Talk about the Green New Deal, not this Senate vote

Let’s get one thing clear about this week’s Senate vote on a Green New Deal: Mitch McConnell is a twerp.

The resolution that was voted on this week was not the non-binding Green New Deal resolution introduced by Sen. Edward Markey (D-Mass.) and Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.), which we’ve talked. a lot. about.

That resolution would need to be referred to committee, where it would have committee hearings and consideration and debate – the kind of stuff that might address the concerns we and others have raised about banning fossil fuels, stopping pipelines, and the like. It also would give time and space to fill in details that are missing.

McConnell doesn’t want that debate, so he introduced this binding resolution making “it is the sense of the Senate” that the Green New Deal should become “the policy of the United States.” Like I said, he’s a twerp.

But Whatever McConnell’s shady motivations, this week’s vote was a slap-in-the-face loss to the climate community. The vote was 57-to-0, with 4 Dems, 1 Independent and every Republican voting “no” and all other dems voting “present.”

That’s especially galling because the oil, gas, & coal industries contributed more than $55 MILLION to senators who voted “no” on the #GreenNewDeal resolution – 11x more than to those who voted “present”.

It’s also hard to swallow because after 3 months of a new Congress, thousands of media stories, hundreds of lobby visits, sit ins, protests, and press conference galore we’ve actually managed to convince a majority of Americans that this is a crisis worth tackling – and tackling this way.

Which is why I’m sticking to my guns on this 198-methods strategy: We need outside action, especially direct action, that slows or stops the buildout of fossil fuel infrastructure. AND we need an inside-strategy that presses politicians and regulators to take actions (like a real, fossil-free, Green New Deal), because only big policy solutions will change the dynamic fast enough.

What’s the big deal?

Don’t get me wrong, the Green New Deal has re-shaped the debate on climate change and gotten politicians to talk about the scope and severity of the crisis in a serious way for the first time in a long time.

But the conversation is still stuck in false assumptions that will not keep fossil fuels in the ground or address the systemic racism and injustice of sacrifice zones. In the House of Representatives (outside Mitch the twerp-turtle’s jurisdiction), at least 3 committees are considering climate legislation. But all those bills, and even the actual resolution from Markey and AOC still talk about “net zero emissions” or set the timeline to end fossil fuels and nuclear power way too far in the future (like 2050 or later).

And I’m not just being a stick-in-the-mud: The decision to leave fossil fuels and nuclear on the table in the Green new Deal is shaping the 2020 conversation already: Beto O’Rourke said he supports a Green New Deal, and fracked gas, when Friends of the Earth questioned him in New Hampshire. A few days later, Sen Cory Booker said “I already support the Green New Deal. This resolution of bold vision is what we need. … And I agree with you. Nuclear has to be part of this solution.”

As a side-note, Booker was at a South Carolina town hall meeting organized by CNN that night. If he’d read the local paper, he might have seen that a few miles away another nuclear waste site was caught leaking tritium into the ground water in Barnwell, SC.

If we leave fossil fuels and nuclear on the table, what we’re really saying is that we’re ok with sacrifice zones. Because if we don’t start phasing out dirty energy NOW then they will keep building them, and people will keep getting sick, having their land stolen, and worse.

The 5 biggest oil companies (BP, Exxon, Shell etc) are planning to spend $110 BILLION on new oil & gas projects THIS YEAR (2019) & just 3% as much on clean alternatives.

Wall Street, the fossil fuel companies, the utilities, every single Republican in the Senate and a shockingly large number Democrats are committed to that same vision: another 20-50 years of drilling, spilling, pipelines, genocide, and ecological devastation.

So, now what?

The Senate vote was a sham and a stunt — not least of all because it distracted everyone (effectively) from the real action in the House where this week Nancy Pelosi introduced HR 9 . to keep the US in the Paris climate agreement.

Paris is not a panacea — It’s non-binding, like the AOC/Markey resolution. But it creates a framework to debate bills that have a lot more force and effect.

It’s like agreeing on the playing field, the rules, and saying that we’re in the game. We still need to do all the things to win (in this case stop climate change before it kills us all). And none of that will be possible if we slash our own achilles’ tendons — which is what building 12 new gas export facilities, millions of acres of fracking and drilling rigs, and millions of miles of new pipelines would do to our chances.

