Archive for the climate justice Category

Southeast Climate Convergence Participants Demand Climate Justice in Richmond

Posted in climate justice, collective liberation, resistance, student power on August 11, 2008 by Jasper Conner

Southeast Climate Convergence Participants Demand Climate Justice in Richmond Virginia from Bank of America and other Dirty Energy Companies

Two cliamte justice activists lockdown to a Bank of America branch in Richmond to call attention to their funding of Coal and Nuclear energy that devistates Virginia communties

Two cliamte justice activists lockdown to a Bank of America branch in Richmond to call attention to their funding of Coal and Nuclear energy that devistates Virginia communties

The Southeast Climate Convergence which lasted from August 5th through the 11th culminated today in an action demanding an end to coal fire and nuclear power that destroys our environments and cripples communities. During the Convergence, activists and organizers throughout the South came together to learn about Environmental Justice issues such as Mountain Top Removal and the vibrant social movements that are organizing for sustainable economies and the dignity of their communities.

Law enforcement responded to people demanding that Dominion Virginia Power become responsible in its energy production choices with a swarming presence, surveillance and intimidation. Police were in full force in an attempt to impede our growing environmental justice movement.

“This expensive diversion of public funds from protecting the public to protecting a powerful group that is harming the public—Dominion—is just as irresponsible as using coal and nuclear power when cheaper, cleaner and safer options are available now,” Blue Ridge Earth First! activist Willie Oaks said, “We’ve been to hearings, circulated petitions, talked with our elected officials and more, and Dominion’s harmful projects are still moving ahead. We now feel compelled by our consciences to take further non-violent action.”

Activists with Blue Ridge Earth First!, Rising Tide, Mountain Justice, and the Southeast Climate Convergence assembled to insist that Dominion Power immediately halt construction of a new coal-fired power plant in Wise County, and abandon plans to build a third reactor at the North Anna Nuclear Power Station in Louisa County. This is the latest in a long campaign against Dominion’s plans.

“They’re terrified of the power that the environmental justice movement is building and they know dirty energy is coming to an end. You can’t hold back the ocean forever,” Jasper Conner of Students for a Democratic Society said.

Over 40 protesters began marching at Monroe Park around noon and made stops at the offices of Massey Energy Corp., Virginia Department of Environmental Quality, Dominion Virginia Power, and concluded with a lock down the Bank of America sign at their S 12 St and E Main St office. The crowd included jesters and people holding larger-than-life puppets, banners and signs to raise awareness about the problems and actual solutions to climate change, and draw connections between local issues and those in other communities around the world.

“A new coal plant in Wise County would increase the demand for coal in a county that has already had 25% of its land destroyed by mountaintop removal mining, as well as put more mercury in our streams and carbon dioxide in our air. We cannot allow this,” Eric Blevins of Mountain Justice said.

Carrying banners reading, “No Nukes, No Coal, No Kidding” and “Social Change not Climate Change,” people marched to the headquarters of Massey Energy, Dominion, Virginia Department of Environmental Quality, and Bank of America.

At Massey Energy, a notorious coal company involved in mountaintop removal coal mining, activists surrounded the entrance and yelled, “Hands off our mountains!.” The group then moved on to the Department of Environmental Quality which recently rubber stamped Dominion’s dirty coal plant in Wise County, VA. Next the group brought the party to Dominion, who is building the aforementioned coal plant as well as proposing a new nuke plant in Louisa County, VA. Chanting “No coal, no nukes, we won’t stop until you do!” the activists attempted to take over Dominion’s plaza but were repelled by police on horses. In a show of interspecies solidarity one horse bucked a cop off its back.

To wrap things up for the day, the crowd moved on to the the towering Bank of America building, one of the largest funders of the coal industry. In impressive feat of stealth two activists manage to infiltrate the beefed up security at the building and locked to a sign outside of the customer entrance. Marchers supported the lockdown with a die in on the sidewalk. Police eventually cut free the two that were locked down and charged them with tresspassing.

The activists say that coal and nuclear power are outdated options that are unacceptable in a world facing drastic climate change. No nuclear reactor has been built in the U.S. in the past 30 years. “The nuclear ‘relapse’ carries with it uranium mining that disproportionately occurs on indigenous lands, and diverts enormous public resources from real climate solutions to a false one. No viable disposal method has been created in 50 years of research for the radioactive waste that persists for hundreds of thousands of years,” Morgan Kipler of Blue Ridge Earth First! said.

