time to actually listen

to native americans, after 525 years

~ bill mckibben
grist online, 8/22/16

dakota access protest by joe catron, flickr

dakota access protest
photo by joe catron, flickr

The center of the fight for our planet’s future shifts. But this week it’s on the Standing Rock Sioux Reservation straddling the border between North Dakota and South Dakota. There, tribal members have been, well, standing like a rock in the way of the planned Dakota Access Pipeline, a huge hose for collecting oil out of the Bakken shale and carrying it off to the Midwest and the Gulf where it can be made into gasoline.

The standoff has been picturesque and dramatic, featuring American Indians on horseback. But mostly it’s been brave and lonely, far from most journalists and up against the same forces that have made life hard for Indigenous Peoples for centuries.

The U.S. Army, for instance. It’s the Army Corps of Engineers that last month granted Energy Transfer Corporation the permit necessary to start construction near the reservation, despite a petition signed by 150,000 people, and carried—on foot—by young people from the reservation all the way to Washington. That would be the same U.S. Army that—well, google “Wounded Knee.” Or “Custer.” “Washita River.” “Pine Ridge.”

That’s not really ancient history, not any of it. It’s the reason that Native Americans live confined to bleak reservations in vast stretches of the country that no one thought were good for much of anything else. But those areas—ironically enough—now turn out to be essential for the production or transportation of the last great stocks of hydrocarbons, the ones whose combustion scientists tell us will take us over the edge of global warming.

And if former generations of the U.S. Army made it possible to grab land from Native people, then this largely civilian era of the Army Corps is making it easy to pollute and spoil what little we left them. As the corporation said over the weekend, it was “constructing this pipeline in accordance with applicable laws, and the local, state and federal permits and approvals we have received.”

But it’s not constructing it in accordance with the laws of physics. July was the hottest month ever recorded on our planet, and likely, say scientists, the hottest month since the beginning of human civilization. And in any event, those “applicable laws, permits, and approvals” are merely the cover for the latest plunder.

A spill from this pipeline would pollute the Missouri River, just as spills in recent years have done irreparable damage to the Kalamazoo and Yellowstone rivers. And that river is both the spiritual and economic lifeblood of the Standing Rock Reservation, one of the poorest census tracts in the entire country.

Forget, for a minute, the threat to the reservation, and forget, for a minute, the endless history of unfairness. Think instead of what it might mean if the Army Corps, or the Obama administration, simply said: “You know what, you’re right. We don’t need to build this pipeline.”

It would mean that after 525 years, someone had actually paid attention to the good sense that Native Americans have been offering almost from the start. It’s not that American Indians are ecological saints—no human beings are. But as the first people who saw what Europeans did to a continent when given essentially free rein, they were the appalled witnesses to everything from the slaughter of the buffalo to the destruction of the great Pacific salmon runs.

And in recent years they have been the vanguard of the movement to slow down climate change. Why did the Keystone XL pipeline not get built? Above all because Indigenous Peoples on both sides of the border took the lead in a battle that stretched over a decade. Why did Canadian leaders fail in their efforts to replace it with the Northern Gateway pipeline? Because tribes and bands across the west of that country made it clear they could not be bought off. Why will the easiest-to-access deep-water port on the Pacific coast not be turned into the country’s biggest new coal export terminal? Because the Lummi Nation at Cherry Point joined with protesters across the region to say no. This same dynamic is at play around the world, where Indigenous Peoples from the Amazon to the coral atolls of the Pacific are doing more than anyone else to slow down the grinding destruction of our earth.

One has the ominous sense of grim history about to be reenacted at Standing Rock. North Dakota authorities—who are in essence a subsidiary of the fossil fuel industry—have insisted that the Sioux are violent, that they have “pipe bombs.” There are rumors about calling in the National Guard. The possibility for renewed tragedy is very real.

