Category: Rally/March/Protest/NVDA actions

Columnist Marty Nathan: Citizens must stand against environmental assaults

Published in the Hampshire Daily Gazette

By MARTY NATHAN
Wednesday, July 05, 2017
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On Saturday, June 24, 98-year-old Frances Crowe sat in her wheelchair as it was rolled into the path of construction of Kinder Morgan’s Connecticut Expansion Pipeline in the Otis State Forest in Sandisfield. There she stayed, with eight others, temporarily blocking work, until she was rolled away and arrested with the others on a trespassing charge.

Frances had joined the Sugar Shack Alliance, a grassroots group of folks originally motivated to stop the North East Direct Pipeline that Kinder Morgan had proposed to carry gas from fracking operations from New York to Dracut for shipping overseas. For the last year the Alliance has turned its attention to preventing the building of the 3.8-mile pipeline loop also owned by Kinder Morgan and affiliate Tennessee Gas Pipeline. It is being routed onto 17 acres of Otis State Forest land that contains biologically important wetlands and sacred Native American sites. This project is a flagrant violation of Article 47 of the Massachusetts Constitution prohibiting such development on preserved land, but was nonetheless permitted by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission.

Frances’ arrest was by no means the first in the campaign, nor will it be the last. The struggle in Sandisfield is stirred, as with almost all environmental fights these days, by three powerful stimuli:

Opposition to local pollution and despoliation of precious air and waterways. Old trees are being felled and the pipeline almost certainly will leak methane and fellow-traveler toxic chemicals into the air and the previously protected lakes and streams nearby.
Climate justice. Building the pipeline violates rights to their traditional religious sites by the Narragansett Tribe. Moreover, it wrecks the state’s compact with all its citizens to protect, not to destroy, our common resources.
Resistance to the expansion of fossil fuel infrastructure enabling more carbon dioxide emissions from natural gas burning and more methane blow-off from leaks. Over twenty years, methane is eighty times as potent as carbon dioxide as a greenhouse gas in warming our planet.
The need to say No to burning and emitting fossil fuels just became more urgent. The Executive Secretary of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change last week led scores of world leaders and scientists in a declaration published in the prestigious journal Nature that humanity has but three years, to 2020, to begin to decrease global emissions or face the catastrophic consequences of uncontrollable global warming.

Sandisfield, therefore, is part of the epic struggle of our times to save our planet from the devastation that is already claiming coral reefs destroyed by bleaching, agricultural fields in the West devastated first by drought and now by floods, and coastal communities in Haiti and Eastern North Carolina wiped out by hurricanes. The Sugar Shack Alliance is spurred on by the always-relevant maxim, “Think globally and act locally.” They are blockading a path to the ruin of the biosphere.

Meanwhile, in Washington, the opposition… As the New York Times reported, Environmental Protection Agency Secretary Scott Pruitt is one of the few effective members in the Trump Cabinet. Effective, that is, at destroying the agency he was appointed to lead. In mapping his agenda, he has consulted not his own EPA scientists — some of the best in the world — but rather fossil fuel industry lobbyists: the board of the industry lobbying group American Petroleum Institute (with whom he met at Trump Tower), representatives from American Chemical Council and the Republican Attorneys General Association (which he formerly headed). The attorney generals group has taken $4.2 million from fossil-fuel related companies like Exxon Mobil and Koch Industries since 2013, and has filed fourteen lawsuits against the EPA.

Pruitt is their man and they are getting what they pay for. Environmental experts are amazed at what he has achieved in the corporate thrall. He relieved chemical companies of the unbearable burden of preventing explosions and spills at their plants. He reversed a ban on the use of a pesticide that the EPA’s own scientists have said is linked to damage of children’s nervous systems. Despite saying that he is taking the lead in cleaning up toxic sites, he supports a 25 percent budget cut in the Superfund program, which always has been vastly under-resourced.

He has taken a wrecking ball to programs to control greenhouse gas emissions. He was a leading proponent of abandoning the Paris Climate Agreement and will create the legal path to exit it. He has filed to undo or weaken the Clean Power Plan which would limit emissions from coal-fired power plants. He has delayed a rule requiring oil and gas companies to control methane emissions at wells, and eliminated a requirement that they even report on how much is leaking.

