Last week before comments go BOEM!

I recorded a short video to explain what we’ve been doing for the last 50+ days as part of the comment on the Bureau of Ocean Energy management (BOEM) comment period on the Trump administration’s proposal to open more than 90% of US Coastal waters to offshore oil and gas drilling. I wanted to explain what we’ve been doing for two reasons: the first is that there’s still time to submit a comment to BOEM (before March 9, 2018), and we’ve got a new way for you to do it that ensures you comment gets heard when you submit it through this super cool new action portal we set up with friends. The second reason is that this is a really great example of the kind of work 198 methods does, how we’re different from other environmental groups, and why it matters.

A quick recap

Early this year, Ryan Zinke, Trump’s Interior Secretary, announced a new plan that would open more than 90% of US coastal waters to oil and gas drilling. It’s a really really bad plan, since offshore oil drilling always leads to more spills and accidents.And if anything, Trump’s other actions to roll back protections for the environment and worker safety will make accidents even MORE likely. Plus, there’s simply no way to manage the decline of fossil fuels and create the 100% renewable powered economy we need to stop climate change if we open up millions of new acres to offshore drilling. Which is why the Obama administration just banned all drilling off the Atlantic and pacific coasts 2 years ago after a HUGE public comment period in which more than 3 million people, dozens of governors, hundreds of mayors and just about everyone who lives along the coast clearly said #NoDrilling. Loads more footnotes and references in this pst from early in the comment period. As usual for this White House, the rollout was chaotic and ham-handed, and the whole thing may not even be legal because Zinke tried to exempt just the state of Florida as an explicit political favor to Governor Rick Scott who wants to run for US Senate. More on that later.

Our plan in action

BOEM is required by law to hold a 60 day public comment period on any new offshore drilling plan like this. But it was clear from the rollout, and from Zinke & Trump’s past actions, that they weren’t going to be talked out of drilling just because a majority of Americans oppose it. Which brings us to the first part of our plan: We didn’t just want you to comment online – though more than 14,000 of you did, and that’s awesome – we wanted to deliver the comments through direct action speak outs at the hearings, and that’s just what we did. Drew got up on a chair and shouted down the Columbia SC BOEM hearing, earning him a mention in the Washington Post. We did a similar action a few weeks later in Raleigh NC with friends from NC APPPL, who we’ve been working with to fight the pipeline. And once it got going, we weren’t alone: There were public disruptions and refusals to play along with BOEM’s process at hearings in Washington DC, New Jersey, and lots of other places. One of my favorite’s was the action in Rhode Island where our friend and frequent ally Tim DeChristopher, succeeded in turning the whole hearing on its head with citizen after citizen getting on a literal soap-box to speak out about offshore drilling and (eventually) dragging the BOEM staff into a debate on the issues.

