This morning, before Portland Mayor Charlie Hales met with President Obama to discuss his Clean Power Plan, Mayor Hales and I spoke on the phone to talk about climate change, Arctic Drilling, and the need for strong action on climate. It was such an honor that an elected official like Mayor Hales took time out of his busy day to talk with me. Below are the notes I wrote up before our call that outline the conversation we had. I look forward to continuing my relationship with the Mayor to take stronger action on climate and build a just, equitable society for all.
It was a beautiful moment to see sHell’s Fennica icebreaker turned back by our human blockade taking its stand at the St. Johns bridge: 13 people suspended from the bridge, a wall of kayaks in the water and all backed up by dedicated support staff on shore. Compared to the size of the ship, they looked like tiny insects, yet for the moment, victory was ours.
It was 28 hours earlier, as the camp in Cathedral Park was just stirring for the planned 4 a.m. kayak blockade, that people started to notice the activists one by one dropping down from the side of the 200 foot tall span. They seemed like little spiders as they slowly lowered down, connecting lines between themselves, creating the web that would block the ship for 40 hours. Read more
The Fennica has arrived. On Saturday, July 25th, Shell’s notorious icebreaking ship docked near Swan Island, where it was confronted with several waves of “kayaktivists”. As they paddled through dim, unduly warm Willamette waters, the kayakers chanted, waved banners, and sailed flags in protest. Organized in part by 350pdx, the event made national news headlines, succeeding in bringing awareness to the ominous shadow the Fennica casts over the river.
sHell No activism continued into the next day at The Big Float, an event intended, according to its website, “to encourage people to ‘get into the river’ and support its preservation and healthy development as a recreational resource”.
Participants entered the Willamette River at Tom McCall Waterfront Park in Portland, where they floated on inner tubes, air mattresses, rafts, and kayaks. Despite the overcast skies, hundreds of people showed up to play in the water. Passersby were supportive as 350pdx volunteers joined in, parading several blocks carrying a “sHell No” banner along with a conglomeration of tubes and a small boat. Once they reached the water, 350pdx tied their floats together to create a united front and once again display their signs in protest of arctic drilling.
People held two banners: “Keep The Arctic Oil Free” and “Idle No More”. There were multiple chants, folks talking to motorists and speaking to passersby and a couple people spoke to the Shell attendants.
With the Ice-breaker ‘Fennica’ coming into Portland for repairs, activists have mobilized to protest Shell and the beginning of drilling in the arctic. It is especially telling about our society that as we have just passed the 1°C mark and the arctic land region is facing an unprecendented fire season that the plan to drill in the arctic is still a go. It is a form of insanity. We have to collectively break through that to chart an intelligent course.
Upcoming sHell No Events:
Friday July 24th – Portland Vs. Shell Speak Out at City Hall 1 pm
Saturday July 25th – Portland vs Shell! Kayak Flotilla
WHEN: Meet at 3:00pm. Will launch the flotilla by 4:00pm and expect to be on the water roughly an hour and a half.
WHERE: Launching from the Swan Island Boat ramp, at the end of N Basin Ave.
Sunday July 26th – Big Float outreach and awareness event.
Other actions you can take:
Sign the petition asking Mayor Hales and the City Council to take a public stand against drilling in the arctic.
Download and print a PDF of the petition and go out and collect names from friends, family or at events. Then you can mail or return them to the 350pdx office!
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