Climate Activism News Roundup #4

In the last couple of weeks, the landscape of the fight against climate change has changed significantly. The US government has decided to rollback climate policies, including withdrawing and re-writing the Clean Power Plan. An article below describes the landscape of climate change in the United States as “a chaotic map of countervailing efforts.” It is chaotic. It is uncertain. But in a time when one could easily feel defeated, there are still people pushing back. Within that chaos are all of the activists who continue to inspire, even in the face of so many unknowns.

As we put together this edition of the Climate Activism News Roundup, we couldn’t help but notice that there are activists from all walks of life, across the globe, continuing this struggle.

There is 16-year-old Xiuhtexcatl Martinez, the plaintiff in a lawsuit against the US government for failing to act on climate change. There are the activists of BOLD Louisiana, willing to put their personal safety on the line to block the Bayou Bridge Pipeline. Here in the Pacific Northwest, citizens are already raising concerns over the Pacific Connector Pipeline. As federal support diminishes, individuals and local initiatives will continue to be at the forefront of the movement, and we will continue to highlight the efforts of climate activists around the world.


Dakota Access Pipeline

It’s official: Oil is making its way through the Dakota access pipeline

Grist / March 28, 2017

“It’s official: Oil is making its way through the Dakota Access Pipeline. Energy Transfer Partners, the company that built the pipeline, reported on Monday that oil is now under Lake Oahe in North Dakota. The surrounding area, which includes burial sites and drinking water sources, is sacred to the Standing Rock and Cheyenne River Sioux tribes. The company is prepping the full pipeline to go online.”

LA Moves towards Divesting from Wells Fargo in DAPL Protest

Colorlines / March 29, 2017

“Oil may already be flowing through the Dakota Access Pipeline, but that doesn’t mean that the resistance movement against it has ended. Two L.A. city councilmembers introduced a motion yesterday (March 28) for the city to divest from Wells Fargo, one of the banks financing the $3.78 billion project.

‘I want to send a clear message to the financial institutions everywhere that Los Angeles must fulfill its role as a national leader on the environment,’ wrote Councilmember Mitch O’Farrell on his Facebook page. ‘The actions we take locally have consequences elsewhere, and we must not be complicit in a scheme that negatively affects ancestral lands or the sovereign rights of the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe in North Dakota.'”

Bayou Bridge Pipeline

Protestors Ready to ‘Put Bodies on the line’ to block southern end of Dakota access pipeline

PJ Media / March 27, 2017

“Protesters in Louisiana say they are ready to put their “bodies on the line” if the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers approves construction of Energy Transfer Partners’ Bayou Bridge Pipeline, which is the tail end of the Dakota Access Pipeline’s network. “If the permits get issued and it’s a ‘yes,’ then we’re going to do whatever it is we have to do to protect our wetlands, to protect our families from this company and from this particular project,” Cherri Foytlin, director of the activist group Bold Louisiana, told PJM in an interview last week. ‘If we have to put our bodies on the line, we’ll do that.'”

Sabal Trail Pipeline

Sabal Trail Protestor court dates to be set Tuesday

Daily Commercial / March 26, 2017

“A pitch-black, 3-1/2-foot wide metal tube probably isn’t where most people would choose to spend a day. But, on Feb. 22, two environmental activists couldn’t think of a better place to be.

‘When you’re standing up for something you believe in so much, those discomforts are put on the wayside,’ said Karrie Kay Ford, 29, of Gainesville.
Ford and Nicholas “Niko” Segal-Wright, 25, of Lake Worth, climbed about 250 feet into a section of the Sabal Trail Pipeline that day in Marion County as a form of civil disobedience, Ford said, to protest the multi-state project.”

Keystone XL

The Key to Stopping Keystone XL? Follow the Money.

The Hill / March 23, 2017

“Our best hope today to stop this misguided, outdated idea is to follow the money and turn off the spigot of cash flowing from the banking industry to the dirty energy sector. Giant fossil fuel projects like this one require billions of dollars to build and lock us into decades of carbon pollution. We need to ensure that banks stop bankrolling and profiting off climate chaos and human rights abuses.”

Keystone XL Pipeline Foes Rev Up Fight Again After Trump’s Rubber Stamp

Inside Climate News / March 24, 2017

“The Trump administration’s hasty approval is expected be the basis for court challenges by environmentalists. Groups say they will argue the administration sidestepped the law by failing to conduct a new and thorough environmental analysis with public comment before making its decision. The approval, they say, was based on an Obama environmental review when oil prices were much higher than they are today.”

Mariner East 2 Pipeline

Mariner East Pipelines Proceed, as Challenges Continue

Public News Service / March 17, 2017

“Environmental groups are going ahead with their challenge to permits for the Mariner East II pipelines, despite the denial of their petition to halt construction. The pipelines, being built by Sunoco, will carry highly flammable, natural-gas liquids at high pressure for 300 miles across 17 Pennsylvania counties.”

Pacific Connector Pipeline

Pressures Rise over Pacific Connector Pipeline

KOBI 5 / March 24, 2017

“One group gathered today in Klamath Falls to fight the move – while a southern Oregon leader shared the advantages a pipeline can deliver. A crowd of about 20 people protested against the Pacific Connector Pipeline outside the Klamath County Government Center.

‘We know what they’re doing, and they’re not going to do what they did to the Standing Rock people.’ Stated Tribal member Ramona Mason. ‘It’s our duty as indigenous people to protect our homelands.'”


Arctic Indigenous Peoples leading The Way in Ecological Restoration and Climate Resilience says major new study

Intercontinental Cry / April 3, 2017

“A major new international study has recognised the crucial role Arctic Indigenous Peoples have to play in ecological restoration efforts that help build resilience to major climate-change driven shifts in the distribution of land, marine and freshwater species.