Why we did it and why it works

All of which brings me back to why I wanted 198 to work on offshore drilling plan in the first place, and how your actions with us really make a difference: First – It’s about an important concept in Gene Sharp’s writings and teachings called ‘withholding consent’. When we fight climate change, we’re fighting a really BIG system. It involves money and power at a lot of different levels. Fundamentally, it’s also an autocratic system – meaning it’s accountable to a ruling elite, not to the people or the planet. At 198 methods, we’re convinced that fighting climate change requires a specifically anti-authoritarian approach. Like what we did at the BOEM hearings: by standing up speaking out in ways that BOEM didn’t condone (and threatened to throw us out or shut down the hearings over) we put the staff of this administrative agency in a bind. We’re asking them to consciously choose NOT to do their jobs, if that’s what it takes, in order to stop the greater harms of offshore drilling. We’re demonstrating, in a really physical, in-your-face way, that there will be a reckoning — we know most of the people are commenting in opposition to offshore drilling. We know that the consequences of this offshore drilling plan will threaten us all through climate chaos, oil spills and more. And we’re asking them to pick a side: with us or with the polluters. Second – It’s about inspiring people who are already part of the process to realize they have more power than just typing a comment into a laptop — including our allies in groups like the Sierra Club and Oceana that did not support our efforts to stand up and disrupt the hearings in advance. I noted after the SC hearing that I saw a lot of groups advocating a sort of NIMBY (Not In My backyard) strategy. Basically, they were trying to convince BOEM to give them the same exemption Zinke gave Florida (which, again, may not hold up in court). They did this either through explicit argument, like by siting the value of their coastal tourism economies, for example; Or through an implicitly political argument, like by having lots of Republicans or state-wide officials testify that they are opposed to drilling, which helps make the argument that Trump & Co. will lose support in the mid-term elections if they push forward with the plan. But I think that’s the wrong approach for two reasons: one, as outlined below, it fails to move the media narrative and focusses attention on our weakest and least reliable partners. More importantly, it uses a NIMBY argument when what we need is a NIABY argument – Not in ANYBODY’s Back Yard. We don’t just want to ban offshore drilling in South Carolina, or California, or in places that have Republican Governor’s, or in places with coastal tourism: We want to ban offshore drilling – ALL of it – because it’s way to dangerous for our communities and our planet. Third – It’s about inspiring everyone who’s not part of the process yet. Two years ago, more than 3 million people and hundreds of academics, researchers, churches, and all kinds of organizations commented in opposition to offshore drilling (all of it). Obama responded by banning drilling off the Atlantic and mainland US Pacific coasts, but allowed it to continue in the “sacrifice zones” of the Gulf of Mexico and much of Alaska. That was basically what the conventional wisdom in the media expected, and so it was ‘enough’ to turn out lots and lots of comments so that Obama would feel empowered to do that. But there is no conventional wisdom for what Trump is doing. He’s already given away more land to fossil fuels, and more brazenly, than anyone imagined a few years ago. And, dazzled by the sheer, crazy, deluge of horribleness, the main stream media (like that Washington post story) default to covering this as a ‘normal’ political story where there are people for drilling, and people against it, and BOEM is a sort of neutral mediator. To stop Trump and team’s plan we need to be bigger, more powerful, and reach more people. That means working outside of the conventional wisdom of what works in the media and political wisdom. We can’t wait for Trump to come to his senses, or be satisfied with incremental NIIMBY victories any longer. Honestly, it will probably mean more of us lining up on roads and paddling our kayaks in front of drilling rigs to stop them. That’s movement building work – not lobbying and media work. And to inspire people, a LOT of people to rise up against big authoritarian power of the petro-state as represented by this offshore drilling plan, we need to inspire people. And that, fundamentally, is why we do digitally supported direct actions JUST LIKE THIS! Look, there are enough of us, in America, to stop offshore drilling, reverse climate change and build the 100% renewable fossil free world we need. What’s more, we’ll all have more jobs, more money, more political power and more control over our daily lives when we do.  What’s holding us back is the raw political power (fueled by money, fear, and a lot of other things) of the fossil fuel industry and their allies in power – like the Trump administration. but to mobilize those people, we need to show them that resistance is possible, that it works, that it feels good (if I can’t dance I don’t want to be in your revolution) and most importantly that they have the power.

So, what next?

Glad you asked. First of all, if you liked our actions and the ideas in this post, please chip in to support us. If everybody who sent in a public comment with us gave $1.98, we’d have more than enough money to fund our entire operation for 6 months. Of Course, not everyone can donate, so if you’re in a position to give a little, please consider a weekly donation of $1.98, or a gift of $19.80 to support our ongoing work. Second – it’s not too late to submit your comment, and even if you already sent one in with us, or with another group, hang on and consider this new tool as well. Working with our friends at Daily Kos and Action Network, we’ve set up a new comment form that delivers your comments directly to the BOEM staff in charge of this docket. I’ll still deliver all the 14,000+ signatures you sent in through the in-person deliveries, and I’ll submit them as evidence before the March 9 deadline. But by also submitting a comment through this new form, you’ll essentially get two comments — and that can be really helpful for when our friends in the legal community go to court to challenge this rule. Being able to cite the fact that there were a LOT of comments, and also to pull out individual voices of opposition from the public record, will be really helpful. So, if you haven’t commented, please do so now. And if you already have, comment again!

