FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Week of action began on the White House steps amidst wildfire smoke
(Washington, D.C) – Over 2,000 climate activists, frontline leaders, and environmental justice organizations in over 65 locations in more than 25 US states joined together from June 8–11th for a national week of action to send a strong message to President Biden: no more fossil fuels. With the approval of Willow Project, fast-tracking of the Mountain Valley Pipeline, and rollbacks for environmental protections, the US is doubling down on it’s role as the world’s top oil and gas producer at a time when scientists could not be clearer that stopping fossil fuels is the only way to avert global climate catastrophe.
The week kicked off with frontline activists from Appalachia donning masks so they could face the wildfire smoke blanketing the eastern US and bring their message right to Biden’s doorstep: stop the Mountain Valley Pipeline and stop fossil fuels from poisoning the air we breathe. They made national headlines, including in the Washington Post and The Guardian, and set the tone for dozens of actions across the US.
“Our demand for a clean debt ceiling is not just about protecting our communities from the fatal threats of the Mountain Valley Pipeline,” said Dr. Crystal Cavalier-Keck, founder of 7 Directions of Service. “It’s about fighting for the democratic processes we’ve all been promised, and that we deserve.”
Across the country, communities highlighted how each and every new fossil fuel project exacerbates the climate emergency and sacrifices Black, Brown, Indigenous, and low income white communities. In the Great Lake states, frontline activists led nine different actions to protest Line 5, Enbridge’s massive oil pipeline. Imminent oil pipeline ruptures at the Bad River in Wisconsin and the Straits of Mackinac in Michigan threaten the Great Lakes – which hold one-fifth of the world’s surface freshwater – essential fisheries, manoomin (wild rice), and cultural survival for Indigenous people.
“Line 5 crosses over tribal treaty territory and one of those ceded territories is my own
reservation of Bad River. So the age of the pipeline, the danger that it brings to the environment is our biggest concern here… As sacred water carriers we stand with the water, and urge the Biden Administration to take action and shut down Line 5 immediately.” – Rene Ann Goodrich, Bad River Tribal Elder, Native Lives Matter Coalition and Wisconsin Department of Justice MMIW Task Force Member.
While most of the demonstrations took place between June 8-11, some organizers in areas affected by hazardous wildfire smoke chose to postpone to keep their communities safe. Brooklyn organizers’ decision to postpone their teach-in and rally led to a powerful Op Ed, titled “The Climate Crisis Canceled our Climate Rally.”. The event has been rescheduled for Wednesday, June 14th; press are invited to attend.
Unifying all demonstrations was a national call for Biden to stop approving new fossil fuel projects, phase out oil and gas on federal lands and to declare a climate emergency. The climate emergency declaration in particular would allow Biden to unlock additional powers to limit fossil fuel exports, increase the availability of clean energy technologies, and ensure communities hit hardest by climate disasters receive the resources they need to rebuild.
“We need to end the era of fossil fuels in order to have a livable future,” said Renata Pumarol of the Climate Organizing Hub, which was one of the lead sponsors for the actions to End the Era of Fossil Fuels. “Biden has an opportunity to use his executive power to end new fossil fuel projects and lead us into a clean and equitable energy system.”
This national week of action was just the beginning of months of coordinated action to hold Biden accountable to his climate promises leading up to the UN Climate Ambition Summit. On Thursday, June 15 Jane Fonda will join community leaders at a virtual kickoff to announce a major mobilization in NYC leading up to the summit. These demonstrations are endorsed by 70 Indigenous, climate, labor, and environmental justice organizations, including the Sunrise Movement, 350.org, and Indigenous Environmental Network. Lead sponsors include the Center for Popular Democracy, Zero Hour, the 350 Network Council, Fridays for Future, the Climate Organizing Hub, and the People vs. Fossil Fuels coalition, which includes over 1,200 organizations across the country.
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Multiple spokespeople from frontline and national groups are available for comment. Please reach out to Mel Smith (firstname.lastname@example.org, (917) 408-3145) to be connected.