A SPECIAL THANKS! to all who helped put this report back together, and an EXTRA SPECIAL THANKS! to all the wonderful people who helped us along the way with donations, roofs, and well-wishes. We couldn’t do this without your support!
The frontline of the struggle for indigenous sovereignty – against industrial extraction, against corporate pipelines – is not in Washington D.C. or Victoria, British Columbia. It is not in the offices of Greenpeace or 350.org. To get to one of the many places the where the battle is being waged, you have to travel an hour and a half down a dirt logging road in central British Columbia. Surrounded by forests of Black Spruce and Lodge Pole Pine on the bank of the Morice River, at the edge of the Wet’suwet’en First Nation territory, is the Unis’tot’en Action Camp. Here, the Wet’suwet’en are holding their ground, defending their traditional lands from a set of 9 oil & gas pipelines the Canadian government (and a host of multinational corporations, collectively worth hundreds of billions of dollars) want to build. Earlier this month, for the third year in a row, they invited their allies and supporters to take part in the week-long Action Camp, which included workshops, discussions, trainings, mutual aid, and relationship building.
But our story begins almost three weeks beforehand.
A few of the roadshow crew hanging out by the trusty van waiting for the others to catch up. From left: Val, Dillon, Andrew, and Spencer (Photo by Max Wilbert)
Over the last several weeks, organizers from DGR have been traveling up the Pacific Northwest on our way to the Unis’tot’en Action Camp. Along the way, we stopped in cities to gather donations, funds, and messages of support and solidarity for the Wet’suwet’en.
Published in the July/August 2012 issue of Orion Magazine
There isn’t a chance in hell that something like the original Wilderness Act could be passed today. Environmentalists today are too much on the defensive. Sure, there have been green platforms and policy papers, but nothing I’ve read matches the urgency of this moment. So I decided to draft a declaration. It goes like this:
We, the citizens of the United States of America, hold these truths to be self-evident: that a rapid decline in living conditions is taking place all around us; that compromise is no longer an adequate way forward (and perhaps never was); that more drastic measures must be taken immediately in order to preserve a livable planet. From these beliefs springs the following list of demands:
We demand that the United States Constitution be rewritten to explicitly prohibit the privatization of profits and the externalization of costs by the wealthy, and to immediately grant both human and nonhuman communities full legal and moral rights. Corporations should no longer be considered persons under the law. Limited liability corporations must be immediately stripped of their limited liability protection. Those whose economic activities cause great harm—including great harm to the real, physical world—should be punished. Environmental Crimes Tribunals must be immediately put in place to try those who have significantly harmed the real, physical world. These tribunals should have the force of law and should be expected to impose punishment commensurate with the harm caused to the public and to the planet.
We demand the immediate, explicit, and legally binding recognition that perpetual growth is incompatible with life on a finite planet. Economic growth must stop, and economies must begin to contract. We demand acknowledgment that if we don’t begin this contraction voluntarily, it will take place against our will, and will cause untold misery.
By Max Wilbert
Climate scientists are clear that modern human societies are changing the atmosphere of the planet, mainly by clearing forests, grasslands, wetlands, and other natural ecosystems for the purposes of development and logging and by burning fossil fuels such as coal, oil, and natural gas. These activities are releasing greenhouse gases and destroying natural greenhouse gas reservoirs. The result of all this activity is that the Earth is growing steadily warmer, year after year, and this is causing problems all over the world.
That additional heat is powering up weather systems and altering global flows of energy. Storms are more powerful and frequent than in the past. Drought, wildfires, tornadoes, floods, and other weather patterns are becoming increasingly unpredictable and dangerous. “Freak” events like the disastrous heat wave in Russia in 2011 are becoming more common. Annual deaths ascribed to climate change were estimated in a 2002 study to be 150,000 per year at that time, using what the authors called an “extremely conservative” methodology.
Every year representatives from governments around the world gather to discuss the problem of global warming as part of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, a 1994 treaty which has been signed by 194 nations. In 2012, the 17th annual meeting was held in Durban, South Africa. The stated goal of these meetings has been to limit global warming to 2° Celsius – about 3.5° Fahrenheit over average pre-industrial temperature. This is the maximum level of warming that has been labeled as safe by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) – the United Nations scientific advising body on the matter.
The walk starts on August 4th at 10am at Crane Lake Park – east side of highway 63 near Syncrude’s Mildred Lake site – it is approximately 14 kms and will be followed by a community feast at the Anzac Community Hall.
Water, lunch and energy snacks will be provided during the walk.
If you are arriving on August 3rd, please join us for a Meet & Greet at Indian Beach from 6-8pm.
The walk is sponsored by the Keepers of the Athabasca. Keepers of the Athabasca are First Nations, Metis, Inuit, environmental groups, and Watershed citizens working together for the protection of water, land and air, and thus for all living things today and tomorrow in the Athabasca River Watershed.
