The great Pacific Northwest is not a global coal depot, a pusher for fossil fuel addiction, a logistics hub for climate devastation. We’re the last place on Earth that should settle for a tired old retread of the false choice between jobs and the environment. Coal export is fundamentally inconsistent with our vision and values. It’s not just a slap in the face to ‘green’ groups. It’s a moral disaster and an affront to our identity as a community. After all, what is the point of installing solar panels and rainwater barrels if they are going to be coated in coal dust?
I was just about to tell you how excited we are to finally have our photovoltaic solar panels generating power. I took the pics of the Co-Generation meter just a few minutes ago. One shows how much power from the grid we have used and the other shows how much we have put back into the grid from our generation so far. We’ve used 323 kilowatt hours of power (kWh) and we have put 519 kWh back into the grid!!!
I was just about to revel in the joy of having finally received approval from the City of McMinnville to drink the rainwater we are collecting in our three 3,000 gallon rain tanks (it took an appeal). I mean, look at these pictures. Pretty impressive huh?
Then I made the mistake of finally getting down to a careful study of Naomi Klein’s book This Changes Everything: Capitalism vs The Climate. I know, I know. Everyone else in Climate Justice World read the book and moved on long ago. Reading is hard for me, OK? And retirement and building a house happened. So give me a break!
No. On the other hand, don’t give me a break. Truth is: I was afraid to read the bad news I knew she was announcing in her written word. But I finally got to it and it took me 3 whole days of nothing but reading with a few breaks for eating and sleeping. I couldn’t put it down. I know it’s been the same for many of you out there. But if you don’t know the book, I’m giving you permission to admit it and read it yourself. It’s a game changer.
So what is the point of installing solar panels and rain tanks if they’re going to be coated in coal dust? Exactly. That’s why I’m blogging to tell you I’m leaving home again. I’m heading for Anacortes, Washington.
Over the last week, a global wave of actions to keep fossil fuels in the ground has been gathering momentum all over the world. Under the moniker Break Free it is the latest example of how citizens of the only Planet we have are acting in solidarity. It started in Wales where over 300 people shut down UK’s largest coal mine for a day, then to the Philippines where 10,000 called for an end to coal, to New Zealand and Australia and on around our Holy Earth to the State of Washington in U.S.A.
Near Anacortes, the action called Break Free PNW, is happening where Shell and Tesoro have oil refineries on March Point. The act of civil disobedience is to block access to the refineries by land and by kayaktivism on the bay. We want to keep sending the message that we are not for sale and the Pacific Northwest will not be the sleazy conduit through which the fossil fuel transnationals continue to rape and pillage Mother Earth in our name.
The action at March Point follows just a few days after permission to site the proposed Gateway Pacific coal terminal at Cherry Point near Bellingham was denied on the basis of the 1855 treaty with the Lummi Nation. The treaty guarantees the Lummi people access to tribal waters there. Today, out of six recently proposed coal-export terminals in Washington and Oregon, just one remains: Millennium Bulk Terminals in Longview.
At March Point, the Lummi elders will again take the lead and we will follow. I look forward to joining on Saturday, May 14th, the Peaceful Procession for Future Generations. People from around the region will march along the shores of Fidalgo Bay, in front of the Shell and Tesoro refineries, to demand that we rapidly move to a just economy using 100% sustainable and clean energy–without leaving workers or communities behind; being sure to address the needs of the people most impacted by climate change; and leaving a thriving planet for future generations and all of creation.
I look forward to joining 350Eugene and Interfaith Earthkeeper friends Patty Hine and Debby McGee who have trained hundreds of folks in non-violent non-participation for this day. All Creation groans (Romans 8:22) and so do we, in eager anticipation of the re-birth of hope in our actions together. So I’m on my way and I will have pictures and reflections to share. Thanks to Naomi Klein, I know the panels will do just fine without me and it’s probably not going to rain again until November anyway, so let’s keep on keeping on.