Climate Exceptionalism and the Forward on Climate Rally

(The following is an article written by our friend and ally from Philadelphia. She recently attended the “Forward on Climate” in Washington D.C., and offers some insightful and challenging analysis to the climate movement. Enjoy!)

Climate Exceptionalism and the Forward on Climate Rally
M Schlotterbeck

As I’m helping organize buses to the 350.org “Forward on Climate” rally in D.C., I can’t but feel deep reservations about it. A recent article by 350’s President, Bill McKibben, has hung in my mind because it encapsulates the hope and power of 350’s campaign, as well and the ignorance of movement history and endemic elitism that pervades some parts of mainstream climate organizing. McKibben treats climate work as a completely exceptional case, as more urgent than other work for justice, and in the process sabotages the possibility of fostering a real movement.

Rather than seeing climate activism as part of broader struggles against domination of the many by the few (i.e. the Left), McKibben frames it as a completely separate thing. It’s “the greatest problem we’ve ever faced. It’s not a fight, like education reform or abortion or gay marriage, between conflicting groups with conflicting opinions.” Everyone should work on nothing except climate change because, essentially, everything else can wait. This is climate exceptionalism, the idea that climate work is separate from and above other work for justice. Such a claim to some trophy for “most urgent issue” is dismissive toward movements all over the globe fighting for basic survival and dignity, and for other desperately needed structural change. But the question to be asking is not whether climate change is actually worse than genocide or wars or prisons or the systematic exploitation of most of the world’s people for profit, but why do we even need to compare and rank the problems? Would climate change be less of a problem if we decided genocide was actually worse? Would we be closer to overcoming either of them? What does it accomplish other than give people working on climate change a sense of unjustified superiority over other movements?

To read the rest of the article, click here

TransCanada Attempts to Buy Off Tribal Governments

from http://lastrealindians.com

TransCanada appears to be selectively distributing its funds into First Nations communities with its recent “partnership” in the Indspire Awards (formerly the National Aboriginal Achievement Awards) and its Platinum “sponsorship” of the upcoming Thundering Hills Powwow on July 5, 6, & 7th hosted by the Nekaneet First Nation.

Could TransCanada be seeking to stifle Indigenous communities’ opposition to the Tar Sands and the XL pipeline?

TransCanada is the Canadian oil and gas company behind the purposed XL pipeline that would bring Tar Sands oil from Alberta to Texas crossing First Nation and Tribal communities along the way. Opposition to the Tar Sands and the XL pipeline has been strong from various grassroots Indigenous communities and environmental activists including a recent gathering of tribal Nations in Yankton to sign the “International Treaty to Protect the Sacred from Tar Sands and Keystone XL” and the 40,000 plus gathering of activists who descended on D.C. recently to call on President Obama to reject the XL pipeline.

We call on all Tribal Nations, to reject TransCanada’s attempts to “buy” support for its XL pipeline and other Tar Sands related projects. Projects that not only will cause significant damage to the very tribal communities it is “investing” in, but cause irreversible damage to our planet and first mother Maka Ina.

Let us reject major corporations that are causing reprehensible damage to our communities, homelands, health and welfare from funding powwows, award shows, or any other related activities or events. Call on the Nekaneet First Nation to drop TransCanada as its Platinum sponsor.

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GPTSR honored to be on the ground fighting toxic extraction infrastructure alongside Appalachia Resist and numerous other groups in Ohio!

Folks from Great Plains Tar Sands Resistance are proud to be on the ground fighting toxic extraction infrastructure with Ohioans, Appalachia Resist!, numerous other environmental and social justice groups. Keep updated by checking in to their website, and help get the word out by sharing this far and wide.

BREAKING: Ohio Residents Shut Down Fracking Waste Storage Facility

Update 10:40 a.m: Three anti-frack activists in handcuffs onsite.

UPDATE: 10:38 a.m.:
2013-02-19 11.15.28 2013-02-19 11.15.54

UPDATE: 10:35 a.m.: The front gate has been opened. Cops are chasing activists from the site.

