LEANNA FIRST-ARAI – Farmers, ranchers, and other rural community members across five Great Plains states and Illinois — many of whom were previously sued by developers of the Keystone XL and Dakota Access pipelines wanting to build through their land — are finding their property, safety and livelihoods encroached upon yet again by corporations. This time, they’re coming up against developers, many with fossil fuel ties, who are seeking to cash in on climate solutions tax credits to build a massive network of carbon dioxide (CO2) pipelines across the United States.
BILL MCKIBBEN – Itâ€™s hard to be optimistic about climate action, not in a week when federal scientists reported that â€œthe Arctic shows no sign of returningâ€ to the â€œreliably frozen region of recent past decades.â€ Not in a month when Californiaâ€™s wildfires show every sign of burning straight through Christmas. And not in a moment when the federal government keeps scrubbing basic climate information from its websites. But something big is starting to shift.
TOM H. HASTINGS – This essay is meant to help those who are especially interested in the court proceedings of nonviolent resisters to anthropogenic climate change. The intended readers would include nonviolent resisters, their lawyers, and those experts in strategic nonviolent civil resistance who may be asked to provide expert testimony validating the use of the necessity defense for resisters. In general, the necessity defense is known as an affirmative defense, a narrative that contextualizes and validates the otherwise apparently illegal actions of the nonviolent resisters.
ERIC DE PLACE – After a string of successes defending the Northwest from ill-conceived dirty energy projects, the thin green lineâ€”the Northwestâ€™s opposition movement to coal, oil, and gas exportsâ€”is starting to play offense. Local governments around the region are already updating land use laws to protect their communities from the depredations of fossil fuel infrastructure schemes.
LAURA PARKER – A pioneering lawsuit against the U.S. government on global warming won the right to a trial. Now Trump wants an appeals court to cancel it.
REV. ANTHONY GRIMES – Right now, FOR National Council member Sahar Alsahlani, former National Council member Rick Ufford-Chase, FOR executive assistant Juliette Suarez, and I are traveling to the Standing Rock Sioux nation in North Dakota to join more than 350 faith leaders from across the United States.
MEDEA BENJAMIN – It would certainly be easy to do a piece about 10 horrible events from 2015, from the ongoing war in Syria and the refugee crisis, to the bombings in Beirut, Paris and San Bernardino, to the rise of Donald Trump and Islamophobia. But that wouldnâ€™t be a very inspiring way to bid farewell to this year and usher in a new one. So letâ€™s look at 10 reasons to feel better about 2015.
LAWRENCE WITTNER – The shock and disbelief with which many political pundits have responded to Bernie Sandersâ€™ description of himself as a â€œdemocratic socialistâ€â€”a supporter of democratic control of the economyâ€”provide a clear indication of how little they know about the popularity and influence of democratic socialism over the course of American history.
PATRICK T. HILLER – I donâ€™t know any of the 13 activists who lowered themselves from the St. John â€™s Bridge in Portland, Oregon, nor any of the dozens of kayakers paddling in the Willamette River below them, but they succeeded in a temporary blockade of the Shell-leased Arctic-bound icebreaker MSV Fennica. I know that the activists participated in our democracyâ€”they were nonviolent and far more civil than many members of Congress. The ship was in Portland for repairs of damage to the hull, which ironically occurred when it was scheduled to leave for the Arctic as part of the safety conditions Royal Dutch Shell Oil needed to fulfill for federal approval to drill for oil after a series of accidents in 2013.
KATHERINE “KITTY” STAPP – With battle lines sharpening over the stalled Keystone XL pipeline, a new analysis details the intense industry lobbying of both houses of the U.S. Congress since 2013 â€“ to the tune of 58.8 million dollars by five refinery companies alone.
BILL MCKIBBEN – November 12: Last night, just weeks after the largest climate mobilization ever, the world’s two biggest polluters — the United States and China — announced their most ambitious climate action yet. That is not a coincidence: it’s a sign that our pressure is working, and that we need to apply much more.
