Moving Beyond Dirty Energy

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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I was asked to submit this piece by the Northeast Pennsylvania Energy Journal, a pro-fracking magazine funded entirely by gas industry ads that's inserted in our local newspapers. The piece will be printed with an industry representative's counter argument that shale gas is good for Pennsylvania and the climate. From www.energyjustice.net.

Shale Gas: Not the Wise Choice for Pennsylvania

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Crossposted from Greenpeace's blog, The EnvironmentaLIST.

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Monday night’s Keystone XL protest vigils were nothing short of incredible. At over 280 vigils from coast-to-coast, we saw thousands of people turn out in the cold and snow to show their resolve that this dirty and dangerous pipeline must be rejected.

But our work is not done. As you’ve probably heard, the State Department just released its final environmental review, kicking off a final 90-day stretch for people power to fight back.

Demand President Obama and John Kerry reject Keystone XL — help launch the People’s Review.

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In just three months, St. Louis, the hometown of five coal companies could also be home to the divestment movement’s next big victory. St. Louis is also my hometown, and for over a year now, I’ve been working on the citywide divestment campaign, called Take Back St. Louis. The Take Back St. Louis initiative will change the city charter to end incentives to fossil fuel companies and instead invest money in and open city-owned land for renewable energy and sustainability initiatives. 

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When I started at the University of Maryland this past semester I joined the campaign to divest my university from fossil fuels as well. I am part of the fossil fuel divestment movement because divestment is an important tactic to make the fossil fuel industry’s public reputation as toxic as their business practices. Once doing business with the fossil fuel industry is seen as morally unconscionable it’s unlikely the industry will be able to continue buying off enough public officials to keep itself in existence.

Many of us have found out through divestment campaigns just how engrained the fossil fuel industry is on our campuses. Despite overwhelming support among students, university presidents and administrations have resisted our demands, caving to the power of fossil fuels.

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299 This past Wednesday, on the 85th birthday of Martin Luther King Jr, dozens of activists gathered to push the President to reject the Northern leg of the proposed Keystone XL pipeline, stop the southern leg of KXL from becoming operational. They also called for divestment from dangerous fossil fuel sources and more investment in renewable, and clean energy sources.

Organized by the group Interfaith Moral Action on Climate, the day started at the American Petroleum Institute with remarks from Reverend Yearwood of the Hip Hop caucus, who proclaimed that in recognition of MLK, we much become “fossil free at last.”  Activists marched to the White House where an interfaith service was held by various faith leaders and the NAACP, calling for climate action, and was followed by two volunteers who engaged in civil disobedience to urge President Obama to stop the construction of southern leg of the KXL pipeline which is scheduled to begin producing oil on January 22nd.

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I wanted to share what a local nonprofit in San Francisco is doing and how we can all support it!

RE-volv is a nonprofit that crowdfunds to finance solar installations for nonprofits and cooperatives that serve as community centers.  Using a lease-to-own model, monthly payments from community centers (still less than their original energy bill) are reinvested to finance more solar energy projects.  Each individual project will yield 3-5 additional projects - a revolving fund for solar energy and a model that pays your donation forward!

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290 Courtesy of Hands Off Appalachia!On November 25th, 2013, I was arrested for hanging a large banner off a construction crane in downtown Stamford, CT. Today, I’m back in Stamford going to court, where I am facing a felony charge.

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