Quick Update on Westborough Eight

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The Keystone XL protesters who used chains and glue to bind themselves together in TransCanada’s Westborough, MA office have all been processed. They are, left to right, Ben Thompson, 22, a PhD student studying Mathematics at Boston University, Dorian Williams, 21, an Anthropology major at Brandeis University, Shea Riester, 22, a recent graduate of  Brandeis University and a student of social movements, Devyn Powell, 20, and International Relations and Environmental Studies major at Tufts University, Emily Edgerly, 20, an Environmental Studies major at Tufts University, Lisa Purdy, 20, an Environmental Studies major at Brandeis University, Alli Welton, 20, a History of Science major at Harvard University, and Ben Trolio an Environmental Conservation Studies major at the University of New Hampshire.

To understand their reasons for doing this, please see their blog and bios.

Most, if not all, are members of Students for a Just and Stable Future (SJSF). (Some have also been active in CASEJ) Around the time of their release SJSF tweeted the following:

“The costs of action are far less than the costs of inaction.” The hope of these youth is to inspire you to fight w/ @350Mass@KXLBlockade

Later followed by:

Wanna hang out with these kids? @350Mass TOMORROW @ First Church Cambridge 11 Garden St Cambridge, MA [ 6 – 7pm potluck, 7 – 9pm meeting ]

This and other actions around the country kicked off an anticipated series of protests against Keystone XL and tarsands that will span the next several days. Now, what will it take for the present leaders to heed the message of the coming generation?

~ Nuevaspora

8 Youth Activists Oppose Keystone XL; Lock Down In TransCanada Office

Youth Activists Locked Down

8 Youth Activists Locked Down in TransCanada’s Westborough, MA Office

UPDATES:

Check tweets (to the right) and Pheonix for more updates. Also see Protester’s Bios.

Follow #NoKXL on twitter to follow protests across the nation opposing construction of the Keystone XL pipeline (trending as of 7:10 PM).

~ 6:30 PM Just and Stable reports that chains have been removed and protesters are in jail being processed.

4: 30 PM This just in from youth activist Devyn Powell:

            As you read this email, I am locked down in a TransCanada office with seven other youth activists.  We are engaged in a protest against construction of the Keystone XL pipeline, because building this pipeline to develop the tar sands will lock us irrevocably into the climate crisis.  The Keystone XL, which runs from Canada to Texas, threatens a stable future by perpetuating our oil addiction. Chaining myself to my seven friends is a last resort after our government, heavily influenced by corporate fossil fuel interests, has proved unable to take action against this deadly project.  
 
The fossil fuel industry is knowingly sacrificing our future for its profits. I have decided that I need to fight the injustice, irresponsibility, and immorality of their actions by using all the nonviolent means of protest available to me. TransCanada’s intent to build the pipeline will contribute to drought, flooding and starvation through future Hurricane Sandys, crop failures, and more climate disasters. We are not going to passively let this happen.
 
I’m sending this email to ask for your help. First, please share the image below on any and all social media channels you use in order to raise awareness about TransCanada’s threat to our future. Second, if you are able, we would greatly appreciate any financial assistance you can contribute to cover our jail fees, gear costs, and future actions.  Go to THIS WEBSITE to donate.
 
The next few months will be crucial in halting this toxic pipeline. As Obama considers approving Keystone XL, we all need to put our voices and bodies in TransCanada’s path in whatever ways we are able.  Today’s action marks the beginning of what we hope will be the next chapter in the fight against the fossil fuel industry. If you would like to learn more and get involved, go to:http://www.january7th.wordpress.com.
 
Thank you so much for your support. I appreciate your help very much, and I hope we can continue working together to stop the climate crisis.

Local Climate Activist Arrested In Texas KXL Protest

We have just received word that Murtaza Nek, MIT graduate and active participant in 350 Massachusetts and Students for a Just and Stable Future was arrested in a protest against the construction of the southern leg of the Keystone XL pipeline. Readers may recognize him as the young man who has voiced the importance of climate justice at several Occupy Boston events.

The southern leg of the Keystone XL is presently under construction with the intent to bring tar sands crude from Alberta, Canada to Huston ports. Last year, Dr. James Hansen, prominent climate scientist, head of NASSA’s Goddard Institute for Space Studies, and adjunct professor at Columbia University explained the risk in a New York Times Op Ed:

Canada’s tar sands, deposits of sand saturated with bitumen, contain twice the amount of carbon dioxide emitted by global oil use in our entire history. If we were to fully exploit this new oil source, and continue to burn our conventional oil, gas and coal supplies, concentrations of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere eventually would reach levels higher than in the Pliocene era, more than 2.5 million years ago, when sea level was at least 50 feet higher than it is now. That level of heat-trapping gases would assure that the disintegration of the ice sheets would accelerate out of control. Sea levels would rise and destroy coastal cities. Global temperatures would become intolerable. Twenty to 50 percent of the planet’s species would be driven to extinction. Civilization would be at risk.

