Tar Sands Action on the Ground & Moving Forward

The Tar Sands Action has been a 2-week long action of sustained non-violent resistance, calling people to put their bodies on the line and demand that President Obama not approve the Keystone XL Pipeline.  We have seen many creative direct actions arise within the climate justice movement, but this unique action has shown an inspiring level of collaboration from a wide variety of organizations and individuals. With groups from Indigenous Environmental Network to Greenpeace represented and participants from MD State Senator Paul Pinsky to actress Daryl Hannah and NASA scientist James Hanson, the action indeed displays the power of broad coalition building. Hundreds of people, young and old alike, have traveled to DC to take part in what is shaping up to be one of the largest acts of civil disobedience in the environmental movement with 1,008 arrests so far and likely over 200 more today!

Tim DeChristopher had said at Powershift 2011, that:

[quote]”For all my disgust and disappointment with Barack Obama I don’t think he would bring in federal troops to defend mountain top removal site, I think he would end it before it got to that point.  And it’s our job as a movement to force him into that position.“[/quote]

When Bill McKibben, Naomi Klein, Dr. James Hanson and others called for action to be taken against the Keystone XL pipeline, the nation responded. Because it is time.  Because even despite the corporate media’s deliberate refusal to cover the action, we can feel that we are precariously being pushed over the point of no return.  Our greed and consumption is literally killing us.

Indigenous Environmental Network taking a stand

Indigenous leaders from Canada and the US joined the Tar Sands Action, and shared with us the horrific consequences of the Tar Sands from the decimation of the boreal forest to poisoned water and fish and animals that are no longer safe to eat. They bore witness to the disquieting truth that members of their communities are no longer dying from old age — they are all dying from pollution-induced sickness, from rare forms of cancer.  These consequences are not far away and unthinkable, they are in our backyards and our soil.  There are millions of people being poisoned in the US every day by the fossil fuel industry, and many of them are here in DC taking a stand with us.

A group of youth leaders wrote a poignant letter addressing the real challenges that we face, as they go much deeper than a pipeline.

[quote]“Big corporations are using their financial influence to corrupt our democracy and deepen their pockets at the expense of Americans. And it’s not just related to energy and the environment; they are threatening the very foundations of our democracy, working to disenfranchise voters, attack workers’ rights and the middle class…The Keystone XL decision is a significant test of President Obama’s commitment to our generation, but it’s not the only one.”[/quote]

The Keystone XL Pipeline is but one fight of many.  But we will continue to fight together: young and old, gay and straight, of all colors and from all nations, because–as Tim DeChristopher testified at his sentencing–this is what love looks like. In Tim’s most recent post, he called for this movement to embrace a position of stubbornness, acknowledging that we are well past the point of compromise. Indeed, we are fighting for our lives and the lives of generations to follow, and we must step up and demand our collective right to a healthy planet with an unrelenting commitment to inter-generational justice. Moving forward, this will require even greater acts of sustained resistance, including occupations without ending dates — actions where wave after wave of people come together and do not back down until their demands for justice are met.

For example, we are excited to be part of the October 2011 coalition to confront the corporatism and militarism which have taken our democracy from us. This action will be gathering to occupy Freedom Plaza in DC on October 6th — the 10th anniversary of the invasion of Afghanistan and the beginning of the 2012 federal austerity budget. Here is part of the pledge from their website:

[quote]”I will commit to being in Freedom Plaza in Washington, D.C., with others on that day or the days immediately following, for as long as I can, with the intention of making it our Tahrir Square, Cairo, our Madison, Wisconsin, where we will NONVIOLENTLY resist the corporate machine by occupying Freedom Plaza to demand that America’s resources be invested in human needs and environmental protection instead of war and exploitation. We can do this together. We will be the beginning.”[/quote]

Peaceful Uprising is constantly on the watch for opportunities to take action and wants to help connect those committed to justice to work together. We’d love to keep you updated via our Regional Action List — sign up today if you haven’t yet. Also, make sure to check out the Uprising Calendar, where we will regularly add opportunities to take action or support those who are currently on-the-line.

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For more updates, please visit back! Peaceful Uprising is on the ground in DC and will be posting personal stories and thoughts on the Tar Sands Action.