We are asking all community members of the Tar Sands regions and those in the path of tar sands infrastructure (pipelines and refineries) and all supporters to come out and walk for the healing of the land and our sacred waters.
The walk will be led by First Nation and Metis elders and community members but we are hoping that our allies will come out to walk beside them as supporters as well.
This is not a protest, march or a political rally, nor is it a race! It is a spiritual healing journey to focus attention on the water and land and the people who care about the future. We respectfully ask supporters to embrace the spiritual intention of this walk and show solidarity by walking under the direction of the Indigenous Elders.
Find out more here
Between July 1st and July 7th, Earth First! activists, friends, and allies (including a caravan of DGR activists) will be converging on Western Pennsylvania, the heart of the Marcellus Shale region where fracking is running wild.
From the organizers: “We are inviting all wild-eyed Earth First!ers, forest defenders, environmental activists, and interested rural community members to join us for a week of celebrating the history and culture of the Earth First! movement, as well as learning about the impacts of natural gas extraction on the bioregions and wildlife of Pennsylvania and the rest of the Marcellus region.”
Directions and more information about the Rondy can be found at the Marcellus Earth First! chapter website:
A Series of Articles by Michael Carter, DGR 4 Corners
Excerpt from 3rd installment:
And the entitlement taken by the ORVers themselves is even more aggressive and unconcerned for living things. In some long-ago argument with a motorcyclist enraged by new restrictions on off-roading in the Mojave Desert, he shouted, “It’s the fucking desert! Nothing lives out there!” Anyone who’s even spent any time there knows this is ridiculous. The Mojave is being dismembered piecemeal by solar energy projects, military bases, and an ever-worsening ORV infection; desert tortoises are being driven ever closer to extinction, along with every other Mojave lizard, snake, ground-nesting bird—many living things—in the way of the dominant culture’s activities. It’s just another expression of what privileged access to limited and stolen resources does. Another friend told me “I was working the booth at Sand Flats”—a Bureau of Land Management recreation area just outside Moab—“during Jeep Week. There were thousands and thousands of ORVers in town. I looked out the window and saw a woman smack her little boy upside the head, a guy dump his ashtray out in the parking lot, and a line of maybe forty Humvees waiting to follow each other around the backcountry. This was just after the Iraq invasion, and I remember thinking, ‘This is everything that’s wrong with America, in one frame. This is what we’re killing strangers for. For oil to do this.’” That same week, my housemate, a waiter at the local brewery, told me how he’d been tipped twenty-five cents—spitefully, to his face—because the burger he brought a jeeper wasn’t quite hot enough. “That’s why we all call it ‘Cheap Week,’” he said. The week you see wealthy ORV tourists swaggering around in t-shirts reading: the best trails are illegal.
Published in the EarthFirst! Journal
“They aren’t going to stop destroying the planet until we make it too costly for them to continue. THE SOONER WE DO, THE BETTER.”
If we really believed what scientists are telling us about global warming, the fire engines of every fire department would sound their sirens and race to the nearest factory to extinguish its furnaces. Every high school student would run to the thermostat of every classroom, turn it off, and tear it out of the wall, then hit the parking lot to slash tires. Every responsible suburban parent would don safety gloves and walk around the block pulling the electrical meters out of the utility boxes behind houses and condominiums. Every gas station attendant would press the emergency button to shut off the pumps, cut the hoses, and glue the locks on the doors; every coal and petroleum corporation would immediately set about burying their unused product where it came from- using only the muscles of their own arms, of course…
Read the whole thing here
Activists draw a line in the sand in the fight against fracking (Photo originally posted here)
On Saturday, May 19th, participants in the Occupy Well Street campaign
against fracking are calling for a Day of Direct Action Against
Extraction. We invite all who are opposed to the widespread use of energy
extraction methods such as hydraulic fracturing for natural gas,
mountaintop removal coal mining, and tar sands oil distillation to take
creative, public direct action at local or regional points of production
in these industries. All who participate are encouraged to employ a wide
spectrum of tactics that appeal to their experience and comfort level,
such as handing out literature, arranging speaking events, orchestrating
colorful street theater, or taking up space by creative means.
Why a Day of Action? We have many reasons: We are tired of our communities
being divided and conquered by gas corporations in pursuit of ever higher
profits. The water that flows through our bioregion is being sold off for
fracking as fast as those granted responsibility for our rivers and
watersheds can rubber stamp withdrawal permits. Despite promises of gas
drilling and fracking operations creating a surplus of local and regional
jobs, our region is teeming with highly paid out of state rigworkers,
engineers and other “specialists”, while the local jobs largely consist of
temporary truck driving and dangerous “roustabout” positions. We are being
lied to and manipulated, but we refuse to be passive participants in these