Olympia Fellowship of Reconciliation
Working for peace, social
justice and principled nonviolence since 1976
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This banner about the Climate Crisis appears at some of
the Olympia Fellowship of Reconciliation’s peace vigils.
-- The term “global warming” might sound pleasant to those of us who live in areas with cold winters.
-- The term “climate change” sounds neutral, because “change” can be either good, bad, or merely different.
Both of these terms seem like euphemisms, because the reality is so much worse!
What is happening is climate disruption or climate chaos. The climate patterns that have existed for thousands of years – to which plants, animal and humans have adapted over thousands of years – are being torn up and thrown around. The jet stream is sending some people’s weather to other places. While the average temperature around much of the earth is increasing, various areas have become much hotter, or much drier, or much wetter. Many thousands of temperature records have been broken, and the process is projected to escalate much worse.
The climate crisis is much more disruptive and destructive than merely warmer temperatures. Since before the dawn of civilization the earth’s climate has allowed life to prosper and diversify. Plant and animal species evolved and adapted to the climate. Human civilizations emerged and thrived. Now – in a very short time – humans are wrecking the climate, and many people around the world are horrified at the very disruptive and destructive future that lies ahead.
Scientists are largely in consensus about this reality. But in the U.S. and a few other nations that have caused this climate crisis, the dominant political and economic systems have refused to accept reality. Hardly any U.S. politicians are dealing seriously with this crisis. Many U.S. politicians even deny that the problem exists, and almost all of those who do know acknowledge the problem have refused to take the bold actions necessary solve it. They are condemning many species to extinction, and they are condemning countless millions of human beings to misery and death.
Giant oil and coal companies want to continue “business as usual,” except for escalating their public relations propaganda (e.g., coal companies claiming that coal can be “clean,” and oil companies and electric utilities exaggerating their “green” activities). Mainstream media – which is almost entirely owned by giant corporations – fail to report on it adequately.
This is a damning indictment of our political and economic systems. Survival and civilization require radical changes to these suicidal political and economic systems.
Scientists, nonprofit organizations, and grassroots organizers around the world are trying desperately to shake our political and economic systems to recognize reality. The Olympia Fellowship of Reconciliation is helping through a variety of new activities, including this website page about the Climate Crisis.
This short video is informative, easy to understand, and entertaining. You might want to skip the introductory and proceed directly to the video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=M2Jxs7lR8ZI
On Monday January 14 the Olympia FOR’s climate action group (“Confronting the Climate Crisis”) held a rally on the steps of the Washington State Capitol building. During that event many of us went across the way, put on big bright red ponchos and spelled out “NO COAL” and “350.ORG” on the steps of the Washington State Supreme Court Building, the Temple of Justice. Thanks to Steve Wyant for this photo.
Watch edited video coverage the Olympia FOR’s January 14, 2013, Climate Crisis rally at the State Capitol on TV. Dennis Mills and others videotaped it, and Dennis edited it and arranged for it to be seen on BlipTV: ( Video on BlipTV )
The Olympia FOR’s “Confronting the Climate Crisis” organizers meet once a month, and smaller working groups meet more often: In October 2012 the Olympia FOR’s Steering Committee created our “Confronting the Climate Crisis” group, which has worked vigorously ever since. We’ve posted information at www.olympiafor.org/Climate_Crisis.html, and we invite you to contact Bourtai Hargrove (360) 352-6327 firstname.lastname@example.org for more current information. Also see our Facebook page, www.facebook.com/pages/Olympia-Confronting-the-Climate-Crisis/486300664775244