This is what the folks of Sugar Shack are up against. A lopsided struggle? It could be seen that way. But increasingly everyday Americans are seeing that the conflict has at its heart our very lives and future. It will take commitment and organization to channel that awakening and fight for a conservation and renewable energy agenda instead of further investment in polluting fossil fuels. To sit on the sidelines grants victory to those, like Pruitt, with the power.

Choose your side and join the fray.

Dr. Marty Nathan lives in Northampton and is a physician at Baystate Brightwood Health Center in Springfield. She is on the steering committee of Climate Action NOW.
http://www.gazettenet.com/Citizens-must-unite-to-fight-environmental-degradation-11113538

Frances Crowe, pictured here during an anti-war rally, shows the way for citizens who want to stand up against assaults on the environment, says columnist Marty Nathan.

 

Showdown at Standing Rock Sioux Reservation

By Marty Nathan

An issue of worldwide concern is at stake in the drylands of North Dakota, where those opposing climate charge are supporting Native Americans from all over the country who fear for the loss of their water and sacred grounds and demand the respect for their treaty rights.

Thousands of people have gathered at the Standing Rock Sioux Reservation, bedding in recreational vehicles, tipis, tents, yurts and vans. The flags of different native American bands wave in the wind as residents of all ages and many ethnicities share food, outhouses, campfires, information, and work. They have come for a single purpose: stopping the building of the enormous underground Dakota Access Pipeline that will carry fracked crude oil from the Bakken Shale in North Dakota to Illinois and ultimately to the Gulf of Mexico. If this Dakota Access Pipeline is finished, 500,000 barrels of oil a day will pour through it to New Orleans for refining and shipping.

Native Americans are fighting the oil pipeline, saying it would pollute the Missouri River and destroy sacred lands.

Paki Wieland, my friend for more than two decades, called me from Standing Rock. She is a retired social worker and former nun, a woman deeply devoted to peace and the rights of the poor. She has used her retirement to engage in all the social change that work had previously forestalled.

The encampment of Native Americans is led by the local Standing Rock Sioux and calls itself the Water Protectors. Its leaders put out an international call for help to stop the Pipeline which will run under the Missouri River just upstream from their water source. Any leak in the pipeline would destroy that precious resource and make their community unlivable. Such an accident could contaminate both the Ogalala aquifer underlying all land between the Missouri and the Rockies as well as the Mississippi River that the Missouri enjoins some miles south.

Horseback riders make their way through an encampment near North Dakota’s Standing Rock Sioux reservation on Friday, Sept. 9, 2016.

Further, the pipeline is being constructed through traditional Sioux burial grounds. On Labor Day construction crews invaded that sacred site. The Water Protectors’ attempt to stop the destruction met a heavy-handed response by local sheriffs and corporate private security who sicced vicious dog on peaceful protesters.

Paki had responded to the Water Protectors’ call, packing a few belongings into a friend’s RV and driving the 27 hours to Standing Rock. There she witnessed a profoundly moving display of unity among folks who have not acted together for decades, if ever.

For the first time in 140 years the seven bands of the Sioux Nation had come together physically and politically to oppose the pipeline. Navajo traditional runners made the trek on foot all the way from Arizona and a group of young people, ReZpect Our Water, ran to Washington. DC, to deliver a petition to President Obama.

The circle has widened beyond indigenous peoples. Five hundred religious leaders incensed by the inexorable violation of Native American treaties stood together in early November to protest the ongoing colonization that the DAPL represents. Non-native environmental activists have joined tribal members lashing themselves to the construction machinery. Money for the encampment has poured in from around the country.

Why the focus here? What is pulling these disparate groups together?

1. The call of justice and the rights of Native Americans to their land, communities and livelihoods is a major propelling force.

2. The destruction of precious aquifer and surface water, at a premium in the west, would be an irretrievable loss throughout the region.

3. Pipeline owner Energy Transport Partners has used corrupt insider tactics to gain access to the land, and federal oversight has been lacking. ETP has never performed an environmental impact assessment, has never negotiated with the Standing Rock Tribe and has continued with construction despite a joint recommendation from the Department of Justice, Department of the Army and Department of the Interior to halt.

