Archive for the 'Events' Category

Celebrate Earth Day with the 4 Rs: Reduce, Reuse, Recycle, Resist

Dear Diary,

Today I went to Dundas Square, one of the busiest intersections in Toronto to join Rhytms of Resistance-Toronto,“a political samba-inspired band that plays for environmental and social justice.” The band was raising awareness about some of the tar sands pipelines that will threaten forests, waterways, fish habitat, and communities along and near the pipelines. What a way to spend Earth Day, eh?

ImageThey were also letting people know how to plug into the resistance against the pipelines! The band’s groupies, who I gladly joined, were letting people know about a rally happening at the Enbridge Annual General Meeting in Toronto on May 9th. I learned about the Yinka Dene Alliance, one of the leading groups of First Nations opposing the Enbridge Northern Gateway oil pipeline, who will be in Toronto on May 8th and 9th to say “No” to the proposed pipeline.

Members of the YDA are traveling from BC to Toronto for the Enbridge AGM and they will be stopping in Edmonton, Saskatoon, and Winnipeg along the way. Once I am done writing this diary entry, I am going to invite all my friends in those cities. It is Earth Day after all—great excuse to spread the word on how to resist environmentally destructive projects.

I am so glad that so many people are piping up (pun intended) about these pipelines. These pipelines would contaminate water, fish sources, and human health. Communities would be put at risk for the profit of a few greedy oil and gas corporations. Diary, that just isn’t fair!

I mentioned the Northern Gateway Pipeline, which would bring dirty tar sands to the west coast of British Columbia for export; but I still haven’t mentioned the tankers that would come to collect that oil. They would have to travel through ecologically sensitive areas and through waters which are known to be rough because of the high winds and waves. Do we really want to repeat some of the horrible oil spills which have destroyed fishing communities and continue to impact human health and livelihoods? This sounds just too risky!

There is also another pipeline which would bring liquefied natural gas (LNG) to Kitimat as well: the Pacific Trails Pipeline. This LNG would be primarily from shale gas development in northeastern BC. This type of gas development involves injecting water and unidentified chemicals into underground shale rock formations at very high pressures in order to extract natural gas below the surface. This process uses up tons of water, while also contaminating groundwater and local drinking water.

But those aren’t the only pipelines blazing through British Columbia. Kinder Morgan is trying to increase the amount of tar sands crude that would be transported through the Trans Mountain Pipeline, a pipeline which brings tar sands to southwestern BC.  There has been local opposition to the pipeline expansion which would require twinning the pipeline and putting communities at significant risk.

Looking east, there is the Trailbreaker project which would bring tar sands across the Prairies, Great Lakes, Ontario, Quebec, and finally to the coast of Maine, USA. The pipeline has faced growing opposition from communities across the route. And rightfully so. In 2010, an Enbridge pipeline leak put over a million gallons of oil into the Kalamazoo River which flows into the Great Lakes. Enbridge may be okay with polluting the largest group of freshwater lakes on the planet, but I won’t sit by and just watch it happen.

And I am not the only one!

This Earth Day, there were over 10 communities that took action specifically against pipelines, tankers, and tar sands expansion. In Montreal, Quebec there was a march so huge that “more than two hours after it began, a large crowd was still waiting to begin at the starting point.” Right on!

Diary, I am so inspired that I am going to explore more ways to take collective action against environmentally destructive operations.

Happy Earth Day, -maryam

Iowa City promotes environmental education in local high schools

Cross-posted from Solutionaries.net by Kerri Sorrell

Focus often eludes high school students with seven different classes covering seven different subjects and too much homework to jam in their backpacks at the end of the day – but on Thursday, April 5, EcoCentric and Envirocity, environmental clubs at two Iowa City high schools, teamed up with Iowa City Summer of Solutions to concentrate class discussions on one issue: the environment.

The daylong event, Focus the Classroom, encouraged teachers to relate the subjects they teach to current environmental issues. Last summer, Zach Gruenhagen, Bailey McClellan and Noelle Waldschmidt from the Iowa City solutionary team worked to complete a website with sustainability-focused lesson plans for every subject area, to help teachers more easily integrate the environment into their classes. In addition, presentations ran all day from environmental leaders in the Iowa City community, including Tim Dwight – a Iowa City High graduate and former professional football player.