But the possibility for a new outcome is there as well. The Army Corps of Engineers might back off. The president might decide, as he did with Keystone, that this pipeline would “exacerbate” climate change and hence should be reviewed more carefully. We might, after five centuries, actually listen to the only people who’ve ever successfully inhabited this continent for the long term.

If you’re interested in joining the fight but can’t get to North Dakota, there’s a rally on Aug. 24 from 1:00–5:00 p.m. in Washington, D.C., outside the federal court that’s considering challenges to the permits, at 333 Constitution Ave NW.

Bill McKibben is Schumann Distinguished Scholar in Environmental Studies at Middlebury College, and a founder of 350.org. He is a member of Grist’s board of directors.

fossil fuels – keep ’em down

. . . more 350.org happenings around the world

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full of action happenings – stories – photos
CHECK THEM OUT – JOIN THEM WHERE YOU CAN

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beauty & disobedience

. . . much less than one month apart
for sure – ma does need us bigtime

one of the best action movies of our time
do take a look

about time !!

we load the streets of paris for ma

we load the streets of paris for ma

Friends,

Today is a historic day: as tens of thousands of people filled the streets of Paris, politicians finalized a major new global climate agreement.

The deal in Paris includes an agreement to limit global warming to below 2 degrees Celsius, with an aim of 1.5 degrees, and achieve climate ‘neutrality’ that will require phasing out fossil fuels soon after mid-century. That’s not what we hoped for, but it’s still a deal that sends a signal that it’s time to keep fossil fuels in the ground, and for investors to cut their ties with coal, oil and gas by divesting.

This deal represents important progress — but progress alone is not our goal. Our goal is a just and livable planet.

If followed to the letter, the agreement leaves far too many people exposed to the violence of rising seas, stronger storms and deeper drought. It leaves too many loopholes to avoid serious action — despite the heroic efforts from leaders of vulnerable nations and communities who fought for a deal in line with science.

But the coal, oil and gas corporations of the world should take little comfort. That 2 degree pledge would require keeping 80% of the world’s remaining fossil fuels underground, a 1.5 degree target even more — and countries are required to come back to the table every 5 years to increase their ambition in reaching those goals.

Paris isn’t the end of the story, but a conclusion of a particular chapter. Now, it’s up to us to strengthen these promises, make sure they are kept, and then accelerate the transition away from fossil fuels and towards 100% renewable energy.

AS WORLD LEADERS IN PARIS WERE FINALIZING THE TEXT OF THE DEAL, THOUSANDS OF PEOPLE RETURNED TO THE STREETS OF PARIS TO DEMONSTRATE THEIR COMMITMENT TO CONTINUE THE FIGHT:

They were joined by hundreds of solidarity actions around the world, all echoing the same message: it’s up to us to keep fossil fuels in the ground.

Standing together, flowers in hand, we formed red lines in the street — because lines have to be drawn in this fight for justice, and it’s up to all of us to stand on the side of those on the front lines of this crisis.

More lines are being drawn everywhere against the true villain of the last two weeks: the fossil fuel industry, which has done everything possible to weaken even this late, late deal.

Without pressure from ordinary people, world leaders would have gladly ignored this problem entirely. It’s pressure from people that will close the gap between WHAT WAS SIGNED TODAY AND THE ACTION WE NEED.

This begins the next chapter. Please watch this space for the announcement of something big in the coming days!

If you are reading this, you’ve been part of the work that got us all to this point, and for that, we say thank you. 2015 was a historic year for us — because we worked together to build a more powerful and hopeful climate movement.

With gratitude, and as always, hope,

May and the whole 350.org team

together at last, host tells us what’s up

paris climate summit: huge stakes, deep divides

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agence france-presse, 11/22/2015

Still reeling from the worst terrorist attacks in French history, Paris will host nearly 140 world leaders gathering next week to spearhead a climate pact tasked with keeping Earth liveable for humanity.