But, it’s a start. So this April we’re encouraging you to work on those two tracks: You can join a local Promise to Protect training stop and learn how you can turn up to stop the Keystone Pipeline, and stay tuned for updates on other actions targeting Dominion and the Atlantic Coast Pipeline. At the same time, keep the pressure on Congress to keep debating climate solutions, and make sure they #KeepItInTheGround and say #nonukes as part of those solutions. A great action this week is to call your Senators and tell them to oppose Trump’s choice to lead the Interior Department, David Bernhardt, a former oil lobbyist who is exactly as corrupt as you think he is.

Flooding can’t stop us, meet me in Ponca city

If you haven’t seen the photos of flooding in the midwest, you should. It’s one of the latest examples of how climate chaos is impacting people across America and around the world. This photo is from Nasa and shows the massive flooding in and around Omaha, NE (near where the Keystone pipeline is scheduled to be built).

But tons of communities across the midwest have been hit by this year’s floods – Including in Ponca, where we were planning a conference in May. The city and the Ponca people are ok, and the conference is still on. But it underscores that we need to do more than just look at the images of floods and fires that are the effects of climate chaos. We need to confront the causes of the crisis as well – and develop wholistic solutions that keep fossil fuels in the ground and build our power as people and as co-habitants in a global ecosystem.

That’s why I wanted to invite you to meet me in Ponca City, Oklahoma, May 16-18 for the Frontline Oil and Gas conference.

The conference will bring together hundreds of activists and impacted community members leading the fight against destructive oil and gas operations. There are also scholarships available to help activists get there and participate – but the first deadline to apply is coming up on April first. So make sure to visit the website and RSVP soon!

If you’re to learn about what other communities are doing to fight fossil fuels, meet inspiring community leaders, and learn innovative strategies that protect our land, air, water, and climate by recognizing the fundamental rights of nature — this is the place for you.

Not just another conference, this event is about building for frontline power.

As Ponca elder and conference founder Casey Camp Horinek says, “As a member of the Ponca Nation we are proud to host this event and tell our story, and give a platform for others to share, teach, and learn what we all can do to help each other change this cycle of illness and death due to fossil fuel industry not just in Oklahoma but around the world. Physically, mentally, spiritually we must create change for a better world for people and our planet, and for future generations. It is time to shed full light on the genocidal impacts of the fossil fuel industry on the people and all living things.”

Learn more about Mekasi Horinek and her work at the website of our partner, Movement Rights
Casey Camp Horinek at the Red Line action on the streets of Paris, during the UN Climate COP

The conference has an emphasis on innovative strategies led by indigenous communities, people of color and grassroots activists. There will be four learning tracks: indigenous, Rights of Nature, skills, and technical trainings. If you know anyone else who might be interested in participating please join me in spreading the word!

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Vote imminent on Wheeler

Quick update – Andrew Wheeler, Trump’s climate-destroying nominee to lead the EPA is on the Senate calendar today for a so-called “unanimous consent” vote.

That’s the same motion that Lisa Murkowski used more than a year ago to whisk through several nominees to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission. At that time, no single Senator objected, and as a result we’ve had approvals of dozens of new gas pipelines and export terminals.

The damage that Andrew Wheeler could do as head of the EPA is even greater, and touches on a wide range of issues – from climate chaos, to poisoning farmworkers and contractors with chemicals, to poisoning whole communities (usually communities of color) with mercury pollution from power plants.

We need ever Senator who cares about the planet to vote against Wheeler this week. If we convince Senators this is a litmus-test on energy and environment, we’ll have a much better chance when it comes time to prosecute the Trump team for their corruption, collusion with polluters, and criminal neglect of our climate.​

More than 12,000 198 methods supporters have signed a petition opposing Wheeler. And we know this strategy can work because Wheeler’s vote in committee was on party lines. Now, I need your help to melt the phones in the Senate with calls opposing Wheeler.

Click or call (202) 224-3121 and tell your Senators you want them to vote NO on making climate-wrecking coal lobbyist Andrew Wheeler the permanent head of EPA.

Last year, we convinced every Senate Democrat to vote against a Trump nominee for FERC. Now, we’re trying to repeat that vote with Wheeler – and maybe add a few Republicans too since some of them have voiced concerns about Wheeler.​

Need a little more on Wheeler? No problem, we’ve got you covered in the blog. You can also mention that, just this month, Wheeler said that the Green New Deal would threaten the entire electric grid – belying both a failure to understand how Renewable Energy works, and willingness to lie to the press in service of the Trump administration and the coal industry.​

If you’re ready, click here or call (202) 224-3121 and tell your Senators you want them to vote NO on making climate-wrecking coal lobbyist Andrew Wheeler the permanent head of EPA. And don’t forget to call back, everybody has two Senators!