4. The purpose of the DAPL, like its now defunct sister, the Keystone XL is to release to the world more fossil fuels to burn. The US is drilling too much oil and natural gas for domestic consumption, and prices are too low for fossil fuel companies to profit. They must reduce production and transport costs and send the excess oil to overseas markets. Yet the emissions from burning the DAPL oil pose a true threat to an atmosphere that already has absorbed enough carbon dioxide to raise world temperatures more than 1.5 degrees Centigrade.

We have the capacity to substitute the oil drilled in North Dakota with conservation measures and renewable energy. And for the sake of the Standing Rock Sioux and our own children’s future, we must.

There will be a standout in support of the Standing Rock Sioux on Nov. 29 in Springfield.

It will be a tough fight since Donald Trump himself is invested in Energy Transport Partners and its CEO donated to his campaign.

If you would like to support the Standing Rock Sioux, visit the website http://www.ocetisakowincamp.org/donate.

Marty Nathan MD is a physician at Baystate Brightwood Health Center, lives in Northampton, and is on the steering committees of Springfield Climate Justice Coalition and Climate Action NOW.

Published in MassLive: http://www.masslive.com/opinion/index.ssf/2016/11/showdown_at_standing_rock_siou.html

 

On Spectacle Pond: Resisting the Pipeline

pondCohello A Celebration of Solidarity with Berkshire Friends and Neighbors Fighting the Connecticut Expansion Pipeline proposed by Kinder-Morgan to run through the Protected Otis State Forest

Saturday, July 16, 2016 Join us for one or both events!

 KICK OFF RALLY
Great Barrington: 12 pm – 1 pm
 Gazebo behind Great Barrington Town Hall

RALLY at Lower Spectacle Pond
 2pm-4pm
Cold Spring Road
Sandisfield, Mass

Music, speakers, kayak & canoe flotilla!

Sponsored by Sugar Shack Alliance

Co-sponsors include: Climate Action Now, Berkshire Environmental Action Team (BEAT); Sandisfield Taxpayers Opposed to the Pipeline (STOP); Western Mass AFSC; Massachusetts Sierra Club; the Enviro Show; Stop NED; Mothers Out Front; Collective Copies

For more info contact Kathy Daly 413-586-4435 mailto:inothatcat@gmail.com

Can you lend a hand? Helpers are needed at Great Barrington (12-1pm) and Otis State Forest (2-4pm). Sign up by sending a message here (please indicate which location you will be attending and let us know by 5 PM on Wednesday, July 13th). 

Photo by Geoffrey Coelho… thank you!

Stopping A Pipeline: The Power of the Grassroots

Protesters walk in rain

By Susan Theberge,  Editor of CAN newsletter

Neighbors, students, farmers, conservationists, children, elders, affected land owners, small business owners, politicians, artists, faith leaders, musicians, lawyers, climate activists, builders, poets, climate justice organizers and hundreds, if not thousands, of individuals came together united around one common goal: The Kinder Morgan NED fracked gas pipeline will never be built! From day one our community in Western Mass knew something that Kinder Morgan could not see: our long and storied history of successful resistance to injustice and exploitation by corporate outsiders.

United by a love of the land and a passion for a livable future and in powerful collaboration with others across the state and region, people organized on every front: legal, political, educational, and regulatory; at the local, state and federal level; through direct actions including walking the proposed pathway, organizing rallies, overflowing the halls of numerous hearings, building a Thoreau Cabin in the pathway of the pipeline, ongoing vigils and active preparation for massive non-violent civil disobedience with the support of a brilliant legal team.

While remaining mindful of new twists and turns, we know that for now one toxic and completely unnecessary fossil fuel infrastructure project has been blocked. While celebrating our success, we need to continue to focus our energies on the bigger picture: the need to stop the many other proposed fossil fuel projects that remain. This includes our fight to protect public lands threatened by the CT Expansion pipeline in Sandisfield, to block the Spectra pipeline in the eastern part of Massachusetts, and to stand together with those in New York who are resisting the Constitution Pipeline.

Preventing climate catastrophe binds us together as never before in human history. It is only by working together on a global scale that we will prevent the extinction of life on earth. This, the call of our times, contains a paradoxical gift: to prevent climate catastrophe we must find new ways of occupying planet earth that are grounded in equity, justice, respect and love.

photo credit: Rene Theberge

BIG New-England-wide BOSTON MARCH, RALLY and ACTIONS Sat DEC 12. Join us!

