Fighting Fossil Fuels in RI this Monday and Tuesday

On Monday, November 27th, the Energy Facility Siting Board is holding a hearing about the fossil-fuel-burning, water-hungry power plant that Invenergy wants to build in the forests of Northern RI. If you don’t think they should build it, please come and say so on a sign. The hearing is at 10am on 11/27, in Hearing Room A, Public Utilities Commission, 89 Jefferson Boulevard, Warwick, RI. 

On Tuesday, November 28th is the second Coastal Resources Management Council hearing for the fracked-gas liquefaction plant that National Grid wants to build in a neighborhood inhabited by working-class people of color. Members of the community can speak at this hearing, so come and speak out against this facility. This hearing is at 5pm on 11/28, in the Department of Administration Cafeteria, One Capitol Hill, Providence, RI.

Let’s refuse these projects, which will hurt us and everyone.

 

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Vigil for Healthy Communities: TONIGHT, 6pm

For over two years grassroots groups have been urging Governor Gina Raimondo to oppose the power plant that Invenergy has proposed for Burrillville and the LNG facility proposed by National Grid for the Port of Providence. There has been marches, call-in days, petitions and sit-ins.

But still Governor Raimondo has remained “neutral” on the issue and has refused to return campaign donations that she has received from both Invenergy and National Grid.

With critical state permit decisions coming up for both projects, now is the time for Governor Raimondo to finally join the opposition to Invenergy’s power plant and National Grid’s LNG facility. 

Join us for a peaceful vigil outside Governor Gina Raimondo’s house.  6pm, 126 Morris Ave, Providence.

If you can’t come tonight, but you can donate to stop the LNG facility, that would be good too.

Climate Anxiety Counseling: Armory Park Farmers’ Market, 8/24/17

Weather: Temperate, with clouds and sun, cool toward the end

Number of people: 10 stoppers, no walkbys that I noticed

Number of hecklers: 0!

Pages of notes: 7

People who recognized me, and I them, from previous booth sessions: 3

Dogs seen: 23

Dogs pet: 4

Money raised for Environmental Justice League of RI: $0.60

 

Observations:

Still didn’t line up an interpreter. Bad move on my part, and not fair. A friend who also works at the Sankofa World Market says that he can do it next time if it’s a language he knows.

I was in a different spot than my last time at this market—in the shade, over by the busiest vendor.

I had a long conversation with someone that I didn’t get permission to record. She came back with an apple: “’Cause you helped me out with some advice so I’m helping you out with something to eat.”

Two girls added their houses to the map, and a grandma marked the park itself and talked with me about dog attacks and plums. She came back to show me the plums in her walker compartment. And a little boy added a number 1. When I saw him pointing it out to his parents, I held up one finger and he did it back.

 

Some conversations:

I actually had a very bad day with climate anxieties last week. Too much New York Times and spending too much time on Twitter. A lot of doom and gloom, a lot of false insistence that the end is very very near.

What happens when you read things like that?

I get scared instantly, and I dive into it one thousand percent. A whole day is lost. It’s hopelessness coupled with an underlying desire/understanding of—it’s harder to live amidst the changing world rather than be like, “It’s all over.” It is way way harder to imagine the world not ending than the world ending.

What do you imagine it being like—the world not ending?

Things getting materially really difficult for a large number of people. It’ll probably include a lot of geopolitical conflict over who gets what resources and who is allowed to go where in light of restricted ability to [inhabit] certain areas. We’ll have to fight people who are trying to claim resources and then sell them back to us.

And what do you see yourself doing in this world?

That’s a harder question to answer. I’m moving to LA next month. I grew up there … In a locally specific way, LA was built on making a grab for resources. It exists the way it does because someone was like, “We can bring water here.” I’m thinking of focusing in on that as a site of action, while trying to keep an eye on everything else. In focusing in on one area, there’s this inherent feeling of failure that you’re not doing anything in all the other areas.

Is there a way to combat that?

I guess talking to people working in those other fields and understanding what’s on the horizon. More reading, more conversation. It also helps when I think that this earth was around before us and it will be around after us. But it hurts a ton. It’s just hard—and it’s hard to grieve for something that’s in progress.

