Category Archives: Inspiration

Like all social movements, this one must confront despair. Here’s some inner fuel for the soul.

Bill McKibben: To slow down climate change, we need to work together

Confessions of a Monkeywrencher

Leonard Higgins explains why he broke the law to protect the climate

“My hope is that more and more of us, including this court, will see and feel the emergency and pull together to demand immediate changes to reduce our carbon emissions and the other responses needed to avoid the worst.”

Leonard Higgins gave the following testimony at his sentencing hearing after being convicted of trespass and property damage, in conjunction with an action on October 11, 2016, in which five activists, dubbed the Valve Turners, turned off all four major tar sands pipelines in the U.S.

Confessions of a Monkeywrencher

NOTE: Olympic Climate Action does not condone civil disobedience involving property destruction, and our publication of his courtroom statement is not meant as an endorsement of Higgins’ actions. Here is OCA’s policy on non-violence:

We use non-violent means to achieve change. We are committed to nonviolence, inspired by the spirit of Gandhi, Martin Luther King Jr., and other peaceful protesters before us. We believe that this approach, eschewing violence and property damage, offers the best means of creating lasting progress toward a just and healthy world.

A Plea for Initiative 1631

by volunteer Don Steinke, with the Washington State Sierra Club:

Can We Save Civilization As We Know It? A Plea for Initiative 1631

We’ve waited thirty years for Congress to act on global warming. We’ve waited enough. Some scholars are saying it is too late to save civilization as we know it, but I believe for the sake of our children we are obligated to do everything possible to save what we can. There is probably nothing more important you can do right now than to pass Initiative 1631.

Initiative 1631 will place a fee on large corporate polluters, such as refineries and power plants, and use the funds to invest in clean energy projects such as wind and solar while mitigating the impacts to low income households. We currently send billions of dollars out of Washington State each year for natural gas, coal, and oil produced in other states as well as Canada. Initiative 1631 will keep some of that money here to invest in local clean energy production.

Let’s get this initiative passed for jobs and clean energy!

Declaration of Independence from Fossil Fuels

When in the Course of human events, it becomes necessary to dissolve our dependence on fuels that have driven so much human development, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that we should declare the causes which impel us to the dissolution.

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all people are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness. –That to secure these rights, governments are instituted and corporations are chartered, deriving their powers from the Consent of the People.  –That whenever any Form of Government or Corporation becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to reorganize these institutions in such form as most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness.

Prudence dictates that institutions long established should not be changed for light and transient causes. But when a long train of abuses and usurpations evinces a design to reduce the People to poverty, sickness, insecurity, and death, it is their right, their duty, to throw off such a system and provide new guards for their common security. The history of the present power structure is a history of repeated injuries and usurpations, all having in direct object the establishment of a tyranny of the Few over the Many. Let these facts be submitted:

  • Big Oil, Gas and Coal corporations have known for decades that their extractive industry, if left unchecked, would doom our common future with extreme weather, melting ice caps and glaciers, global sea level rise, ocean acidification, diminishing food and water supplies, forced migration, damaged physical and mental health, and a progressive unraveling of the very bonds of Civilization.
  • They have plundered our seas, ravaged our Coasts, burnt our towns, and captured our Governments.
  • They have continued to seek untrammeled Profit over the over the health and welfare of the People, endeavoring in every manner to manufacture doubt and mislead the People about the consequences of their activities, using their vast Wealth to skew the Body Politic into confusion, apathy, distraction, and even self-destructive support of their very Oppressors.
  • And they have known that those who will suffer first and most from these ravages will be those who are most innocent of the damage: the poor, the flora and fauna of our earth, and our future generations.

In every stage of these Oppressions we have petitioned for Redress, stating the facts well studied by our best minds and lately observed all over our Earth. Our repeated Petitions have, unfortunately, been answered by repeated injury and a turning away from these Truths so inconvenient to our Oppressors. A wielder of Power whose character is thus marked by every act which may define a Tyrant, is unfit to hold sway over a free people.

It is against such Corporate and Governmental abuses that we, the People, join forces in common purpose to end the dirty-energy era and bring about a just transition to a future based on clean energy and economic opportunity for all rather than the few. We call for action now to complete this transition within a few decades at most, but we must start in earnest and with all due speed.  There is not a moment more to lose. We urge Governments of all States to say no to fossil fuel infrastructure, to deny permits, certifications, and other regulatory approvals for further extraction, transport, processing, and combustion of these dirty fuels, and to accelerate investment in renewable energy.

We therefore, in the Name and by Authority of the good People of this Earth, solemnly publish and declare our intention to become independent from fossil fuels and transition to clean, renewable energy. And for the support of this Declaration, with a firm reliance on the rectitude and necessity of our Purpose, we mutually pledge our Lives, our Fortunes and our sacred Honor.

Hope in the Dark by Rebecca Solnit

Originally published in 2004, with a new foreword and afterword, Solnit’s influential book shines a light into the darkness of our time. Bill McKibben says: “Literary and progressive America is in a Solnit moment.”

Using historical examples for perspective, Solnit weaves a sometimes metaphorical tale which reinforces the reader’s commitment to bring about change.

Here are a few choice quotations:

“It’s always too soon to go home.  And it’s always too soon to calculate effect.”

“Cause-and-effect assumes history marches forward, but history is not an army.  It is a crab scuttling sideways, a drip of soft water wearing away stone, an earthquake breaking centuries of tension.”

In the chapter, “A History of Shadows,” Solnit asks us to “imagine the world as a theater.  The acts of the powerful and the official occupy center stage,” but in the dark spaces outside the limelight, “ordinary people have the power to change the world. You can see the baffled, upset faces of the actors on stage when the streets become a stage or the unofficial appear among them to disrupt the planned program.”

It’s up to you

From Hi Times, Sequim High School Business English Class, Vol. II, No. 10, April 10, 1931, displayed at the Sequim Museum and Art Center. This class included Joe Rantz, who went on to win the Olympic 8-man rowing competition in Berlin in 1936, beating Hitler’s Nazi team in spite of illness and underhanded officiating. The class also included his high-school sweetheart, Joyce Simdars. Both are featured in the book The Boys in the Boat.

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