In Five Days, We Rise, We Burn, Or we Drown

We live in dark times, climate-wise.

California and the West are on fire. The first tropical storm of the season is rolling into the Gulf of Mexico – and the last homes and business Puerto Rico just got power back a few weeks ago. But Donald Trump and team just keep on trucking: appointing climate deniers to key posts, blaming wildfires on environmentalists not climate, and rushing the hearings on climate-killing, justice-denying, Trump-protecting judge Brett Kavanaugh.

Some days, it feels like our only choices are whether to burn in a climate-fueled wildfire, or drown in rising seas. But I’m here to tell you there’s another way. A better way. A way we can Rise above climate impacts, and fight for real solutions and justice.

Our movements light the way at moments like these. And as bad as things look, I’m genuinely hopeful about what we can accomplish if we work together. This weekend’s Rise for Climate Jobs and Justice events are a perfect example: More than 600 actions are being planned in 83 countries and all 50 states here in the US. Will you join us this Saturday, September 8 at an event near you?

California Governor Jerry Brown is convening a conference of sub-national (as in Mayors and Governors) leaders from around the world in San Francisco September 12th – 14th. It’s called the Global Climate Action Summit. But Brown and his desire to be known as a climate-champion and the Anti-Trump are not the real objective.

Activists and protestors are not allowed into the conference, but by rallying outside we can make our demands heard. And with so many leaders in one place, at one time – the opportunity for change is real.

Join us in the streets of San Francisco, San Antonio, and dozens of other cities big and small as we tell the world what real climate leadership looks like:

Rise for climate: No new fossil fuel projects, 100% renewable energy, not a penny more

That’s the new bar for climate leadership. We can’t settle for ‘business as usual’ solutions from our elected leaders. And we can’t be complacent.  We need to show up, speak out, and if necessary shut things down in order to demand real solutions. 

PS – Already planning to attend your local Rise event? Want to do more than march and Rally? Chip in to support 198 methods! We’re headed to San Francisco, and not just to march and rally. Drew will join, support, and participate in a series of non-violent, direct actions during the week of Jerry Brown’s summit.

But we need your support to get our team to California, house them (and other friendly activists visiting) and support a range of logistics in the streets all week from the 8th to the 14th. We’ll send frequent updates via social media, email and online. Please chip in to support us if your can!

.

 

About to go live in Raleigh for #RiseTogether day 2

I’m about to start another live stream at the Raleigh #RiseTogether rally, so I’ll get right to the point: Can you donate to support these solidarity actions in North Carolina and our ability to help organize them?

Yesterday, I got up super early and drove to Charlotte for the first North Carolina #RiseTogether Action. I’m not a morning person, but it was totally worth it. We marched through downtown Charlotte, a city literally owned by the big fossil fuel banks with a 50 foot inflatable pipeline. We sang and chanted and passed out hundreds of fliers on the doorstep of Bank or America, Wells Fargo, and Duke Energy.

And we tussled (verbally, non-violently) with security at Duke’s headquarters when they forbade us to stand on “their” side of the sidewalk, or even to allow people on “their” side to to take our picture.  But for all the fun and power of this action, it was an entirely volunteer production. So, I have to ask, can you check out the video from day one, and then chip in a few dollars to support our participation in the action and all the time, materials and work that went into it?

Working on this kind of project is exactly why I started 198 methods. Our friends in North Carolina were ready to #RiseTogether in solidarity with our allies in the Gulf. And their participation is so vital! Just as our brothers and sisters in Louisiana are fighting the Bayou Bridge Pipeline (BBP), our friends in North Carolina are fighting the Atlantic Coast (ACP) and Mountain Valley Pipelines (MVP). All of these pipelines threaten our communities, our clean water, and our climate future.

So a diverse coalition of NC activists wanted to organize two major actions – On July 30 in Charlotte, and July 31 in Raleigh. But to do it they needed help – they needed digital tools to help recruit more people and connect a big, global, audience to the local actions and demands. I was happy to work with them, and together we’ve already pulled off one action and have a solid plan for today. You can see the video from day one above, and click here to tune in to day two:

But here’s the plain and simple fact: Part of the reason I work with local groups like NC APPPL and other allies, is that they’re under-resourced. These folks work on the front lines with communities of color, indigenous leaders, the faith community, and any one who will stand with them to fight the pipeline. They’ve shown willingness to risk their safety and freedom to stop fossil fuels- like the time we occupied Governor Cooper’s office for more than 8 hours. Or when we barn-stormed into a BOEM hearing to stop offshore drilling and make the people’s voices heard.

