During my time in Paris, I was constantly inspired by the work I saw represented by activists I met from across the globe. This is where I feel our strength lies: We will not progress, we will not save our planet by relying on mainstream NGOs to represent our interests, but rather by joining together our grassroots campaigns. Whether it was acting as a peacekeeper for the Indigenous Environmental Network and It Takes Roots (a coalition of several frontline POC and Indigenous environmental and social justice groups), providing media support for a European coalition treesit, or helping blockade the doors of a major Paris-based energy utility with Australians impacted by the company’s mining practices, the deepest connections I built and strongest friendships I made were forged by directly supporting the work of other warriors. It is the desire to continue to build those relationships that currently fuels the fire in my heart. It personalizes these struggles, makes them that much more real, that much more urgent. Our strengths come from ourselves and from each other, and the more we lend support in direct and meaningful ways to each other, the stronger our “movement” gets. As a network of small grassroots groups, all acutely aware of the dire situation we’re in, we are resilient and capable of building the future we want. We do not require the “leadership” of major NGOs who are interested in compromise. In a declaration put out by the It Takes Roots delegation, the failures of our climate leadership were juxtaposed with the need for our work to continue: “We leave Paris only more aligned, and more committed than ever that our collective power and growing movement is what is forcing the question of extraction into the global arena. We will continue to fight at every level to defend our communities, the earth and future generations.” It is that dedication that will save our planet, and nothing less.
Climate activists in Everett, Washington on Tuesday offered a “sampling of the resistance” that could be on its way if the fossil fuel industry continues to threaten the future of communities in the Northwest.
Working with the environmental and social justice group Rising Tide Seattle, five Everett and Seattle residents staged a protest at the Burlington Northern Santa-Fe rail yard in the city by erecting a tripod-structure over the tracks, according to a statement from the group.
Abby Brockway hung from the top of the tripod, while the other four, Jackie Minchew, Patrick Mazza, Liz Spoerri and Mike LaPoint, locked themselves to the legs.
Their action, which successfully stalled a train carrying crude, led to the arrest of the five.
“People in the Northwest are not going to allow this region to become a fossil fuel superhighway,” LaPoint said in a statement. “This is just a sample of the resistance that will happen if any large fossil fuel project is permitted.”
Maude Barlow received an Honorary Doctor of Laws from York University in Toronto yesterday morning. Here are her speaking notes for the Convocation ceremony.Chancellor Gregory Sorbara, President Mamdouh Shoukri, the Senate of York University, and all the graduation students, It is a great honour to share this convocation with you today. I am moved by your grace, energy and hope on this lovely June day.In the few minutes I have to share with you I would like to urge you all, no matter what your education specialty, what vocation you choose, or where you live, to give some of your precious life energy to the great environmental challenges that face us today.
No longer dominated by the traditional “Big Green” groups that were taking big donations from corporate polluters, the new environmental movement is broader, more assertive and more creative. With extreme energy extraction and climate change bearing down on the world, environmental justice advocates are taking bold actions to stop extreme energy extraction and create new solutions to save the planet. These ‘fresh greens’ often work locally, but also connect through national and international actions.
The recent national climate assessment explains why the movement is deepening, broadening and getting more militant. The nation’s experts concluded that climate change is impacting us in serious ways right now. It is no longer a question of whether climate change is real – the evidence is apparent in chaotic seasonal weather; floods caused by heavier downpours of rain and deeper droughts; more severe wildfires in the West; the economic impacts of rising insurance rates, as well as challenges for farming, maple syrup production, and finding seafood in the oceans, among many others.
The U.N. Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) recently issued its third report. The world’s scientists found that taking action now to mitigate climate change is less expensive than doing nothing. German economist Ottmar Edenhofer, a co-chair of the IPCC committee wrote: “We cannot afford to lose another decade. If we lose another decade, it becomes extremely costly to achieve climate stabilization.” Previous reports have warned of the dangers of human-induced climate change, e.g. faster sea level rise, more extreme weather, and collapse of the permafrost sink,