BOEM goes the dynamite – your comments in action

When the Bureau of Ocean Energy management (BOEM) came to my town, there was already a great plan in place with rallies, lobby days,and speak outs planned by partners. But I wanted to make sure we did more than show up and record your comments (and mine) as opposed to the Trump administration’s plan.

There’s an important role for direct action in moments like these. First it’s an important way to withhold consent – a critical strategy in the Gene Sharp model of anti-authoritarian organizing we ascribe to.

Second, it helps inspire people to realize they don’t have to obey unjust and destructive dictates from the Trump administration. Across the country, people have been showing up at these BOEM events to speak out and demand a full retraction of this plan. The louder, less orderly, and more disruptive we get, the more Zinke and his team withdrawal. Some in the media are already saying that it looks more like a political stunt than a serious energy plan.

And finally, it helps to correct the media narrative, which tends towards “both side-ism” and false balance by giving drilling opponents, who vastly outnumber drilling supporters, the same amount of coverage as the fossil fuel industry, and paints BOEM as an impartial referee for science. In fact, Trump’s  Interior secretary Ryan Zinke is already ignoring mountains of scientific evidence that offshore drilling is too dangerous for our coasts and economies, and a disaster for our climate. In many cases, they’re ignoring evidence that was just submitted 1-2 years ago as part of the Obama administration process that resulted in a ban on all offshore drilling in the Atlantic and continental Pacific (eg not Alaska) oceans.*

So, when more than 10,000 members and supporters of 198 methods submitted comments opposing the Trump/Zinke offshore drilling plan, we didn’t just want to hand over your names and comments, we wanted to make a ruckus.

And that’s what we did in South Carolina – arguably the Reddest, most Trump-friendly state where BOEM is holding an offshore drilling hearing (and also Drew’s Home turf).  Below is a LONG recap of the day’s events. But if you’re already into our idea to deliver comments in the most loud, non-compliant, media-shattering way possible, then please chip in. There are important hearings happening in the next week in Washington, D.C. and North Carolina that we want to support and play a role in – and we need your help to make it happen.

The Story in South Carolina.

First of all, all respect to the Sierra Club of South Carolina and their Ready for 100% rally and lobby day, which was already planned at the statehouse. This was lead by Minister Leo Woodbury, he’s from the northeast corner of South Carolina. That’s right across the state-line from Robeson county, which we talked a lot about in the live-stream about the ACP and the Rev., in addition to talking a lot about clean power, talked about the dangers of expanding fossil fuel infrastructure including offshore drilling and new pipelines. Here’s a bit of Rev. Woodbury to give you the flavor:

Later in the morning, the big ocean groups- OCEANA, Coastal Conservation League, Southern Alliance for Clean Energy, etc – organized a big rally on the statehouse steps that featured equal numbers of democratic and Republican law makers speaking out against drilling. It was a good event, and did a good job highlighting what SC ‘insiders’ view as our most plausible route to stopping drilling in this state: that the issue is so politically toxic, that it might even suppress turnout among Trump’s base voters in 2018. These groups hope that the threat of an electoral back-lash will lead Zinke and team to offer an exemption for SC like they did for FL – but I’m not so sure.

Here’s some video of that rally:

Our local big greens did a great job planning and executing a rally based on conventional political wisdom.  It featured the voices of big politicians like Rep. Mark “Appalachian trail” Sanford and lots of State legislators. But those same reasons, the rally was not very radical  — for example it did NOT connect offshore drilling to pipelines and other fossil fuel infrastructure, Climate Change was barely mentioned once, nor was an explicit connection to environmental and racial justice made by most speakers (except the Gullah Geechee nation, of course). Still, that was the part of the day that got the most media attention.