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Personal stories from the action will be listed below as they are written:

  • Support the Families of Black Mesa This Winter!
    Black Mesa, or Big Mountain, is an area of traditional Diné territory in so-called Arizona where families have been resisting forced relocation for a generation. Diné elders in Black Mesa have reached out to us with a call for support and solidarity. Together with Diné Land and Water, we will repair leaky roofs, replace windows ...
  • Support Diné Action Camp to Halt Extreme Extraction!
    In late November, several members of PeaceUp went to visit friends and allies living on the Diné Reservation. We attended an eye-opening uranium film festival held on the reservation, which highlighted the human rights violations of uranium from mining and waste storage to detonation. We learned to feed sheep and befriend wild horses as our ...
  • Congress got you down? Think like a Founder — and replace it.
    Even after we ID the “fox” Congressperson who had Tim DeChristopher thrown in the hole, the foxes will still be occupying the hen house…
  • Breaking: Tim transferred out of “the hole”, but questions remain
    On March 9th, Tim DeChristopher was summarily removed from the Minimum Security Camp where he has been held since September 2011, and moved into isolated confinement. TAKE ACTION NOW.
  • Peaceful Uprising’s Call to Action
    In response to Tim’s transfer into isolated confinement, we’re asking you to please take a few moments to make some calls.
  • PeaceUp at the Frozen River Film Festival
    Peaceful Uprising has just made some solid connections in a community that could massively benefit from our assistance. This past weekend, January 27-29, Peaceful Uprising members Dylan Rose Schneider, Rachel Carter and Deb Henry joined George Gage (director of the upcoming Bidder 70 documentary film) in Winona, Minnesota as special guests of the Frozen River Film Festival. ...
  • Former Obama Organizers Surround the White House on November 6th
    I am frustrated with the President I helped elect. I feel cheated. I have watched, bewildered by the line of Wall Street cronies appointed to positions in his cabinet. This is not what I worked so hard for.
  • This is what LOVE looks like
    Watching Tim speak in the courtroom, watching him utter words that would be echoed and transported across oceans, seeing him in all his candor and vulnerability, I realized that it’s the most powerful I’ve ever seen him. As he earnestly looked the judge straight in the eye asking him to join him — to join ...
  • Support the Utah to Black Mesa Supply Drive!
    This supply drive will go until November 15! At Black Mesa, the federal government considers many people trespassers on their ancestral homeland. Many of the resisters who have refused to relocate to make way for Peabody Coal’s mine are now elders, having fought this battle since the ‘70s. Now, the community of Black Mesa needs our ...
  • Defend Black Mesa Sovereignty and Life Ways! A Resistance Camp.
      On May 14, 2018, the Diné elders of Black Mesa and Big Mountain are calling resisters from near and far to converge at Black Mesa! On that day, they will launch a continuous camp to defend Diné sovereignty and share traditional ways of life with the younger generation. Participants will help shear sheep and plant crops, ...
  • The Assassinations of Honduran Activists: Where Are the Roots of the Violence?
      This month, two indigenous rights and environmental justice activists—Berta Cáceres and Nelson García—were murdered in Honduras. They were leaders of the Council of Indigenous Peoples of Honduras (COPINH), of which Cáceres was a co-founder. Honduras is known for being the most dangerous place in the world for environmental justice activists, according to Global Witness. But ...
  • New Video, “The East Tavaputs Plateau: A Land Fighting for Survival”
    This newly-released short film lets you see for yourself the incredible beauty of the East Tavaputs Plateau, slated for tar sands strip mining. Get up close to the natural wonders hiding throughout this enchanting land, and ask yourself what you would do to defend it. On the East Tavaputs Plateau of so-called Utah, which is Uintah ...
  • Action Camp Feedback Questionnaire
    To all action camp participants (from this year and previous years): We recently received a gracious offer from a trusted comrade to conduct a survey of people’s feelings and experiences about our action camps, following on the heels of group discussions about how to continue improving our practices. In an effort to continue learning and developing ...
  • Video of mass action w/ tripods against US Oil Sands
    Check out this fantastic video from DAM Collective of Monday’s action in which about 40 people shut down work at the US Oil Sands tar sands mine in Eastern Utah. The action was retaliation against the mining industry for the recent poisoning of the Animas River and to call attention to the long-lasting ecological disasters ...
  • Land defenders strike back against mining industry after Colorado river poisoning
    Update: 9:53 pm 12-8-15: Check out DAM Collective‘s awesome video of Monday’s action! The song is “The Game” by ALAS and can be found on the Outlaw Mixtape. Update 1:58 pm: We just wanted to share this awesome photo from DAM Collective of this quick-thinking comrade. After one tripod had been extracted with this cherry picker, ...
  • BLM trying to stop Peaceful Uprising action camp
    BLM denied us a permit for a larger group camp for the Book Cliffs Climate Justice Action Camp, so we scaled back considerably to fit our activities well within bounds of the posted rules and regulations of the campground (i.e., first-come-first-served, maximum 15-day limits, $10 daily fee per site, etc.) Despite our intention to comply with ...
  • Help Us Meet Our $5K Goal for Our 2015 Mass Action Camp!
    Our third annual mass action camp is just 10 days away! We’re stoked to be hosting close to 100 participants who care about defending our future from tar sands mining. The camp will include workshops on climate justice and decolonization, nonviolent direct action, art, the history of the land we’re working to protect, and lots ...