The facts behind proposed solutions for climate change are often distorted in the press, according to the activists. “The corporate media is carrying paid propaganda spreading the falsehoods that using coal and uranium as fuel will ever be clean, will ever address the clear and present danger of the climate crisis,” said Mary Olson, Southeast Regional Coordinator for Nuclear Information and Resource Service. “Coal and nuclear will never be safe or clean.”

Today’s action was not an isolated event, but is rather another event in a growing movement for environmental justice that’s seeing victories all across the entire planet.

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For photos of the day’s events, including the two brave activists who U-locked their necks to Dirty Energy promoting Bank of America, follow the link!

For more information about the day’s actions.

For updates about the three US Climate Convergences.

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Right now we’re asking for folks to donate money to the legal fund to get these brave activists out of jail.

You can donate by following the link and clicking on the paypal button at the top. http://www.risingtidenorthamerica.org/wordpress/category/asheville-rising-tide/

Ohio Student Environmental Coalition takes action against Coal

Posted in climate justice, resistance with tags , on March 31, 2008 by Jasper Conner
Below is an article about a recent climate justice action in Columbus Ohio where students had a substantial win in the struggle against Coal plants that dominate the lives and lungs of Ohio citizens.

Mountain Justice Takes on King Coal in Columbus

How often do you get to witness a band of activists deploy a direct action and successfully pressure the CEO of a corporation into agreeing to their demands – before the police even arrive on the scene?

AMP HQ - Mountain Justice Comes Knocking

On Friday afternoon, student activists with Ohio Student Environmental Coalition and members of Mountain Justice occupied the lobby of American Municipal Power and forced an impromptu meeting with CEO Mark Gerken – who was not a happy camper.

AMP is planning to build a 1000 MW pulverized coal power plant in Meigs County, Ohio – one of the most impoverished counties in the state, with some of the highest lung cancer and premature death rates due industrial pollution in the country. There are already 4 coal power plants within 10 miles of Meigs and the coal barons of the Midwest are planning on building five more – the largest and dirtiest being the AMP project.

Determined to put an end to this economic and social injustice, concerned Meigs residents have been working with student and youth activists to organize and empower communities to break out of the socio-economic slavery of king coal. Mountain Justice Spring Break – an event where many students, rather than spending their holidays in Florida or Cancun, have opted instead for more meaningful pursuits in building solidarity, developing consensus, discovering affinity and exploring nonviolent direct action – showcased this collaboration over this last week.

Today marked a watershed moment in the movement against King Coal in Ohio. The activists’ demands were simple: cancel plans to build the coal plant, fund renewable energy, and schedule a meeting between the AMP Board of Trustees, local students, and frontline community activists to discuss how AMP can best chart a course towards these goals.

Demands Met - Action Success

So, this morning, about fifty student and youth activists – most of whom had never participated in a direct action – marched to AMP headquarters in Columbus, Ohio, at which point a group of four negotiators entered the building and demanded a meeting with Gerken. Even when confronted by irate AMP employees, the youth negotiators kept their cool and stuck to their demands. They not only managed to meet with Gerken, but also got him to commit to a meeting between students, Meigs County activists and the AMP Board – and to agree that AMP wouldn’t begin construction on the plant until after this meeting has taken place.

This action was part of an ongoing campaign by activists – including residents of frontline communities, and student activists from groups like Mountain Justice, Ohio Student Environmental Coalition, Earth First, and Student Environmental Action Coalition – against AMP’s plans to bring further destruction to Southern Ohio. On a Sunday morning in early March, a group of concerned citizens visited the home of CEO Marc Gerken, and demanded that AMP reconsider its plans to move forward with the plant. (At that point, Gerken brushed off their requests for a meeting.) Earlier this week – as part of the Listening Project – several students visited the homes of Meigs County residents, listened to their concerns about the AMP project, and empowered them to take action and join the campaign against the coal plant.

Today’s action was the biggest step to date in this campaign, and has laid the groundwork for even bigger victories against King Coal in Ohio. Stay tuned for updates on what this collaboration will do next!

Adrian & Ananda in Columbus