The update on Murtaza comes from climate and social justice advocate Dorian Williams, who writes:

Dear fellow proponents of climate justice,

Many of you may know Murtaza Nek as he has been an active participant of 350 Massachusetts and Students for a Just and Stable Future. Recently he took a trip down to Texas to contribute to the Tar Sands Blockade’s fight against the construction of the southern leg of Keystone XL Pipeline.
 
As of 11:50am on January 3rd, Murtaza was arrested in Texas while trying to provide direct support to his friends partaking in a particularly vulnerable tree sit for the Tar Sands Blockade. 
 
You can learn more and see the footage of the arrest here: http://tarsandsblockade.org/15th-action/
 
For those of who have not had a chance to meet Murtaza, he has been an amazingly strong and dedicated ally in this movement. Having accomplished Climate Summer this past year, where he biked from town-to-town across Massachusetts supporting climate action and discussion, Murtaza brought back his organizing and bike power here. Every week, Murtaza would bike from Worcester to Cambridge and back to participate in SJSF and 350MA meetings, helping organize and participate in actions targeting fossil fuels like tar sands and natural gas.
 
Now he needs our commitment and support in return. Please spread the word and consider donating to the legal fund that would enable his release: https://www.wepay.com/donations/tsbdonate.
 
In Peace and Solidarity,
Dorian

Murtaza Nek is one of several protesters who have recently been arrested in protests against Keystone XL’s southern leg. For more information on the tar sands, check out the following links:

Hansen’s TED talk

Photographer Garth Lenz on Alberta Tar Sands: The True Cost Of Oil

~ Nuevaspora

Fact Check: Time to End Climate Silence

The Vigil to End Climate Silence kicked off this evening in Boston’s Government Center. People from all walks of life will be calling for an end to the political silence over climate change. This election year, it was put on the back burner while politicians focused on more pressing matters of the economy and foreign policy. This seems reasonable, so long as one ignores three, apparently inconvenient, things:

1) There is general scientific consensus that the climate is changing right now, that it is affecting us right now, and it will be much easier to deal with now than later.

“However, even with an 80 per cent emissions cut, damages will be large: any impact that occurs below a temperature rise of 1 °C (Figs. 1 and 2) is likely to be unavoidable, even under the most stringent mitigative action. Residual damage will be great unless we invest in adaptation now. Much of the damage could be avoided by adaptation, but again, this would require a much larger effort than is currently planned.”

M Parry, J Palutikof, C Hanson, J Lowe

Nature Reports Climate Change 2008

http://www.nature.com/climate/2008/0806/full/climate.2008.50.html

“ …we can state, with a high degree of confidence, that extreme anomalies such as those in Texas and Oklahoma in 2011 and Moscow in 2010 were a consequence of global warming because their likelihood in the absence of global warming was exceedingly small.”

– J Hansen, M Sato, R Ruedy

Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the USA 2012

http://www.pnas.org/content/early/2012/07/30/1205276109.abstract

“The American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) has reaffirmed the position of its Board of Directors and the leaders of 18 respected organizations, who concluded based on multiple lines of scientific evidence that global climate change caused by human activities is now underway, and it is a growing threat to society.”

–  American Association For the Advancement of Science 2009

http://www.aaas.org/news/releases/2009/1204climate_statement.shtml

2) A neat separation between climate change issues and economic issues is vanishing. [Check out the sources above]

3) The partition between climate change issues and foreign policy issues is predicted to crumble.

http://thinkprogress.org/climate/2012/10/19/1047081/hillary-clinton-on-energy-and-foreign-policy-we-need-to-address-the-very-real-threat-of-climate-change/

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/renee-parsons/climate-change-national-security_b_1929398.html

http://www.defense.gov/news/newsarticle.aspx?id=116192

Gus Speth (who’s many hats have included Vermont Law School Professor of Law, Chairman of the U.S. Council on Environmental Quality, and Keystone XL protester/arrestee) gave a rousing speech, followed by another fantastic one by Craig Altemose of Better Future Project to a small but dedicated crowd of 40 or so people. The vigil was organized by 350MA,  Students for a Just and Stable Future and several other local organizations. The gathering included organizers from Occupy Boston and Veterans for Peace. There are stalwart folks out there as I write this tonight, keeping vigil and stubbornly working to break the silence. They will be there throughout the week and I am sure they would love company.