Published in the prestigious journal, Science, the new study highlights the extent of climate change-driven changes in the distribution of species. It identifies the emerging challenges these shifts pose for indigenous and non-indigenous communities and economies from the tropics to the poles.

Colorado Youth Score Decisive Legal Victory Against Fracking Industry

Common Dreams / March 24, 2017

“A group of Colorado teenagers scored a “huge” victory against the state’s fracking industry on Thursday when a three-judge panel ruled that the health of citizens and environment takes precedence over oil and gas interests.

The decision, handed down by the Colorado Court of Appeals on Thursday, requires that the Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation Commission (COGCC) consider a petition from six youth plaintiffs, which asks the board to suspend the issuance of fracking permits ‘until it can be done without adversely impacting human health and safety and without impairing Colorado’s atmospheric resource and climate system, water, soil, wildlife, and other biological resources.'”

Reframing Here and Now: How to Fight Back on the Climate Front

Common Dreams / March 29, 2017

“Climate change programs are up for elimination with the proposed 31 percent cut to the Environmental Protection Agency’s budget and the dismantling of the Clean Power Plan. While environmentalists are protesting this, we are not seeing a grassroots uprising to fight this in the way that Obamacare repeal was fought and defeated. For all the solid science behind climate change and the technological solutions already available or close at hand, we have not found a way for the general public to make an emotional connection to the problem. We have not shown how solutions to climate change can contribute to quality of life here and now, and not just a generation or two later.”

Land Protectors Face Criminal Charges for Defending Water, Food, Culture

Intercontinental Cry / March 23, 2017

“Land protectors who protested the Muskrat Falls hydro project in Labrador last fall could be facing jail time, an outcome that, according to a prominent Indigenous lawyer and scholar, would perpetuate a disturbing trend in Canada’s justice system.

Mi’kmaw lawyer and Ryerson University’s Associate Professor and Chair in Indigenous Governance Dr. Pam Palmater told The Independent this week that the criminalization of Indigenous Peoples protesting as a form of self-defense is becoming “more and more prevalent” in Canada despite the fact the protests themselves are an effort to guard constitutionally-protected rights.”

Activists Employ “Necessity” Strategy in Pipeline Trials.

Missoula News / March 24, 2017

“Ken Ward has no interest in going to jail. This much he made clear in early March in a BuzzFeed News video viewed by nearly a million people on social media. But jail may be what the future holds for Ward and four other activists who simultaneously shut down five oil pipelines in four states on Oct. 11, 2016. As the Indy learned in December from Leonard Higgins, the Oregon man now facing up to 10 years in Deer Lodge for his role in the shutdown, the possibility of incarceration paled in comparison to the prospect of doing nothing in the face of climate change.

‘Bottom line: We’re facing a far greater threat than prison,’ Higgins said the day after his Dec. 6 arraignment in Chouteau County.”

Washington Hearing is Activists’ Last Hope in Battle over Panama Dam

Intercontinental Cry / March 28, 2017

“Years of protests fighting the Barro Blanco dam came down to an hour-long hearing on March 17 in a Washington, D.C., office building more than 4,000 miles from the lands and river in Panama that Weni Bagama and Osvaldo Jordán are trying to protect. In a bright red native dress decorated with the zigzag pattern that represents the mountains and rivers of her homeland, Bagama made an impassioned plea in the few minutes allotted to make the case for the Ngäbe people before the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights, established in 1959 as an autonomous part of the Organization of American States.”

Climate Action will Thrive on Local Level, Leaders Vow after Order

Inside Climate News / March 29, 2017

“President Donald Trump declared on Tuesday he is returning power over environmental regulation to the states, with his executive order lifting restrictions on the fossil fuel industry. ‘States and communities know what’s best for them,’ he said. ‘They understand it. They get it.’

But leaders of some of the nation’s biggest states and local governments say what they need is strong federal policy. The Mayors National Climate Action Agenda, which formed in 2015 to support U.S. policy in the run-up to the Paris climate talks, was one of the coalitions that responded immediately with a vow to use their powers to fend off the White House assault on environmental regulation.”

Hundreds of Clean Energy bills Have Been Introduced in States Nationwide this Year

Inside Climate News Cry / March 27, 2017

“Lawmakers in state legislatures across the nation have proposed hundreds of bills this year relating to clean energy. While many propose to grow alternative energy resources, others work to impede them, creating a chaotic map of countervailing efforts.

State politicians have introduced measures to dramatically expand renewable electric power in nearly a dozen states in the first three months of 2017, some as ambitious as aiming to run entirely on renewables within a few decades; some would launch smaller-scale community solar ventures, like a pilot in Virginia; others would add tax breaks for solar users in South Carolina and Florida.”

Solidarity Actions

Costa Rica: State Repression Against Activists for Solidarity Actions

Earth First! / March 29, 2017

“…We extend an invitation to participate and take action, from the land where you live, [in solidarity] with those detained and processed by the Costa Rican State, demanding the acquittal of the compañer@s who are facing trial, and state repression. An open invitation to take action from April 1-7.”

A Call to Action: Camp White Pine to Resist the Mariner East 2 Pipeline in Pennsylvania

Earth First! / March 29, 2017

“As the seasons begin to change, something’s stirring in the mountains and valleys of Northern Appalachia.With construction season upon us, there’s a call for land defenders and water protectors to join the growing resistance to pipelines and fracking infrastructure across the region. In the Susquehanna Valley of so-called Pennsylvania, Camp White Pine is digging in our heels to fight the Mariner East 2 pipeline, and invites you to come join us.”