Here and No Further

Watching US policy the last few months – with the triumph and travails of the Green New Deal, the mixed messages from 2020 Presidential candidates, the #FakeTrumpEmergency, and more, I’m left with an inescapable conclusion: Politicians and corporations wont save us from the climate crisis. But we might be able to save each other.

Which is why I was excited to see our old friends at Rising Tide North America are going on a U.S. tour with radical climate justice group Ende Gelände. Together, they’ll share stories from Germany’s wildly successful mass mobilizations and talk about how we in the US can mobilize the numbers to truly stop the fossil fuel industry, topple the systems that let it run amuck, and create truly decentralized and democratized energy systems.

Will you join us? The tour is on the West Coast through early March, and then on the East Coast and through midwestern coal fields until April. Click here to find out when the tour stops near you and stay in the loop!

RSVP: Get tour updates by signing up here
(Specific dates are below and many events are cross-listed on our Facebook Page here)

Last fall, Ende Gelände organized 6,000 people to block an active coal mine and 82 simultaneous tree sits to protect a forest from being bulldozed.

Demonstrators invaded mining pits, danced in front of the diggers, slept on the railways, and made the connection between climate chaos and capitalism.

To do that here in the US, Rising Tide (and lots of us) believe we need to build a grassroots movement that uses direct action to bring down the fossil fuel industry and demand a just transition to clean and democratic energy systems.

We also need to confront false solutions like carbon trading; build international solidarity; use local and municipal power; and take leadership from those hit first and worst by pollution and climate catastrophes.

West Coast: February 21 – March 16

More West Coast dates and locations coming soon….!

East Coast/Appalachia/Midwest: March 6 – April 2

  • March 7th (afternoon): Boston, Massachusetts RSVP Page
  • March 7th (evening): Boston, Massachusetts Event Page
  • March 12th: Brooklyn, New York
  • March 13th: Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
  • March 16: Baltimore, Maryland, Facebook event
  • March 17th: Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
  • March 18th: Charleston, West Virginia
  • March 23rd: Blacksburg, Virginia
  • March 24th: Charlottesville, Virginia
  • TBA: Eastern Kentucky
  • March 26th: St Louis, Missouri
  • TBA: Minneapolis, Minnesota

Call now for a Green New Deal

It’s here! A joint Resolution for a Green New Deal was just released.

As had been reported many many times, the resolution does not mention fossil fuels or pipelines, and leaves the door open to nuclear power, some kinds of fracking, and more.

Most important the resolution is a starting gun – an official letter introduced in Congress that you can call your members about and tell them why the Green New Deal matters to you.

Pick up the phone right now and dial (833) 768-7693 to tell Congress to be Real Climate Leaders by supporting a strong Green New Deal.

Not sure what to say? Here are some simple talking points based on the demands that more than 1000 activists have been delivering at more than 100 congressional offices this week:

  • This week activists are meeting with congressional offices from coast to coast urging Congress to transform our economy and energy systems through a Green New Deal.
  • More than a thousand activists are meeting with more than 100 members of Congress.
  • We’re delivering more than 100,000 signatures to support a Green New Deal.
  • Specifically, we’re demanding that
    • You support a Green New Deal that halts all new fossil fuel extraction, infrastructure and subsidies, and transitions power generation to 100% renewable energy by 2035 or sooner.
    • This must be a bold, progressive policy that ensures a Fair & Just Transition led by impacted communities and workers and one that passes a national jobs guarantee.
    • To tackle climate change, we need to decarbonize the agriculture and transportation sectors and expand access to public transportation.
    • And we must respect and uphold the rights of Indigenous peoples.
    • Add your own local concerns too – about pipelines, nuclear power, or any other local issue you’re working on!

I wrote earlier this week about why I’m worried this could be another “all of the above” plan. And as more and more news reports came out, it was clear that was a real danger. To re-cap that argument:

Under the All of the Above plan from Obama, the US dramatically increased production of Renewable energy at the same time we even more dramatically increased fossil fuel production and especially fossil fuel exports. Donald Trump even bragged on it at his state of the Union on Tuesday – and when Trump brags about something, you know it’s just the worst. Some of the places that got hit first and worst by this boom in fossil fuels:

  • The Gulf of Mexico, especially poor, black or brown communities in places like Louisiana and Texas who are also on the frontlines of climate-fueled super storms.
  • Indigenous communities in Canada and the plains, where a boom in tar sands and shale oil brought crime, pollution and pipelines.
  • California communities – again usually poor or black or brown or all of the above – that saw a massive expansion of fracking for oil and gas even as state leaders touted 100% renewable goals and carbon trading markets.
  • And the shale-fields of Pennsylvania, where a boom economy in fracking left behind pollution, bomb-trains, pipelines and chemical plants, but failed to deliver lasting economic stability.