After that it was off to the Doubletree — a hotel as far as you can get from downtown and still technically be in Columbia. Seriously, the location has no public transit it sits at the intersection of two interstate highways. Once there it was clear that BOEM was expecting some pushback given the amount of security on site.  To counteract the un-democratic format of the hearing (more on that below) a lot of those same big green groups staged a counter-rally outside the BOEM hearing room, essentially in the ballroom next door. Where the focus of the earlier rally at the statehouse was clearly political – featuring elected officials and politically connected spokespeople – the pre-BOEM rally at the hotel was focussed on the grassroots. Local mayors, business owners, and impacted trade associations like fishermen were the featured speakers. And the clear focus was to get everyone fired up and ready to submit a comment in opposition to the Trump-Zinke plan. Here’s some video of that rally to give you a taste:

About that BOEM process.

The format of the hearings is always the same, they call it a ‘townhall’ but it’s not the format most of us associate with that description – EG one microphone and people get up one at a time to testify in favor or against on the record. What they have are a bunch of table displays, staffed by career BOEM people about the proposed offshore drilling plan. The displays and staff are not explicitly pro-drilling, but they are there to explain the Trump/Zinke proposal, which is very pro drilling. So the information includes things like “why oil drilling is safer than ever” and “Why is offshore oil important to America’s Economy”. There is no display specifically on climate change or pipelines (which will be needed to get oil from offshore rigs to shore, and then onshore to refineries).

If you want to submit a “public comment” at the hearing, you have to sit down, by yourself at a laptop (provided by BOEM) and type your name, address and other personal information into the approved terminal before being allowed to (in complete silence) type your comment into the system.

I wasn’t having it. So, after a few minutes of letting people sign in and mill around, I pulled out a chair, stood on it, and called BS on the whole process.

I’m using the “BS” frame here as an intentional homage to Emma Gonzalez and her speech in Florida on gun violence. There’s something really powerful about having someone call out a lie, and it’s a similar energy I’m hoping to channel into these remaining BOEM hearings – because they’re NOT OVER YET!

In fact there three more weeks to comment on this offshore drilling plan. So before March 9, tell your friends to comment, share the action online, and if you can please chip in to support us getting to as many of these hearings as possible to shout, disrupt, and make our voices heard any way we can.


* We think the Obama rules should have gone farther, and protected the Gulf of Mexico as well. If it’s too dirty and dangerous for the South Atlantic, why is it safe for the Gulf? Answer it’s not, but the Gulf is treated as a sacrifice zone.  But that’s another story.

Act now to Stop the Bayou Bridge Pipeline

Construction has begun on the Bayou Bridge pipeline (BBP). This is the pipeline at connects at the very end of the Dakota Access Pipeline (DAPL) to bring fracked-oil from North Dakota to export terminals near St. James, Louisiana.

bayou bridge mapAlong the route, the BBP crosses over 700 bodies of water, threatening our water and the local economy. It also lights the fuse on a massive carbon bomb in the Bakken oil formation — America’s Tar Sands — by connecting the dirtiest oil in America to international export market fueled by corporate greed.

Local organizers have been preparing for this moment for months creating the L’eau Est la Vie camp in the path of the proposed pipeline, writing letters, calling elected officials, attending hearings and suing the company to stop this atrocity.5 Now, those on the frontlines of the #NoBBP fight are calling for aid, and we need to respond.

From February 26 – March 4, You are invited to take action along with communities across the globe in solidarity with those fighting the Bayou Bridge on the frontlines. Energy Transfer Partners, the company behind Bayou Bridge and also behind DAPL, must be held accountable. Click here to learn more and sign up to host an action​.

TONIGHT! February 15 at 5:30 PT / 8:30 ET you’re also invited to join a conference call to hear from organizers and residents who are resisting the Bayou Bridge Pipeline on the frontlines. Click here to RSVP and get the call in number so you can hear updates from the ground and learn more about how to plan an action that supports the frontlines.

If you can’t make it tonight, I suggest checking in with to learn more about the financiers and politicians targeted during the week of action​. Lots of you have already signed on to petitions and letter asking these banks to divest. And many of you have attended big days of action targeting these banks (US Bank, Wells Fargo, and others) over the last few months. Even if you can’t plan or attend an event you can close a bank account, hold a rally or just withhold your business and consent from any of these institutions to show solidarity.