*

I’m worried about coastal communities. I’m a geology student, and we used StormTools —you know about that?–to do a project on Misquamicut Beach. It’s gonna be gone very soon. It’s really concerning to me–it doesn’t seem like anyone is that panicked about it, and we should be. Down there, there are a lot of second homes, vacation homes, but there’s also lower middle class communities, people who can’t afford to pick up and move, and those houses are gonna be worth nothing.

Do you feel like people know about this?

I’m only aware of this because it’s a big topic in geology. The general public is not well informed. I went to that talk on gentrification, and the guy was like, “Who’s heard of StormTools?” and when people put their hands up, he was like, “Now everybody who’s a professional, put your hands down,” and I was the only one who kept mine up.

Is it hard to use?

The labels are kind of confusing. People wouldn’t necessarily know the abbreviations. It could be cool to have a workshop on it at the library. And I would love to do one on energy, with this rate hike.

*

I read the article that everybody read— “Here’s all the horrible things that are gonna happen.” All my friends texted me, and I texted everyone. Everyone was just like, “There’s nothing to do. None of us should plan for the future.” But then I talked to my girlfriend’s dad about it, he’s a climate scientist and a lawyer, and he was like, “It’s gonna be fine.” But he’s into engineering climate science so that everyone can continue not changing their behavior. He’s into nuclear energy. I don’t know if I believe him

… I’m thinking about where I wanna live. My partner’s buying a house—do I stay here and help her paint the bathroom? Maybe the best thing she can be doing is running a cooperative house and keeping the rent really cheap. And then I read another article that was like, “Do not move to New York if you’re a white person with a college degree, we don’t need any more of you.” But that’s another question: where are people going?

*

I’m always moving too fast. They call me “the turbo.” When I start a job, I’m anxious until I finish it, and what I don’t like is I don’t get the same treatment back. Someone else will do it, but it doesn’t come fast enough out. It’s always a fight– “You don’t move as fast as I do, so I think you don’t want to.” It’s not as important to them.

*

It seems like everyone I know is getting seriously ill. My mother had breast cancer, and I’m convinced that much of it’s environmental.

Are you worried that it might come back?

All the time. Everytime something goes on [with her health] that’s my first thought. And then I was supposed to hang out with a friend today, but she called me and she was like, “I can’t, I’m panicking, I got bad news from my doctor.” All I know is she has to go for tests.

Yeah, the uncertainty–

–adds a whole extra level. Each piece of news get worse. With my mom, I got to the point where I dreaded taking her to appointments, and even though it’s been four years, you drop back into it. It’s like emotional anaphylactic shock … It felt ubiquitous for a while. I’m also getting older, so things like this are happening more.

How do you respond during these times, what do you do?

I guess I just try to be helpful. With my mom it was a different thing. With friends, I try to help on the day to day. Making food, that’s always good. Walking dogs. Checking in if they need to talk.

And how do you deal with it for yourself?

Doing what I can to help people helps me deal with it. I’m also glad I have the job that I have. With my mom, I did not take care of myself in a lot of ways, it wasn’t just the cancer, she had a nervous breakdown and I had to take care of her, but in Rhode Island we have TDI. So I talked to a doctor to get time off work, and I would not have been able to continue doing it without that.

Climate Anxiety Counseling: Sankofa World Market, 8/2/17

Weather: Hot, bright, humid; later, got windier and cooler, but no less humid

Number of people: 7 stoppers, 1 walkby

Number of hecklers: 0!

Number of children from BRYTE Summer Camp who crowded around me gleefully asking questions: 8

Money raised for Environmental Justice League of Rhode Island: $2.12

 

Observations:

The clover in the library lawn, which last week was mowed short, is somewhat back and so are the honeybees. The hula-hoop providers are also back, and the kids are stoked.

There was a small amount of dogshit near one of the benches, and everyone was constantly warning everyone else about it.

My shoulder and arm continue to hurt, and the proprietor of The Curve and Line Co. helped me lift the handtruck down onto the sidewalk.

I ended up having to spend some time texting to try to coordinate doorknocking for No LNG in PVD and the community meeting this Wednesday, which meant there were many times when I wasn’t looking up.

The first person I talked with today had a lot of overlap with me in the way our climate anxieties affect us. In a way I feel like she’s where I was when I started offering Climate Anxiety Counseling, and yet I don’t know that I’ve made much progress, exactly.