UPDATE: 10:33 a.m.: Six police vehicles on scene. Workers have removed banners and police are ordering protesters to leave the property. Two of the activists remaining inside the facility have been detained by police. Others are standing in front of the main gate which has been locked by activists. One fire truck is now on the scene surveying the monopod. The vice president of Greenhunter is onsite meeting with the sheriffs and the police.

UPDATE: 10:20 a.m.: Activists unfurled a banner on one of the frack waste trucks reading: “No Frack Waste By Truck, No Frack Waste By Boat, No Greenhunter Waste Down Ohio’s Throat.” #DrSeuss

Matamoros, OH, 10:00 am. Good morning!  Along with Earth First! and other environmental groups, we have stopped truck traffic at the Greenhunter fracking waste facility in Matamoros, Washington County, along the Ohio River.

Nate Ebert, a 33-year-old Athens County resident and member of Appalachia Resist!, ascended a 30 foot pole anchored to a brine truck in the process of unloading frack waste, preventing all trucks carrying frack waste from entering the site.

Over one hundred supporters gathered at the facility, protesting Greenhunter’s plans to increase capacity for toxic frack waste dumping in Ohio. Greenhunter is seeking approval from the Coast Guard to ship frack waste across the Ohio River via barge at a rate of up to half a million gallons per load. The Ohio River is a drinking source for more than 5 million people, including residents of Cincinnati and Pittsburgh. Test results from multiple frack waste samples reveal high levels of benzene, toluene, arsenic, barium, and radium, among other carcinogenic and radioactive chemicals.

“Our governor, legislature, and regulatory agencies have all failed in their obligation to protect Ohioans from the predatory gas industry,” said Ebert. “Greenhunter wants to use our water sources as dumping grounds for their toxic, radioactive waste. We are here to send a message that the people of Ohio and Appalachia will not sit idly by and watch our homes be turned into a sacrifice zone!”

Frack waste dumping has generated resistance across Ohio, including direct actions disrupting waste disposal operations from Youngstown to Athens County. The waste is injected underground into over 170 wells statewide, contaminating water and causing numerous earthquakes across the state from Marietta to Ashtabula, most notably a 4.0 earthquake in Youngstown. Surface spills are commonplace across Ohio, including the recently uncovered intentional dumping of an estimated hundreds of thousands of gallons of frack waste into the Mahoning River.

“Fracking chemicals and cancer go hand in hand,” said Teresa Mills of the Buckeye Forest Council, a grassroots Ohio organization seeking a ban on frack waste injection. “Greenhunter plans to recklessly endanger the drinking water of millions of residents of Ohio, Pennsylvania, and beyond. How many kids have to get cancer before we decide that saturating Ohio’s rivers and aquifers with toxic waste is not worth it? We need a ban on injection wells to protect our air, our water, and our children.”

Other groups participating in Tuesday’s action include Tar Sands BlockadeRadical Action for Mountain Peoples’ Survival (RAMPS), a coalition of indigenous leaders including representatives from No Line 9 and the Unis’tot’en CampGreat Plains Tar Sands Resistance, and Earth First! chapters from across the country. Tuesday’s action is the latest in a series of escalated acts of resistance to destructive extractive industries. On Monday, Pennsylvanians disrupted construction of the Tennessee Gas Pipeline in the Delaware State Forest. In January, Navajo residents from Black Mesa, Arizona joined with Appalachians to protest strip mining at the headquarters of Peabody Energy. International resistance to tar sands mining has continued to escalate from the Tar Sands Blockade in Texas and Great Plains Tar Sands Resistance in Oklahoma, to the Unist’ot’en Camp in Wet’suwet’en Territories.

“I am here because the struggle against frack waste dumping in Ohio is the same as our resistance to the blasting of the mountains in my backyard in West Virginia,” said Kim Ellis of RAMPS. “Until we put a stop to poisonous and exploitative extractive practices everywhere, we will continue to fight.”

Keep fighting!  Stand against fracking and injection wells!  We don’t need to accept this abuse of our land, air, and water!

Follow us on Twitter:  @AppalResist

###Appalachia Resist is a campaign of resistance to the poisoning and exploitation of Appalachia. For more information, go to:www.appalachiaresist.wordpress.com; Twitter: @AppalResist

BREAKING: Lifelong Oklahoman Youth Pastor suspended from KXL Construction Equipment, locked to machinery.