Dwight, a popular speaker at both high schools, co-founded a renewable energy company called Integrated Power Corporation after retiring from the San Diego Chargers. At the Focus the Classroom event, he gave presentations extolling the virtues of solar energy.

“This shift [to renewable energy] that I’m going to talk about is your generational shift, and it’s going to be massive. Producing energy with wind and solar will change the world because those resources are available anywhere, and you’re going to see it,” he told students at West High school.

Read more …

Continue reading ‘Iowa City promotes environmental education in local high schools’

Thoughts following Midwest Powershift

Cross-posted from http://www.solutionaries.net by Ruby Levine

I spent the weekend at Midwest Powershift in Cleveland. Among the rallies, trainings, and speeches, I was able to catch some downtime with fellow Summer of Solutions program leaders and participants from around the Midwest. Especially valuable was a conversation I had with members of other Midwestern programs on Saturday night.

500 young people applaud Joshua Kahn Russell's keynote poem at Midwest Powershift in Cleveland. Photo credit Ben Hejkal.

This conversation helped me articulate two things: one, the “good environmentalists vs. the evil polluters” framing I saw a lot of other places during the conference makes me deeply uncomfortable, and two, if the green economy is going to work it needs to be the whole economy, not a side industry.

Continue reading ‘Thoughts following Midwest Powershift’

BREAKING: Student Activists Risking Arrest Inside University President’s Office

 

Reposted from Dan Schreiber at http://www.quitcoal.org

This afternoon, seven student activists marched into President Simon’s office at the Hannah Administration building at Michigan State University to ask MSU to transition to 100% clean energy.

Activists walked in wearing Greenpeace Quit Coalt-shirts and surgical masks to display the health risks of burning coal.
Today’s protest comes after two years of attempting to work with MSU’s Administration to transition the campus from burning coal to 100% clean energy.
Michigan State University has the largest on-campus coal plant in the nation, burning over 200,000 tons of coal each year. The energy supplied by this plant powers only the campus, but its pollution spews out into the community of East Lansing, and far beyond. Incidences of asthma, sudden infant death syndrome, lung disease, and emphysema are drastically higher in areas near coal-fired power plants. Coal pollution causes 31 deaths annually in East Lansing. Not only are there serious immediate health risks, but coal pollution is also the single greatest contributor to climate change in the United States.
“Coal is harmful to our environment and us, but not everyone knows. I think it is important to raise awareness of the problem so it can be fixed and the damaging effects of coal can be stopped,” said student activist Kendra Majewski who is currently inside President Simon’s office.

Massachusetts Residents Call Out Scott Brown, Rally Strong for Clean Air

Crossposted from 350.org

Today I got to stand next to more than 50 Massachusetts mothers, children, workers, community leaders, and people of faith to kick off something truly unique – a “crowd-funded” citizen’s campaign to hold Senator Scott Brown accountable for voting to gut the Clean Air Act. At 12:00pm on the sidewalk in front of the JFK Federal Building in Boston, also known as Scott Brown’s district office, we held banners and puppets of Scott Brown and his fat cat supporters “Coal” and “Oil, signs, and a blow-up of the new ad our friends and neighbors funded.

The text of the ad read: “Senator Brown: On April 6th you voted to gut the Clean Air Act. Was it because dirty energy companies and their corporate front groups poured more than $1.9 million into your campaign last year? Are you working for people or Big Polluters?” Interested in joining us in funding the ad? Check it out here.

Continue reading ‘Massachusetts Residents Call Out Scott Brown, Rally Strong for Clean Air’

Endbridge – Why The Enbridge Northern Gateway Pipeline Proposal And All Tar Sands Expansion From Alberta To The B.C. West Coast Will Be Stopped In Its Tracks By The Unity Of Indigenous Nations

Endbridge – Why The Enbridge Northern Gateway Pipeline Proposal And All Tar Sands Expansion From Alberta To The B.C. West Coast Will Be Stopped In Its Tracks By The Unity Of Indigenous Nations