Port of Olympia’s complicity in fracking for North Dakota’s oil: Now that the world has reached “Peak Oil,” and the easy-to-extract oil has already been burned, the oil companies are extracting the earth’s dwindling supplies from locations that cause much more environmental damage and cost a lot more money and energy to extract. They are damaging human and environmental health by using a risky process called hydrofracturing (“hydrofracking”) in the Bakken oil shale region in NW North Dakota and elsewhere. They inject dangerous chemicals at high pressure underground to fracture the rocky structures, and they pump ceramic beads (“proppants”) to keep the rocks apart so they can extract the oil. Oil companies are importing these proppants from China on ships that unload them at the Port of Olympia for rail transport to North Dakota. Some of the local people concerned about the climate crisis are discussing the problems with the Port of Olympia and the general public. Some folks are identifying with the precious waters that cover most of our planet and are used for shipping proppants from China to the Port of Olympia’s docks. On Sunday afternoon May 19 an activity sponsored by the Olympia FOR’s “Confronting the Climate Crisis” group used kayaks to help people get onto the water, and featured a blessing of the waters by a woman active with the Indian-based Idle No More movement, which is organization across Canada and the US to protect Native lands and all lands from this kind of environmental abuse. Puget Sound and the Strait of Juan de Fuca are sometimes called the Salish Sea in recognition of the indigenous people who have lived here for thousands of years. Robert “Berd” Whitlock videotaped parts of the May 19 event, edited it into a program titled, “Salish Sea by Kayak,” posted it to YouTube (www.youtube.com/watch?v=HHtq0q5vqsw), and arranged for it to air on Thurston Community Television (TCTV), cable channel 22 in Thurston County three times in late May and five times in early June (5:30 pm on Saturday the 1st, 1:30 pm on Wednesday the 5th, 10:00 pm on Saturday the 8th, 12:30 pm on Monday the 10th, and 8:00 pm on Wednesday the 12th. For information contact Berd at (360) 259-4291 email@example.com
A new group is organizing opposition to the Port of Olympia’s transport of fracking materials: In response to the problems described in the paragraph above, some local people have created Olympia Port Fracking Resistance to organize opposition including possible nonviolent civil disobedience. Contact https://twitter.com/OlyPFR and @OlyPFR and http://OlympiaPFR.wordpress.com
A one-page map with photos and brief descriptions explains the links between Washington State and the oil fracking in North Dakota: Zoltan Grossman, a professor at The Evergreen State College who is skilled at “connecting the dots” among issues and explaining them clearly and concisely, created a one-page resource to show and explain what the long paragraph above introduces. See http://academic.evergreen.edu/g/grossmaz/oilconnections.pdf
Growing numbers of localities and nations are banning fracking: The growing worldwide list is posted at http://keeptapwatersafe.org/global-bans-on-fracking/
A huge item for oil drilling was too big for the I-5 bridge over the Skagit River and knocked the bridge down: Besides the usual environmental costs that oil companies dump onto the rest of us, another public safety disaster has occurred because of the tar sands in Alberta, Canada. A truck from a Canadian company that routinely hauls oil drilling equipment through our region was hauling a huge box for oil drilling equipment through Skagit County to Vancouver WA, an important transfer point for such equipment to be loaded onto enormous trucks headed for Alberta. This oversized load was squeezed toward the right by another passing truck and struck an arch in the overhead bridge structure, knocking it down. For more information contact All Against the Haul (www.allagainstthehaul.org), a homegrown effort working to stop the construction of a permanent industrial corridor for oversized loads to the Alberta Tar Sands through Oregon, Washington, Idaho, and Montana.
What about the jobs? Subtract numbers for Skagit River bridge accident? Supporters of environmentally destructive oil and coal extraction say they create jobs. Local people point out that the environmental damage costs existing jobs in existing parts of the local economy. Now after an oil-related truck destroyed the Skagit River bridge, public officials and politicians are saying that the absence of the bridge will disrupt our region’s economy and eliminate many jobs. So shouldn’t we subtract those jobs from the ones that will allegedly be created by exploiting tar sands?
Less Chinese demand for coal undermines case for new Pacific NW export terminals: People who care about the climate have been working hard to prevent the construction of new port terminals for exporting coal from Cherry Point (near Bellingham), Longview in Cowlitz County, and other Pacific ports in Washington and Oregon. Energy conservation and efficiency – and strong environmental concerns – have reduced the demand for coal in the US, so coal companies were eager to export their surplus to China, India and other Asian countries that are rapidly industrializing. But several recent news reports have stated several reasons why China’s demand for importing coal seems to be inadequate to justify new export terminals in the Pacific NW. China is developing its own coal extraction, suffering from terrible air pollution caused partly by burning coal, diversifying its energy sources into wind and solar, and losing some jobs to other countries with even cheaper labor. Some of the NW’s proposed coal export site proposals have been withdrawn.