That’s not the Green New Deal we hoped for or need. But even if it’s imperfect, the resolution introduced today is an important place to start conversation. We need to begin changing everything, and we can. But only if EVERYONE shows up right now to tell Congress: This is the moment to call – Congress just started to hold hearings yesterday on climate change, and this new Resolution for a Green New Deal is like a starting gun being fired. Now we race towards solutions, with only 10 years to make the big changes we need.

What’s a Green New Deal that doesn’t ban Fossil Fuels?

This is getting exciting: In the last week, Kamala Harris and Elizabeth Warren became the latest 2020 Presidential candidates to support a Green New Deal. And rumors are swirling in Washington that Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Senator Ed Markey are about to release a joint resolution for a Green New Deal too.

But will these new candidates and resolutions live up to the hype? Will they halt all new fossil fuel extraction, transition to 100% renewable energy, rapidly decarbonize our agriculture and transportation sectors, ensure a fair and just transition led by impacted workers and communities, uphold Indigenous rights, and pass a national jobs guarantee? In short, will the Green New Deal live up to our demands for justice and climate action?

They will, if we demand it. Which is why I need your help to deliver our demands for Real Climate Leadership this week.

FIRST – click here to see if there’s a Real Climate Leadership event planned near you. If so, sign up to join us.

No More climate Cowardice

No event near you? No problem:

  1. Click here to look your member’s nearest office by entering your zip code;
  2. Print out these two letters and bring them with you:
    1. A campaign letter signed by more than 600 organizations with our policy demands; and
    2. Our cover letter outlining the 5 principles we’re asking all Members of Congress to publicly support.
  3. BONUS! Got an extra minute to plan ahead? Click here to add the date and time of your event to our map. Planning ahead for your event will enable our organizing team to follow up with additional support and help you recruit more people to attend.

Here’s why I’m also worried about what these candidates, bills and resolutions will really deliver:

If your inbox is anything like mine, you’ve already gotten emails from Sunrise and 350.org asking you to “support AOC” and “move this legislation forward by turning up the heat on our members of Congress” before draft legislation is available for public comment and scrutiny

And on a call last week, Sunrise and 350 both defended the idea of focussing on the jobs guarantee, not keeping fossil fuels in the ground or stopping new pipelines. There’s no reason to think any of these politicians and groups – Sunrise, 350, Sen Markey or Rep. Ocasio-Cortez – are trying to sell us out.

But until we see the text of that resolution – the way we previously were shown a copy of the draft legislation to create a Select Committee on a Green New Deal – there’s no way to know what it says. *update* And Articles like this more or less confirm we wont like it when we do see it.

Because we’ve been burned before: Under President Obama the Democratic party trumpeted an “all of the above” energy policy that sounded a lot like a Green new Deal in its pursuit of 100% renewable energy and a booming economy with no mention of keeping fossil fuels in the ground.

That policy directly created the biggest buildout of fossil fuel infrastructure in 100 years – most of it for export. That’s why the US exporters of oil and gas have increased more than 468% since Obama took office. and we’re now one of the largest oil and gas exporters in the world along with (wait for it) Russia.

And in specific states like California that have combined bold 100% renewable plans with carbon trading schemes that let bog corporations “buy” offsets in the global south the picture is even darker: The price of 100% renewable in California has been a dramatic expansion of fracking and pollution in poor, often latino communities, and the theft of land from and outright murder of indigenous people across central and South America.

Those are the costs of getting climate policy wrong – by endorsing actions that focus on and reward economics and job creation rather than what is truly just or fights the climate crisis.

I’m excited about the prospect of a Green New Deal. And I’m encouraged by new leaders like AOC that are talking about the scope and scale of the problem in ways that match the science.

But we need to be very careful, right now at the start of the new Congress, that those big ideas and bold demands don’t get coopted into something like an All of the Above part 2.

And that’s why out actions this week are so important. By showing up right now and making a clear demand for Real Climate leadership based on these 5 demands, we can make sure that any new resolution or plan is judged against them and can steer the conversation towards solutions we need.