Now, they’re rising together with our allies in the Gulf as part of a big, global movement to stop all pipelines and shut down fossil fuels. Can you chip in to support us?

Our Demands are:

But we literally can’t do it without your support. 198 methods is able to work with local groups and step up to support these actions because of small donations from kind people like you. If you’ve watched one of our live-streams, signed on to support our work, or just been looking for a way to help – now’s the time. Click here to chip in and support the North Carolina #RiseTogether actions. We’ll donate all the proceeds to NC APPPL and local groups. Thanks.

North Carolina #RiseTogether to stop all pipelines!

North Carolina is ready to #RiseTogether in solidarity with our allies in the Gulf. Things are getting dangerous for our brothers and sisters fighting the Bayou Bridge Pipeline. Earlier this week Energy Transfer Partners (ETP), the company behind the Bayou Bridge (BBP) and Dakota Access Pipelines (DAPL), leap frogged ahead of their scheduled pipeline construction to begin cutting trees near a group of water protector tree sits. Read more about it here.

Here in North Carolina we’re showing our solidarity to fight the Atlantic Coast and Mountain Valley Pipelines, which threaten dozens of our communities, our clean water, and our climate future. A diverse coalition of activists are organizing two major actions – On July 30 in Charlotte, and July 31 in Raleigh.

Our Demands are:

We invite you to learn more, and invite your friends to join us in person.

Click here to RSVP for the Charlotte action online, or on Facebook:

This event will meet at the Bank Of America Headquarters in downtown Charlotte at 9am (opening time for the bank). We’ll march a short distance (about 1 mile) down Tryon steet to Duke’s headquarters, stopping at Wells Fargo and other points of interest on the way. We’ll convey our message with speakers from impacted communities, props, art, music and theater. Join us on Monday morning to show everyone in Charlotte that our health, safety and climate depend on banks, consumers and our elected leaders acting on these three demands.

Click here to RSVP for the Raleigh action online, or on Facebook:

This event will meet in front of Governor Roy Cooper’s office in the administration building at 11:30 am. We’ll rally with signs, banners and artwork for about an hour to encourage Gov. Cooper to reverse his previous bad decision and suspend the ACP. Shortly after 1pm we’ll march to Wells Fargo at 150 Fayetteville St and demand they stop funding these dangerous pipelines. Finally, we’ll march to Duke Energy’s offices at 411 Fayetteville St just after 1:30 to deliver our demands there. The total distance between these 3 locations is less than 1 mile. We’ll walk back to the administration building at about 2pm and there is ample parking nearby. Join us on Tuesday morning at 11:30am at the Governor’s office!

There are other rallies planned in Asheville and in Virginia, and it’s also not too late to host your own action! Sign up to host or attend a local solidarity action this week or next.

There are dozens of events planned – from simple sign holdings at a bank branch to full on protests and rallies. There are resources available to help you plan, and an event can be as simple as taking a picture at a local bank branch. And we’ve made a packet of materials including a sample call to action, flyers, and other materials just for North Carolina Activists (and their friends). 

More info on the weeks of action:

From July 16-31 communities are mobilizing for the #RiseTogether Weeks of Action. The main targets for the Week of Action are a group of banks that are financing Energy Transfer Partners and other major pipeline companies. For more information on the Weeks of Action, please visit: www.NoBayouBridge.global/risetogether

Update from Louisiana: Rise together to stop the pipelines

Things are getting dangerous for our brothers and sisters in Louisiana fighting the Bayou Bridge Pipeline. Earlier this week Energy Transfer Partners (ETP), the company behind the Bayou Bridge (BBP) and Dakota Access Pipelines (DAPL), leap frogged ahead of their scheduled pipeline construction to begin cutting trees near a group of water protector tree sits.

Along with an armed police export, they’ve continued to cut all the remaining trees around the tree-sits. It’s unnecessary and illegal, but more importantly it puts the safety of these brave water protectors at risk – because even a tree cut near their fragile, elevated encampments can come down wrong and smash guide wires and other safety equipment.

As L’eau Est La Vie Camp said on their facebook page:

We are heart broken by this reckless destruction of the basin, but we continue to occupy the tree sits and will continue to resist.