Build a massive oil export terminal near Grays Harbor’s environmentally sensitive major bird sanctuary, and haul massive oil trains across sensitive rivers and streams? People who want to protect our climate and environment have our hands full opposing one boneheaded scheme after another! People in Grays Harbor mobilized and prevented a coal export terminal from being built there, but now they are working hard to protect the same area from a huge oil export terminal, the Imperium Oil Tank and Terminal Project. Bowerman Basin includes the Grays Harbor National Wildlife Refuge. It attracts countless thousands of migrating birds annually and attracts a great many tourists who come to watch the birds. It’s hard to think of a worse location for a giant oil export terminal with many loud, smelly, dirty diesel trains a mile and a half long, hauling tank cars of crude oil, and ocean-going tankers constantly arriving, loading and chugging away. But these are not normal times we are living in, and common sense counts little when so many powerful interests will do anything to make huge profits. Incredibly, the Washington State Department of Ecology said this won’t affect the environment enough to require a real Environmental Impact Statement. The Grays Harbor Audubon Society’s website, www.ghas.org/bowerman.php, offers information about the area. The local grassroots group that is very knowledgeable and active on this is Citizens for a Clean Harbor, www.cleanharbor.org
Local man to walk 1,000 miles of proposed coal train route from Helena, Montana, to Cherry Point near Bellingham, Washington: An Olympia resident, Matt Fu, is seeking out the perspectives and voices of the people most affected by the long trains that would haul coal from Montana and Wyoming to the proposed export terminals on the Pacific Coast – and he wants to celebrate the beautiful calm and the peacefulness that characterize our gorgeous Cascadia region – so he is preparing to walk 1,000 miles of the proposed PRB coal train route in August and September of 2013. The journey will take him from Helena MT through Sandpoint ID down to Washington’s Tri-Cities (Richland-Kennewick-Pasco), down along the Columbia River through Portland OR, and up to the proposed Cherry Point terminal outside Bellingham WA. He is already active with a local low-powered radio station (KOWA-FM 106.5, located on Media Island’s property at 816 Adams Street SE, Olympia) and a board member and manager of Seattle’s community station, Hollow Earth Radio. He will broadcast as much of the vibrant terrain and conversations with local folk as possible live online, as well as archiving the audio and video on a website for this “Light On The Corridor” journey. Matt invites everyone to take a closer, unfiltered look at what people think of this coal export proposal. Early sponsors of this documentary project are MASA Records, Hollow Earth Radio, The New American Underground, and 106.5 KOWA-FM. He is organizing a benefit brunch at Media Island on Sunday July 7 starting at 11 am. For more information contact Matt Fu at Olympia’s nonprofit organization Media Island International, (360) 352-8526, firstname.lastname@example.org and www.kowalp.org/alotc
US State Dept’s environmental review of Keystone XL pipeline was written by Big Oil’s propaganda mouthpiece, and also used subcontractors connected with the oil industry: You would think that the research report guiding a major governmental decision would rely upon impartial scientific data. But in the case of the Keystone XL pipeline, you would be wrong! In March 2013 the State Department issued its environmental review of the dirty, dangerous Keystone XL pipeline, but the report said it would not hurt the environment. The environmental organization Friends of the Earth (www.foe.org) reported that – despite the many studies showing that building the pipeline will accelerate climate change and endanger communities along its route – “the State Department came to the outrageous conclusion that the pipeline will have minimal environmental impacts.” It turns out that “the firm hired by the State Department to write this flawed review is a dues-paying member of Big Oil’s mouthpiece in Washington, the American Petroleum Institute. And, many of the sub-contractors hired by the firm to do the Keystone review have deep ties to the oil industry.” Friends of the Earth and other opponents of the pipeline are urging people to demand that Secretary of State Kerry immediately investigate how a Big Oil contractor was allowed to author the report. Investigative reporters from Mother Jones magazine also discovered that “someone in the State Department redacted the official disclosure forms that would have revealed these ties,” according to a statement by Friends of the Earth. We need to make major governmental decisions based on honest science, not by corrupt inside deals in which Big Oil can trump science.
Canadian Kids for Climate Action mobilize and oppose a Vancouver BC coal export terminal, port officials promise them a June 15 forum, but the port later breaks its promise and cancels the forum because the industry refuses to participate, apparently afraid to face young critics: Yes, this is a very long headline, but it summarizes what actually happened. This news article http://globalnews.ca/news/390143/kids-for-climate-action-stage-protest-at-canada-place/ minimizes the reality expressed more thoroughly and accurately in the original source article that led me to write this headline, so I’m still looking to retrieve the original source information and will post it here when I find it.