Together with more than 50 partner organizations we’re making calls and recruiting volunteers. And Congress and the 2020 Presidential campaigns are already responding.

But to make this work, we need volunteers to deliver our demands from coast to coast at EVERY congressional office. I don’t care whether your Representative is a Democrat or a Republican; Whether they’ve signed on to support a Green New Deal already, or are a climate-denying Trump supporter. EVERY member of Congress needs to hear that there are people in their neighborhood these demands, and with your help, we’ll make sure they do.

Host a Green New Deal Action!

Donald Trump has finally given in and ended the longest government shutdown in history. But his attacks on our climate and common home keep coming. If there’s one thing we can learn from the shutdown, it’s that when we stick together and stand by our principles we can win. And that’s why I’m so excited to fight with you for a Green New Deal.

Progressive champs like Reps. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez have given us a unique chance: Her Green New Deal vision is a bold climate solution that would put power in the hands of communities, not corporations, provide family-sustaining jobs, and end our reliance on fossil fuels.

The idea of a Green New Deal is gaining momentum in Congress. But too many Democrats claim to support the “idea” of a Green New Deal, while continuing to support fracking, fossil fuel subsidies and our dirty, climate-wrecking status quo.

Which is why from February 4-8th, we’re joining a broad coalition of environmental organizations and people like you to visit our members of Congress and tell the we need REAL climate leadership. Will you join us?

Demand that your Representative fight for Real Climate Leadership and a Green New Deal: Sign up to organize an event in your community next week!

No More Climate Cowardice Tell democrats we need a strong Green New Deal by hosting an action now.

This is the moment to show the strength of our movement for climate justice: presidential hopefuls are starting to voice support for a Green New Deal, and new Congressional leaders are defining their priorities for the year ahead. If we are willing to push hard for the bold climate action we need, we can create real change.

But only if we show up and speak out: You saw what can be accomplished when hundreds of Sunrise activists mobilized in the halls of Congress this winter to make the Green New Deal a possibility. Now, we need a second wave of action to make sure Democrats in Congress and on the campaign trail follow through. Help us ramp up our call for a Green New Deal by calling on your Representatives to:

  • Halt all new fossil fuel extraction, infrastructure, and subsidies; And transition power generation to 100% renewable energy by 2035 or sooner.
  • Rapidly decarbonize agriculture and transportation sectors and expand access to public transportation.
  • Ensure a Fair & Just Transition led by impacted workers and communities, including low income and communities of color, without relying on corporate schemes or market-based mechanisms.
  • Uphold Indigenous Rights.
  • Pass a national jobs guarantee, creating good jobs with collective bargaining and family-sustaining wages.

Dozens of organizations and hundreds of volunteers are already hard at work organizing events at local Congressional offices demanding a robust and powerful Green New Deal. Just check out the map of actions so far!

Once you sign up to host, we’ll send you information and materials like signs, copies of petition signatures, and a toolkit from partners to help you plan your event. You just need to pick a time and place (your local Member of Congress’ office) and recruit some friends to join you there!

Sign up to organize in your community for the Green New Deal Week of Action! We’ll support you as you plan your event and we’ll be on hand to answer any questions you have.

Wheeler, Schumer and a week of action in DC

This has been a busy week for Congress, which means it’s been a busy week for activists. On Tuesday afternoon, Drew helped run a training session at the Friends of the Earth headquarters in Washington D.C. and prepared to take action at Andrew Wheeler’s confirmation hearing. At the training, six of us (including Drew) volunteered to risk arrest by speaking out during the hearing.

The plan was to enter in pairs, splitting the roles so that one would stand and read out a story from someone impacted by Wheeler’s dirty EPA policies or by the government shutdown. The other partner would silently hold a sign reading, “Shut down Wheeler, not the EPA.”

protest in the hallway
Photo by Liz Gorman

The stories to be read were compiled from Friends of the Earth members and public reports on the impacts of EPA policy. The goal was to highlight the injustice of Andrew Wheeler’s confirmation hearing while hundreds of people are impacted by the ongoing government shutdown. With so many people unable to pay their mortgages or afford critical medications, why is Congress prioritizing the confirmation of a puppet to the coal industry to lead the EPA?

The next morning, we arrived on Capitol Hill to line up. We had to hide our posters in bags and under coats. But Capitol Police and Republican Senate staffers suspected something – and in an attempt to prevent any kind of disruption, they filled the hearing room with EPA staff and Republican lawyers before the public was even let in. For this reason, Drew and I were the only pair to make it successfully into the hearing room before the doors were closed and those still in line were moved to the overflow space.