But the best thing to do ​right now​ is put up an event on that map – we’ll follow up with more information, sample fliers and more. And of course we’ll send multiple ​emails (along with all the other solidarity partners) to make sure that you get a crowd to back you up. But until someone, like you, steps up to host an event at a local bank branch or similar location, we can’t invite all your neighbors to show solidarity with this important week of action.

So click here to get started hosting your own #NoBBP action between Feb 26 and March 5.

Stop Trump’s offshore drilling plan!

Trump wants to repeal the Obama-era ban on offshore drilling, opening more than 90 percent of our coastline to oil and gas leasing.

At the same time, Trump’s allies in Congress are trying to dismantle the worker safety and environmental protections put into place after the Deepwater Horizon rig killed 11 people and caused a $60 billion oil spill that destroyed coastal environments and made thousands of people sick.

Nor are spills, explosions and loss of life on oil rigs the only things we’re worried about (though only a fool would not be worried about them). We need to keep at least 80% of known oil and gas reserves in the ground, or risk tipping the climate beyond the point of no return. Adding millions of new acres of oil and gas drilling is not just climate denial, it’s a death sentence for millions of people in coastal communities around the world.

Fortunately, there’s still time to stop Trump’s disastrous plan. You have until March 9 to submit and official comment. Sign with us, and we’ll hand deliver the message at a series of regional meetings over the next few weeks.

Why do we think we can win this time, when the Trump is so clearly bent on service their polluting pay-masters in the fossil fuel industry? Well this time, they might be vulnerable: As usual, Trump’s plan for unlimited offshore drilling was as ham-handed as it was disastrous. Just five days after announcing the new drilling plan, Interior Secretary Zinke did Florida Gov. Rick Scott a huge favor by exempting his state, and ONLY his state, from the offshore ban.

That’s created a huge backlash in coastal states, some of which Trump and his allies in Congress cannot win re-election without. Governors from virtually every state have demanded to be exempted like Florida — including Trump loyalists like Gov. Henry McMaster in South Carolina — but so far only Rick Scott is politically connected enough to get a waiver. The deal many not even be legal, and coasts-state Senators are already holding hearings and demanding answers.

With all this turmoil, now is the moment we can make a difference with simple online actions, backed up by strong in-person deliveries that demand accountability. Can you help? Click here to sign on to our public comment, and we’ll hand deliver it to a BOEM hearing in the next few weeks.

PS – Our friends at are organizing turnout and supporting local activists in several cities. I’ll be at the Columbia SC hearing next week for the first of our deliveries. Check that page for updates and links to events near you.


National Dream Act Day of Action Feb 7

You probably remember, less than a month ago, when all but 16 hard-line Dream Heroes in the Senate (not-coincidentally some of our most reliable votes on climate change) voted to re-open the government. They did so based on a promise from Mitch McConell and Donald Trump allow a vote to protect Dreamers before February 8.

This week, the bill for that bad bet comes due. Tomorrow is the 8th and no vote on the Dream act has been scheduled. The Government runs out of money, again, this Friday and we’ve made no progress.

Today hundreds of young Dreamers from across the country have traveled to D.C. to demand that Congress pass a clean Dream ActClick here to check out the live feed of their actions on capitol hill, and then call 478-488-8059 so United We Dream can patch you through to Congress. Tell them to pass a CLEAN Dream Act and protect immigrant youth without harming their families.

As we explained last timethis Dream Act vote is a critical litmus test  for climate change.

It’s also clear that we can’t trust most of the “deals” that have been offered by Donald Trump and Mitch McConnell in recent days. McConell has already broken his promise by not scheduling an up or down vote on immigration, and today’s proposed two year spending plan does nothing to protect Dreamers — giving us us even more reason to distrust him.

