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.
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:
Clean Energy Now – we demand 100% renewable energy and a just transition with nobody left behind – local cities, towns and counties can lead the way!
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 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:
#Divest from fossil fuels – especially Bank of America and Wells Fargo – who are the two largest investors in these pipelines.
No Pipelines – especially the ACP and MVP, which Governor Roy Cooper has the power stop.
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.
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!
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
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:
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.
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.
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.
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?
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.
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!
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.
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!
* 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.
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.
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.
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.
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).
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.