At a time when ecological destruction is more dire than ever, the work of protecting the planet depends on dreamers just as much as of scientists, activists, public officials and business leaders. Earth Day, when millions of people voice support for environmental causes, is the perfect time to recognize this. While it’s critical to wrestle power away from those who believe that corporate profits are all that matter, we won’t achieve a sustainable, just future without serious attention to imagining a different kind of world. That’s why it’s great to see artists playing an increasingly active role in the climate justice movement today. What bold blueprints for a green planet will arise if we unleash the full power of our idealism and ingenuity?
Eric Ross of the Backbone Campaign which is a member of the sHellNo Coalition told the media that the Port Angles protest was a training run for the “festival of resistance” scheduled for the arrival of the oil rig in Seattle on May 16th. Ross told the Peninsula Daily that the ocean oil-drilling process is “a travesty for the environment” and is “damning the next generation,” Ross said. Some of the signs read “Arctic Drilling Equals Climate Chaos” and “Shell Oil Kills.” “We just want to greet them, say ‘Hello.’ Let them know that they’re not gonna slip in unnoticed. And of course, they’ll be greeted again in Seattle,” said Greenpeace spokeswoman Cassady Sharp to the Associated Press.
Activists from various arts and activist groups, including Occupy Museums, Occupy the Pipeline, Sane Energey Project, Liberate Tate, Peng Collective, The Yes Lab, Guerrilla Girls, People’s Climate Arts, and others held an artful pre-opening protest at the Whitney Museum. (See www.WhitneyPipeline.org for more information.) The protest was against the Spectra energy pipeline that runs through New Jersey, under the Hudson River and across the West Side Highway, terminating in a vault beneath the yet-to-open Whitney Museum. Artist-activist Kim Fraczek reports that the goal of the artful protest was to “engage the public to ask questions about fossil fuels, our future and what roles our institutions should play in leading us to a renewable future rather than succumbing to more fracked gas.”
For all of you who are sick of heart over the destruction of the earth through pollution and militarization, we call on you to get involved in an action that speaks to your heart and mind, from the EPA to the Pentagon on April 22, Earth Day. [Details below.] In Climate Change Challenges by Kathy Kelly: “. . . it seems the greatest danger – the greatest violence – that any of us face is contained in our attacks on our environment. Today’s children and generations to follow them face nightmares of scarcity, disease, mass displacement, social chaos, and war, due to our patterns of consumption and pollution.” She adds this: “What’s more, the U.S. military, with its more than 7,000 bases, installations, and other facilities, worldwide, is one of the most egregious polluters on the planet and is the world’s largest single consumer of fossil fuels. If you are concerned by the challenges facing Mother Earth and want to end the killer drone program, get involved with the National Campaign for Nonviolent Resistance on April 22, Earth Day.
Climate Solutions and the Washington Environmental Council are trying to kill Carbon Washington’s carbon tax ballot initiative before it gets off the ground. The two groups, the driving force behind the Alliance for Jobs and Clean Energy now supporting Washington Gov. Jay Inslee’s carbon cap-and-trade bill in the legislature, this past week sent out email broadsides decrying the Carbon Washington initiative even as CarbonWA is beginning to ramp up a citizen-driven signature effort for its newly minted Initiative 732. Trying to dampen enthusiasm for the measure, Climate Solutions and WEC say they are ready to run an initiative of their own if current legislative efforts fail.
A climate-change march drew about 25,000 people to the streets of Quebec City on Saturday, as protesters try to encourage premiers to take a tougher stance on climate and pipeline regulations. The march was organized by Act On Climate — a coalition of groups including environmental groups, unions, students and aboriginal groups. It’s in preparation for a premiers’ summit on climate change which will take place on Tuesday, April 14. The focus is a greener strategy for Canada’s provinces and territories. About 100 buses were driven to the rally with many passengers from different parts of Quebec. Once there, they marched for about three kilometres to the National Assembly. Protesters wore red and arranged themselves so that from the sky it looked like a bursting thermometer.