Trump’s plan is even worse. He’s actively calling for a government shut down unless Congress gives him a racist immigration plan that a Washington Post analysis confirms will mostly have the effect of making America Whiter, Older, and more poor.6 It’s no surprise that President “shit-hole” isn’t a reliable negotiating partner. But that’s why we need Republicans and Democrats in Congress who claim to agree on immigration (just like many of them claim to agree on the need for climate action) to do their job and VOTE on the issue.

Let your Senators know you demand that Mitch McConell be held to his promise, and that Congress vote on a clean dream act – not a compromise that includes racist policies like an end to family reunification or a border wall – NOW. Call 478-488-8059 right now and tell them to pass a CLEAN Dream Act and protect immigrant youth without harming families.

Images from United we Dream

Live in Raleigh

I’m locked in the North Carolina Governor’s office with a dozen pipeline fighters, so I’ll keep this short:

This morning, in a surprise addition to a planed day of action challenging the Atlantic Coast Pipeline, a muti-state coalition of activists stormed the lobby to the governor’s office and are refusing to leave until the governor or his staff will meet with them.
Activists were angered by Governor Roy Cooper’s decision last Friday against all evidence and reason to nonetheless green light ACP construction. Activists have been occupying the office since 8:30 am, and have vowed not to leave until the Governor revokes his approval. Police are allowing the demonstration to continue uninterrupted, resulting in a stalemate where activists are getting food delivered and bringing in sleeping bags, readying themselves to stay all day and into the night potentially.
A few things you can do to help right now!
1) Help feed the team! If you donate here, we’ll get pizza and other gnoshables delivered to the occupation team. The police show no signs of trying to force us out. But Cooper has also shown no signs of reversing his decision. So we’re digging in for the long haul. And our team is hungry!It’s lunch time as I type this, and if you chip in here​, or here on paypal​, we’ll put your donation toward food and other logistics.
2) share share share – the livestream is great. So are the facebook and twitter feeds of the other groups sponsoring this action:​

3) Tell Raleigh NC people to come join us – especially students and anyone free in the middle of the day. The police are making no move to remove us, so we’re digging in to occupy until 5pm when the building closes.

US Bank broke its promise – Defund Pipelines

If you’re one of the nearly 200,000 people who signed a petition calling on the biggest Wall Street Banks to stop financing the Dakota Access Pipeline, and all fossil fuel infrastructure, you need to see this.

US Bank, which had promised to stop funding DAPL and similar pipeline projects, just made millions of dollars guaranteeing a massive credit deal with Energy Transfer Partners (ETP), the company behind DAPL, the Bayou Bridge Pipeline, and dozens of other dirty pipelines across America.

Will you sign this petition to US Bank CEO Andrew Cecere to keep his promise to end financial support to oil and gas pipelines with our allies at Climate Truth? If you sign today, they and activists in US Bank’s home town of Minneapolis, MN, will deliver it this week.

Last April, a ton of us praised US Bank when they agreed to demands from Indigenous and climate activists (like us) to stop financing major oil and gas pipelines like DAPL. We warned at the time that US Bank was hedging its bets and hadn’t promised to Divest, yet.

But in the closing weeks of 2017, US Bank committed a major betrayal: They signed onto a $5 billion credit arrangement with ETP, the notorious human-rights abusing, climate destroying, pipeline company behind DAPL and some of the dirtiest pipeline on earth.

The decision is as baffling as it is frustrating. Big banks and finance institutions, from New York City’s pension funds to the World bank are divesting from dirty fossil fuels. European banks like ING and BNP Paribas have announced major divestment moves in the weeks since US Bank’s initial announcement. There’s no reason for US Bank to backslide now.

But there is a good reason to turn up the pressure right now: Next month Super Bowl LII is being played in US Bank stadium in Minneapolis. So we’re working with our friends at Climate Truth and local organizers like MN350 and the folks who organized a banner drop at the stadium more than a year ago, to deliver this message bank executives at a high-profile event during Super Bowl week.

Sign the petition now and we’ll deliver it again during US Bank’s biggest publicity event of the year.

