate  change urgency to a new level.

Here at Project Survival Media, we wanted to mark the event visually.  So we created a video, featuring Jon Warnow, 350.org’s Internet Director and Organizer of Pacific & Polar regions, to get a better sense of how this wonky policy target of 350 parts per million  relates to the survival of people.

I mean thousands of people aren’t heading to the streets because they’re all secretly wonky scientists.  It’s about what 350 represents to people all over the world in a time of crisis.  It’s stability, safety, and above all 350 means survival.

The footage we pieced together was from youtube — a few different sources that were urging people/journalists to spread the word about these crazy environmental disasters.

Please leave comments to let us know what you think

Arab Leaders Wake Up!

IndyACT Slams Arab Heads of State for Lack of Action on  Climate Change

Last night  in Beirut, Lebanon more than 100 environmental activists sounded the alarm in Ein El-Mreiseh square.  This is where activists will also erect a Climate Change Countdown Clock to mark the short time line we have to reach a strong equitable global agreement at the UN Climate Negotiations (COP15). Most Arab Heads of State missed the  climate summit today in New York, so the action made sure to call on them to’wake up’ and engage in the negotiations.

(10)Members, supporters and partners from the global league of independent Activists, IndyACT, sounded the alarms of their clocks and mobile phones, honked their horns and banged their musical instruments, making a tremendous noise in a symbolic action, part of a global ‘Wake-Up call’. The activists also held up a banner saying “it is time for climate action”, and another sign that says “Wake UP 12:18” to mark the 18th of December when a new global climate agreement is supposed to be reached.

This global call  took place simultaneously with over 2000 similar events in more than 120 countries, is a joint effort of the “TckTckTck” Campaign; an international alliance including IndyACT, 350.org, Greenpeace, Oxfam, WWF, and many others.  The action comes amid expert warnings that the UN climate pact in Copenhagen in December risks failure unless world leaders revive bogged-down negotiations at today’s UN Heads of State climate summit, ahead of the UN General Assembly.

“Again Arab leaders missed yet another opportunity to defend the survival needs of the region from climate change impacts.” said Wael Hmaidan, Executive Director of IndyACT. “While today’s climate summit is attended by Presidents of the US, France, China and many others, only Algeria participated at the Presidential level from the Arab region”, added Hmaidan. Continue reading ‘Arab Leaders Wake Up!’

URGENT ACTION ALERT: Joseph Pizarchik is the WRONG Choice

A few minutes ago I received an action alert from my co-worker and friend Wahleah Johns from the Black Mesa Water Coalition.  She and I  used to work together on the Environmental Justice Climate Change Initiative Youth Committee.  Wahleah wasn’t the loudest person in the room or the most talkative, but when she did choose to offer up her truth her words were beautiful and poignant. So when she sent out a call for help and action, of course I wanted to send her words far and wide.

Her Words Follow:

We are hoping that you join the effort to oppose Joseph Pizarchik’s nomination for Office of Surface Mining (OSM) Director.  Apparently,3366056140_a29cc4020f_b copy Pizarchik has a track record of favoring coal companies and ignoring community environmental concerns.

Here in the southwest we are frightened by his nomination because this means more desecration of our natural landscapes for coal mining and testing grounds for future CCS (carbon capture sequestration) projects.   OSM is in charge of approving coal mining permits across the country.  And OSM’s structure for approving mining permit needs to undergo serious change, the standards and code books for OSM are so outdated.  In addition, their process for approval does not have to inform commmunity folks or ask for permission to bomb lands in our backyards.

When I heard Ken Salazar speak at Powershift 2009 I thought:  “Yes, maybe things can change and look upward for communities who are fighting these industries on the front line.”  But I think its going to take a lot more voices for that change to occur.

I ask you know to please contact your Senator, and Dept of Interior, and Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee to voice your concern!

In solidarity,
Wahleah Johns
Black Mesa Water Coalition

Continue reading ‘URGENT ACTION ALERT: Joseph Pizarchik is the WRONG Choice’

Report on Survival in the Lead Up to Copenhagen: APPLY TODAY


Do you want to report on the most compelling stories of the climate crisis?  Are you an amateur photographer wanting to learn the skills of your trade while doing your part to save the climate? Or maybe you are a videographer wanting to change the outcome of the UN Climate Negotiations (COP 15).

