Monday, September 23, 2019

Sorry I ruined your Monday morning commute, but our planet is on a highway to hell. (WaPo opinion column, WaPo local news story)

Proud of the 4,000,000 young people in 60 countries for their climate change protests.

Some 22 intersections in Washington, D.C. were disrupted by climate activists on September 23, 2019.

Wonderful organized civil disobedience.

Proud of the 100 young people in St. Augustine  at the Bridge of Lions on Friday, uncovered by insipid, standpatter Babbitlike reporter-distorters enslaved to Chain Gang Journalism

I especially like the boats in DC, to which the protesters chained themselves.

The technology of protest has improved since 1994, when antinuclear activists chained themselves to barrels of concrete to slow work on the Watts Bar nuclear power plant of the Tennessee Valley Authority.  TVA goons pointed a 300 millimeter lens down Market Square Mall to surveil bookstore frequented by protesters, violating federal laws.TVA managers were so oblivious to public opinion that they leaked plans to file a RICO lawsuit against protesters.

This in terrorem threat inexorably led me to go to the podium at the next TVA Board meeting in Knoxville, across the street from my hotel.  I denounced this out-of-control federal corporations effrontery, and its meretricious effort to chill, coerce and intimidate First Amendment rights.

Two things happened:
  • TVA dropped the RICO idea, like a bad habit, after AP  articles quoting me.
  • A  Southern California Edison Company contractor engineer at San Onofre nuclear powerplant read the article on something called the internet, called the American Bar Association in Chicago, called me and hired me to pursue his disgruntled employer, winning a landmark appellate ruling in the U.S. Department of Labor.  The rest is history,  San Onofre is now closed.    One of our finest local judges surfed in front of the nuclear power plant when he was in law school.  He and other surfers considered San Onofre Nuclear Generating Station (SONGS) to be scary.  They were right.

From The Washington Post:

Protesters block D.C. streets to demand action on climate change

Intersections were blocked across Washington during the Monday morning commute as activists sought to bring attention to climate policy issues. (Jon Gerberg, Alice Li, Zoeann Murphy, Whitney Shefte/The Washington Post)


Protesters on top of a van blocking 14th Street SW during a climate protest Monday in Washington. (Matt McClain/The Washington Post)
Protesters on top of a van blocking 14th Street SW during a climate protest Monday in Washington. (Matt McClain/The Washington Post)
September 23, 2019 at 7:05 p.m. EDT

Mike Tidwell is executive director of the CCAN Action Fund, the political affiliate of the Chesapeake Climate Action Network.
I’m a father, a Sunday school teacher, a youth baseball coach and an Eagle Scout. My idea of a perfect day is backpacking on the Appalachian Trail employing the “leave no trace” ethic, disrupting nothing around me.

So stepping into the middle of Independence Avenue SW in Washington, determined to block rush-hour traffic with dozens of other protesters, is not my natural comfort zone. But that’s what I did Monday morning. Perhaps we ruined your commute. For that, I am truly sorry. But it was for a higher cause, part of the #ShutdownDC initiative to combat climate change.
I’ll just be blunt: Global warming has radicalized me. It’s radicalizing young people all around us, too. Perhaps you’ve noticed. Swedish teenager Greta Thunberg has millions of climate devotees worldwide under the age of 25. And now, I submit, it’s your turn to become radical, whoever you are, wherever you live. That’s because the climate threat is now truly radical, and time is almost up.
I joined 40 other people on Monday morning. Retired teachers, a Unitarian minister, environmental activists, a waitress. We sat down and blocked all eight lanes of Independence Avenue where it crosses 12th Street, south of the Mall. For three hours, we sat there, surrounded by D.C. police officers who ultimately did not arrest us. Across the city, at 21 additional intersections, more than 1,000 people did the same with a total of 32 peaceful arrests. Many downtown institutions, including the World Bank, told their employees to stay home Monday. Workers who did commute by car were almost certainly affected in ways big or small.
Writer Bill McKibben reminds us that we have pushed our planet far outside its comfort zone. Fossil-fuel combustion, now amplified by pro-coal zealots in the Trump administration, is melting the polesswelling our oceansdrying out our rainforests and scorching our farmland. We’re seeing historic rainfalls and more 90-degree days than ever.
To have any chance of blunting these extreme-weather trends, concerned citizens everywhere must push themselves outside of their own personal comfort zones. We have to challenge ourselves to engage in bolder and bolder political action. Watch Thunberg for five minutes, and you see she’s pushed herself completely beyond what is normal and comfortable in her life. She traveled for two weeks to get to the United States on a small sailboat with primitive accommodations, avoiding carbon emissions. She has spent three additional weeks here addressing Congress and the United Nations in her almost painfully shy but profoundly inspiring way.
Her message is simple: Our planet is on fire, and the politicians worldwide — of all parties — have not done enough to put it out. These leaders will remain timid until more people, young and old, take direct action, one that leaves no mistake that we are alarmed. We. Are. Alarmed!
Through creative civil disobedience, we have to create a social crisis that focuses leaders’ attention on the climate crisis. We have to go on strike. We have to leave our classrooms and job sites. We have to march and speak out. We have to shut down streets.
And we have to do it now. The world’s top scientists say we have to cut global carbon emissions in half by 2030. That will happen only if we make our elected officials enact radical clean-energy laws that defy the money and political power of ExxonMobil and Peabody Energy. Can’t be done? New York just vowed to get to 70 percent clean electricityby 2030.

I will peacefully shut down more streets. And you should, too. Or do whatever your version of “much more” is. Call your elected officials — a lot. Donate more money to clean-energy candidates. Whatever constitutes more — do it.
And for our leaders, the message is the same. I saw it on a placard at Monday’s protest, held up by a college freshman: “Make policy like your children will live here.”
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