2019 in photos

It’s almost 2020 and you look great! Here’s a quick retrospective on the last year of action and work, as told through some of my favorite pictures and memes. Take a gander, and if you’re so-inclined, chip in here to support another year of banner-dropping, Trump-impeaching, arrest-risking, action and fun!

Here’s a little more background on these photos:

January

Emily disrupts the Wheeler hearing
Photo from AJ+

We started the year protesting Trump’s Environmental Record – in this photo my youngest sister Emily is shutting down a hearing with Andrew Wheeler, Trump’s corrupt, climate-denying EPA chief. Ironically this hearing happened during a government shutdown that had furloughed thousands of EPA staff nation-wide. Protesting Trump’s corrupt, climate-denying cabinet is a theme of this year’s actions.

February

A resolution for a green new deal was introduced, call now

Another theme of this year was the Green New Deal – the ambitious proposal to reshape our economy and society in line with what climate scientists tell us are necessary levels of ambition. A resolution was introduced in February by Rep Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Sen Ed Markey. But we felt it could be stronger, more inclusive – and especially that it needed to tackle fossil fuels. We weren’t alone as hundreds of groups and millions of people rallied to the call for a fossil-fuel-FREE Green New Deal in the coming months.

March

Breaking Tump tries to approve the KXL pipeline, again

February brought an old fight back to the fore – the fight to stop Keystone XL. Trump has been trying to build the pipeline, without success, since he was sworn in in 2017. So far court cases and local permits have kept him at bay – but we’re waiting for the moment when Trump’s fossil-fueled-authoritarian tendencies overwhelm those flimsy buffers and they simply begin lighting the fuse of this carbon bomb without proper permits and paperwork.

March was also the month we kicked off this year’s campaign to undercut the banks and hedge funds who make profit off of climate-chaos. That campaign ramped up a lot in April and May during shareholder season.

April

In April I climbed the three-story awning of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) to drop this banner with friends at Beyond Extreme Energy. That campaign, to change FERC into the Federal RENEWABLE Energy Commission (FREC) is ongoing, and if you like it you should chip in to support BXE before the end of the year too!

We fired Zinke and Pruitt, now help block Bernhardt

April was also the month we launched the first of a series of campaigns that targeted David Bernhardt, Trump’s corrupt, climate-denying Interior Secretary. Like Wheeler (see above) he became a recurring character in our fight to stamp out corruption, block pollution, and protect the climate from Trump’s cast of climate conquistadors.

 America Shareholders' Meeting

And finally, I told you it was shareholder season. This photo is a favorite from the Bank of America Shareholder meeting where friends dropped a huge, 2-story call banner telling shareholders the Atlantic Coast Pipeline is a financial and climate disaster.

May

Dominion press conference

That shareholder action carried right through into May. Here I am in my home-town of Columbia South Carolina talking to press outside the Dominion Energy Shareholder meeting.

Sign here to support disaster relief for Puerto Rico and all Americans.

May also launched our campaign to get disaster relief for Puerto Rico. This became a recurring theme as Congress would appropriate money for disaster relief, but Trump would refuse to sign or disburse the money – IF, and this is a big if, the people helped by the funding were black, brown, or tended to vote for Democrats. Later in the year we broadened this campaign to include climate refugees from the Caribbean and eventually the whole global south.

We can't fight climate change unless we fix our food and ag sectors

And the mid-year variation on the Green New Deal campaign in May (just in time for planting) was our Green New Deal and Ag work. Agriculture is one of the US’ biggest sources of global warming pollution; And there’s simply no way to fix climate change without addressing our food supply. This campaign also continues today, as we work to get Democrats in Congress to grapple with the entirety of a Green New Deal and climate action, not just the easy bits that don’t offend their donors.

June

Stop Barry Myers NOAA nomination!

One of our most successful petitions of the year was opposing Trump’s nominee to head the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), Barry Myers. It took a while, but Myers eventually dropped out, and NOAA remains a rare bastion of climate research and scientific sanity in the Trump regime. I also really liked this meme of Myers in front of actual NOAA imagery of Hurricane Florence.

July

No More Climate deniers in charge of US climate policy

Less successful was our attempt to block coal-baron Kelly Knight-Craft from being appointed as Ambassador to the United Nations. Our petition and work with partners did generate a lot more “no” votes for her confirmation than normal, but did not succeed in changing the Trump-team’s approach to international climate action.

No rate hike we can't afford more fracked gas

Just a quick one that A) illustrates how a little design and digital recruitment helps local protest campaigns, and B) is solidarity work with allies in North Carolina who are fighting a whole wave of fossil fuel infrastructure including the Atlantic Coast Pipeline, fracked Gas liquefaction facilities, and a corrupt administration that ignores pollution in exchange for big money.

This little meme was made for a rate hike protest in Charlotte near the 4th of July holiday.

August

Trump wants to take away your freedom of Information

Wheeler popped back on our radar this month when he tried to hide government files from public records. I do love using photos of Trump and his Administration cronies against them.

September

Climate Strike! That was the big theme in September as we supported hundreds of Climate Strike events here in the US. Greta Thunberg asked the United Nations “How Dare You” and I personally buckled in as part of two beautifully troublesome actions.

In DC I locked myself into a car to and had to be cut out by police with a special saw as we blocked a key bridge at the Shut Down DC action. And then in New Hampshire I was arrested with dozens of friends and allies signing as we peacefully attempted to remove the coal from the last remaining coal plant in New England without a shutdown date.

October

Hurricane Dorian over the Bahamas

October was when we expanded our work to get relief for those impacted by climate chaos to the Bahamas, which had just been hit by Hurricane Dorian. Trump was denying them visas – in one case leading people to be turned off a boat bound for the US – so we spoke up. Later in the year the campaign expanded again to cover all climate refugees. Again, I love using these NOAA hurricane images to illustrate why we need climate action now.

November

Bernhardt is too corrupt to go on

November brought one more campaign targeting Bernhardt as Congress opened (and considered more) investigations into his corrupt conduct. Like I said, targeting these Trump cronies has been a consistent theme of our work for years – and it feels like we’re getting closer to expelling Bernhardt and Wheeler. Like we already won campaigns to expel Zinke and Pruitt.

One other fun update on that Bernhardt campaign – a few weeks later some friends took out this mobile billboard in DC – Corrupt and Corrupter indeed.

Our Bernhardt Billboard is turning heads

December

Strike with us Dec 6

The winder Climate Strike was smaller – but was important because it was timed to connect with the UN climate talks. Another failure, unfortunately.

Impeach

What wasn’t a failure was our turnout for impeachment eve rallies nationwide, and the vote – FINALLY – in the House of Representatives this month that made Trump just the third President in history to be impeached (Nixon resigned first).

So there you have it! A year in photos and images to illustrate all our work. You can also check out our previous post which covers more of the science and policy on how we’re ending 2019. Next week, after the New Year, I’ll write you a message about our plans for 2020 but you can be sure it will continue a few of these themes:

  1. Holding corrupt Trump cronies like Wheeler and Bernhardt accountable;
  2. Working as part of the global Climate Strike movement to demand bold action from our elected leaders;
  3. Pushing US policy makers to adopt a bold, fossil-fuel-free Green New Deal; &
  4. Bringing you great direct-action powered online campaigns at the local, state, and federal level to demand climate action.

4 charts and a mission

UPDATE: Since I wrote this earlier, I’ve come across two good discussions on the role of “Hope” in the face of these charts and the overwhelming science of climate change.

  1. This interview with scientists and experts contrasts these same 4 charts with what gives them hope.
  2. This really good thread and podcast discussion by The Hot Take co-founder Mary Annaïse Heglar makes the argument that it’s not hope, but resolve, action, and some other things that are necessary in this moment.

I agree with both parts: that we need more hope, and that the antidote to fear is not hope, but action and conviction in the face of uncertainty. If you agree and are able, I hope you’ll  click here to donate.

As has become a tradition, I’m going to tell the story of where our climate and common home is at with a series of charts and graphs. Next week I’ll send you a year in photos so you can look back at some of what we’ve done this year.

But if you’re already all in – here’s the link to donate, and thanks.

Chart 1 – Tipping points ahead

This first one is from a recent report in Nature that finds that we’re coming up – faster than expected – on a series of global tipping points. How these tipping points work and interact is a bit complicated, as you can tell from all the arrows and points on that map. But the key idea is that none of these items is unrelated from each other.

The fires in the Rainforest are both a symptom of climate-fueled draught, and also a cause of the loss of Arctic Sea Ice; which in turn is contributing to slower circulation of the Atlantic ocean current; and on and on.

There are a lot of climate emergencies happening all over the planet, and none of them are un-connected. Wherever you are, you’re likely seeing impacts, and your local impacts and emissions are fueling the crisis somewhere else.

That’s bad news, and really alarming, because these disasters are happening decades earlier than previously predicted, and they’re compounding at increasingly rapid rates. At the same time, it helps to know that we are all truly in this together – just because my coast is flooded and yours is on fire, or vice versa, doesn’t mean we aren’t facing the same problems.

If you’re ready to fund another year of all-in actions to stop the climate crisis however and wherever it shows up, click here.

Chart 2 & 3 – Emissions still going up

This one, which should be familiar to anyone who has been in this movement for a few years, is from the World Meteorological Association and shows that global concentrations of Carbon Dioxide are still going up.

That goes for emissions of methane too – again according to scientists at the WMO. Methane is the key component in fracked gas, and is up to 80 times more potent at warming the climate and created those interconnected tipping points and indicators in chart #1 above. Which is why we spend so much time protesting at gas pipelines and the people who are supposed to regulate them.

If you agree emissions keep going up, and it’s gone on far too long; click here to chip in and fund the fight for us not to be silent any more

Chart 4 – We’re not acting fast enough.

That emissions are still rising is probably not a surprise, nor is the fact that we’re not doing enough to combat the climate crisis. If we were, emissions would be going down, right? But the distance between what we need to be doing, and what we say we are doing is also getting wider.

That was the conclusion of another gut-punch of a report from the United Nations this year, eloquently summed up in our final chart:

So there it is – the state of the climate movement in 4 charts, and it is NOT good.

  • We’re approaching a series of interconnected ‘tipping points’ of climate chaos much faster than expected.
  • That’s because emissions of carbon dioxide and methane are still going up despite years of promises by the world’s governments to reduce them.
  • Most devastating, the gap between what we say we will do, what we need to do, and what we are doing keeps getting wider.

That U.N. report was described as “Grim,” “Bleak” and “drastic” when it came out. But it was not without hope. The authors of the same report on the ambition gap wrote that, “the political focus on the climate crisis is growing in several countries, with voters and protesters, particularly youth, making it clear that it is their number one issue.”

And that’s why I’m asking you to chip in again this year. If you believe, as I do, that while the hour is late and the news is dire, a growing movement of voters and protesters can turn the tide and get us on-track to solve the climate crisis – please consider chipping in $1.98, $1.98/week, or whatever you can afford to keep us fighting.

Next week I’ll be back with a photo and video year in review of some of the amazing work we’e been a part of this year – from challenging Trump’s corrupt, climate denying cabinet; to shutting down DC as part of the global climate strike; and much much more.

Breaking: Trump tries to ram through KeystoneXL, Again

Trump just issued a presidential permit for construction of Keystone XL, again.

He’s trying to get around a recent court order by the Ninth circuit that preserved an injunction to stop TransCanada from building the pipeline, at a potential costs of billions of dollars.

If you’re ready to get in front of this pipeline and take action to protect our water, communities and climate we need you now – and we need you trained and ready to take action.

Join a training and get prepared to mobilize against the Keystone XL pipeline. Register for a Promise to Protect training near you.

Promise to Protect training tour

Trump has been trying to build the Keystone XL pipeline since his first day in office. You may remember that the order expediting Keystone was one of Trump’s first, signed four days after he took office. Today’s order actually had to supersede the last time he ‘ordered’ the pipeline to be built because the courts struck down that stupid and clumsy attempt.