Get up, get down, get local to keep fossil fuels in the ground

One of the best places to make progress for our climate and our communities is at the local level. Already Mayors and city councils from Seattle, WA, to Columbia, SC, where I live are stepping up and taking action by calling for a switch to 100% clean energy, divesting from Exxon and other Big Oil baddies, or refusing to do business with the big banks that fund pipelines.

Next Wednesday, January 31st, the day after Trump’s first State of the Union, our friends at are throwing a party with partner organizations, movement leaders and community organizers in Washington D.C. They’ve got a plan for howe we can ALL win at the local level, and I think you should give it a listen. If you’re interested, click here to tune in & watch Fossil Free Fast: The Climate Resistance via livestream on January 31st in your town or city — join a watch party near you or sign up to host one.

The list of speakers includes Senator Bernie Sanders, Bill McKibben, Rev. Lennox Yearwood from Hip Hop Caucus, Jacqueline Patterson from the NAACP, Cherri Foytlin from BOLD Louisiana, Varshini Prakash from the Sunrise Movement, Jessica Lorena Rangel from Eyes of a Dreamer, and lots more

But you don’t need to be in D.C. to be part of the action. Hundreds of watch parties are already planned in cities and towns across the country. And thanks to the amazing lineup of speakers, it’s a great place for experienced climate activists and new people alike to learn more about the climate crisis and get real tools to take action this year. The event is also interactive – meaning there will be time to talk with your group about ideas and plans for the next few weeks, not just to listen to the fancy people on stage.

Here are just a few of the topics we’ll cover:

  • How to resist the Trump Administration’s ongoing attacks on our climate and communities;
  • Building power towards the 2018 and 2020 elections;
  • The need to unite to secure the lasting change needed on climate through effective local campaigns, including passing local resolutions in your city or town;
  • How together, we can take on the fossil fuel barons driving climate change and build the world we need, with a fast and just transition to 100% renewable energy for all.

Join us on Jan 31st at a watch party near you — or if there isn’t one on the map yet, you can host one yourself. 350 and 198 will support you every step of the way to make your watch party a success.

Democrats cave on Dreamers, here’s why it’s bad for the climate.

Yesterday Chuck Schumer led Senate Democrats to abandon their bargaining position and re-open the government. For their vote, those Democrats got absolutely zero protections for Dreamers and only a verbal contract (worth the paper it’s printed on) that he’d allow a vote to protect Dreamers before February 8.

Let’s be clear: Schumer made a BAD deal. Voters, especially young people and independents, already blamed Trump and the Republicans for the shutdown. And as we explained in our last post, huge majorities of people favor action on DACA (just like they do on climate).

Also, as we explained last time, this was a critical litmus test vote for climate change. If we can’t trust Democrats and a handful of Republicans who ​say​ they back a wildly popular policy — in this case protecting nearly 800,000 young people from deportation, but the parallel​ to climate action are clear — ​to stand up and vote that way when given a chance, then we just can’t trust them.

And unfortunately that mushy middle where most politicians live has collapsed again. All but 16 hard-line Dream Heroes (not-coincidentally some of our most reliable votes on climate change) voted to re-open the government rather than be tagged as ‘obstructionists. If you’re angry and looking to do something today, I highly recommend the Dreamer Pledge website which lets you check how YOUR Senators voted, and contact them by phone, by emailing their senior staff directly, and by showing up at their offices.

The decision to re-open the government was not cut and dry: knowing when to end a shut down action never is. And there are some arguing today that the Democrats did the right thing by voting the way they did. There are more of us, however, arguing that the Democrats caved too soon, not only on Dreamers but on Health Insurance and everything else they supposedly “got” in this deal.

At the end of the day, the key issue is whether you believe you can “trust” Trump and his Senate Leader Mitch McConnell. And to be clear, I DON’T. McConnell has been the leading advocate for coal and other fossil fuels in the Senate for years, giving us in the Climate movement more chances than most to observe his duplicitous, double-dealing nature. But it was McConnell’s more recent promises to Senators Flake and Collins that he would hold voted on health care and immigration in exchange for their support of the tax cut that should have tipped Senators off. After all it was Richard Nixon, of all people, who said “With all the power that a president has, the most important thing to bear in mind is this: You must not give power to a man unless, above everything else, he has character.”