US President Barack Obama on Sunday urged others to follow his example and come to the French capital to show that “a handful of killers does not stop the world from doing vital business.”

No heads of state or government backed out of the November 30 opening after jihadist assaults killed 130 people just over a week ago, French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius said on Saturday.

“On the contrary, some who had not yet responded have said they will come exactly because we cannot give in to terrorism,” he said.

Preoccupied by a recent spate of extremist attacks around the globe, world leaders will have their work cut out for them at the 12-day climate huddle.

The highly-anticipated conference is tasked with fixing a problem that threatens the very well-being of our species: global warming.

After six years of preparatory negotiations, the 195 nations gathering under the UN flag remain sharply divided on a raft of intertwined issues.

There are at least three battlegrounds where the talks could stumble. As always, the first is money.

In Copenhagen in 2009 — the last time countries sought to craft a universal climate pact and failed — it was agreed that poorer nations vulnerable to global warming impacts would receive $100 billion (94 billion euros) per year from 2020.

The money is to help them give up fossil fuels, and to shore up defences against climate-driven food scarcity, heat waves and storm damage.

International climate finance has grown steadily, reaching $62 billion in 2014, according to an estimate commissioned by the UN.

But developing nations want assurances that the flow of money will be recession-proof, come from public sources, and be earmarked for boosting resilience.

India’s environment and climate minister Prakash Javadekar told the Business Standard last week that “predictable, scalable and new finance” is a redline issue.

Along with many other developing countries, New Delhi’s pledge to engineer a massive switch to renewable energy is conditional on such aid.

Some 50 nations — home to a billion people — federated in the Climate Vulnerable Forum, meanwhile, are also pushing for funds for “loss and damage” from climate change impacts that can no longer be avoided.

Rich nations are willing to discuss the issue, but have drawn a line in the sand.

“The notion of so-called compensation or liability… is not a legitimate concept in this context and we would certainly not accept it in the agreement,” a US official told journalists in Paris ahead of the summit.

A second thorny issue is defining a long-term goal.

All nations have embraced the target of capping global warming at two degrees Celsius (3.6 degrees Fahrenheit) over pre-industrial levels. The world has already warmed 1 C.

Some 170 nations accounting for more than 90 percent of the world’s greenhouse gas output have filed carbon-cutting plans ahead of the Paris meeting.

But these voluntary commitments are not enough to get the job done, and place Earth on a dangerous 3 C trajectory.

There is no prospect of enhanced pledges right now.

“At this point, our goal will not change,” China’s climate negotiator, Xie Zhenhua, said last week. Other countries, including the United States, have said the same.

The challenge — and the yardstick for success in Paris — will be to agree on an action plan that eliminates the gap over time.

That could mean periodic reviews of national plans to ratchet up emissions reduction efforts.

But countries do not agree on how often reviews must be done, or an in-built obligation to ramp up carbon-cutting efforts.

A third sticking point is the agreement’s legal status.

The United States has consistently said it will not inscribe its emissions reduction targets — 26-28 percent from 2005 levels by 2025 — in a legally-binding international treaty.

At the same time, host country France has said the outcome must have legal force.

There has been some progress since Copenhagen, based on growing scientific evidence of the threat we face, and renewable energy becoming cheaper.

“We have stronger convergence on the broad contours of an agreement than we ever saw ahead of the Copenhagen conference,” said veteran climate analyst Elliot Diringer.

Still, finding middle ground will be tricky, and the planet will be watching.

Some 6,000 journalists have sought accreditation for the 12-day meeting, twice as many as can be accommodated.

Civil society groups, however, have been left out in the cold.

France, citing security fears, has cancelled mass rallies to press for urgent political action planned for November 29 and December 12 in Paris.

copyright 2015, agence france-presse

. . . so what can i do ?

HAVE A SAY & DO YOURSELF, PER LONGTIME ACTIVIST PAGES

UN’s IPCC sets it out yet again- got to change it all !

