As the approaching months bring warmer weather, the climate movement is planning a mass mobilization across North America this summer with a simple message to those in power: "We're ready to fight."
Designed to increase the size of their movement and up the pressure on politicians and the fossil fuel industry that has laid siege to Washington and Ottawa decision-making, activists in the US and Canada say they are willing to put their bodies on the line to fight the power of big industry. Calling their seasonal campaign "Summer Heat," a letter sent to 350.org supporters on Tuesday night by movement leaders Naomi Klein, Bill McKibben, Winona LaDuke, Sandra Steingraber, and Rev. Lennox Yearwood staked out a call for a movement whose moment has arrived for an important next phase.
"As the planet lurches past 400 parts per million concentrations of CO2, the moment has come," the letter said, "the moment to ask you to do hard, important, powerful things. The last two weeks of July are, statistically, the hottest stretch of the year. This year we want to make them politically hot too. Which means we need you, out on the front line. We need some of you to risk going to jail, and all of you to show up and speak out."
Just last week, scientists called the 400 ppm milestone evidence of humanity's "march towards disaster."
In order to shake the establishment out of its proven complacency (and complicity), the coalition behind 'Summer Heat' present a variety of tactics and specific campaigns, including a direct action component called "Fearless Summer" which will build on the work already seen in communities where the controversial Keystone XL pipeline is already being built.
"From the Pacific Northwest to the coast of Maine," the group states, "from the Keystone pipeline route to the White House where the administration has broken its promise to put solar on the roof, to the Utah desert where they’re getting ready for the first tar sands mine in the US, we’re going to try and get across the essential message: it’s time to stand up – peacefully but firmly — to the industry that is wrecking our future."
First Nations in Canada will continue their fight against the Harper government and treaty violations in what they're calling "Sovereignty Summer," designed to strengthen the efforts of those "trying to protect lands, waters and air for everyone." The goal, according to a statement by those groups, is "to win recognition of marine protections, of sustainable forestry, of local, just economies, and the principle that we must respect the environment that" all Canadian share in.
The various groups involved in the campaign include Canada's Defenders of the Land and the Idle No More indigenous movement, a mix of front-line community groups–like Bold Nebraska and New Yorkers Against Fracking–who have picked up local battles against the fossil fuel industry, more aggressive activist/blockaders–such Tar Sands Blockade and the Great Plains Tar Sands Resistance who have staged direct actions against oil and gas infrastructure project, online organizing outfits like CREDO Action which continues to build a list of those willing to engage in civil disobedience, and other large groups like 350.org and the Hip Hop Caucus which are both spearheading the organizing effort and building their own capacity by supporting the work of others.
So far the group says they have active events planned for the following areas, with more to come:
Bay Area Shuts Down Chevron – Bay Area, California
President Obama — Keep your Promises – DC
2013 Walk for our Grandchildren – Maryland
Shut Down Brayton Point – Massachusetts
Nebraska vs. Keystone XL – Nebraska
Ohio vs. Frackers – Ohio
Utah Tar Sands Action Camp – Utah
Texas Keystone XL Showdown – Texas
The message to recipients was simple: Find an action nearest you. Start making plans. Show up.
"Our hope is that this summer will be a historic show of solidarity not just with the Americans who suffer most from the fossil fuel industry, but with the people across the planet whose lives are at risk as the world warms — and indeed with the planet itself, beleaguered but still so worth fighting for," the letter from leaders said.
"If you weren't needed, we wouldn't ask. But in a fight this big, we are all needed, now more than ever."