Moving Beyond Dirty Energy

I'm writing from Charlotte, NC where the Democratic National Convention is in full-swing.

You can feel it in the convention hall, in the streets, and on Facebook--the pressure is mounting for Duke Energy to stop playing dirty politics and dump ALEC for funding voter suppression.

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Cross-posted at

As excited motorists, bicyclists, and people on foot passed by, local citizens and I held up a banner telling the president than his "all of the above energy will not stop climate change." Even the air tingled with excitement, as the crowd's cheers echoed from the pavillion and the ever-present security forces barely hid their anticipation. After getting politely removed to a nearby location on Market, I knew that the moment I was waiting for, when the president was see the message for more clean energy, was near.

At around 3 PM, there was a hushed, anticipated silence and in a couple seconds police motorcycles appeared right in front of us. Holding the banner with a volunteer, I knew that in just a minute the president would drive right by. With cries of "he's here!" the crowd cheered as the president's motorcade roared by. As the president's vehicle came and went, I smiled in approval, knowing that the president had just seen my banner calling for wind and solar. The day's mission was accomplished. Indeed, after the speech, Obama for America's Virginia team sent out the tweet: "POTUS: Ignoring inequalities don't make them go away. Denying climate change won't make it stop."

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Stomp, stomp, stomp, stomp – are the sounds of Power Vote fellows advancing toward the Prudential Building in Chicago holding signs that read “Yes we can, move beyond coal” and “Yes we can, stop fracking.” The enthusiastic chants for a clean and just future resonate within the on lookers as a sea of green shirts assembles in front of the building and a feeling of empowerment washes over my soul.

The sensation of having thousands of other young people out there working toward the same goal of shutting down dirty politics is encouraging. People in Ohio and Pennsylvania have had an intruder, exposed as fracking, come in through their back doors and threaten the lives of thousands. Denver and Georgia face too many accounts of folks that suffer from malignant air quality conditions. Florida is stuck with a power plant that has been broken multiple times yet continues to be approved for repair. It is time that we approach our current politicians with assertion and command because they are not even hiding their intentions anymore. This is our country as much as it is theirs and what I hear from the people is that we desperately need a reassuring plan for a clean future.

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[Video by Frank Finan: Volunteer firefighters respond to the Chief Oil’s Phelps gas well explosion in Lathrop Township last night]

" home in northeastern PA, is not a place that I feel safe. No one should ever have to say that." - Kelly Finan

Susquehanna County, PA is under a major assault by the drilling industry. Yesterday, the Corbett Administration’s Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection authorized Cabot Oil and Gas to begin hydraulically fracturing again in Dimock at seven Marcellus Shale wells that were drilled but not stimulated with "fracking" in 2010. From the Scranton Times:

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The last few days in Montana must have made Big Coal very, very nervous.

First, around 100 people gathered outside the Montana Capitol on August 13th to protest state decision makers’ support for coal export projects, which would see Montana become an international coal colony so Big Coal can profit while coal trains and mines expose our communities to poisons. We then stormed into the Capitol building itself, dropping off letters for State Land Board members Governor Brian Schweitzer and Secretary of State Linda McCulloch.

Then, over the course of a week, 23 activists (myself included) were arrested at the State Capitol protesting coal exports, in one of the largest acts of nonviolent civil disobedience Montana has seen in recent years. As far as anyone I’ve talked to has been able to tell, it’s the biggest climate-related civil disobedience the state has seen, period.

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TransCanada has begun construction on the southern segment of the Keystone XL tar sands pipeline, and Tar Sands Blockade has planned a social media day of action.

Below are some links you can share across the web.

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Crosss posted from Waging Nonviolence

By: Kristin Moe & Ethan Nuss

Social movements succeed when ordinary people step outside their comfort zones and embrace their personal bravery. In the interest of preserving our global climate and a habitable future, we are doing just that. After almost four years together, we are spending the summer 1,700 miles apart. But through our separation we’ve been connected by one thing: the Keystone XL tar sands oil pipeline.

One of us, Kristin, is a writer reporting from Alberta, Canada — the mouth of the pipeline, where tar sands oil is extracted — while the other, Ethan, is an activist with Tar Sands Blockade in Texas, where the proposed pipeline would cut through on its way to the Gulf of Mexico.

Here are two letters we’ve written to each other reflecting on experiences working with First Nations peoples in Alberta whose lands and lives are being devastated by tar sands extraction, meeting Texas landowners who will have their property taken from them by eminent domain and the climate movement we hope will bring about the justice that’s sorely lacking.

Dear Ethan,

I’m hurtling up Highway 63 towards tar sands ground zero, a couple days ahead of this Saturday’s Healing Walk. About 1,700 kilometers south, you’re at the other end of the proposed path of the Keystone XL. When I read last week that Obama had approved the final permits for construction of the southern leg of the pipeline, my heart sank. Last summer in D.C., when all 1,252 of us were arrested in front of the White House and after the huge momentum that followed, I thought for a minute that it wouldn’t come to this. But it has.

After two months up here, I have a pretty good sense of the players in this game. I hesitate to say “game,” but let’s face it: there are very clear winners and very clear losers. The winners, obviously, are the multinationals who rake in the big bucks; the biggest, actually, since oil is the most profitable industry… ever. And the losers are the First Nations and other people on whose land is being built a mining operation on such scale it would make you gape in wonder.

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