If you have ever driven on most of the northern highways in northern Alberta you will be presented with a picture of a tame prairie terrain, with sprawling fields and farms holding cows and the occasional conventional oil pump jack. A few kilometers on any of the gravel access roads however and you will see a much more bleaker picture of out of control industrialization and poisoning of the land. This is unless of course you witness the tar sands machines of death on Highway 63 near Fort McMurray and Fort McKay, or the massive underground mining operations in the Peace River and Cold Lake regions disrupting and contaminating underground water. What most modern thinkers fail to understand is thousands years of history from the ancestors of Cree, Dene, Blackfoot, Nakoda and Metis people. Living nations of people who simply cannot afford the luxury of packing up and moving as settlers when there is no longer work. These lands are home to these nations and are not sacrifice zones. And like a deadly contagious all-consuming disease, what has been done to Alberta by the oil industry cannot be allowed to spread to other parts of the world killing indigenous ways of life and jeopardizing the future for all.

Enbridge, and the expansion of the Alberta Tar Sands Gigaproject, is attempting to retrace the steps taken by the Hudson’s Bay Company with classic colonial strategy. The Hudson’s Bay Company was the first corporation on Turtle Island, here in North America. The Hudson’s Bay Company fur trading forts also became the first settler governments for the British Empire. In Alberta, the first settlement and colonial government in Alberta was in Fort Chipewyan, which would today is seen as the international poster community for a Cree, Dene and Metis community directly impacted by 40 years of out of control open pit tar sands mining. The Enbridge Northern Gateway Pipeline is renewing a pipeline proposal and expansions originally proposed nearly 10 years ago and is supported by the Stephen Harper Conservative Canadian Government.

Just one week after the largest oil pipeline spill in Alberta in 30 years in unceded Lubicon Cree Territory, a spill that took six days for the Alberta government to respond in a half-assed, indifferent manner, starting with faxing a one-page “fact sheet” update about the disaster, a large contingent from the Yinka Dene Alliance from the northwest interior of B.C. were arriving in Calgary to confront Enbridge’s proposed Northern Gateway pipeline project and tanker traffic.

On May 11th, 2011, on the traditional territories of the Blackfoot Confederacy in Calgary, Alberta, a historic solidarity statement of opposition to the Enbridge Northern Gateway Pipeline proposal was signed by leaders of the Blood Tribe, Alexander First Nation, Lubicon Lake Nation, Roseau River Anishinabe First Nation, Sai’kuz First Nation, Nadleh Whuten, Takla Lake First Nation and the Nakazdli First Nation.

The day after the Enbridge AGM a rally was held in Prince Rupert, B.C. on May 12th, outside a meeting sponsored by Enbridge for the Northern BC Municipalities Convention. With a historic turn-out of over 500 Indigenous and non-Indigenous residents of the island of Lach Kaien, known in the mainstream society as Prince Rupert, publicly and loudly demonstrating their opposition to the Enbridge Gateway Pipeline proposal as well as any tar sands tanker traffic that would support the industry of dirty crude oil and liquid condensate.

Lach Kaien, or Prince Rupert, is known to the Tsimshian as the “Cradle of Tsimshian Civilization,” according to a hereditary chief of the Gits’iis tribe, Sm’ooygit Nisyaganaat. The Prince Rupert Harbor contains the most dense archaelogical sites north of Mexico City and is the second deepest harbor in the world. Lach Kaien is surrounded by Tsimshian communities traditionally comprised of 11 Tsimshian villages, as well as neighboring nations from the Haida, Haisla, Heiltsuk, Gitksan, Nisga’a, Tahltan, and Tlingit. To this day the indigenous population of the town of Prince Rupert is still between 40-50%, with all industries heavily dependent upon the commerce, labor and resources of Indigenous coastal nations.

A few coastal communities however have not yet made a clear position on whether or not to support the Enbridge Northern Gateway pipeline and tanker project and any western tar sands crude oil expansion. These include among the largest of coastal communities of Lach hlgu K’alaams (Lax Kw’Alaams) or Port Simpson, and Gitkxaahla (Kitkatla), where the still active traditional laws and feasting systems of hereditary chiefs is still strong and holds much influence over the non-surrendered tribal territories in the region of Prince Rupert, Hecate Strait, and the Skeena and Nass Rivers.