It’s doubly disappointing because for once the climate and environmental communities had done a great job of coming together in solidarity, with dozens of groups signing a solidarity letter and showing willingness to show up and shut things down in order to make progress on essential issues like immigration and climate change.

Reacting to the Democratic capitulation, Sierra Club’s executive director, Michael Brune, was unflinchingly critical: “Everyone in the Senate should have learned the lesson Senators Flake and Collins learned: you can’t trust Mitch McConnell. His promises are empty from the start.”

Let your Senators know you are willing to shut things down in order to open them up, and that you expect them to do the same. Click here to make a call with the Dreamer pledge team and stay tuned for more updates within 3 weeks.

Shut. It. Down. Dream Act Now.

There’s a principle in direct action called “shutting things down to open them up.” The basic idea is that since we know “power concedes nothing without a demand,” sometimes you have to shut something down in order to open up a conversation about the moral harm it creates.

This week, there’s a critical opportunity to demand Congress take action – or else shut down the whole government. And we need your help:

Congress has until Friday to pass a spending bill that will keep the government open — including the rogue deportation department called ICE — and we’re working in solidarity with a team that is demanding they say #NoDreamNoDeal and include a clean Dream Act. Anything less is a vote to fund the deportation of hundreds of our brothers and sisters who have lived here their whole lives.

Why is a climate action group working to pass the Dream Act? For two reasons:

  1. It’s about solidarity: In addition to being the right, moral thing to do, climate change and immigration ARE linked issues. As rising seas, extreme weather, and fights political and military create more and more refugees (including here in the US) we’re going to need smart, compassionate laws like the Dream Act. Just as important, these young undocumented Dreamers are essential to the fight to solve climate change — they’re showing up at protests, inventing better and cheaper solar panels, and doing the work we need young people to do.
  2. It’s a test for Congress: Climate change and the Dream Act have nearly identical political problems: huge majorities of voters support action, but Congress is slow to act. And too often, our so-called allies are quick to compromise and delay, when they need to stand and fight. We’ve seen this over and over again in the last 12 months as Congress, including Democrats who claim to be progressives, vote to confirm Trump’s nominees to the EPA, Department of Interior, FERC and other agencies. Just last month, the House Democrats stuck to their guns and refused to pass a spending bill without a Dream Act, but a handful of Senate Democrats buckled under pressure and gave Trump a victory (during which time he held a confused meeting about immigration, then made his infamous “Shithole” remark).We can’t let that happen again. We need to start sending the message to so-called progressive politicians that it’s not enough to talk tough about Trump and ask us to vote for you or your party. We need you to be willing to shut things down in order to make progress — just as we are.

Click here to host or join a #NoDreamNoDeal rally near you this week.

Click here or call 202-224-3121 and tell your Senators and Representative not to vote for ANY spending bill UNLESS it includes a clean Dream Act (the free click to call tool is sponsored by our allies at United We Dream).

Here’s the back-story on the Dream Act

On September 5, Donald Trump repealed the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program. His decision strips children who were brought here illegally, called Dreamers, of their ability to live, learn, and work. Everyday Congress refuses to act 122 Dreamers lose their protection from deportation.

So this week thousands of us will rise up and demand that our Representatives and Senators across the country make a choice and support Dreamers and a clean Dream Act. Please join us at a Wednesday or Thursday action near you – click here for details and to RSVP. If there’s not one near you, there’s still time to organize a quick rally or photo event with friends. The more visibility we have—even small events—the stronger our voice.

We know that the public does not support the deportation of 800,000 immigrant youth who are doctors, lawyers, activists, and people who make our communities wonderful places to.

Join us to tell our government that we are not bargaining chips – a Clean Dream Act must be part of any spending bill: