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.

No Coal, No Gas. Nobody will shut Merrimack down for us.

The Merrimack Generating Station in Bow, NH, is the last large coal plant in New England without a shut-down date. On September 28th we will gather in Bow for a mass nonviolent direct action to shut down this plant.

Nobody’s going to close this coal plant for us. Continuing to burn coal and build fracked gas infrastructure in New England is immoral. That our political leaders stand idly by, or worse claim to believe in climate science, but refuse to take the actions necessary in the midst of this climate emergency is unconscionable. We must act ourselves.

The action has already started. Activists removed hundreds of pounds of coal from burn pile #BucketbyBucket and delivered it to the doorsteps of the New Hampshire Legislature and other ineffective political leaders.

Now, they’re calling for backup to finish the job: Can you Join us in Bow, NH, on Saturday, September . 28 for a powerful action to stop fossil fuels and climate chaos?

When we took action in DC this week, we chose as our message based on firefighter’s badges: to symbolize that we were the emergency responders coming to the rescue of a planet that’s on fire. In the same way, this week we’re going to show up and remove a little fuel from the fire that is burning our future.

The coal industry/fossil fuel industry has been reaping profits by stealing from our future for generations. They try to tell us that it’s our fault, that we should change our diet, drive less, travel less. But just 100 companies are responsible for 70% of emissions worldwide. And coal kills 13,000 people per year in the US and 800,000 a year globally, plus countless more deaths as a result the climate crisis driven by fossil fuels.  Any nonviolent act that prevents fossil fuels from being burned is an act of reclaiming a small piece of the future that is being stolen from us.

Activists have campaigned for decades to close down Merrimack. But local elected officials are bought by the fossil fuel industry and lack the political courage to confront the climate crisis. Nobody is going to shut down this power plant for us. But by physically carrying away the coal, removing the fuel from the fire, we are reclaiming our power and our future in our own hands.

This moment calls for mass resistance – the status quo is the enemy. On September 28th we will converge in Bow to remove the fuel from the fires of climate catastrophe – even if we have to do it bucket by bucket. Will you join us?

There are two basic ways to join us in action, and you can learn more about both of them at the nocoalnogas.org website:

It is past time to move past comfortable responses to the climate crisis. As Greta Thunburg said in her speech to UN ministers last week:

“For more than 30 years the science has been crystal clear. How dare you continue to look away and come here saying that you’re doing enough when the politics and solutions needed are nowhere in sight.”

If you’re ready to take the action we need, not simple what is politically feasible, join us in Bow this weekend and take the fuel from the fires that are burning our planet #BucketbyBucket.

Shut Down DC

UPDATE: We are going to #ShutDownDC in less than three weeks! More than 700 folks have pledged to join us and more than a dozen organizations have endorsed our demands for a Green New Deal, respect of indigenous land, and protection of biodiversity, and more.  If you haven’t already – click here to sign the pledge of resistance and join us in the streets September 23.

Then (or if you want to know more before you commit) RSVP for an organizing meeting September 11 or 18. The organizing meetings will get you briefed and ready, and help connect you to an affinity group to make taking action safe, easy and fun.

If you’re already onboard, use these quick links to share the news with your networks online:

share on facebook share on Facebook
Share on Twitter share on Twitter
Or, just forward this post

There’s no time left for business-as-usual; the Amazon and the Arctic are on fire. Greenland is melting and Trump wants to ‘buy’ it. Corruption reigns and the climate crisis is here. Now.

On September 20th, hundreds of thousands of young people around the world will skip school or work to take to the streets and make a stand. Many of them were inspired by the actions and words of Swedish student Greta Thunberg.

They include and will join Indigenous peoples, as well as Black and Brown communities on the frontlines, who have been leading the climate movement and building a regenerative future in the midst of the climate emergency.

In Washington, DC we will be answering the call in a huge way and building on the momentum of the youth climate strikes:

On September 23rd, we are going to shut down DC. Click here or visit StrikeDC.org to join us.

We will block key infrastructure to stop business-as-usual, bringing the whole city to a gridlocked standstill. Parents, workers, college students, and everyone who is concerned about the climate crisis will skip work and school and put off their other responsibilities to take action on the climate crisis.

People around the world are experiencing superstorms, floods, droughts, and wildfires at unprecedented rates, with low-income communities and communities of color hit first and worst. Cruelly, communities and regions being devastated by the worst effects of climate change tend to be the least responsible for its onset. It is not a coincidence that climate impacts strike along the lines of race and class so starkly; climate change itself is a product of the same processes which cement racism and wealth inequality in our country and our world.

To achieve something as monumental as shutting down DC, we are going to need everyone to step up. We need everyone’s creativity, everyone’s energy, everyone’s insights, and everyone’s ideas. Every single person has skills and experience to contribute to the strike.

Take the pledge of resistance to join us, come to a kickoff meeting, and organize or join a squad.

This is the mass uprising that everyone with climate anxiety has been waiting for. This is an uprising for life itself, fighting back against the forces of destruction. This is your chance to take action to save the people, plants, and animals you love. Let’s rise up and shut down DC!