PART 1: RALLY-MARCH  from 1-3 on BOSTON COMMON (bandstand)

Our movement comes together for a big rally at the Parkman Bandstand on the Boston Common.  We will then march through the streets to the Boston State House.

click here for more info, and to RSVP to facebook event for this action

PART 2: ACTIONS IN AND AROUND QUINCY MARKET/FANUEL HALL 3:30-5:30

We need singers, dancers, banner holders, people to speak out, film and photo, people to talk to passers by and hand out info.  Something for everyone!

SIGN UP FOR many ACTIONS HERE

click here for more info, and to RSVP to facebook event for this action – this is the “Change of Service T Action”

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Do you want to take a bus with us? Sign up here!!

tinyurl.com/BusToRally

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Carpools from Northampton:

Carpooling to Boston for 12/12  march and rally will gather at 10:15 at the Northampton Norwottock rail trail parking lot (which is located at the end of Damon Rd) and we will depart promptly at 10:30 am.

It is great if folks could contact me (Marty Nathan at martygjf@comcast.net or 413-531-9915) beforehand but just showing up is perfectly acceptable

 

boston

 

 

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Nov 29 Global Climate March: Amherst, Northampton, Spingfield, Athol Join 2,330 actions around the globe!

On the eve of the big U.N summit in Paris, the climate movement is taking to the streets. With climate change in the global spotlight, this is our chance to make the talks work for our movement. This is our chance to set the agenda for ambition.

Our message: keep fossil fuels in the ground and finance a just transition to 100% renewable energy by 2050.

Please help spead the word! by sharing and rsvp’ing these facebook events for northampton,amherst,springfield!
cgmNoho1200cgmAmherst1200

ATHOL DEtAILS:

Residents and Friends of the the North Quabbin Region are invited to our Global Climate March from 1:00 – 2:00 PM, Sunday, November 29th
We invite folks Join the March – bring signs and banners;  read a short message or sing a song;  bring hand drums, string or wind instruments;  or just come to witness and support the March.
Many of the major environmental and Climate Justice Action groups in the North Quabbin Region have joined as Sponsors of the March, including:  Earthlands, North Quabbin Energy;  NQ Pipeline Action, Mt. Grace Conservation Land Trust, Sacred Earth Network, Ritual Expressions, N.Q. Women in Black, Petersham Energy Committee, Ritual Expressions, Common  Grow, and many others.
Speakers and musicians are getting lined-up.
After the March, all are invited to the Annual Earthlands Thanksgiving Potluck & Gathering at 39 Glasheen Road, Petersham, MA 01366 for good food, amazing music, stimulating conversation, and inspiring community.

SEE ALL EVENTS  https://secure.avaaz.org/en/event/globalclimatemarch

MOre info http://globalclimatemarch.org/en/

Ferocious Love Will Save This Place.

Deirdre1

 

 

 

 

 

Blockadia and Ferocious Love: This is how it’s done.

Naomi Klein describes Ferocious Love and Blockadia in her book, “This Changes Everything”:

The power of this ferocious love is what the resource companies and their advocates in government inevitably underestimate, precisely because no amount of money can extinguish it. When what is being fought for is an identity, a culture, a beloved place that people are determined to pass on to their grandchildren, and that their ancestors may have paid for with great sacrifice, there is nothing companies can offer as a bargaining chip. No safety pledge will assuage; no bribe will be big enough. And though this kind of connection to place is surely strongest in Indigenous communities where the ties to the land go back thousands of years, it is in fact Blockadia’s defining feature.

 

A weekly vigil has sprung up in Northfield at the proposed site of a compresser station. This action started with one or two people. Last week it was 25.

Many people have been working tirelessly to stop the monstrosity that is the proposed Kinder Morgan pipeline.  From understanding the complexities of the energy business, politics, and law, to spreading the word, making phone calls, contacting legislators, speaking up, writing, organizing, learning,  documenting the fight and the beauty of this place, making signs and standing, standing up. This is the latest installation in our story of ferocious love for our land, the region, the habitat, the creatures that share this place with us,  and our children.

“Love will save this place”.

Click here for an Yes Magazine interview with Naomi Klein, speaks about Blockadia.

Click here for Info on the vigil in Northfield, Gulf Road every Thursday 4:30-5:30

Deirdre2 Deirdre3

 

Thank you, Deirdre Derchin Olson for these gorgeous photos!