But Trump’s incompetence is not a sufficient protection against this pipeline. Activists in North Carolina and Virginia have documented dozens of cases where companies keep on building the pipeline after the Courts order them to stop – especially if they know they’ve got the backing of Trump, FERC or federal agencies like the EPA.

This training tour is intended to prepare thousands of us to take mass action to stop Keystone XL, and every other fossil fuel project that comes our way. And we need to be ready for a lot. The US is now the biggest oil and gas producer in the world – and trump and his team are rushing through dozens of new pipelines, refineries and export terminals.

More than 20,000 of us have already signed up through the Promise to Protect website and committed to take peaceful action along the pipeline route. Now we need you to join a training so we can be prepared to resist.

The training covers more than just logistics and theory. Taking place along the pipeline route and in nine cities, these are indigenous led briefings to prepare you to be good relatives and understand the vulnerabilities and opportunities of this and other pipeline projects

At the training, you’ll learn about nonviolent direct action and support roles, protocols for mobilizing in Lakota territory, and how to apply these lessons to local campaigns, which we’ll need in order to create a nationwide wave of resistance against fossil fuel development in our communities.

Sign-up for the Promise to Protect Training Tour this spring to get ready now for future action against Keystone XL.

3 graphs, a photo from space, and a mission

Last year I wrote a great post about what’s really at stake with climate change, and why I was starting 198 methods to push the fight in the US. It’s still great, and you should go read it if you haven’t already. I sent it out as a fundraiser on GivingTuesday, and got some positive feedback.

This year, I didn’t want to send a Giving Tuesday email for two basic reasons:

  1. #GivingTuesday is kind of a scam. No shade to my brothers and sisters in the non-profit world;  They need your help, so if you found time and a little extra cash to donate to them, I hope you did so. But the whole thing was invented by professional fundraisers as a corollary to BlackFriday – an orgy of overconsumption and a key example of what we’re trying to change about American politics and society. It’s also deeply connected to and dependent on Facebook’s donation platform, which is a scam to get non-profits with strapped budgets to give them billions in advertising revenue while green-washing the reputations of some of the dirtiest corporations on the planet.
  2. There’s actually a lot happening this week – a major Trump Nominee moving through Congress, a fight over the future of the Democratic Party leadership in Congress, And the start of the 24 Conference of Parties talks about how to implement the Paris Climate Agreement and act on the UN’s recent climate report. To name just a few.

But there’s also some exciting new info to share from the last few weeks – so without further ado, here’s an updated take on why you should donate, the state of the climate movement, and why I think that world needs one more non-profit environmental group (this one) — all as told through 3 charts and a big picture. Check it out and if you like it, click one of the links below to donate – and if you’ve saved your payment information, your donation will go through immediately:

One-click Donate: $1.98

One-click Donate: $19.80

One-click Donate: $198

Or donate another amount

Chart #1 it’s still bad

As you’ve probably guessed – the situation hasn’t improved much under the last 12 months of the Trump Administration. When Obama left office, we’d pledged to cut emissions 50% below 1990 levels. That was a good promise, but we weren’t on pace to do it. And that pace is nowhere near what was needed to keep us below the 2° Celsius goal of the Paris climate agreement.

Trump pulled us out of Paris in 2017, but the news actually got worse in the last few weeks when the UN released an updated projection confirming what we’d been saying all along – that we need to actually cut emissions MORE to keep us under 1.5° Celsius. And we need to do it FASTER hitting those decarbonization targets in the next 12 years to get us on pace.

Here’s an updated chart showing where we were last year, and where we are now:

climate goals graph updated

Chart #2 Still hotter too

Then, last Friday (right about the time everyone was getting their #GivingTuesday emails ready) the US chimed in with their second National Climate Assessment. Again, the news here is bad, but not new. Despite the Trump administration’s attempts to suppress climate science, and Trump and his cabinet’s ongoing climate denial, this report from 10 different US agencies confirms the basics above – The temperature is already rising; We’re causing it; And we need to act fast, and very boldly, if we want to stop it.

If we do nothing, the red line is what we can Temperature increase of 6-8° Farenheit (3-5° Celsius) That would make the planet more or less un-livable, at least for most of us. Seas would drive millions of us off the coasts, wildfires would burn dozens at a time across the west, and pollution (ozone in particular) and heat waves would kill tens of thousands of people every year across the midwest.

The blue line is about what the Paris agreement called for: namely aggressive action to cut US emissions and keep us below the 2° C target. The green line shows the very steep cuts it would take to get to 1.5° C or lower.

US emissions projections from 4th national climate assessment

Chart #3 It’s not all bad

Here’s the good news though: Despite all Trump’s posturing, things are already turning around. In the developing world (yucky term but most of the world’s people live in the global south, so hang with me a sec) Installations of wind and solar power are actually happening faster than new fossil fuels. There’s a revolution going on around the world, even if we’re not a part of it here in the US (yet). And it totally dovetails with the message we’ve been delivering to so-called climate leaders since this fall’s Global Climate Action Summit: We already have the solutions we need – and the youngest. poorest, and brownest communities with the most to lose from climate change are already showing what’s possible.

We’re all in this together

Last there’s this photo from NASA of the recent Camp Fire in California that I can’t get out of my head. The fires this year are already the biggest and deadliest in history – and they’re just what was predicted by the UN and US climate forecasts above. But it’s not just towns like Paradise that burned – all of California was blanketed in smoke from the fires. And no matter who you are or where you live, you’re seeing more impacts from climate change right now today that you were a year ago.

That can be terrifying – that the scope of the problem we’re facing is so vast. But it’s also unifying. There’s no more ‘safe harbor’ from climate change in America. You can’t retire to Florida, or emigrate to Canada to avoid it. We will drown, burn, or rise, TOGETHER.

A view of the camp fire from space

So, now what?

And that’s my main hope – that the presence of climate disaster all around us every day will move people to take real actions to fight the crisis. And we have done some things in the past year:

  1. We started the year fighting to DeFund pipelines, and that fight goes on. But just this month a major court decisions set back the Keystone XL pipeline again.
  2. We partnered with the Climate Disobedience Center on the court case for Roxbury activists arrested protesting a gas pipeline and they were all found not-guilty by reason of necessity!
  3. We successfully Fired Scott Pruitt, Trump’s lead man on climate and Environment at the EPA, and now we’re going after his number 2, Secretary of Interior Ryan Zinke.
  4. We fought Trump’s plans to open our coasts to offshore drilling, gut the Endangered Species Act, and more! And we stood up, sat-in, and marched alongside pipeline fighters in North Carolina and other states.
  5. And we traveled to California for the #RiseforClimate rally and also put local leaders like Governor Brown on notice that we’re raising the bar on climate leadership.

Sure, Trump will still be crazy: he told the Washington Post this week that  “You look at our air and our water and it’s right now at a record clean.” I don’t know what that means, but I know not to get too hung up on every crazy, false and unreasonable thing he says. I’m focused instead on the things we can do. And, as I noted in an earlier post on the election, I think we’ve got even more opportunities in 2019 than we had in 2018.

In particular, I think now more than ever we need digital support for direct action that centers the climate crisis. We saw that over and over again – from protests in North Carolina where we live-streamed the action so more people could participate, to the Global Climate Action Summit, where we used new media tools to super-charge the call for real climate leadership.

Now, with a new congress coming in, and more pipelines, fossil fuel export terminals, and Trump-nominated Fossil Fools than ever to fight, if you’ve got a little to spare, we’d love to have your support.

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

US Bank broke its promise – Defund Pipelines

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Good riddance to 2017 – I like our chances next month

It’s the last few days of 2017. And good riddance, I say, because we’ve got big plans for January 2018.

It’s been a busy and mostly brutal year as the Trump team attacks one of our communities after the other. We end the year much as we began it – worried about deportations, awash in climate chaos, resolute in our desire to show up when and where we can to speak out and shut down fossil fuel projects and the political patsies that approve them.

But in the face of all that, there is also hope: Major new divestments from big banks (and even the WORLD bank), opportunities to challenge the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC)’s new leadership, and convergences and gatherings that will consolidate the strength of our movement to shut things down and renew your spirit to open new ideas up.

Rebellions are built on hope, and two stories are giving me hope this week:

A recent article in Reuters details how Canadian Tar Sands, the dirtiest oil on earth, are having a tough time getting to export markets — driving up prices and costing Big Oil companies billions of dollars in the process. One of the big reasons the oil can’t get out is that a bunch of new pipelines are being delayed by our resistance. One of them – the Energy East, which was to be the “largest tar sands pipeline in the world” – was flat out canceled earlier this year. This makes it clear that our strategy of delaying big fossil fuel projects can work, but only if 2 things are true:

  1. We have to physically get in the way and obstruct these projects. No pipeline has ever been stopped by a court action or environmental impact statement alone (those things are are also important). In fact, more often than not, even when pipelines are found to have violated the law or their government-issued permits, they just pay a fine, revise the plan and keep right on going. If we want to stop the construction, we need to actually STOP the construction.
  2. Local governments like cities, states and counties can make a huge difference. That Energy East pipeline in Canada faltered not on federal rules, but mostly on the opposition of sovereign indigenous nations and the province of Quebec, which asked for a serious climate test on the project. Here in the US, the laws are different, and mostly stacked in favor of federal regulators like FERC and the Army Corps of Engineers (ACoE). But our best results have come in states like New York, where the Governor stood up to gas pipelines, or in cities like Vancouver, which voted to block an oil train terminal and set off a chain reaction that’s shutting the industry down across the state of Washington.

The second big piece of news is this new Finnish study out that confirms what many of us already know in our hearts: A planet earth powered by 100% renewable energy isn’t just possible: it’s cheaper, more just, more efficient, and better for jobs too. That research builds on the existing plans for 100% Renewable energy in 139 countries, and detailed, state-by-state plans for the U.S. that show the same thing.

So, the solutions are coming – if we can just hold off the poison of fossil fuels long enough. And in particular if we can oil the dastardly plans of Trump and team to build an entire new generation of fossil fuel pipelines, export terminals and more that will lock-in another 30 years of global warming pollution both here and abroad, which millions of people simply cannot survive.

The even-better news is that we have some great opportunities in the next 4 weeks to make real progress. BUT, we need you support to fund the travel, logistics and technology we need to make that happen. We’ve have a goal of raising $10,000 by the end of the year, in part because changes in the Republican Tax Bill may make it less likely people will donate to groups like us in 2018. So far we’re $3,800 short of the goal. Can you chip in to support our work and help us start 2018 off right?

Here’s our plan for the next few weeks, custom designed to take advantage of the crisi-tunities above:

  1. In terms of stoking local resistance, the best opportunities in the next few weeks are the inaugurations of new (Democratic) Governor’s in Virginia and New Jersey. VA Governor Northam’s inauguration is on January 14 and could present some interesting opportunities. Northam is for the Mountain Valley and Atlantic Coast Pipelines. But the Virginia Water Control Board has split recently: requiring additional review of the ACP, and voting to approve MVP with no such condition. With one pipeline approved, one on the way, and the governor not yet on-board: it’s time to start planning accountability and disruption actions. But we only have a few weeks to do it, and we need your support.
  2. In our survey, by far the most popular action people were willing to take (93%) was signing petitions and sending letters online. Two great opportunities to do that will come early in 2018 as FERC rules on the disastrous proposal from Rick Perry & Donald Trump to subsidize coal and nuclear power by raising electricity rates across the Northeast and midwest. A second opportunity may present itself as FERC considers new rules on when and how they approve pipelines. But given that they’re literally paid by the industry and have only opposed 1 or 2 pipelines out of more than 400 applications – color us skeptical. Either way, FERC dockets are notoriously hard to comment on or access for the public (at their monthly “public” meeting, for example, you get thrown out of the room if you try and speak. Unless you’re paid by the industry.) We use online tools to make it one-click simple for anyone to comment, and hand-deliver your messages at protests and media events that the Commission can’t ignore. But we need your support to keep these tools free and easy to access.
  3. The second most popular activity according to our survey is calling and lobbying your elected officials in person or by phone. And boy-howdy is there a show-down coming in January. You might remember that right after they brazenly voted to loot the middle class and strip mine the Arctic with their Tax Bill, the GOP voted to kick the can on a major spending bill until January 19. At stake are two huge issues: whether or not the government will shut down and whether or not thousands of undocumented young people (the Dreamers) will be deported. Two weeks ago, at the last critical moment, several Senate Democrats blinked and voted to allow thousands of Dreamers to face deportation over the holidays. It’s hard to overstate what a betrayal that is, or how eerily similar it was (both in who voted, and in who ducked the issue) to recent sell-outs on climate change like Democrats not objecting to (or even defending) Trump’s FERC nominees. We need to get ready to show up and show down with our allies in the Dreamer and immigration rights communities, and we need to make sure the climate movement doesn’t get completely forgotten (again) by the politicians who claim to speak for us.
  4. Last, there’s all the work we don’t know will happen (or exactly when) in January. This includes a plan for a series of webinars and conference calls with the team behind the People Vs Oil and Gas Summit. And keeping an eye on the #NoBBP and #NoKXl movements – which thousands of us have pledged to show up and support if called. If you’re interested in making a tax deductible gift that will keep us operating all month, then a monthly donation of $1.98 is the best, most efficient way to do so.

Thanks,

Two pipelines a week

Last week the Army Corps of Engineers gave preliminary approval to the Bayou Bridge Pipeline (BBP). A few days earlier, the Virginia Water Control Board (VaWCB) voted 4-3 to approve the fracked gas Atlantic Coast Pipeline (ACP), but required a final review of several environmental studies. That second one is actually considered a partial victory, since the week before the VaWCB had voted to approve the Mountain Valley Pipeline (MVP) — another, shorter, fracked gas pipeline — with no such condition.

This not to mention the FCC ripping apart #NetNeutrality and the Republican Congress poised to ram through a tax bill that will steal our healthcare, deport our neighbors and drop a depth charge on the middle class from a luxury yacht. So, yeah, the last week wasn’t great.

But here’s the thing, in moments of crisis this climate justice movement rises to the occasion in ways that never fail to startle and inspire me. So, short version – Can you chip in to support what we’re doing? Even $1.98 helps a lot, and there’s a ton of other (including non-monetary) stuff you can do to help that we’re supporting or participating in below.

Ok – how to help. First, if you haven’t already, you need to sign up to show up. Both the #NoBBP and the #NoKXl movement have launched “pledge to protect” campaigns that encourage you ti sign up to show up – when asked, that’s really important – to support thee campaigned with civil disobedience and direct aid.

If we stop the pipelines, and lose the economy, our democracy, and all our immigrant neighbors though, it wont count for much. So we also need to sign up to show up and stop congress this week. Some of the best organizing going right now is to stop the tax bill, or derail it by forcing a big fight about the DREAM act. All week long, brave young dreamers, people who rely on the Affordable Care Act have been showing up in force. If you can get to D.C. or a local rally and support them you should.

Coincidentally, putting pressure on the Senate might also be the best way to save #NetNeutrality, which some 8,822 (yes we keep count), of you signed up to protect. The FCC voted to shred net Neutrality last week, but the short version is that we can fix it — IF two bulwarks hold:

  1. The lawsuits already introduced in New York, Massachusetts and a bunch of states to overrule the FCC decision because the comment process was to flawed;
  2. Congress votes (in accordance with some 70% of their constituents wishes) to overrule them with a powerful tool called the Congressional Review Act. The CRA gives Congress 60 legislative days to overturn a rule issued by a federal agency with a “resolution of disapproval,”  and it is NOT subject to a filibuster, so it can pass the Senate with just 51 votes.

Last, I want to talk about California, and all the places recently ravaged by climate-fueled super-storms. The fires, now among the largest in California history, are being driven by strong winds and new evacuation orders were issued in the last 24 hoursOne firefighter, Cory Iverson, 32, has been confirmed dead. And like Puerto Rico, we expect the actual toll to be much much worse than the public account.

Some friends have been strategizing about Mutual Aid Disaster Relief, and I think there’s potential fir us to help. But to do so we’ll need a lot of logistics. Training, supplies, some sort of micro-grid on wheels. We need to get ready, and the climate chaos isn’t waiting.

