Joining us this summer are six interns ready and raring to start organizing in their community. From high school students to college grads, these women come from a vast variety of backgrounds, but have assembled for one purpose: to stop climate change in its tracks. Read more
On June 23rd an enthusiastic group of PERS members who want to ensure their retirement doesn’t come at the expense of a livable future met for the first time as the new (tentatively named) Divest PERS Team at the Friends Meeting House.
Sandy Polishuk and David Kennedy reported on the history of divestment legislation in Oregon – only two times has the legislature passed bills requiring divestment of PERS investments: Oregon Anti-Apartheid Act of 1987 (divesting from South Africa and Namibia) and Oregon Human Rights and Anti-Genocide Act of 2005 (divesting from Sudan). Neither is in force any longer.
Bryan Brumley, a member of the 350PDX Divestment Team and a certified financial advisor specializing in sustainable, responsible and impact investing, shared his research on the PERS portfolio: it’s different types of investments, the opacity of the actual holdings, and the obstacles to and benefits of divesting. There was discussion of stranded assets and other reasons that fossil fuel companies are becoming worse and worse investments. Read more
On June 18th over 100 activists joined together to stop rail traffic in Vancouver, WA in protest of the continued dangerous oil-by-rail shipments. 21 courageous people, dubbed the Vancouver 21, were arrested after blocking the tracks for over three hours. Among those arrested were 350 PDX leaders Adriana, Bernadette, Barbara and David.
At the pre-action gathering point, the Fire Chief of Mosier spoke to the crowd to get people hyped to resist oil-by-rail. From there everyone made their way to the tracks and gathered in a large circle spanning all the rail lines. There were a variety of colorful banners and signs. Then everyone sat down and a megaphone was at hand for people to come up and speak. Person after person stood up and spoke beautifully of their concerns for the environment, the safety of those who live near the passing oil trains and why they were occupying the tracks. There were teachers, some folks from Mosier and surrounding areas, and people of all ages. Read more
Construction of the Dakota Access Pipeline, also known as the Bakken Pipeline, began in May in North and South Dakota and in Illinois. Permits have not been issued yet for the sections of the pipeline that are slated to cross the Missouri River and the Mississippi. The Standing Rock Sioux Tribe is still holding strong in protest at their Sacred Stone Camp since April 1st, though pipeline construction is now visible just across the Missouri river from their homelands.
In Iowa, preparation for construction began without final federal approval, with the chopping of swaths of trees in wooded areas and land stripping. The company that is building the pipeline, Energy Transfer Partners (ETP), has also been stockpiling miles of pipe along the proposed route in preparation for digging. One of the areas in Iowa that has not been approved is on the Big Sioux Wildlife Management area in the northwestern part of the state. There is an ancestral burial ground for the Oceti Sakowin (Seven Council Fires of the Great Sioux Nation) on this land. On Friday, June 3rd, The Upper Sioux Community Tribal Historic Preservation Office (THPO) went to the ancestral burial site, accompanied by John F. Doershuk- Iowa state archaeologist, Jon Eagle of the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe, Chief Arvol Looking Horse- 19th generation pipe carrier, and other tribal elders and council members. Carolyn Raffensperger, executive director of the Science and Environmental Health Network, attended as well to document environmental damage. Read more
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