L’eau Est La Vie and leaders on the ground are calling for aid, and there are two specific actions you can take to help us #RiseTogether this week:

  1. Keep your eyes on Louisiana and our allies there. LeLV has been broadcasting live updates from the trees and their support camp nearly every day and we share most of them on our Facebook page as well.
  2. Sign up to host or attend a local solidarity action this week or next. There are dozens of events planned around the country – from simple sign holdings at a bank branch to full on protests and rallies.
    1. We’re supporting several solidarity actions in North Carolina that connect the Gulf and Atlantic coasts in action to stop pipelines and climate chaos. Click here to learn more about those events.

As soon as tree cutting began, local supporters flooded the Sheriff’s department with calls. They even went down to the precinct and waited for hours to file an official complaint with the seemingly non-plussed officers. But the pattern of the last few weeks has been clear – every time the pipeline company puts lives and property in danger, people rise up to stop or slow them with peaceful, non-violent direct action. The local police and sheriff’s offices are complicit in the crimes, because they’re not only protecting the pipeline, they’re actively harassing the water protectors by walking canine units through their support camp, showing up armed to the pipeline route, and refusing to respond to legitimate appeals for human and civil rights protections for impacted people.

ETP has a despicable track record of attacking water protectors with dogs, water cannons, flyover surveillance and more. But they always pull back when people are watching. Just like at Standing Rock, the more of us watching and calling in to local sheriff’s departments to tell them we’re watching, the safer our water protectors will be.

But while your witness is vital, so is your action. As our friend Cherri said earlier this week: If you’re able to see this message, watch these live-streams or read these emails – you’re connected to a phone or a computer. That means you have the means to make yourself heard.

So please, don’t just watch or check in on Facebook: sign up now to host or attend a local solidarity event. There are resources available to help you plan, and an event can be as simple as taking a picture at a local bank branch. If you register an event here, and let us know, we’ll do everything we can to help promote it to our networks online and recruit others to join you. Now is the time to #RiseTogether

Rise together – Divest, no new pipelines, clean energy now.

All week we’ve been glued to the news – not the news from Helsinki (well, ok, that too) but the news from Louisiana where our friends fighting the Bayou Bridge Pipeline are entering a critical phase of the campaign.

In case you need a refresher, the Bayou Bridge Pipeline (BBP) is the tail end of the black snake we call Dakota Access Pipeline (DAPL). If completed, BBP is the final link that connects dirty oil from the American tar sands in North Dakota to refineries and export terminals in Louisiana.

Energy Transfer Partners (ETP), the same company that siced dogs on water protectors at Standing Rock, has been ignoring court orders and human rights in a frantic rush to complete the pipeline. But our friends at the L’eau Est la Vie Camp have stood strong. For months they’ve continuously interrupted, delayed and stopped work.

But last week, a judge overruled an earlier decision, and basically gave ETP a green light to finish construction by this fall. This is especially dangerous for the residents of  a town called St. James right in the heart of cancer alley and adjacent to the terminal where the BBP ends — and a town which still has no evacuation plan, meaning that when (not if) there is a serious accident or explosion on the BBP, or any of the other dozens of petrochemical plants nearby, they have no way out.

This is the critical moment to rise together, and local leaders in Louisiana are calling for our aid. Here’s how to help:

From now until the 31st, frontline resistance campaigns across North America are taking action to stop pipelines and extreme energy projects in solidarity with the fight in Louisiana. We’re encouraged to take action targeting the banks funding these pipeline projects, or by joining the frontlines and taking action directly with us.

Across Turtle Island, Indigenous people and frontline communities are leading the fight to stop oil and fracked-gas pipelines. These pipelines and all fossil fuel extraction endangers the communities they pass through, contaminate the air and water, contribute to global climate change and continue the colonization of native lands.

Water protectors in the Bayou are holding strong. In the last week they’ve deployed a new line of tree sits to slow or stop construction, and they’ve chased Louisiana’s governor all over the state, demanding he meet with residents of St James and other impacted communities. In exchange for their bravery and resolve, they’ve been beaten, arrested, and harassed by police and ETP’s private mercenaries.

The L’eau Est La Vie camp, and front line resistors all over North America, need our support if they’re going to continue the fight. They’re calling on all of us to #RiseTogether in the next two weeks. Can you help?

 

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.

Thanks!

* 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 nobayoubridge.global 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 350.org 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.

 

Darkest hour

Happy winter solstice – if happy is what you want to call it. It’s been another rough week. Earlier this week the Republicans rammed through a disastrous tax bill that will (among many other bad things) give special tax breaks to pipeline builders, Arctic drillers, and other assorted fossil fueled ne’er do-wells.

As I write this, they’re voting through a short term spending bill without doing anything about the DREAMers – who are at risk of being deported every week Congress refuses to act. All week long brave young people have risked arrest and deportation just to demand Congress vote on the issue. They shut down the Cafeteria today, in solidarity with seven other activists who went on hunger strike in jail. And still, Congress lacks the courage to protect people, not polluters.  

One other wrinkle to this week’s tax bill that you might not haver heard about: The #GOPTaxScam effectively eliminates the tax deductibility of charitable donations, removing the incentive for most people to donate to groups like us. I know that a lot of you will still donate because you care about the mission, not the tax break. But no less than New York Attorney General Schneiderman estimates groups like us could lose $20 billion in 2018 alone.

Can you chip in to support our work before these stupid new rules take effect so we (and you!) can afford to support climate activist?

Here in the darkest hour, it’s also worth remembering the lesson of the solstice: that darkness and light move in cycles, and just when it can’t get any darker – the light starts to come back.

So here’s 4 short gifs to tell you how we’re brining the light and heat to the Climate Justice movement in 2018:

The Thomas fire around Los Angeles is almost out now, which means it’s time to rebuild. Click here to support our plan to build a mobile ClimateDisaster response unit with partners in 2018 so we can be ready for what’s next

It wasn’t just California of course. Much of Puerto Rico is still without power and the death toll hundreds of times worse than the Trump Administration admits. We need to build local resiliance and resistance efforts from coast to coast to coast (there are three in America – Pacific, Atlantic, Gulf). Click here to chip in to support our local community building efforts in 2018.

If fire and water aren’t enough to get your elemental on, how about some atmosphere? Here’s a time lapse showing how carbon Dioxide moves in our atmosphere – if you look close you’ll notice that the rainforests in the global south act like a pair of lungs, constantly inhaling carbon and exhaling oxygen. But the global north is like a chain smoker, filling the shared resource of our atmosphere with more than our share of (red) Carbon and other global warming pollution. Click here to support our work to slash pollution, stop the expansion of fossil fuel infrastructure, and build out 100% clean, green energy here in North America.

Finally, today is a good day to donate because it’s the solstice. The longest night which turns into a long series of lengthening days, each one a little brighter than the day before. For the next six months we’ll be traveling the east coast – meeting up with frontline activists in the Carolinas, Virginia, DC and points north. We’ll keep a watchful eye on the Bayou Bridge and Keystone XL Pipelines – which thousands of us have signed up to show up and block, if and when we’re asked by local leaders.

One big thing w need to get ready, set, and rowdy for is California Governor Jerry Brown’s big international meeting next September. A lot of Governors, Mayors and other “sub-national” elected officials are expected to show up and talk about climate change, but action is less certain. Just like the Paris Climate Summit 2 years ago – a lot of what is decided in those rooms will hinge on action outside in the streets:

Do we demand a target that protects the most vulnerable (closer to 1.5C and serious action by 2020, instead of 2C and 2050)? Do leaders enact binding action, like state, county, an state-wide bans on new pipelines and fossil fuel infrastructure; Or do we let them get away with another promise to do better? Are conversations lead by communities on the frontlines that are poor, led by People of Color, and otherwise hit first-and-worst by climate impacts; Or does former-Mayor Bloomberg talk about sea walls in Brooklyn, while JP Morgan Chase is talking about not funding pipelines someday. (hint if Bloomberg and JP Morgan Chase are talking, the conversation is not about climate JUSTICE, even if it is about climate CHANGE).

So click here to chip in $1.98, $19.80 or whatever you can afford to help us get ready for 2018. Because today may be dark, but it only gets brighter from here.

PS – All the images and gifs in this message are from NASA’s Earth Observatory program. I mention because you should totally check out ALL their amazing and beutifle videos and images. But also because they’re yet another science-based program that (you guessed it) is set to have their budget radically cut by Trump and Republicans in Congress next year. We’d also love your financial support so we can incorporate a C4 arm that can lobby Congress directly, advocate for and against candidates, and more. Next week I’ll be sending you more of a roadmap and plan for 2018. But in the meantime, Please chip in to support our work.

Specific NASA images and videos we can’t live (or write this post) without:
The entire NASA Earth observatory team:

The coverage of the Thomas Fires in California, in particular

The 2017 Hurricanes and Aerosols Simulation

NASA | A Year in the Life of Earth’s CO2