If you chip in now, we’ll put 100% of the funds towards staging actions, protests and relief efforts where they matter. Even better, 100% of your gift is now tax-deductible as we apply for charitable status from the IRS. But I don’t know what the next few weeks will bring — whether there will be another disaster to respond to, another pipeline permitted, or whether the Trump team will order the IRS to disregard all new applications towards protecting the environment the way they told the CDC to stop using words like “fetus” and “science-based” last week.

What I do know is that, together, we can make a difference. But only if we show up however we can. Click any of the links in this email to get connected and show up to say #NoKXL, #NoBBP, #StopGOPTaxScam, clean #DreamActNow, or do stand in solidarity with the victims of #ThomasFire and ALL the #ClimateChanged disasters of the last few months.

Or, click here to chip in and help us fight back.

Photo Credit: Brandon Wu

198 methods to [do what exactly?]

Last week I told you about why I think it’s important to start 198 methods as another non-profit, environmental advocacy group (Missed it? Click here for the refresher, 5 charts and 2 maps). This week, I’m all about how we win.

I lay out some specific examples, strategies, and ideas below. But the TL;DR is this: It costs about $100 a week to keep all this going, and we want to scale UP the project in 2018. So I’m looking for about 50 people to donate $1.98 a week for the next 6 months. Can you help​?

more “198 methods to [do what exactly?]”

Big news – Basic economics killed a pipeline

TransCanada, the same company behind Keystone XL, just pulled the plug on its disastrous $15.7 billion Energy East Pipeline in Canada.

This is a huge win for all the climate activists, Indigenous leaders and nations, and Canadians of all sorts who fought for years to stop this pipeline — just as we in the US have been fighting to stop #KXL and the Dakota Access Pipeline (#DAPL).

Ultimately, it wasn’t a rally, protest, or petition that slayed the great black snake known as Energy East — it was basic economics.

That’s important for two reasons: One, it puts added pressure on TransCanada and their partners to deliver on KXl, DAPL and other projects — one down, many to go and the stakes just got higher. Two, it indicates that we can stop these projects by speaking their language — and money talks.

Divest the Globe, Defund the PipelinesSign here to stand with Mazaska Talks* and other allies in telling the big banks: stop financing climate disasters and respect Indigenous rights!

It’s important to understand that big pipelines and other fossil fuel projects are funded almost entirely by the big banks — companies like Wells Fargo, JPMorgan Chase, and Bank of America. You undoubtedly know many of those big banks, they have branches on millions of street corners in most cities and towns like Columbia. You might even use them for your checking accounts or credit cards.

They’d rather you didn’t know that they’re financing climate disaster projects like Energy East, KXL, and DAPL. That’s why many of them signed onto the Equator Principles. It’s a promise between the biggest banks to NOT finance projects that threaten the climate and local communities. It sounds good, but they haven’t lived up to their promise.

The Dakota Access Pipeline was financed by these so called “Equator banks”, even though it was built to pump the dirtiest oil on earth, and was fiercely opposed by the Standing Rock Sioux and Cheyenne River Lakota Tribes.

It’s not just in the U.S., either: The Agua Zarca dam in Honduras, also passed the ‘Equator test’ as a project supposedly respecting the rights of the Lenca communities. Tragically, Indigenous leader Berta Cáceres was murdered for speaking out against the project.

On October 23rd, 92 of the world’s largest banks will meet in São Paolo, Brazil to discuss and re-commit to the Equator Principles. The list of attendees will include DAPL & KeystoneXL financiers such as Wells Fargo, Bank of America, J.P. Morgan Chase, and many more.

This coalition is calling on allies everywhere to participate by signing this petition and joining us for a mass global action between October 23-25. Will you sign here to tell the big banks: stop financing climate disasters and respect Indigenous rights?

PS – Once you’ve signed on, click here to host or attend a local rally, protest or teach-in on October 23, 24 or 25 as part of this collective “Divest The Globe” action!

* “mazaska” is a Lakota for “money”, an homage to the resistance at Standing Rock. The website Mazaskatalks.org is a centralized resource for this campaign, with detailed financial data as well as tools for taking action.