Silent protestors hold signs while emily and other FOE friends are arrested for refusing to be quiet

Photo by Liz Gorman

We waited until Wheeler made his opening remarks and allowed him to introduce his family before standing up. I held a sign and Drew shouted out the story a Texas woman who lives near a coal fired power plant that Wheeler wants to allow to pollute more. Capitol Police ushered us quickly out into the hallway where more than a dozen allier were also chanting and holding up posters. Four more friends were ultimately placed under arrest for refusing to stop chanting or disburse from outside the hearing.

The rest of the crowd stood in the hallway outside of the hearing room with their posters in silence until all of us were escorted out. All six of us were released after paying a fine of fifty dollars.

Drew is placed under arrest for disrupting the hearing of Andrew Wheeler for EPA Administrator

Photo by Liz Gorman

Later that same night, we were back at it, attending a meeting with 350 to plan and train folks for an action the following morning at the office of Senate minority leader Chuck Schumer. The plan was for a large group to enter the office of Senator Schumer and read out a letter demanding that he sign on to the Green New Deal. Members of the group would also tell their own stories about how the climate change movement has affected their lives. As we exited the office we would sing protest songs while two floors above, four people would drop a banner over the side of a balcony to be viewed from below.

Banner dropped over Sen Schumer's office
photo by 350

On the morning of the action, we met at Union Station and briefed a larger crowd that had not been able to attend the previous night’s training. Then we walked over to the Capitol to file through metal detectors and security checkpoints before making our way to Chuck Schumer’s office. The stories and testimony insider from impacted young people were powerful. And the songs and chants outside echoed through the hallways and marble lobby of the Hart office building. No arrests were made that day, since our banner team chose to comply with orders by Capitol Police to pull up the banner.

On the lower floor, the larger group continued to sing, and share stories of climate impacts, until we were warned to cease and desist. After a second warning, the whole group together then walked over to the park across the street from the capitol building, where reflections and feelings of hope were shared before one final song was sung.

Emily and our team with the banner after the action at Sen Schumer's office
Photo by 350.org

Shutdown Wheeler, not the EPA

This Wednesday, the Senate is set to consider Andrew Wheeler, Trump’s climate denying, fossil fuel loving nominee to replace Scott Pruitt as head of the EPA.

Wheeler, you might remember, has spent most of his life as a lobbyist for the coal industry, most recently for infamous coal-baron Bob Murray. And in the few months he’s been “acting” EPA administrator, he’s stopped at nothing to put fossil fuel profits ahead of public health and the health of the planet.

While he hasn’t committed the kind of outrageous, headline-grabbing scandals Pruitt was known for, Wheeler is an even bigger danger. In just a few months he’s undermined a critical rule that protects us from Mercury pollution – called the Mercury and Air Toxics Standards (MATS). Mercury, usually emitted from coal burning power plants, is a dangerous neurotoxin that’s especially dangerous for children and pregnant women. Wheeler also rolled back regulations on the super-potent climate-changing chemical hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs). And, perhaps most damning, he’s pushed to ease restrictions on the pesticide chlorpyrifos, and the paint stripper methylene chloride — overruling doctors and scientists who spent years proving that they kill farmworkers, contractors and other workers.

The pattern is clear – every time he’s given a chance, Wheeler puts corporate polluter profits ahead of the health of our people, communities and planet. Sign here to tell the Senate that they MUST reject Andrew Wheeler’s nomination to be permanent EPA Administrator.

To add insult to injury, Wheeler’s nomination is being considered in the middle of the longest government shutdown in history – which has left some 800,000 government employees, including most of the EPA, furloughed, or forced to work without pay. EPA staff who are supposed to be out cleaning up toxic pollution, or monitoring for air pollution right now are stuck home, unpaid and forbidden to look for work. And efforts to recover from recent climate-fueled fires and storms in California, Puerto Rico, or Florida is on hold thanks to Trump’s racist, stupid shutdown.

For the Senate to even consider Wheeler’s nomination during the shutdown is outrageous. Sign here to tell them.

The good news is, we might actually be able to block Wheeler’s confirmation during the shutdown. The Trump team is under fire for prioritizing corporate profits over the public good right now – like how the Interior Department is forcing staff to work overtime to open the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge to oil drilling, even as they fail to pay park rangers to protect rare, endangered Joshua Trees in our national parks.

The corruption is so naked now, that three out of four Americans say the government shutdown is “embarrassing for the country,” and a majority of them blame Donald Trump and his team. In response, Democrats are showing more of the backbone we last saw during the hearings on Bernard McNamee, trump’s climate denying FERC nominee. In response to that loathsome nomination, every Senate Democrat voted as a block to stop McNamee’s nomination.

If we can deliver that same kind of rebuke to Wheeler, combined with the bad press of the Government Shutdown, it might be enough for Republicans to pull or delay his nomination from the schedule. Sign now, and we’ll deliver your message to Senators on the relevant committee this week. Give us your cell phone number when you do, and we’ll text you updates from his committee hearing, and use our new tools to patch you directly through to the right Senators before they vote.

Small things can change everything in 2019

UPDATE – The Trump shutdown will last at least until January, with Republicans having given up any pretense of governing in 2018. And that makes our plans for 2019 even more timely and important. We’ve done great stuff together this year – firing Zinke and Pruitt, speaking out against the offshore drilling plan, occupying Gov Cooper’s office, FERC’s front door, and various Senate and House offices too. We need   more donations to underwrite our plans. Click here to help.

Today is the first official, business day of Trump’s Government shutdown. And part of me says, “So what”?

We’ve spent a lot of the last 2 years shutting down parts of Trump’s illegal, climate-denying government anyway – getting Scott Pruitt and Ryan Zinke fired, for example. Or sitting in at FERC, at the EPA, even at Trump’s inauguration to make sure things are shut down in order to open up a conversation about climate action.

But with 12 years to solve the climate crisis, the truth is we need a functional, non-fossil-fascist, US federal government to be part of the solution. So, like a lot of things, this is one of those times where the crisis at hand is also bad for the climate.

It’s also one of those crisi-tunity moments. For in the shutdown the Democrats, about to be newly ascendant in Congress, have finally rallied together as a block. And not just in opposition to Trump’s useless, racist, border wall. Just a few weeks ago every Democrat in the Senate finally voted together to oppose a Trump’s climate denying FERC nominee. That’s raising expectations and hopes that they will stand together and block Trump’s nominees to run the Department of Justice (with far-reaching consequences for the rule of law, environmental and otherwise) and replace Zinke at Interior – among other things. It’s not all awesome, of course. The same month Democrats hung together to oppose Trump on Climate Denial, House leaders opted for a decidedly Milk-toast and polluter-friendly version of the Select committee on Climate Change. Sunrise and the young people who fought so hard on that aren’t done yet (not by a longshot) and we’ll be back in 2019. But still, climate cowardice remains the default position of too many politicians.

A little more than two years ago I started 198 methods to answer a question: Can you use (and update) Gene Sharp’s famous methodology for fighting fascism to fight climate change? I didn’t want to research it or write a book, I wanted to do it and figure out how to do it more.

Two years later, we’ve done a lot of good together. In addition to the federal work linked above, we’ve also supported a bunch of lobby days, sit ins and actions in New York, North Carolina (remember that time in Gov Cooper’s office?), South Carolina and lots more. And we’re not nearly done yet – I’ve got some big ideas and hot plans for 2019. But I need your help. All our ideas revolve around a simple idea: A small group of people, using small interventions – creative direct action tactics backed by cutting edge tech tools and best practices – can actually stop the climate crisis. How small? I’m looking for about 60 people to invest $1.98 a week.

Here’s how

I’ve already got a schedule of actions lined up for January and February. I can’t tell you all the details (yet) because we’re planning some actions where people will risk arrest again. But I can tell you the basic themes are