Eleven U.S. Cities Commit to Pursue Fossil Fuel Divestment: By late May 2013, eleven cities in the US have committed themselves to divest from fossil fuel companies because of the climate crisis. Last November Seattle became one of the first. Seattle Mayor Mike McGinn stated, “Divestment is just one of the steps we can take to address the climate crisis.” Joel Rogers, Director of the Mayors Innovation Project, stated, “Cities are taking the lead on the issue of climate change. In the face of federal and state inaction, cities know they have to protect themselves.” Bill McKibben, founder of www.350.org, said, “It’s so fitting that American cities are taking the lead in the fight to weaken the fossil fuel industry's political power.” Since every city public works department is already spending scads of cash to deal with the gathering storms and rising seas climate change is bringing, it’s clear it makes no sense for them to also prop up the industries that make it necessary.” The Olympia FOR’s “Confronting the Climate Crisis” campaign includes a Divestment Working Group that is urging local governments to remove fossil fuel companies from their pension funds and other investments. Divestment campaigns are underway at about one hundred other cities and at hundreds of college campuses throughout the US. For information contact Bourtai Hargrove or Ted Nation at (360) 352-6327 email@example.com. For nationwide information contact Jamie Henn at (415) 601-9337 firstname.lastname@example.org
Read Bill McKibben’s powerful new article, “The Fossil Fuel Resistance” – Bill McKibben, a powerful thinker, writer and organizer for the climate movement, recently published this article in Rolling Stone magazine, a year after he had published another powerful article titled, “The Terrifying New Math of Global Warming,” which jump-started the divestment campaign with compelling information and insights. His new article, “The Fossil Fuel Resistance,” points out that although the public was slow to recognize scientists’ warnings about the climate crisis for many years, the climate movement has finally started growing rapidly and powerfully around the world. This movement has no single leader or central organization, but is widespread and diverse with a number of related issues, organizations and strategies. Read McKibben’s article at: http://act.350.org/signup/resistance/ McKibben intends the article to move beyond restating the problem and to build a stronger movement to save the climate from further destruction.
Science girl explains climate change in a very entertaining, very short video: In only 2 ½ minutes she clearly conveys the basic information about the climate crisis. Share it with people you know: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Eij91cInLHI&feature=youtu.be
“Dear Future Generations:
Please accept our apologies. We were roaring drunk on petroleum.” -- Kurt Vonnegut
On Wednesday February 13, 2013, 47 persons in various leadership roles were arrested at the White House to protest the Keystone XL pipeline. More wanted to be arrested, but the authorities limited the number of persons who could get that close to the White House. Shortly before he went to the site to be arrested, Robert Kennedy, Jr., made this ACCURATE, ARTICULATE, POWERFUL speech.
"Climate Change 911: The Health Effects of Climate Change"(video)
Confronting the Climate Crisis (pdf doc)
Interactive map brings home warming trends An interactive map published by New Scientist shows changes in temperature over the past 20 years for every spot in the world. Drop-down menus reveal temperature patterns dating back to 1893.
Remember climate change? The issue barely came up during the presidential campaigns, and little has been said since. But bringing climate change back into our national conversation is as much a communications challenge as it is a scientific one. Scientist Anthony Leiserowitz, director of the Yale Project on Climate Change Communication, joins Bill to describe his efforts to do what even Hurricane Sandy couldn’t – galvanize communities over what’s arguably the greatest single threat facing humanity. Leiserowitz, who specializes in the psychology of risk perception, knows better than anyone if people are willing to change their behavior to make a difference.
National Climate Assessment the nation's report card on the impacts of climate change on a regional basis.
One very short video:
Robin Everett of the Sierra Club on the need to stop the coal trains:
In the third short video, the Mayor of Seattle takes the “jobs” issue head-on:
The American PRIDE (Promote Renewable Infrastructure & Develop Efficiency) Gar W. Lipow and the Visions Sub-committee of the Olympia FOR Climate Crisis Committee (Word Doc) The American PRIDE (Promote Renewable Infrastructure & Develop Efficiency) is a~250 billion a year proposal that makes a social profit by reducing greenhouse gas pollution, while creating two to five million new jobs per year, reducing U.S. oil use by a third within ten years, and reducing U.S. greenhouse gases around 60% by 2025.
On Sunday March 17, 2013, a ship arrived from China at the Port of Olympia. [ See Video ]It unloaded ceramic proppants made in China to be transported through the Port of Olympia to the Bakken oil fields in North Dakota, where they will be used in the “fracking” to extract dirty oil. This will hurt the environment and water tables in North Dakota, and it will hurt the earth’s climate. On Monday March 18 two rallies were held at the Port of Olympia to protest this. Robert Whitlock produced this video (shorter than 10 minutes) with visuals and speakers about the issues.