MAY BOEVE – The results of the November 4, 2014 election were pretty rough. But when times get tough, itâ€™s really important to remember to breathe, and focus on how weâ€™re going to fix this problem together. Hereâ€™s my early sense of what this election means for the climate movement:
NAOMI KLEIN – Once every five or 10 years, Naomi Klein publishes a book that changes the way we see things. With No Logo, published in 1999, she explored corporate power in a globalized world and the movements springing up to resist it. The Shock Doctrine, published in 2007, showed how governments collude with big corporations to take advantage of natural and human-made disasters to push through deeply unpopular change.Her newest book, This Changes Everything: Capitalism vs. the Climate is another transformational book.
PAUL ROGAT LOEB – We live in a time fraught with bad news. From the toll of violence and poverty to the escalating march of climate change, every week brings temptations to despair. Hope may actually be more beleaguered in the wake of a president who won the office in part by branding himself with it. Many have concluded that political participation has become a futile game. For myself, I deal with potential despair by finding ways to act. And remembering that the doors to social change are never irrevocably closed, even in unimaginably difficult situations.
JEFF MERKLEY – As a new member of the Senate Appropriations Committee, I’ve fought to invest in, rather than undermine, our environment. And I have some good news: in the compromise spending bill that passed Congress (in late January), we secured renewed support for our Northwest environment, and succeeded in pushing back on several policy riders that could have devastated our air, our water, and our efforts to combat climate change.
KC GOLDEN – President Obama was all over the map on climate in his State of the Union address Tuesday night — exhorting us to do what’s right and necessary to protect our grandkids, then turning around and defending his senseless and climate-destroying “All of the above” energy policy. But now, the president faces a defining and unambiguous real-world test of his resolve on climate: whether to issue a permit for the controversial Keystone XL tar sands pipeline.
LYNN FITZ-HUGH – Hyperbole? You decide if this is how you believe the police should behave when citizens are exercising their constitutional right to free speech. On Monday, December 16, 16 people were arrested at two different locations on Hwy 26 outside John Day, OR. They were there in response to Omega Morgan Company moving a heat condenser from the port of Umatilla to the Tar Sands site of the XL pipeline in Canada.
NAOMI KLEIN – In December 2012, a pink-haired complex systems researcher named Brad Werner made his way through the throng of 24,000 earth and space scientists at the Fall Meeting of the American Geophysical Union, held annually in San Francisco. . . . But it was Wernerâ€™s own session that was attracting much of the buzz. It was titled â€œIs Earth F**ked?â€ (full title: â€œIs Earth F**ked? Dynamical Futility of Global Environmental Management and Possibilities for Sustainability via Direct Action Activismâ€).
KIRK JOHNSON – The Nez Perce Indians, who have called the empty spaces and rushing rivers of Lapwai, Idaho, home for thousands of years, were drawn into the national brawl over the future of energy last month when they tried to stop a giant load of oil-processing equipment from coming through their lands.
KURT COBB – If reducing consumption of fossil fuels is the goal, what we actually need to do is strike at demand. The simplest and most effective way to do this is to levy high and rising taxes on fossil-fuel-based energy. The Europeans have done this for a long time, and their per capita energy consumption is half that of Americans.
JEAN CHEMNICK – In a speech on Tuesday, June 25, at Georgetown University, President Obama said that rather than waiting for Congress to act on climate change, his administration would move forward in every way it could — curbing emissions, shoring up American infrastructure and heading “a coordinated assault” abroad on global warming.
DAVID ROBERTS – I’ve been writing a lot about the activist campaign to block the Keystone XL pipeline. Much of that writing has been devoted to pushing back against the squadron of Very Serious People who want to pooh-pooh the campaign as mistargeted, misguided, and futile.
MARK WIGG – Canada has a surplus of crude oil and the US is pretty much their only market. About 20% of our oil now comes from Canada. According to todayâ€™s Toronto Globe and Mail (http://www.theglobeandmail.com/report-on-business/industry-news/energy-and-resources/crude-glut-in-us-suppresses-canadian-oil-prices/article2330013/) , we are paying $30 less per barrel for tar sands oil because they have no place else to sell it. This is why oil companies want the Keystone XL Pipeline. They want to export oil from Texas.