  1. Pressure Dems even more to stand together and act on climate change. It’s clear that it works and it’s clear they only respond to pressure (polite meetings, getting them re-elected, scientific analysis all may be essential, but have not produced meaningful action.
    1. What’s that mean in the next few weeks? Back to Congress right after they’re sworn in to pressure them to act on the Green New Deal, stop taking fossil fuel money, and continue to investigate and shut down Trump’s fossil-fascist regime in the Administration. We’ll also be working with Sunrise, 350 and other partners on a series of distributed actions (eg, where you live, no matter where you live) in February and into the spring. And, it’s almost time to bring back our debate watch parties and start talking about the 2020 election. Don’t worry, it’s not quite time, yet.
  2. Keep getting in the way. Several major projects have been delayed, blocked in the courts or canceled because people stood up and got in the way. A recent Court order that stopped the Atlantic Coast Pipeline even quoted the Lorax (long-time handbook of all direct action forest campaigners).
    1. What’s that mean in the next few weeks? Well it depends a little on how soon some of these projects are re-started. But I think it’s safe to say you can look for us in the trees and on the rivers of Virginia and North Carolina soon. The Cracks at FERC we helped open up are also deepening, so look for more action on that agency, and potentially a new Trump-nominee to fight in early 2019. We’ll also be back in South Carolina where a Dominion is still trying to buy, bully and cajole its way in.
  3. Keep after the money, but don’t wait for investors to save us. All those delays have also added up to big divestments – At the COP talks in Poland this year they announced a new grand-total just under $8 trillion. That’s good news, but it’s also worth pointing out that big banks and Wall Street Investors are still betting heavily on the climate crisis — investing billions in pipelines, new drilling, new mines and more around the world. Dominion stock had a great day on Wall Street (a rare thing this December) the same day we were thrown out of a hearing shouting about how they were stealing money from South Carolina rate payers – Wall Street didn’t fail to notice, it liked the idea of a fossil fueled monopoly conquering one of the poorest states in America.
    1. What’s that mean in the next few weeks? Keep the pressure on the pipelines, their enablers, and keep naming and shaming the financiers. One of the reasons I’m keen to connect more communications tools to our network next year (see below) is to help people take simple steps that connect the dots – this bank, funds that pipeline, so close your account, which takes money away from the bank, and then take action to slow or stop the pipeline, which creates a feedback loop. Pipelines get harder and more expensive to build, little by little. We can make it as easy as an ap on your phone (almost): tap, swipe, divest, take action, win.
  4. Keep taking action, keep writing and posting and helping others act. The most fundamental thing I can offer you is to keep writing, taking action, and inviting you to take action with us in 2019 and expand into some new formats. This year, we added a lot of video and live video to our actions and reports. Close to 1 million people watched our actions online that way (wow!) and some 60,000 of you took action with us this year.
    1. What’s that mean in the next few weeks? More Blog posts. Most of them much shorter than this (I promise!) and focussed on a specific action you can take to help stop the climate crisis. It also means I’d like to spend some time updating our tech tools, and expanding them so it’s easier to connect you to the stuff we do in real time. Next time we’re live streaming from a lockdown, or updating you on our protest outside a bank, I want to be able to connect you right to the action so you can call the Bank Manager, tell local media to cover climate cowards right, or protect the people on the frontlines risking it all.

I’ve also got a good idea what it will cost us to stay in operation. We need a few simple tools to stay in contact with you, and to dramatically expand our power in 2019 — adding that ability to connect you directly (and only if you opt-in, of course) to direct actions through your telephone, to congress via text message, and more. Here’s what it costs for us to have access to all the tools we need for those tools for email, events, fundraising, calls and texts:

item cost
IRS registration C3 $275.00
Corporate filing fees $159.00
Google tools $23.88
Action network for emails, events, petitions and more. $3,870.00
Toll-free calls @ $.03/minute $3,000.00
SMS messages @ $.016/text $1,600.00
TOTAL $8,927.88

That’s it. The whole operating budget of this project for a year is less than $10,000. And actually, we already have about $3,000 committed from current donors and recurring contributions. Which is why what I’m really looking for is about 60 people to donate $5,000. And the simplest, most efficient way to do it is to chip in $1.98/week. 60 people, donating at that level gets us what we need, though you’re of course free to donate in any amount and in any format you want.

You’ll notice that this doesn’t include direct costs for specific actions – travel to an event, housing and feeding folks who take action, paying bail or legal costs if necessary, etc. We prefer to raise those as we need them, so that your support pays only for what the action requires, and you know that every dollar you donate goes right to the material costs. If we need a pizza, we ask you to help pay for it. Rather than asking you to support a massive endowment or general fund that you can’t see or control the results of.

You might also notice that there’s no money for an office, salaries, or for what other groups call “overhead”. I think that’s a good thing, and part of what makes us different than other climate action groups. Lots of people talk about being nimble, small, and focussed on funding action. We do it. And we keep our whole budget and operation transparent so you can see what’s happening and opt in (or out) anytime you want.

So, if you like the sound of all that. If you’ve taken action with us this year, and you’re ready for more. Or if you’re just like me – and you’ve got $1.98 and you want to fight the Fossil-fascists with it. Please click here to chip in $1.98 a week or whatever you can afford. Thanks.