I chickened out again on telling the real reason I’m not having kids—this time, it was a kid who was asking, and I felt like I’d be telling them I didn’t think they’d survive.

 

Some conversations:

You see a lot of things changing. We get more natural disasters going on. It’s scary, because I didn’t think I’d see it in my lifetime. The whole thought of it—you see people polluting and doing things—maybe it’s too late, but we could do things now to keep it held off. You hear people saying “The world’s gonna come to an end” who are not crazy. But I feel like the government doesn’t care.

Do you talk about this with people?

My sister has some of the same problems and the same fears and I talk about it with her. But I don’t get any answers from talking about it. It doesn’t make me feel better.

When you say “the end of the world,” o you imagine it, how it would be?

Everything would fall apart. Something similar to what you see in movies—people start freaking out, panic. Maybe I shouldn’t think that, but when you watch the news—Would I be strong enough or would I give up and hide? People turning on each other—I’m afraid that if something ever did happen, no one would wanna help anyone else. It’s so hard to trust people, so I stick to myself … You tell people how you feel about this and they look at you like you’re crazy. But I’m not. The weather’s different. Those rainy days we had, that’s not normal. If people stopped littering, started caring about the environment—we gotta stick together.

*

[This was a parent and their two kids]

Parent: Lots of anxiety around water safety. We have okay drinking water but with all that lead poisoning that’s cropping up—even with the filter on we’re probably getting something. I had lead poisoning when I was really young, from paint chips, and I turned out okay, but if kids have ongoing exposure–

Have you looked into Clean Water Action at all?

I haven’t yet. I’m just starting to get back out of the house … They [indicating kids] just went to two weeks of nature camp.

What did you guys see?

Kid 1: I saw a red-tailed hawk at Conanicut Park and a bald eagle circling.

Kid 2: I saw plovers. They looked like puffballs.

Oh, did they have part of the beach roped off?

Kid 2: Yeah, so you don’t walk in their territory.

*

 

Most recently I’ve been thinking about Waterplace Park because of sea level rise—that’s just because it’s what I’ve been talking about at work this past week. All the nonpermeable surfaces and stormwater runoff—I do not, unfortunately, see many people addressing that. Asphalt is easy—people don’t even question it. And I’m worried about this all the time, yet my driveway is giant. I should chop it up—yet have I done it in three years? No. I don’t know how to do it myself—it’s not knowing how to use a jackhammer, not really having a plan. I need someone to work through it with me. And of course I don’t have a lot of time or money.

Providence Resolution to Block Sale of Water to Invenergy: City Council Vote TONIGHT

From RI Future:

Providence City Councilor Seth Yurdin(Ward 1) wants the city to fight the sale of Providence water to Invenergy, the company that wants to build a $1 billion fracked gas and diesel oil burning power plant in Burrillville.

“The proposed gas-fired power plant is a serious threat to local Rhode Island communities and our climate.  The Providence Water Supply Board needs to join the Conservation Law Foundation‘s lawsuit and work to prevent the improper resale of water for use in this harmful project.,” said Providence City Councilor Seth Yurdin (Ward 1) about his resolution, being introduced tonight.

The resolution seeks to realign the positions of the City of Providence and the Providence Water Supply Board (PWSB) from defendants to plaintiffs in the case of Conservation Law Foundation (CLF) v Clear River Energy and the Town of Johnston.

This is a little confusing, but basically, it could be part of a strategy for blocking new fossil fuel infrastructure in RI, which is (part of) what we want. Show up TONIGHT at 5:30 pm, at Providence City Hall (City Council Chamber, 3rd floor) with signs!

Some sign ideas:

Be good neighbors / Protect air and water / Reject Invenergy

RI Needs Clean Water & Clean Energy / NOT Fossil Fuels

Good Jobs in Healthy Communities

 

 

 

 

Climate Anxiety Counseling: Sankofa World Market, 7/19/17

Weather: Sunny and hot with gusts of wind

Number of people: 4 stoppers, 1 walkby

Number of hecklers: 0!

Pages of notes: 5.5

Pictures taken with permission: 1

Pictures taken without permission: 1

Dogs seen: 3

Dogs pet: 0, even the one that was right next to me!

Money raised for Environmental Justice League of RI: $2.16

 

Observations:

It was nice to see vendors I knew from last year.

