Today, the Obama administration delayed the Keystone XL Pipeline!!!
This is a huge win for the climate. For more information, see the links below.
NYTimes article: http://www.nytimes.com/2011/11/11/us/politics/administration-to-delay-pipeline-decision-past-12-election.html?_r=1&ref=global-home
Tar Sands Action letter from Bill McKibben announcing win: http://www.tarsandsaction.org/big-news-won-won/
CCN affiliate school Whitman College participated in Power Shift’s 100 Actions for 100% Clean Energy last month. Here’s a write-up of the event, originally featured on WeArePowerShift.org.
On October 23, Whitman College students called into question two kinds of power: the dirty electricity derived from oil and coal that is shamefully prevalant across America today, and the power wielded by big business to keep that coal and oil at the forefront of the nation’s energy landscape. The Parents Power Past Coal rally brought three speakers–two members of the Whitman Campus Climate Challenge (CCC) and one representative of the Sierra Student Coalition–to whip a crowd of students and their parents into action against Washington State coal exports and the Keystone XL Pipeline.
The centerpiece of the event was a “human map” or “walk of shame” in which 50 participants, each holding signs representing one of the fifty states, stepped across a model pipeline in response to questions about dirty energy: “Cross if there is a coal plant in your state. If there has been a hydraulic fracking accident in your state. If Keystone XL will pass through your state,” etc. Participants from three generations were shocked and appalled by facts they did not know before–statistics that drove home America’s continued use of coal as a crutch, and the sheer number of lives that would be devastated if the pipeline spilled into the Ogallala aquifer. However, the students, the parents, and their parents were ultimately uplifted, as the human map began to show the rise of wind, solar, and nuclear energy, and the wide breadth of the anti-dirty energy movement.
The event’s organizers designed it not only for information and motivation but for real, palpable impact. Parents Power Past Coal resulted in 43 signatures on a petition to stop the Keystone XL Pipeline, to be sent directly to President Barack Obama; and 40 signatures on a petition to end coal exports in Washington, to be sent directly to Washington State Public Lands Commissioner Peter Goldmark. The CCC easily found 50 participants for the Walk of Shame, who then surged to write letters to both Obama and Goldmark, exhorting them to keep their promises and take the steps necessary to save America and the Earth from coal and oil.
Whitman’s event was the first of its kind in the Pacific Northwest, and the Climate Challenge is already taking steps to keep the momentum going. Along with the petitions and letters to Obama and Goldmark, members have mailed a press release to local newspapers and TV and radio stations, and are beginning an effort to have the college’s president and faculty make a statement against coal exports in Washington. With the Parents Power Past Coal rally, Whitman students and parents took the first step towards turning the tide against the money and influence of big coal and oil.
After months of planning, Power Shift West 2011 is finally here! The event kicked off Friday afternoon with three keynote speakers who motivated the hundreds of students who traveled from Washington, Idaho, Montana, California and beyond to attend this grassroots environmental activism conference.
CCN co-organizers Emma Newman and Lauren Ressler introduced the first two speakers, Dave Cobb of Move To Amend and Rob Dietz of Center for the Advancement of the Steady-State Economy, and also talked about the CCN and Sierra Student Coalition during breaks between the speakers. The last keynote speaker, Cylvia Hayes (first lady of Oregon with decades of sustainable energy experience), was introduced by ASUO president (and proud NW SPROG 2011 alum) Ben Eckstein.
All three keynotes addressed the frustration caused by environmentally-degrading lifestyles and industries, as well as the opportunity – and the responsibility – to change them. If anything, Power Shift West will show our regional communities that we are ready and willing to accept that challenge. As Dave Cobb said, “what we know is the global climate crisis is the issue to solve,” and the systemic change we need is possible, but only if we work together to achieve it.
So get your hard hats on, Power Shifters – it’s going to be a long, action-filled weekend!
For all the latest updates, check out CCN’s Twitter account.
The CCN proudly supports the following action described below by our Coalitions facilitator Natalie Eberts:
3 Targets . . . 2 Issues . . . 1 All-Out Action!
Join the Energy Action Coalition, Rainforest Action Network, ForestEthics, and Coal Action Network for an amazing march after Powershift to put all the amazing energy from the weekend into action for the crucial issues of TarSands and Coal Exports!
Here’s a snapshot:
- “Returning” Grocery Bags of Tar Sands Destruction at Safeway, a giant corporate buyer of Tarsands Oil
- A “Die-In” and Street Theater at the Bank of America, the single largest funder of Coal Exports, on the weekend of “Move Your Money Day”
- A mock Clean Energy Campaign office at the Lane County Democrats HQ in solidarity with the Tar Sands Action at the White House
This march will be unique because there will be many ways for you all to participate beyond just holding signs and chanting– from carrying “oily” Safeway bags, to being outlined in chalk in the die-in, to being a “volunteer” at the mock campaign office.
That’s not all though, if you want to be more involved in this exciting action, there are lots of roles we need you to fill! These include: Media (photo/video, social media, bloggers, spokespeople), March leaders, Chant leaders, Police Liasons, Volunteers Coordinators, Set-up Crew, and musicians! Let us know if you’re interested–if you’d like to help but aren’t sure how, we’ll figure it out. We’re also looking for a set of drums, other instruments, a truck, folding tables, 1-2 dress suits to borrow, Obama T-shirts and pins, and bullhorns, so let us know if you can lend any of these.Even if you’re not able to get directly involved beforehand, here’s two simple things you all can do to help make this action the huge success it’s shaping out to be:
- Spread the Word BEFORE the Conference by inviting friends in the area to this Facebook Event, Tweeting and reTweeting wth the hastag #pswaction, and reposting this email to any listserves you’re on.
- Spread the Word AT the Conference by recruiting people to come and passing around fliers available from our tables.
This is going to be an creative hundreds-strong action propelled from all the momentum of Powershift, so we’re excited to have you be a part!
Thank you for helping make this happen!
Chelsea Thaw, Natalie Eberts, Nick Engelfield, and Adam Gaya
Lauren Ressler, CCN interim Washington co-director and Sierra Student Coalition coordinator for the Pacific NW, wrote this blog about her trip to CCN-affiliated communities in Oregon and Washington. This post was originally featured on WeArePowerShift.org
After stops at twelve universities over the course of eighteen days in a journey totaling over one thousand miles I have reached an important conclusion: students in the Pacific Northwest are taking campus climate organizing to new heights. Here is what a small fraction of these schools are doing:
Did you know the students at Western Washington University are trying to protect their community from a massive coal export facility being proposed just a few miles off campus? Their first kick off meeting garnered the participation of more than 100 students inspired by some seriously herculean outreach efforts lead by a small number of young people who don’t want to breath the harmful dust from the coal trains; who don’t want their bay to suffer from black tides as a result of the same contamination entering the waterways of Bellingham; who don’t want their city to be the lifeline between the US and Asia for one of the dirtiest industries in the world. Western student, Chelsea Thaw, commented, “The energy at the meeting was palpable. This issue has been a galvanizing force for student activists and an opportunity to learn from elders in the community who have grown up the town are fighting to keep it the way they remember it.”
Have you heard about the creative way Whitman students are showing solidarity with the global movement to stop the development of the Keystone XL pipeline? At a school of only 1500 students, they are organizing more than 50 volunteers to visually represent how all students, no matter their origin, are affected by fossil fuel consumption by creating a human map of the US. This is the launch event for a bold beyond fossil fuels campaign that is already getting significant attention.
Moving south, my visit to Portland left me thinking about food in an entirely new way. I am an urban gardener and frequenter of many a farmers market, so you might be surprised that I had an incredible time planning a Fried Food Fest with students at the University of Portland. Members of the Biodiesel club at UP are turning grease to gas that will power many campus appliances. Co-founder, Dan Browne, says, “It has been fascinating hearing everyone’s different interests in biodiesel from business to engineering this year. There are so many different facets to biodiesel that anyone can get involved; you get out what you put in.”
Eugene, OR was the southernmost point of my epic journey and it did not disappoint. The students of the University of Oregon will be hosting Power Shift West the weekend of November 4-6 and they are working tirelessly to make this the most inspiring event of the season. During my stay I witnessed late evening phone bank sessions, logistical meetings, and some serious on-campus recruitment from the members of the Climate Justice League and OSPIRG. I can’t wait to return in just a few short weeks to witness this empowering event. If you want to see the energy and amazing work of students of the Northwest in person join us for Power Shift West November 4-6 at the University of Oregon.