We are calling all passionate youth journalists who want to use their skills to launch “Survival,” to the forefront of the international political debate, amplify voices underrepresented by traditional media, and report on the most compelling climate stories from around thplease_cop13_bali_unfccc.jpg | Robert vanWaarden_1251738776963e world.

Project Survival Media is a global youth journalism network that aims to influence the outcome of the COP 15 by broadcasting the most critical message of our time: As world leaders negotiate a new climate treaty, “Survival is Not Negotiable.”

We are seven media teams, one for each continent.  We build stories together that will focus on those roles in society that are most impacted by climate change: factory workers, farmers, mothers, organizers, and health care providers.

Who is eligible?
–    Any young person between the ages of 15-30.
–    Have some experience in any of the following: blogging, reporting, photography, or videography.
–    Has either a background in: climate change, human rights issues, global and local environmental justice struggles.
–    Living anywhere on one of the seven continents

Click Here to complete an application to be on the Project Survival Regional Media Teams.  ALL applications must be submitted by: September 11th, 2009.

Green Low-Income Housing: Upstate New York

I came home to the rolling green hills of the Mohawk Valley, to my laughing cousins, and to the beginning of a new upstate new york.

It seems the new green economy has inspired the homeless, community organizers, faith leaders, and local officials alike. On my first day home I attended the launch of a new green low-income housing block in the poorest crime ridden area of Utica, NY—Corn Hill. Corn Hill is one of those area’s that never received enough public assistance and therefore remained a hot spot for drugs, murder, and racial disparity.

But things started to change with the initiative of two women, Reverend Skates and Reverend Meier. Their  commitment to the area and their beautiful vision for a transformed community brought all the right people together. We heard from speakers from the NYS Governor’s office, they mayor of Utica, and local homeless women that were moving into these new green homes.

I haven’t been so moved than when I heard Reverend Skates lead us in a visualization of the buildings around us. We yelled out words together like “Green!” or “Community Garden” pointing to broken down buildings and empty lots. With all of the right people in the room you could almost feel the space around you changing, especially when so much already had.

CopyRight Shadia Fayne Wood

Copyright Shadia Fayne Wood

Continue reading ‘Green Low-Income Housing: Upstate New York’

The Launch of Project Survival Media

August 11th, 2009 join us for the Project Survival Media Benefit at 111 Minna Gallery in San Francisco, CA.


What if, on all seven continents, there were young people equipped to globally broadcast pivotal stories about the climate crisis?

What if these young people were empowered to amplify disenfranchised voices and propel the principle  of “Survival” to the forefront of the political debate?

Well this is Project Survival Media. In the lead up to the UN Climate Negotiations, we are assembling a global network of youth journalists who will use video, photography, and blogs to report from the frontlines of the climate crisis.

Continue reading ‘The Launch of Project Survival Media’

COP 14 International Youth Delegation

So here it goes, the unveiling of the Global Youth Climate Movement’s work in Poznan, Poland, for COP 14 at the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change:

To Download this video click here. It’s the video labeled COP14 (Say What You Want).

And the other video:

To download this video click here. (teardrop) It is labeled COP 14

Shadia Wood

Shadia began at age seven as an advocate for justice and the environment, in an eight year campaign to pass state legislation that, without it, was responsible for cancer clusters and deaths that existed in her community. In response to her efforts she has received the Yoshiyama Award from the Hitachi Foundation, and the Brower Youth Award from the Earth Island Institute. At age fifteen, She attended the World Summit on Sustainable Development, joining the youth energy caucus' efforts to create the Official Global Youth Energy Policy Statement. Months later, Shadia attended the Second National People of Color Summit and there she helped create the Environmental Justice Youth Platform. She is a member of the Environmental Justice Climate Coalition Youth Committee and is on the Kids Against Pollution National Board of Trustees. Shadia graduated from West Canada Valley High School in 2005, where she then took two years off before entering a career in higher education to work as a leader in the Global Youth Climate Movement. She finished working for the EJCC as the youngest Campus Climate Challenge Coordinator in the Energy Action Coalition, in October 2007. She is currently attending American University of Beirut, studying Arabic and Communications.

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