The sun was so hot that I put up my umbrella, and then the wind was so fierce that I took it down. Repeat. Other vendors were very sweetly concerned for my well-being, and the market manager shared some raspberries with me.

I took a break 3:10-3:30 to call someone I have promised to call every day, and a break around 5 to get money from a nearby ATM to buy vegetables with.

Food was a major theme in my conversations as well as in what I did. Another theme: the power and the limits of personal habits / “lifestyle changes.”

 

Some conversations:

 

[These two knew each other; Person 2 came up a few minutes after Person 1]

I was watching What the Health on Netflix, and the number one vision, the thing I can’t get out of my head, was these floating dead fish on the edge of the shoreline. How the ocean’s environmentally been affected by our poor living habits. … I could close my eyes right now and see those floating dead fish on the edge—it’s real. All my life I’ve been a meat eater, but I haven’t eaten any meat since [last] Wednesday.

Have you talked about this movie with anybody?

Yeah, I’ve been going back to my staff members and colleagues–[Person 2, a colleague, came up]. I’m talking about that movie What the Health.

Person 2: Oh my God, I saw that! It freaked me out. I was already like, I’m gonna stay aaway from red meat, but at least I can eat chicken, and now I’m like, what the hell do I eat? What’s in the foods we eat? I don’t know as much as I need to.

Person 1: The other thing is, Providence has one of the largest lead contamination problems in the country. … [A MUTUAL ACQUAINTANCE] tested the lead in the ground in Dexter Park and there’s lead there, lead where the kids play. Probably not more than you have in your backyard, but–

*

I’m from New York, but the suburbs. Living in Providence, it’s kinda anxiety—being away from my family.

What do you do when you feel that anxiety or that frustration?

I just play some music. Or I cry a lot. I talk to my family on the phone, or texting. It feels good but not the same as face-to-face contact.

Is there anything good about being here?

Independence, and being away from everyday life back home. Getting to make my own decisions and mistakes without like, “What are you doing,” instead of getting in trouble. I’m not gonna be stupid about certain things. They would have screamed at me about it. I can deal with me screaming at myself, because it was my decision.

… Global warming is real, by the way, I believe in it. I think [people] don’t want to come to terms with the way life is and reality. If you’re not anxious about something, you’re not really living your life—are you just sitting at home and watching TV and not feeling anything? You’re not like, “Oh, I’m sad about this but I’m gonna make it better.”

For a lot of people who talk to me, the thing they have trouble with about global warming is they don’t know how to make it better .

You gotta get in the community and help, try to see what you can do for others. Speakers in schools, encouraging young people to do the right thing—I enjoyed that in school. That educated me more than my teachers. I wanna hear it from the expert: “I saved a million animals,” or whatever.

*

There are a lot of things I do that aren’t the most eco-conscious, because I have no other option. As much as I want to help put my part in, I don’t think the individual actions matter very much. I don’t have as much power in changing anything.

What do you think would have that kind of power?

Changing the social norms of how we interact with the world? I don’t know. To be more friendly to the Earth. I’m tring to fight this ingrained lifestyle and worldview that I’ve been brought up to live in. And being from an immigrant family means I’m struggling with that too—I’ve tried to get my mom to use reusable water bottles, but it’s just so normal to her to use plastic water bottles, so there’s that too. How do I respect her background? There’s a lot of—maybe not solutions but progressive things that people are doing but it’s hard to access it. So I guess more access? More education?

I guess another question is, if we’re not trying to stop it or slow it down, what are the things that we’re trying to do?

I guess talk about it? Have a discussion? I keep going to this question, “Is that enough?” But if you’re not looking for a solution, it could be. Anything that you can’t really change, you can at least be with people and process it. If all the humans just die, we release all the gases and destroy the planet anyway.

Climate Anxiety Counseling: Kennedy Plaza/Burnside Park, 6/28/17

Weather: Warm, bright, breezy

Number of people: 8 stoppers, 1 walkby

Number of hecklers: 0!

Pages of notes: 10

Peanuts references: 1

People who recognized me, and I them, from previous years: 2

Money raised for Environmental Justice League of RI: $2.25

 

Observations:

I need to be more mindful of and purposeful about power dynamics in the questions I ask and the possibilities I raise—both between me and the person I’m talking with, and between the person I’m talking with and other people in the situation. I had a conversation today about a bad situation where I don’t think I made anything worse, but I missed the chance to point out a power dynamic that—if the person I was talking to recognized it—could’ve made things less worse for someone who wasn’t there. (I know that’s vague—I didn’t get permission to post this one. But I think making it vague is also good because it can help me to remember to apply it to other situations.)