Link: 350ma.org/vigil 

Tweet: #climatesilence

Update on 20 Protesters Arrested at Hobet 45 Coal Facility

Update from RAMPS site (yesterday):

Great news from the Lincoln County Court today.  Half of our arrestees had their bail reduction hearings today.  Instead of reducing their bails, the court offered a plea deal.  In exchange for pleading guilty to the trespassing charge only, our activists were offered a $500 fine and 1 years probation.  Nine arrestees have accepted the deal and will be released today.  The other protester assigned that magistrate is Dustin Steele, who is free and has not taken the deal.  What a relief and victory for all who have supported the Hobet 20.

This isn’t over however.  The remaining 10 prisoners have a different magistrate and their hearing isn’t until Tuesday the 7th.  There is no guarantee they will be offered the same deal or in fact any deal at all.  We must keep the pressure on and continue to support our brothers and sisters in jail.

Dorian Williams waiting with the other 9 people for a hearing on Tuesday.

For more information please see the RAMPS site.

~ Nuevaspora

Update on 20 arrested at Hobet 45 coal mining complex

Many updates have been filtering in, mostly through email. We have been told that the 20 arrested for shutting down Hobet  mine in Lincoln County, West Virginia are still in jail and in the process of raising funds for a bail set at $25,000 each. Other information is trickling through, some very serious. For the moment such stories will not be passed along as they deserve more than “telephone style” reports.

Instead, I would encourage people to read Sue Sturgis’ brief article in Facing South (for The Institute of Southern Studies). She discusses a mounting body of research associating strip mining with cancer, birth defects, and other serious illnesses amongst those living in the area, and the recently introduced H.R. 5959 (the ACHE Act) that would place a legal moratorium on mountain top removal coal mining.

In the mean time organizers are trying to raise money for the 20 protesters being held.

Sturgis’ Article

To donate to the bail fund: http://rampscampaign.org/

Dorian Williams (in blue) with others protesting mountain top removal at Hobet 45

~ Nuevaspora

Summer Approaches; Things Are Heating Up

Hello everyone, our meetings have been a bit sparse but our people have been busy. It seems like a good time to mention some work being done in the area by groups with similar aims (and sometimes membership).

350 MA is in the works! For those who don’t know 350.org  is a nonprofit organization working to lower the concentration of  CO2 in the atmosphere to the safe threshold of 350 part per million (ppm). We are currently at about 392 ppm. The science for this is well established, but a little complex. I’ll try to describe it later in the week, but in the meantime you can checkout climate researcher Dr. James Hanson’s site, Wikipedia if you prefer multiple authors, or 350.org. I know some of the very dedicated folks involved in getting this off the ground, (some of them are regulars at CASEJ meetings), so it will be exciting to see what comes out of this!

Protest against fossil fuel industry influence on politics (Jan. 2012)

Side note: Some us tried to pass a proposal at the Occupy Boston GA back in February, which included a call for immediate action to reduce green house gas to the safe threshold of 350 ppm. People wouldn’t pass it until we reworded it to “below” the safe threshold. They didn’t want to play the edge when it came to something so important.

 

Members of Students for a Just and Stable Future, an active, student led, volunteer network “leading the way toward bold solutions to the climate crisis”, are about to disperse for the summer. However, their work and campaigns continue. Last year they helped lobby for a Green Economy Caucus in Massachusetts. This year they have focused on a campaign to end fossil fuel subsidies in 2013. (Sign their petition here). Several of these inspiring and dedicated young people will be working on a various community and environmental projects throughout the summer (and yes, we’d love updates!).

Meanwhile, many people involved in Occupy Boston, and from occupations all over, have converged in Chicago to protest at this year’s NATO summit. Reports from both mainstream and citizen journalists are painting a tense scene, with tensions rising between police and journalists. Protests in Montrial also ballooned this weekend with over 300 people arrested. On May 18th the government of Quebec enacted controversial Bill 78, reported to, among other things, levy heavy fines people involved in demonstrations of 50 or more who do not submit and receive approval for demonstration routs and times in advance. This have been criticized by many as an infringement of the citizens right to assemble. Meanwhile, the protests are reported to have begun covering more diverse issues. Will restrictions on the demonstrations of our neighbors (not to mention the reactions to them) have any impact on our own? Only time will tell.