By Genevieve Raymond is a full time mom and part-time founding member of Climb Against Coal. -- Luis
We were moms on a mission. We woke up at midnight Saturday morning to attempt the 14,411 ft summit of Mount Rainier. We had a message for Governor Gregoire: close Washington’s largest toxic polluter and point source of deadly carbon — the TransAlta coal-fired power plant in Centralia.
We are not experienced mountaineers, but six months ago, when we brainstormed this crazy idea, we determined to meet an urgent challenge with radical action. We each have children between the ages of 3 and 6, and our kids have taught us to be loud and persistent in our demands. The Governor’s plan to burn dirty coal for fifteen more years is unacceptable. The time to transition to clean energy is now.
It’s hard to believe that it’s been three months since the blowout of the Deepwater Horizon drilling rig in the Gulf of Mexico. That's three months of seeing pictures of oil-soaked birds, hearing about failed attempts to stop the spill, and reading stories of people’s lives being devastated by oil reaching their shoreline and crippling their livelihoods.
To commemorate the three month anniversary of the spill, volunteers from many environmental groups, including 1Sky, gathered in front of the Capitol for a rally on July 20. We listened to many speakers, including residents of the Gulf who had come to lobby their senators to pass a climate and energy bill. With signs and chants, we called for an end to dirty energy money in politics, an end to offshore drilling, and a shift to clean, renewable energy sources. Many people covered their hands in oil-like substances to illustrate the devastation in the Gulf and to represent the oily hands of the politicians who accept donations from dirty energy companies. After the rally, many volunteers visited the offices of the ten members of Congress who have received the most campaign contributions from BP and demanded that they give this money to relief efforts in the Gulf. Here's a slideshow of images from yesterday's event:
Solar power is all over the news this week. President Obama announced a major influx of federal money into the solar industry, while Bill McKibben announced a campaign to get world leaders (including Obama) to lead by example on clean energy.
All we’ve heard about this week here at 1Sky are fantastic stories of the 50-plus Hands Across the Sand events from this Saturday. The creativity and dedication that went into these events is truly impressive. Our folks in the field really went all out! It’s no wonder that Hands Across the Sand, as an international effort, was a success. Here's a slideshow with some picture we've been receiving from events all over the country:
Earlier this week, legendary West Virginia Senator Robert C. Byrd passed away. It is unlikely that an environmental organization would have written positively about a pro-coal senator, but in recent years the late Senator Byrd realized the toll that the coal industry was taking on the environment and his beloved West Virginia. Robert C. Byrd, who once fought hard for coal mining and against regulating it in his early years, had an epiphany:
The industry of coal must also respect the land that yields the coal, as well as the people who live on the land. If the process of mining destroys nearby wells and foundations, if blasting and digging and relocating streams unearths harmful elements and releases them into the environment causing illness and death, that process should be halted and the resulting hazards to the community abated.
Yesterday, Heather Zichal, Deputy Assistant to the President for Energy and Climate Change held a live video chat on the White House web site to answer questions about clean energy, reducing our dependence on oil and on President Obama's efforts to pass a comprehensive climate legislation.
Saturday's Hands Across the Sand events united thousands of citizens at more than 900 events world wide -- including nearly 800 in the U.S. -- with one message: we need a clean energy economy, not more drilling. It was an incredible demonstration of Americans’ demand for our leaders to end handouts to Big Oil and invest in clean energy.
Yesterday afternoon, some volunteers from Massachusetts and 1Sky interns walked into Senator Scott Brown’s (R-MA) D.C. office armed with a stuffed flamingo covered in what looked like oil. The look on the staffer’s face shifted from amusement to dismay as we presented her with this “Oily Bird Award” to condemn Senator Brown for voting in favor of the Murkowski resolution, which would have gutted the Clean Air Act and increased our dependence on dirty fossil fuels like coal and oil. Here's a video capturing the moment:
Earlier this week, President Obama made his fourth trip to the Gulf of Mexico to have another firsthand look at the catastrophic damage that the BP oil disaster has caused. He spent two days touring the oil spill damages in Louisiana, Alabama and Florida. There, Obama gave a speech and took a ferry ride to the oil stricken islands outside of Alabama. He made the urgency of now clear about reducing the nation's addiction and dependence on fossil fuels.
This post is from 1Sky intern Emma Fernandez, a former intern from last year. Emma returned to 1Sky for the summer, so we gave her and all our interns a grueling assignment: head to Capitol Hill on a hot DC morning, put on a stifling oil barrel costume, and speak out against Sen. Lisa Murkowski's appalling "Dirty Air Act" resolution as it was being debated on the Senate floor. Emma -- along with Florencia Foxley, Amy Plovnick, and Ines Ware -- did a great job and we're proud of their efforts on the Hill yesterday. --Garth