Today was really busy, especially toward the beginning. I don’t know why, except that it was beautiful out. Because of the busy-ness, I didn’t notice much in the way of police activity, other than seeing two police cards parked at the Dorrance St. end of the park as I was leaving.

One person who spoke to me was really happy about the restoration of free bus passes for elderly and disabled people, and gave me detailed instructions for how to get one if you’re eligible and don’t have one. I want to check these and make sure they don’t leave anything out before posting them here, but I will post them in case any of you knows someone who could use one.

 

Some conversations:

I’m not anxious about climate change because I feel like it’s pretty inevitable. There’s nothing we can—well, there’s some things we can do, but there are so many people contributing to it, you can’t change everyone’s mind. I don’t get anxious about death. I’ve come to grips with the idea that everybody dies. If you’re just worrying about death all the time it’ll prevent you from living. But what I am anxious about is the everyday struggle of getting through life, working your life away in order to get somewhere.

Where is that somewhere, for you?

To live in a home and know that my work fully covers my expenses. Not living paycheck-to-paycheck in order to support myself. I’m not talking about a luxury home, I’m talking about a one-bedroom apartment and being able to eat, what everybody has—well, not everybody.

What everybody needs, anyway, and some people don’t have that, and some people have way more than that.

My own father is an example. He makes over a hundred and fifty thousand dollars a year, and he wouldn’t let his own son live with him. He was scared that my mom would start coming around to his house.

Do you take care of her?

No. If she needs food, I’ll buy my mom and my siblings food, I’m not gonna let them go hungry. But I don’t support her. But my dad still didn’t allow me to stay in the house because I have contact with her. I even offered to pay my own rent … He works very hard, sixty hours a week. So I got the hardworking side from him, but other than that, I haven’t really gotten anything from having him as a dad. All he does is work and money’s more important to him than family. He takes one day off a week, and I maybe talk to him once a month. He asks how I’m doing, and I tell him I’m able to get by and that’s about it.The funny thing is, he’s in counseling for that stuff—to be able to connect with people, especially people dealing with drug abuse. My older brother’s an addict. [My father] took classes to try to change himself, but it did nothing. He looks like a stone brick all the time, he always acts the same. My grandfather was an alcoholic, and he didn’t give my father any love or any attention, so he doesn’t know how to give it himself.

Do you feel like you’ve been able to give love to the people in your life?

Yes. I have the example of my mom. She doesn’t have much but she’s always able to give with her heart. Then there’s the opposite end of the spectrum with my dad. I think I’ve learned a happy medium.

*

I work in the [REDACTED] library, and there’s a guy who comes in who’s majoring in something to try to make [climate change] better. Sometimes he comes in and we look at each other, and we don’t really speak but we know each other’s thoughts. A lot of people don’t even really want to talk about it, because what are you gonna do? I mean, there’s a lot to do but there’s so much, it’s overwhelming. We need specific ideas for specific things to do… And there’s another issue I have, well, there’s so many issues, but some people don’t have hope for their own life. So what are we doing asking them to have hope for the future? You need some hope, some connection to family—they need to associate some kind of hope for the future, for the earth, because a lot of people don’t even have hope for today. How do you get somebody out of where they’re at right now?

…And then like, let’s say I have something to recycle, and it’s dirty. Do I waste the water to clean this can, or what do I do? It’s a lot, man. I think people do want to work for a better world…the way we’re living, it’s just not a sustainable thing. We will die if something doesn’t change. That’s a fact, and we know, and we look at the [can’t read it]. You go down here and try to breathe, it’s not good air. I didn’t want to breathe down here! Do I bring my daughter down here? And I think about how life expectancy in my family isn’t that high. What is it in the water, in the air, that’s making us die so soon?

*

I’m worried about my hip.

Are you gonna get surgery on it?

I’m debating on that, but I think I’m too old. I’m 68. And I can get along, but if I do that surgery, a whole hip replacement, I might not be able to get around at all. I don’t want to be confined.

Does it give you a lot of pain?