Bangkok's skyline blanketed in a haze

on the way to next global power gathering in paris -one year away
world scientists put it to them -and us- as clearly as possible

as UN leader ban ki-moon summarizes
leaders must act; time is not on our side

YESTERDAY’S GUARDIAN MUST-READ REVIEW OF THE IPCC REPORT
… AND HERE’S BILL MCKIBBEN’S REVIEW OF THAT REPORT, ALSO IN THE GUARDIAN

climatemarch wrap-up – one good beginning

PEOPLES CLIMATE MARCH ORGANIZERS WRAP-UP – stories, pix around the globe

climate wrap & rummage from bill mckibben . . .

Subject: this fight is for real
From: “Bill McKibben – 350.org”
To: Jim Rucquoi
Date: October 21, 2014 at 5:00:16 PM EDT

Dear friends,

For those of us lucky enough to be in Manhattan exactly one month ago today, perhaps the greatest moment of a great day was the surge of sound that followed our moment of silence.

The “People’s Climate Roar” began on Central Park West and then pulsed down Sixth Avenue and crashed through Times Square. That wave of sound symbolized two things:

1) We’re sounding the alarm on climate change, the greatest problem the world has ever faced.
2) We’re demonstrating the tide of anger, joy, and resolve that is going to do something about it.

And it wasn’t just us who thought it was so important. Here’s what other folks had to say:

TAKING A CALL FOR CLIMATE CHANGE TO THE STREETS, the front page New York Times story

INTO THE STREETS, a gorgeous 9-minute video about the march from our friends at Meerkat Media

INSIDE THE GINORMOUS, HUGE-TASTIC CLIMATE MARCH, a 24- minute radio program from Ben Wikler at The Good Fight

THE WISDOM OF THE CROWD, by Hendrik Hertzberg in The New Yorker

WHY SHOULD YOU BE HOPEFUL ABOUT THE CLIMATE MOVEMENT by Todd Gitlin on Grist

PEOPLE’S CLIMATE MARCH, a short audio story by Bianca Giaever and friends on Cowbird

In the 30 days since the march:

– We’ve seen the greatest fossil fuel fortune on earth commit to divest from coal, oil, and gas — the Rockefellers, with their action, laid down a profound challenge to everyone else on the planet. If the family that built Exxon thinks it’s unwise and immoral to invest in fossil fuels, what excuse does anyone else have?

– We’ve watched divestment spread around the world: from Glasgow University to Australia’s National University, this movement has new beachheads — and new pushback from a scared and peevish fossil fuel industry. (If you ever wondered if divestment mattered, read THIS, right to the last sentence.)

– We’ve witnessed a rising pitch of action against the dirtiest fossil fuel projects on earth. In Canada they’re battling the Energy East pipeline with wit and savvy. And at the largest coal port on earth in Newcastle Australia, our friends from 12 low-lying Pacific nations used their traditional canoes to block massive coal ships. CHECK OUT THIS INCREDIBLE PICTURE OF ACTION.

That picture from Australia joins the one from Sixth Avenue among the classic images of this explosive movement. But there are plenty of others, and we’re pretty sure some of them are on your phones and computers. This is a chance to SHARE SOME OF THE GREAT PICTURES from the People’s Climate March before you forget about them. We all need the inspiration, because this fight is for real.

September was the hottest September ever recorded; it looks like 2014 may be the hottest year in history. The only way to fight that is to make 2015 hotter still — for the politicians and the corporations that will wreck our world if we let them.

Thanks to you, and to the 400,000 in the streets of New York: game on!

~ Bill McKibben for the team at 350.ORG

P.S. The basic energy for movements come from people’s hearts and souls and feet — but they run on money too, so if you want to kick in, HERE’S THE PLACE.

350.ORG is building a global climate movement. Connect with us on FACEBOOK and TWITTER, and SIGN UP FOR EMAIL ALERTS. You can help power our work by DONATING HERE.