These are nations still waiting to awaken to take their place and decide for themselves what is allowed into the lands and waters of nations that have lived and thrived on this edge of the world for thousands of years. To uphold the traditional laws and protocols of respect and responsibilities known as Ayaawk and Gugwiltx Yaans and not be steered by any settler government, environmental group, or any funding body with non-Indigenous agendas. Especially is true that Indigenous grassroots leaders are still fighting the oppression of the Indian Act system and the federal Canadian employees of many Band Councils maintaining the silencing of traditional hereditary leadership systems through which the sole jurisdiction of all territories flows through.

Indigenous lands and waters are to be spoken for and by Indigenous minds and communities. Enbridge Northern Gateway, and all tar sands pipelines and expansions such as the Kinder Morgan TMX Northern Leg Extension, the Pembina Pipeline, the PNG KSL Pipeline, the Kitimat and Prince Rupert Liquid Natural Gas Terminals, and the Prince Rupert “New World” Container Ports are just a few of the many modern obstacles in the path of standing up the original structures and ways of life with which to free Indigenous nations on this edge of the world.

Links to the rally and demonstration held in Lach Kaien and declarations of war against Enbridge -

http://www.marketwire.com/press-release/enbridge-pipeline-faces-prospect-civil-disobedience-500-strong-crowd-rallies-outside-1514236.htm

http://www.winnipegfreepress.com/arts-and-life/life/greenpage/121784899.html

http://www.muskegnews.com/protest-enbridge0512

http://wcel.org/media-centre/media-releases/coastal-first-nations-tanker-ban-creates-new-legal-risks-and-uncertainty

http://savethefraser.ca/

Statement of Solidarity of Indigenous Nations opposed to Enbridge Northern Gateway -

May 10th, 2011 – Calgary, Alberta, territories of the Blackfoot Confederacy

WE THE UNDERSIGNED INDIGENOUS NATIONS STATE IN SOLIDARITY:
Our Nations are bound together by the water which is our lifeblood. We have protected our lands and waters since time immemorial, each according to our laws and traditions. The waters of Indigenous peoples throughout the lands known as western Canada are being threatened by fossil fuel exploitation and transportation.

We exercise our rights to sustain our cultural and economic well-being. The laws of each of our peoples are deeply embedded in our cultures and practices. These laws have never been extinguished and our authority continues in our lands. Our peoples continue to live by them today.

We have come together on May 10, 2011 in the city of Calgary, Alberta, in the traditional territory of the Blackfoot Confederacy, to declare to the governments of Alberta, British Columbia, as well as Enbridge Inc., all of its subsidiary bodies, and the domestic and international financial institutions supporting Enbridge, THE FOLLOWING:

The Enbridge Northern Gateway Pipeline and tankers project will expose Indigenous and non-Indigenous communities from the Pacific Coast across to Alberta to the risk of pipeline and supertanker oil spills, just as we have seen recently with Enbridge’s massive spill in Michigan, the recent devastating spill in Lubicon Cree territory, the recent TransCanada pipeline spill in North Dakota, as well as the effects of the Gulf of Mexico Deepwater Horizon disaster. Tar sands bitumen has been demonstrated to corrode pipelines more rapidly than conventional oil, increasing the likelihood of catastrophic spills. Given the seismic volatility of the region, the recent earthquake in Japan also underlies our grave concerns about the risk of oil spills.

The urgency of global climate change, and the fact that Indigenous peoples are among those most impacted by climate change, also compels us to act.

We have witnessed the Coastal First Nations Declaration banning crude oil tankers on the Pacific North Coast, and the Save the Fraser Declaration banning crude oil transportation through the Fraser River watershed. Each of these Declarations is based in Indigenous law and is an expression of Indigenous decision-making authority.

Enbridge states that it intends to proceed with its Northern Gateway pipeline and tankers, with or without First Nations consent. A decision by Canada to approve this project, without the free, prior and informed consent of affected Nations, will be a violation of our Treaties, our rights, and our laws, and will be in breach of the UN Declaration of the Rights of Indigenous Peoples and other international accords.

THEREFORE we stand in solidarity with the Coastal First Nations, and the Nations who have signed the Save the Fraser Declaration, and are united in stating that Enbridge Northern Gateway Pipeline and tanker project, as well as other fossil fuel development projects including Keystone XL, must not proceed without obtaining the free, prior and informed consent of all affected First Nations.