No, no. Only in the bad weather, you know when it’s bad weather—I can tell when a storm’s coming. I got my cane, but I never shoulda picked up this cane, now I can’t get along without it. I don’t wanna get stuck down here with no way to get home.

*

My family’s in the construction business. And I have a problem, because the company is an asphalt company and asphalt is a petroleum product, there’s gonna be runoff, it does damage. But it’s money, and you gotta live. And I love trucks, I wanna buy them and drive them. But I feel guilty. When I charge my phone, I feel guilty. But you need it, it’s a necessity, but when I charge my phone I’m like, I’m fucking it up. I’m actually thinking about changing my career, being an electrician and doing solar panels. It’d be easier on me, but you can’t make as much as fast… But everything always has some type of negative outcomes.

I think a lot of the time that’s true, the way things are set up it’s hard to do anything without doing some damage. So sometimes I ask people: what could you to do sustain and help the natural world and the natural systems that you depend on?

Swallow your pride. It’s demeaning to be a guy ’cause you’re brought up—you don’t just have to pay for dinner, you have to pick her up in a truck. I take the bus ’cause the bus is easy, but [can’t read my own writing] for a guy in a Prius, compared to a lifted Chevy. If you play video games, it’s not enough to just get the Xbox, you have to buy all the new things that come with the games. We have too many accessories … Nobody wants to live in a big apartment building, they want the white picket fence, the two-car garage, I know ’cause I want it too.

*

I basically talked to you [last year] during the peak of my veganism. I’ve calmed down quite a bit. There’s definitely a lot of things about climate change that aren’t being addressed and need to be talked about. I’ve traveled the world this year. I went to Albania for a school project … on the Vjosa River, the last undammed river in Europe. There’s like four thousand species of plants that grow along this river and 250 of them are found nowhere else. The natural beauty was healing.

Do the people there feel proud of it?

They do, but they also take it for granted. We took a ferry ride through a gorge, and all the tourists were outside taking pictures, and all the Albanians were inside, they were commuting to go to work. The government wanted to put a dam on the river and this organization, Eco Albania, was like, People’s lives depend on this river in its natural free-flowing state. They fought against it and they won.* There are no dams on the river. They work harder than anyone I’ve ever encountered. I’m studying biomedical engineering and after I pay off an enormous amount of loans I want to go into nonprofit work and feel like my work matters.

*They may have another fight on their hands.

*

 

[These two came up together.]

Person 1: Yesterday there was supposed to be a hailstorm. Last night there was this dark cloud, the sky went from pink to black. There was all this thunder and lightning. There’s mudslides and tornadoes–

Person 2: Those gaping holes, sinkholes–

Person 1: It gives me anxieties. And the water in Pawtucket is disgusting. My friend drank the water and he threw up for 45 minutes. The air quality, if the water is like that, what’s the air like? Kids, asthma. … In 10-20 years our weather’s gonna be like Florida. There’s gonna be a lot more water everywhere. It’s gonna rise up. It is scary.

What do you do when you feel that scared feeling?

I just act like it’s not gonna happen to me. That’s the only way I can get out of it. My safety is at risk, but it’s not gonna happen to me. Oh, it’s gonna happen somewhere else.

Actual History: Refusal 7

I’m working to learn more from the stories of people who have refused and rejected attempts to exploit and tyrannize them, and I thought you might like to do that, too.

*

 

The people of Asubpeeschoseewagong / Grassy Narrows, in Ontario, Canada, successfully halted clear-cutting of their forests for ten years. Judy DaSilva, who participated in the blockade, wrote about it in May 2016:

“By 2002, our people were frustrated with the “dead end” complaint processes over the destruction of our forest by the Ministry of Natural Resources (MNR) and Abitibi [Consolidated, the logging company, later Abitibi Bowater]. We had no protectors except ourselves.

So on that cold winter day, one of our community members said, ‘We need to do something.’ We set up a campfire on the side of the logging road about three kilometers from the reserve. By night, everyone had left except this one man. We went back to the comfort of our warm homes while he stayed. That night, even though he was scared, he stopped a logging truck from entering the forest. The next morning students showed up in full force, bringing the energy up at the blockade.

