Sunday, March 22, 2009

Call to Action: Stop Cliffside Power Plant

Dear Friends,

Two weeks ago, thousands took to the streets of Washington D.C. to blockade and shut down the Capitol Power Plant in the largest direct action against the coal sector in U.S. history. On April 20, another peaceful direct action has been called to stop the construction of an 800 mega-watt coal-fired powerplant in NC. People from around North Carolina and the nation will converge at Duke Energy's headquarters in Charlotte, NC to demand an end to dirty coal by putting their bodies on the line in acts of civil disobedience.

We need you to join us. RSVP By Clicking Here Now.

The new 800 MW coal-fired facility that would emit over 6 million tons of carbon dioxide annually. This facility will live at least 50 years, which means 312 million tons of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere throughout its life. This is the equivalent of adding one million cars to the road each year! Furthermore, North Carolina and Duke Energy are some of the biggest consumers of mountaintop removal mined coal. Over 500 mountains have been destroyed to feed these dirty plants.

The fight against mountaintop removal and coal-fired powerplants has escalated and it's time for dramatic action.

We need you to join us. RSVP By Clicking Here Now.

WHAT: Take Action to Stop Duke Energy's Dirty Coal Plant
WHERE:Duke Energy Headquarters, Charlotte, NC
WHEN:Monday, April 20

See you there!

Thanks for all you do,
Scott Parkin, Senior Organizer
Rainforest Action Network

We're going mainstream

More media hits than I can keep up with.

Here's two great recent articles on coal activism.

Indypendent, March 20, 2009,Taking on Coal Power: The Movement to Shut Down the Coal Industry is Not Waiting for Congress or Barack Obama

Time, March 10, 2009, Environmentalism, Millennial-Style

hopefully I'll actually have time to write something one of these days...

New video from the Capitol Climate Action

This video couldn't do a better job nailing home the message: substituting one fossil fuel for another is unacceptable. If you haven't heard about the effects of natural gas extraction, it's time to educate yourself, and each other.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

TVA March in March

Cross-posted from the Power Past Coal blog

Posted by Chelsea Ritter-Soronen on March 15th, 2009

On the same day that dozens of Californians marched to demand renewables in their state, students from all across the country joined Appalachians in Tennessee to march on the TVA headquarters. Organizer Chelsea Ritter-Soronen offers her account of the action...

On Saturday March 14, over one hundred activists gathered in downtown Knoxville, Tennessee to protest dirty coal, to speak out against the Harriman ash spill disaster, and to demand renewable energy from the nation's largest purchaser and distributor of coal, the Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA). The majority of the crowd was composed of students that had attended the annual Mountain Justice Spring Break the previous week, and the action was a result of their collective planning process throughout camp. Others in the crowd included many Tennesseans, including members of United Mountain Defense, college students, and residents of nearby counties affected by the ash spill. Judging from the diverse crowd, one message prevailed: dirty coal affects everyone, and it is time for TVA to clean up their act with renewable energies!

The weather was certainly not in our favor, as it had been pouring for three days beforehand and was not willing to compromise. However, a little rain was the least of our worries. The rally kicked off with people speaking from the crowd to TVA with big statements through a big megaphone, while bystanders were fliered about the event and media mingled through the masses. We then started our march around the two TVA towers, which occupy an entire city block, and are the most prevailant buildings of the Knoxville skyline. The Knoxville Police Department had the entire perimeter on watch with vehicles and, in some spots, shoulder-to-shoulder police (this was a public event that had been openly advertised, and they were ready for us). Thankfully, the TVA police never made a public appearance; their unusual behavior and recent harassments were unwelcome at our event. Yes, it's true, because the TVA is a government-owned facility, they have their own police division, which seemingly has precedent over the local police, no matter what. It's actually quite terrifying.

Anyways, the march continued with music and chants that could be heard throughout the area. As we turned one corner, a banner was dropped from the top of a parking garage along the parade route that read TVA, Windmills not toxic spills, for which there was more cheering and excitement. As we reconvened at our starting point in front of the TVA entrance steps, 14 individuals stepped up together in front of the police line that separated public property from TVA, and dramatically participated in a “die-in”, to represent all of the land and lives that have been lost to coal, coughing and wheezing as they gracefully collapsed to the wet concrete. Each of these 14 people wore a dust mask to represent that humanity is choking on coal ash, and many depend on these masks and respirators for daily living. With the TVA headquarters there, it is no wonder that Knoxville has the highest asthma rates of any other city in the United States. After everyone had laid down, two activists strategically appeared behind the police line with a large banner that read TVA, Clean it up, don't cover it up, resulting in yet another great image from the day's events!

Police escorted the group lying on the sidewalk away, with the protesting crowd supporting them close behind, and they were ticketed for a mere loitering citation. Apparently, a couple of police officers had relatives with chronic respiratory diseases, and were empathetic to the cause. Again, the message is obvious that coal affects everyone, and not just those who live next to an ash spill or work in the mines. Everyone at the die-in was very cooperative and treated respectfully, and nobody went to jail.

Later that night, we held a candlelight vigil at the TVA entrance as we paid our respects to those harmed by dirty energy. It was very beautiful and motivating, as we recognized that this is indeed a movement, and that together, we have the power and potential to stop the coal-inflicted abuse of land and people. We look forward not only to the remaining days of Power Past Coal, but to every day after!