AND FURTHER if such consent is not obtained, no construction of such projects shall proceed.

SIGNED in the traditional territories of the Blackfoot Confederacy, at the city of Calgary, May 10 2011

Sai’kuz First Nation

Nadleh Whut’en

Takla Lake First Nation

Nakazdli First Nation

Blood Tribe

Alexander First Nation

Roseau River Anishinabe First Nation

Lubicon Lake Nation

On Mother’s Day, Hundreds of Events for iMatter March

In 25 countries on five continents, the next generation of youth climate activists are participating in the iMatter march by taking to the streets and to the courts to demand action. Here at It’s Getting Hot in Here, we have seen a youth climate movement explode in Montreal, grow up (quite literally) organizing events like Power Shift, and launching organizations like 350.org, Summer of Solutions, the Indian Youth Climate Network, and so many more.
Yet, sometimes when the energy starts to flag you look back and realize there is another generation, even younger and with new passion, learning from the tools built by organizations like 350.org and Avaaz.org to bring more young people than ever together to take on the climate challenge. Today is one of the those days and I am very excited to welcome a generation of teenagers who have been fighting their whole life as a teenager for action on global warming. Today, the work of one of the these teenagers, joined by hundreds of organizers like himself, has come to fruition at the iMatter March. Let’s hear them in their own words:
“We trust our leaders to protect the planet, but our government is more focused on profits than our futures,” said Alec Loorz, the 16-year-old visionary of iMatter, who has been tirelessly working on the issue of climate change and global sustainability for the past three years. “World leaders aren’t moving fast enough to confront this crisis, so my generation is stepping up to demand progress. It’s not about money or convenience – our future is at stake.”
The iMatter movement has grown quickly because youth worldwide feel the urgency of the crisis and are ready to stand up for themselves. Overwhelmingly the marches have been organized by teens no older than 16, mobilizing for the first time around an issue they know will affect their future. Among the 100+ marches are:
· San Francisco, CA: iMatter founder Alec Loorz will be joined by Ted Turner, Story of Stuff creator Annie Leonard and other teens, parents and grandparents from across California.
· Salt Lake City, UT: A team of high school students and their mentors have announced a marching parade with walking “floats” organized by different groups. When the Utah Department of Transportation imposed stiff fees and unreasonable roadblocks to getting a permit, the kids approached the Utah ACLU to fight these unconstitutional limits on free speech. More at www.imattermarchutah.org
· Kuwait City, Kuwait: The 17 year-old son of an oil executive has organized a march of his peers.
· Munich, Germany: Led by 13 year old Felix Finkbeiner, who leads Plant for the Planet, a non-profit organization of youth worldwide who are committed to planting one million trees per country.  Felix and his friends are leading 4 marches in Germany and two in Mexico.
“If we wait any longer to start decisive action against global warming, our children are likely to face drastic consequences,” said Dr. James Hansen, one of the nation’s leading climatologists, who will be joining the Washington, DC march with his grandchildren.
Earlier this week, young people nationwide initiated legal and administrative actions in all 50 states, the District of Columbia and the federal government to force action on climate change. This effort is the first time climate litigation has ever gone back to the bedrock legal principal that the government must protect the public trust. It’s being led by a high-profile legal team,  including former Republican Congressman Pete McCloskey and his firm Cotchett, Pitre & McCarthy.

Continue reading ‘On Mother’s Day, Hundreds of Events for iMatter March’

Power Shift 2011: Join The Briefcase Brigades On April 27

Our guest blogger is Noland Chambliss, a member of the Briefcase Brigades.

Ten thousand young people descended on Washington for the Power Shift conference this weekend to call for bold action from government leaders to address climate change and create a clean energy economy for all. Many of these young people had a more specific, and personal, message for Congress: “I need a job.”

Inspired by passionate speeches addressing youth unemployment by AFL-CIO president Richard Trumka and green jobs visionary Van Jones, the members of the Briefcase Brigades are bringing attention to the epidemic of un- and under-employed millennials:

We are ready to work. We know the economy is in bad shape. We know the country is in trouble. We want to help. But first, we need jobs.