When our whole community had heard about this man’s actions, many community members, and supportive Christian Peacemaker Teams (CPT) began to help…”

Here is the logging company’s letter committing to withdrawal from the forest in 2008. But in 2012, ten years after its beginning, the blockade was still necessary and people were still maintaining it. They maintained it in the face of a Supreme Court decision against them in 2014. Several of the sources I found referred to it as “the longest-running blockade in Canadian history.” (Some more background, assembled by “solidarity activists working with Grassy Narrows organizers”, is here.)

The forestry management plan for the region threatens it again with logging, and the people, land and water of Asubpeeschoseewagong / Grassy Narrows continue to suffer from mercury poisoning caused by the logging and paper industries. They are attempting to fight it using the courts as well, and seeking action from Prime Minister Trudeau and Premier Wynn; especially if you are Canadian, you can write to them and seek it too.

PLEASE NOTE: If anyone knows anything that contradicts the information here, please tell me and I will correct it! At the risk of sounding sanctimonious (“too late, Kate,” I hear you saying), that’s how we build knowledge together.

Providence City Council Meeting TONIGHT: No Burrillville Power Plant

UPDATE: The committee voted to send the resolution described below to the full city council for a vote (this is good). Watch this space to learn when that vote is–we’ll want to show up for that, too.

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The Providence City Council Special Committee on Municipal Operations and Oversight meets tonight to vote on a resolution opposing Invenergy’s fracked-gas power plant in Burrillville, and investigating Johnston’s sale of water (which comes from the same source as Providence’s water) to the plant.

25 Dorrance St (3rd floor), Providence

TONIGHT (January 25th) at 6pm

If you can, please come and support the resolution against the power plant. If you can’t, but one of the people below is your councilperson, please call them and urge them to pass this resolution, which could help keep Rhode Island healthier–its human and nonhuman people, its ecosystems–and lower its contributions to climate change.

Jo-Ann Ryan, Ward 5
401-595-8604, 401-464-2046

Kevin Jackson, Ward 3
401-286-4223

Luis Aponte, Ward 10
Council President
401-781-6861

Sabina Matos, Ward 15
Council President Pro Temp
401-383-3814

Nicholas Narducci Jr, Ward 4
401-497-1430

A good thing to say: “I’m NAME, I live at ADDRESS in WARD #. I’m calling to ask Councilman/Councilwoman NAME to vote in favor of Councilman Yurdin’s resolution against the Invenergy Power Plant. The deforestation and pollution from the plant will affect all Rhode Islanders in the long term, and Burrillville itself has said they don’t want the plant. Please tell the Councilman/Councilwoman that I’d like them to support Councilman Yurdin’s resolution.”

If you can’t do phone calls, you can email your councilperson by ward number–like, “ward10 AT providenceri DOT com.”

Alternate History: Refusal 4

The next day, the students came into the well-appointed classroom, with its big windows and its new desks and its variously computerized boards and screens, and I sat there and said nothing.

I refused to teach them and my colleagues refused to teach them and the people who worked in the offices refused to explain anything to them or process their paperwork or even help them withdraw, and the custodians refused to empty the garbage cans and the groundskeepers refused to shovel the snow, and the people who ordinarily cooked for them refused to cook for them and turned the delivery trucks away, or unloaded them and then gave the food directly to their own and their neighbors’ families.

I lost my job and I went home, frightened, sick to my stomach, with less to lose–less status, less money, less safety–and free to do more, or do differently. They all did, we all did.

(There’s another version of this story where I was the only one to refuse, but I like this version better.)

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I actually feel like teaching is one of the areas where I can be useful, but I could be wrong about that. The founders of the institution that employs me made some of their money by buying and selling human beings (which they have acknowledged) and they built it on land stolen from the Narragansett Tribe (which, as far as I know, the institution has not acknowledged).

The proposed “track straightening” of the Amtrak Northeast Corridor would pass through Narragansett tribal land and sacred sites, and members of the tribe have voiced their opposition to it. (It would also damage or destroy forests and wetlands, both of which can help Rhode Island weather climate change.) You can see the environmental impact statement here, and via email you can tell Amtrak/NEC Future not to build this track: info AT necfuture DOT com. They are supposedly taking comments until January 31st.

You can also call the office of Senator Jack Reed, who is in favor of building the new track, at (401) 943-3100, and tell him why you’re opposed to building it. I’ll post some words later today that you can use, if you want.