Moving Beyond Dirty Energy

564 Guest post by Bryan Parras, cross posted from t.e.j.a.s.

The Keystone XL pipeline begins in Alberta, Canada and ends in my backyard.

Here in Houston’s East End, we’re well acquainted with the risks of living so close to the oil refineries whose toxic emissions poison us every day. Like so many other kids in this neighborhood, I grew up with constant headaches, asthma and skin rashes. Cardiovascular diseases and cancer are not uncommon. 

Now, the tar sands are here in my home. Today the dirtiest, most toxic oil on the planet is being pumped into our communities via the southern segment of the Keystone XL pipeline -- and our families are being forced to breath the additional pollution. Just last week, one of the first shipments of refined tar sands was exported to Europe via nearby Freeport, TX. This serves as a terrible precedent and reminds us that despite wide opposition to the Keystone XL pipeline, tar sands is making its way through our communities along the Gulf Coast and across the Atlantic ocean.

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Over at Energy Action Coalition, we’ve had tremendous fun with bringing together “Storyteller Teams” at big events. What’s a storyteller team, you ask? It’s a grassroots team of people who are dedicated to using the power of social media to share and promote movement stories from a conference or event. We’ve had kick-ass Storyteller Teams at Power Shift ‘13 and the SF Divestment Convergence, and together, these teams have reached and inspired hundreds of thousands of people.

Storyteller Teams don’t just happen on their own - they require some planning and recruiting and training and good old cat herding. Below are 9 tips (or rather, lessons we’ve learned) for recruiting and unleashing completely all-star storyteller teams.

Post by Mary Schellentrager and Joe Solomon, Energy Action Coalition

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Most people know that carbon dioxide is a dangerous climate change causing pollutant. What they don’t know is that there has never been a federal limit on carbon pollution from power plants, meaning they have been given a free pass to recklessly pollute our atmosphere. That’s all about to change. Just yesterday, the EPA introduced draft standards on carbon emissions from existing power plants. This is an incredibly important step (of many!) to solve the climate crisis.

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Spoiler Alert.

2
May 22, 2014

I think I should say “SPOILER ALERT” at this point, because what I’m about to say will spoil the way you look at your groundwater forever.

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Last month, the Minneapolis City Council voted unanimously to name October 13th Indigenous Peoples’ Day as well as Columbus Day. The following blog was written by Will Steger Foundation Equity Consultant, Joe Kruse, and makes clear as day the connection between Columbus Day and the destruction of the fossil fuels industry.

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534 On Tuesday, the White House’s United States Global Change Research Program (USGCRP) released its third National Climate Assessment which represents the most comprehensive evaluation to date of the impacts of climate change on the American people across the nation. This dire new report shows that every region of the country is already impacted by climate change — from drought drying up farmlands, to extreme weather devastating communities, to dirty air and extreme heat days sending people with asthma and respiratory diseases to the emergency room. It also follows a series of other reports released in the past year by the International Governmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) which highlight these impacts globally, what we can expect if we don’t act, and what our options are to avoid the worst of these scenarios. 

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519 Thursday, April 10th, 2014

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Yesterday, I spent a couple hours at the Earth Day celebration in Wilkes-Barre. I thought a lot about the environmental crises northeast Pennsylvania has endured over generations.

The Wyoming Valley, which includes Scranton and Wilkes-Barre, especially has seen the horrors of unbridled resource extraction.

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Thursday afternoon April 3rd, 300 protesters from across the Great Lakes region from multiple generations, marched with high spirits through the final fits of winter, to a contested case hearing, holding Enbridge on trial to re-examine the need to expand tar sands infrastructure, specifically Line 67, the Alberta Clipper, which would transport 800,000 barrels of tar sands oil per day across MN to Lake Superior.

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430 I’ve learned many things in my four years at Washington University in St. Louis--not all of them in the classroom. For example, before I became a student at Wash U, I had never heard of Peabody Energy, the world’s largest private sector coal corporation.

In St. Louis, Peabody ingratiates itself to the local community by posing as a benefactor of the arts, charitable corporate ‘citizen,’ and hero tackling “energy poverty.” It all sounds pretty good until you realize that Peabody Energy is the world’s largest private sector coal corporation whose business model propagates climate change and destroys communities. Peabody’s list of crimes is a veritable laundry list of social and environmental injustices: the destruction of mountains in West Virginia, the forced relocation of Navajo and Hopi Indian tribes in Black Mesa, Arizona, being a major supporter of the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC), which have been strong advocates of controversial legislation like “Stand Your Ground” laws, the destruction of Rocky Branch, Illinois through aggressive mining and logging, and the distortion of democracy here in St. Louis by striking down a city-wide ballot initiative.

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