Watch the story of the Briefcase Brigades at Power Shift 2011:

On April 27th, while Congress is in recess and members are back in their districts, young people are creating Briefcase Brigades and going to their offices all around the country to demand Congress prioritize jobs over budget cuts.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, there are over 5 million young people who are out of work. That doesn’t count people with unpaid internships, people with low-wage jobs that don’t have health insurance, and people who went back to school because they couldn’t find a job. Continue reading ‘Power Shift 2011: Join The Briefcase Brigades On April 27′

UPDATE: 21 Arrested Staging Sit-in at Dept. of Interior Demanding Phase Out of Fossil Fuels

Residents from Gulf Coast, Appalachia and interior West join students and
climate justice activists in calling for more action on extractive industry.

For Immediate Release

Contact: Scott Parkin; on site mobile- 415-235-0596;
Henia Belalia; on site mobile- 510-529-8927
Email— extraction@risingtidenorthamerica.org

Photos available at http://www.risingtidenorthamerica.org

6:40pm (EST) UPDATE: Police are reporting 21 people have been arrested,
including youth and adults from across the country. Residents of Utah,
Wyoming, Texas, Vermont, Georgia, Washington DC and California were among
those arrested while occupying the Department of Interior offices.

Washington D.C.— Over a thousand climate activists marched from Lafayette
Park to the Department of the Interior’s headquarters in Washington D.C.
today. Reclaim Power coincided with the end of Powershift, a mass youth
climate conference, and came only 2 days before the anniversary of the BP
Gulf Oil Disaster. As many as 300 protesters ran inside the headquarters
in a Wisconsin-style occupation calling for the abolition of offshore oil
drilling, coal mining and tar sands extraction. In an act of civil
disobedience, young and old alike occupied the lobby for over an hour,
smiling and singing protest songs.

The Dept. of Interior has oversight over two agencies, the Bureau of Ocean
Energy Management, Regulation and Enforcement (BOEMRE) and the Office of
Surface Mining (OSM), which are responsible for the BP Oil Spill,
mountaintop removal coal mining and tar sands oil drilling in southern
Utah. Furthermore, the Dept. of Interior just opened up over 7,000 acres
of land to industry for coal extraction in Wyoming’s Powder River Basin.

“Our demonstration today is to show that Wyoming might be small in
population but mighty in heart,” said Kevin Uransky, a resident from
Wyoming’s coalfields and member of High Country Rising Tide participating
in the sit-in.  “We don’t want to just stand by and allow big corporations
to destroy our homes, our way of life, and some of last open, beautiful,
and undeveloped terrain left in the United States.  We want to show that
Wyoming has a voice not to be drowned out by those of more represented
states, we have a voice, we have an opinion, and we want to be heard.”

Reclaim Power is being led by residents of residents of the Gulf Coast,
Appalachia and the interior West – regions directly impacted by heinous
oil, gas and coal extractive industries. Participants are calling for the
Obama Administration and the federal agency to phase out harmful mining
and drilling practices and facilitate transitions to sustainable local
energy systems.
Continue reading ‘UPDATE: 21 Arrested Staging Sit-in at Dept. of Interior Demanding Phase Out of Fossil Fuels’

The Spring edition of Rising Tide’s newsletter, Burning Issues, is out!

Burning Issues - Spring 2011

The Spring Edition of RTNA’s newsletter, Burning Issues, is out!  Click the image above, or HERE to download.  This season’s pieces include:

  • direct action halting of heavy-haulers carrying tar-sands equipment shipments through Montana
  • updates on Tim DeCristopher, his trial, and the next phase of resistance
  • the resistance’s Nuclear Reaction- false dichotomies of energy, false solutions of nuclear, and where to go from there
  • Kentuckians occupying their governor’s offices to demand the abolition of MTR4-20 Day of Action Against Extraction!
  • shutdowns of the National Coal Council’s meeting in St. Louis
  • Canadian resistance to the tar sands, including a takeover of trade ministerial office
  • Olympia RT’s kickass campaign to stop a biomass power at Evergreen State College
  • the March on Blair Mountain, and reports from the Coalfields
  • a one-year lookback at the Gulf, from disaster to resumption of drilling
  • and much more– take a look!

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