Portland Fossil Fuel Policy – Breakfast Rally

ffp-breakfast-2On the morning of July 13th, 40 people gathered outside City Hall to eat breakfast, have inspiring conversation, and attend City Council’s open testimony to support Mia Reback and Nick Caleb. Mia and Nick were testifying on the Fossil Fuel Code discussion draft, which will be the legally binding version of the Fossil Fuel Infrastructure ban resolution that was passed November last year. The Fossil Fuel Code falls well short of the original resolution, and is less a ban on fossil fuel infrastructure and more a few regulations tailored to fit the needs of the fossil fuel industries and their interest to grow. By testifying at City Council, Mia and Nick are drawing Council’s attention to the disparity between the resolution as passed and the current draft. (draft analysis)

Audio Interviews During The Rally

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To Stop Oil Trains, I Spent My Honeymoon in Jail

Mosier Solidarity-34

It was a few days after my wedding. I was supposed to be honeymooning at a nearby winery with my newly minted husband, celebrating our unlikely marriage at age 55.

Instead, I was sitting on the railroad tracks in the pouring rain. Along with 20 other brave souls, some weeping, some singing, I was facing down a locomotive in a town — Vancouver, Washington — that many fear will be forced to accept the largest oil-by-rail terminal in the country.

Why would anyone do something like that? Read more

Summer Organizers Assemble!

Interns-2Joining 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

Divest PERS Campaign Kickoff

DSC_0017On 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.

DSC_0029Bryan 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

Women of Color Speak-Out: Climate Change and Systems of Oppression

WOC-25Last night we were pleased to join a packed crowd of 300 at the Women of Color Speak Out’s presentation at the First Unitarian Church. Four women, Zarna Joshi, Afrin Sopariwala, Sarra Tekola, and Yin Yu, spoke passionately about systems of oppression and their relationship to climate change. They explained how capitalism, colonialism, the prison-industrial complex, and patriarchy are used to oppress black and brown peoples globally and how this oppression is intimately tied to the creation of climate change, who bears the brunt of climate change, and the approaches we use to stop climate change. The WOC Speak Out comes to us at a time when we are painfully aware of how little time is left to reverse climate change. Their words are critical for us to hear, particularly as urgency can cloud our thinking.

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A First Time Arrestee’s Report from Break Free

6320d49a-0e20-4270-8bfa-3e9668f32b8dA first time arrestee’s report from the oil train blockade at March Point, Anacortes, Washington., May 13-15, 2016.

“This ain’t no party. This ain’t no disco. This ain’t no fooling around.”

Day 1

I awaken to the crunch of footsteps on loose gravel, the roar of passing vehicles on Highway 20 and the snapping of our flags. They rise above the 12ft tall painter’s scaffolding that we erected over the railroad tracks.

What am I doing here? Read more

Family Ties: Personal Reflections from Break Free PNW

Break Free PNWA mother-daughter duo, Maya Rommwatt and Carole Romm, give their accounts of Break Free PNW and what it meant to them.

“I joined Break Free PNW as a local organizer here in Portland initially to help plan transportation to and from the area. A week later circumstances outside of my control allowed me to step into the role of lead logistics organizer for Break Free PNW. I had the immeasurable task of planning the transportation, housing, food, and well-being of hundreds of people. Behind-the-scenes organizing work isn’t very glamorous, but I managed to meet and work with several hundred volunteers who helped make Break Free PNW run smoothly. Volunteers took time out of sexier activism to cook for others, help transport folks across Fidalgo Island, staff the info table and medic tent, and set up and break down infrastructure. We couldn’t have pulled this off without their help.

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Portland Public Schools Commits To Climate Justice

IMG_5689 (Small)Portland’s climate justice activists won a groundbreaking victory on May 17, when the Portland Public Schools Board unanimously passed a resolution promising major changes in the way climate justice is taught and modeled in Portland Public Schools.

To be dropped:

  1. any texts that doubt the severity of the climate crisis or question its human causes.

To be added:

  1. grassroots, locally created teaching materials, curriculum, professional development and outdoor studies, all exploring the roots and solutions to the climate crisis.
  2. information about and student training opportunities in green jobs and technologies
  3. a focus on strengthening student climate activism, with the featured presence of PPS students who came to Portland as climate refugees from ‘frontline’ communities.

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Break Free Pacific Northwest Action

Shell-Tesoro-12The Break Free (From Fossil Fuels) action in Anacortes Washington was part of a coordinated global ‘week’ of 30 actions across a dozen countries. You can read about some of them here.

The Pacific Northwest Action spanned 4 days from May 12th through the 15th and included trainings, workshops, events such as speakers and meals, a lot of beautiful art making, 3 marches, kayaks on the water and a railroad track blockade that lasted 2 days. All together an estimated 2500 people participated in various aspects of the action.

I found the whole event uplifting and nourishing. Read more

Standing Rock Sioux Tribe and Allies Work to Defeat the Dakota Access Oil Pipeline

dapl-map-fullYet another U.S. oil pipeline proposal is hanging in the balance, and this time it’s the Dakota Access Pipeline, also known as the Bakken Pipeline. It would stretch across 1,134 miles, starting at the Bakken oil fields in western North Dakota, transporting 450,000 barrels (18,900,000 gallons) of crude oil per day, with a planned future capacity of 570,000 barrels per day. 30-inch wide pipes would take a southeast path through Native American ancestral territories in North and South Dakota and Iowa, eventually reaching Illinois. From Illinois the pipeline would connect to another pre-existing one with access to the Gulf of Mexico.   

Last month, on April 1st, 60-plus members of the Great Sioux Nation rode on horseback for miles to set up a spirit camp by the mouth of the Cannonball River. The camp, called Iyan Wakanya Gagnapi Oti, or Sacred Stone Camp, was intentionally established right on the proposed path of the oil pipeline. They have vowed that the camp will stay there until the pipeline is stopped. Toward the end of April, they held a week long spirit relay run of over 500 miles from Cannon Ball, ND to Omaha, NE to deliver the message to the Army Corps that “we resist a pipeline crossing beneath sacred water needed for life”. There is also a powerful video of Native children from the region asking everyone to sign an online petition to stop the pipeline. Read more