Lifelong Oklahoman and Youth Pastor, suspended and locked to KXL Equipment!

Lifelong Oklahoman and Youth Pastor, suspended and locked to KXL Equipment!

BREAKING: Lifelong Oklahoman Youth Pastor suspended from KXL Construction
Equipment, locked to machinery.

Earlier this morning, Stefan Warner, a youth pastor who was born and
raised in Harrah, OK, locked himself to machinery being used to build the
toxic Keystone XL tar sands pipeline through Creek land by treaty near
Schoolton, OK. Warner is taking action to protect the North Canadian River
and
the health of the towns and land it runs through from being irreversibly
damaged by diluted bitumen (tar sands) leaks and spills, as well as to
send a clear message that the current day colonialism and disregard for
the health and sovereignty of indigenous peoples in Alberta and along
the pipeline is unacceptable—from a Christian perspective, as well as a
human perspective.

Tar sands pipelines have a horrendous track record: the existing
Keystone 1 pipeline leaked twelve times in its first year, and at least
thirty times to date. In 2010, the added dangers of tar sands pipelines
were demonstrated by Enbridge's Line 6B pipeline spill of over a million
gallons of diluted bitumen into the Kalamazoo River in Michigan. The
Kalamazoo Tar Sands spill is the costliest inland spill in United States
history, draining the oil spill coffers and placing the $800 million and
rising price tag onto the backs of local and federal taxpayers. But it
is not the monetary burden that weighs heaviest; the toll on human life,
health and local ecosystems is immeasurable, and in the immediate, the
toxicity of the diluted bitumen and undisclosed proprietary chemicals
has proven devastating.

In addition to the immense dangers posed by the Keystone XL, TransCanada
has been misrepresenting the economic effects of the pipeline. The
majority of construction jobs are temporary and have been filled by
Wisconsin-based contractor Michel's, not Oklahomans and Texans. Despite
TransCanada and the State Department's rhetoric of energy independence,
the diluted bitumen transported by the Keystone XL is destined for
export to foreign markets after being refined in Gulf Coast refineries,
and the National Resources Defense Council asserts that the KXL will
increase domestic gas prices.

“I grew up in a town where the North Canadian River runs right through,
and we can't let the North Canadian become another Kalamazoo ,” said
Oklahoman youth pastor Stefan Warner. “I figure folks have to take action to
stop our beautiful Oklahoma from being marred by a foreign corporation,
and stand up to fight big corporations who think that poisoning people
and stealing land is acceptable so long as they make a profit.”

Warner is acting with Great Plains Tar Sands Resistance, a coalition of
Oklahomans and allies fighting to prevent construction of the Keystone
XL which will bring dangerous and toxic diluted bitumen from the
biome-consuming Tar Sands gigaproject to refinery communities in the
Gulf. This action comes in the wake of dozens of similar actions which
have actively fought construction of the Keystone XL in Oklahoma and
Texas. In light of reports of shoddy welding by TransCanada
whistleblower Evan Vokes and the recent release of photographs depicting
holes in the weld of a pipe buried in Texas, the struggle to keep the
Keystone XL from being completed is even more urgent.

UPDATE: 8:00AM: Direct Support for Stefan has been arrested without warning and placed in police car.  Six other people on site being detained currently. 8:00AM: Direct Support for Stefan has been arrested without warning.

8:00AM: Direct Support for Stefan has been arrested without warning.

 UPDATE 9:00AM: All Six people detained now arrested. Seven police vehicles on scene. Workers have lowered side-boom in disregard of Stefan’s safety and OSHA regulations, Stefan still locked to machinery but lying painfully face-down on the lowered arm. Police obscuring Stefan from view and not allowing anyone within photographing distance. 

UPDATE 9:15AM: Another individual arrested. This person was not initially detained but was prevented from accessing her vehicle since 8am. Stefan still holding strong. It also appears that this action is also blockading an active frack site!

UPDATE 1:00PM Earlier today, Stefan was extracted. To our knowledge, Stefan sustained no serious injuries and seems to be alright. We’ll keep everyone updated as we get more information about the arresstees’ charges, bail, and health.

UPDATE 6:00PM  All 8 individuals are released from jail.

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