TAR SANDS PROTEST IN PORTLAND
It was cold today in Portland for the No Tar Sands rally-march-rally. The temperature was 20 degrees but the cold wind coming in off Casco Bay had to take it below freezing. We gathered at Monument Square in downtown for a short rally and then marched to the waterfront for a final rally.
From the waterfront, just across the bay, you can see the big oil tanks that would collect the Tar Sands oil from western Canada. It would be carried by the Enbridge/Portland-Montreal Pipeline, 76% owned by Exxon-Mobil. At least 1,000 folks were at the rally which, considering the weather, was quite good with many coming from Vermont, New Hampshire, Massachusetts, and Canada.
At the final rally they announced they had 15 speakers and the first one took at least 15 minutes as we stood shivering....not great rally planning considering the weather. By the time they were half way through the speakers list more than half of the crowd took off.
The best speaker of the day was the Green Party's Jill Stein who was the only one I heard connect the dots....but she spoke in the pre-march warm up rally and had little time to speak.
On the good side many of the more cautious environmentalists from the Natural Resources Council and Sierra Club were at the event - they don't usually do street protests. So it is positive to see them realizing that the corporate domination of our political system has gotten to the point that more public action is needed to protect the planet and the future generations.
In many of the speeches though there was still a tendency to see Obama and the Democrats as a key part of the strategy to stop the Tar Sands Pipeline. My own reading of the tea leaves is that Obama won't stand up to big oil and block the pipeline and that ultimately more vigorous direct action will be needed. Time will tell.
My sign drew some interest today as a good number of people asked me, "Is that true"...... that the Pentagon has the largest carbon boot print on the planet? Yes indeed it is true. It's all spelled out quite explicitly in the book called The Green Zone: The Environmental Costs of Militarism by Barry Sanders.
Based primarily on research culled from documents released or leaked by the military itself, The Green Zone is the first book to provide a comprehensive examination of the relationship between militarism and ecological destruction.
Unless and until the Pentagon is included in the environmental articulation and organizing strategy we will ultimately be unable to get a handle of the major causes of climate change.
A secretive funding organisation in the US that guarantees anonymity for its billionaire donors has emerged as a major operator in the climate "counter movement" to undermine the science of global warming, The Independent has reported.
The Donors Trust, along with its sister group Donors Capital Fund, based in Alexandria, Virginia, is funnelling millions of dollars into the effort to cast doubt on climate change without revealing the identities of its wealthy backers or that they have links to the fossil fuel industry.