On April 7, Wisconsin’s Board of Commissioners of Public Lands voted 2-1 to ban those employed by the agency from doing any work pertaining to climate change or global warming while doing public lands related work.Silenced image Although the story was covered by multiple media outlets, lost in the public discussion so far is how the vote fits into the broader multi-front industry attack in America’s Dairyland-turned-Petro State and which industry interests may have played a role in the vote. The historical roots of the vote appear to trace back to an April 2009 congressional testimony given by Tia Nelson, executive secretary for the Board of Commissioners of Public Lands and daughter of former Wisconsin Democratic Governor Gaylord Nelson, in favor of passage of the American Clean Energy Security Act of 2009. In audio of the discussion preceding the 2-1 vote obtained by DeSmogBlog via an open records request, much of the 17-minute deliberation centered around the GOP Wisconsin treasurer Matt Adamczyk peppering Nelson with questions about her time spent serving on the task force.
The Pipeline Pilgrimage is a Quaker-led trek along the proposed route of Kinder Morgan’s Northeast Energy Direct pipeline in Massachusetts and New Hampshire. It began in Pittsfield, MA on April 1st and will end in Dracut, MA on April 12th, a total of 143 miles. The purpose of the pilgrimage is to foster spiritual growth in a community to catalyze a force for change. As the pilgrims travel, they are meeting local people who will be directly impacted by the pipeline, many of whom are farmers and many of whom have young children. The health and safety hazards of the Kinder Morgan pipeline would threaten their livelihoods and increase fracking operations in communities residing over the Marcellus Shale. The implications of an increase in fracking go far beyond the desecration of people’s drinking water. A surge in methane emissions will seal a future of climate chaos at which point we will be powerless to remedy the wreckage we’ve inflicted on our planet.
WASHINGTON — The White House has published a handful of comments from “environmental groups” implying widespread support for the Trans-Pacific Partnership and other corporate trade agreements. Yet these cherry-picked comments from some of the most conservative, corporate-funded environmental groups actually reveal the administration’s desperation to find any support for such deals. Indeed, the reality is that scores of major environmental organizations including Sierra Club, Natural Resources Defense Council, League of Conservation Voters, Defenders of Wildlife, Union of Concerned Scientists, Greenpeace, Friends of the Earth, 350.org, and many others oppose the TPP and have spoken out against fast-track trade authority. They recognize the TPP as a backward step for environmental protection that will help push the world over the tipping point for climate change.
On the last day of March, Syracuse University announced it will be divesting — or withdrawing its endowment fund investments — from coal and other fossil fuel companies. The Orange Nation is joining a growing list of colleges and universities who are taking this step, in addition to municipalities, religious institutions, foundations and more. The movement to divest has primarily been led by college students and broadcasted by environmental activist organization 350.org. With hundreds of active student organizations across the country, sit-ins, marches and banner drops are becoming more and more common. The City of Ithaca is on the list of municipalities who have divested, and the Park Foundation — an invaluable financial source for the Park School of Communications and Ithaca College as a whole — is among the list of divested foundations. The college, however, is nowhere to be found on 350’s “Divestment Commitments” list. The college’s student organization aimed at pressuring administration to take this step, Divest IC, has faltered and become inactive. Without it, President Tom Rochon and the Board of Trustees are off the hook.
Studies abound linking the increase in extreme weather-related catastrophes in recent decades, like droughts, floods, hurricanes and blizzards, to global climate change. Some climate experts stress the urgency of addressing the problem now, predicting cascading economic and political, social and environmental upheavals worldwide if action is delayed. Since the dawn of the industrial revolution, the CO2 content of earth’s atmosphere has shot up from 275 ppm to over 400 ppm, already well above the 350 ppmlimit some scientists believe is a safe level above which we risk triggering irreversible consequences out of human control.
“This is all aimed towards shining the light on climate change,” Baumstein said. “Humans are doing so much to exacerbate it, and we don’t even know all of the ramifications of our actions.” The oceans cover 71 percent of the planet and contain 97 percent of all the water on earth. They are where the planet’s weather systems are formed, and they are absorbing astronomical amounts of carbon dioxide and human-generated plastic and garbage. Baumstein hopes her journey will bring people’s attention to these crucial impacts of climate change and environmental degradation. “The oceans are full of data,” Baumstein said. “They have all this data that we could use to unlock some of the keys to climate change.” And she’s willing to put her life on the line to do so.