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#ShutDownChase Wrap-up!

#ShutDownChase, Seattle, 2018

Tar sands devastates our climate, our forests, and our water. What is less well-known is the devastating impact it has on indigenous communities — and especially on indigenous women. Over the last four decades, over 4,000 indigenous women have gone missing or been murdered in Canada. The murder rate of indigenous women is over 4x that of the general population. This violence vastly increases near the “man camps” that service tar sands extraction sightsLast year JPMorgan Chase increased its financing of the Canadian tar sands by 400% and is currently attempting to block the introduction of a shareholder resolution that would force the bank to undertake a study into its tar sands investments.This is one reason why we #ShutDownChase. Share if you agree that Chase needs to stop funding the violence of women and devastation of our planet.

Posted by 350 Seattle on Thursday, May 10, 2018

On Monday, once again, we #ShutDownChase. 100+ people set up 4 tarpees in the middle of 2nd Avenue outside of JPMorgan Chase’s PNW Headquarters as 23 women occupied the lobby — disrupting business to shine a light on how devastating tar sands business is, to people and to planet. In total, 15 people were arrested, and we held the street for over five hours.

Tar sands oil devastates our climate, our forests, and our water. What’s less well-known is the devastating impact it has on indigenous communities — and especially on indigenous women.

Over the last four decades, over 4,000 indigenous women have gone missing or been murdered in Canada. The murder rate of indigenous women is over 4x that of the general population. This violence skyrockets all along the “man camps” that spring up around tar sands extraction sites.

JPMorgan really doesn’t want the world to know about its role in funding the devastation of the tar sands industry. The greater the spotlight we shine on this issue, the greater the chance of JPMorgan Chase being forced to do the right thing. Can you help us by doing two things?

  1. Can you share our #ShutDownChase wrap-up video to help share this message with the world?
  2. Can you call Matthew Arnold at 212-270-5052 to ask him to do all he can to ensure that Chase stops funding tar sands?

There are talking points and a call script here. (Arnold is Chase’s Global Head of Sustainable Finance).


350 Seattle Supports Equity-focused Congestion Pricing

Mayor Durkan announced a study of congestion pricing on Wednesday. We support this study, and strongly urge a bottom-line focus on equity, including consultation with low-income communities.

Done right, congestion pricing puts the burden of cost on higher-income single-occupancy-vehicle (SOV) drivers, and devotes that revenue to improved transit for all; this means that we get a fairer city, a less polluted city, and a city with more room for rapid transit, pedestrians, and bicyclists.

Seattleites who spend an average of 55 hours each year stuck in traffic jams will not be surprised to learn Seattle is the 20th most congested city in the world, and ninth in the US. This is socially and environmentally costly from a number of standpoints – wasted time, traffic deaths and injuries, local air and water pollution, and, most devastatingly, carbon emissions that cause global climate disruption.

Congestion pricing, by more accurately reflecting the real costs of driving, can deeply reduce those impacts, and provide much-needed resources for alternatives to driving. That is why 350 Seattle supports equitably designed congestion pricing in Seattle, and will be pushing on the Mayor and the City to implement it as fairly as possible, and as soon as possible, with all revenues going to transit and to other methods of minimizing the impact to lower-income people who currently have no choice but to drive to work in the city.

Congestion pricing is a tolling system that sets varying charges for road use—generally dependent on time of day. It can include tolling on stretches of highway or for entry to districts, typically downtowns. Five large cities around the world have implemented downtown congestion pricing, including London, Milan, Singapore, and in Sweden, Stockholm and Gothenburg. No North American city has downtown congestion pricing yet; New York City had a proposal that has recently been watered down and made much less equitable. By designing a genuinely progressive and effective system, Seattle could lead the nation on this, and provide a model for other cities.

London’s is the best-known example of downtown congestion pricing. Since 2003, from 7am to 6pm Monday through Friday, entry costs £11.50 (~$16 as of April 2018). As of October 2017, an additional £10 is levied on high-polluting vehicles (~$14 as of April 2018). Low-polluting vehicles including electric and some plug-in hybrid cars are exempt. Control gantries read license plates. Payment can be made by web, phone or at local kiosks, with substantial penalties for failure to pay. The program provides around $300 million annually to support transit.

Singapore in 1975 was the first successful introduction of a congestion pricing system. It covers 7.25 square kilometers as well as three expressways, and in 1998 became the world’s first fully electronically tolled congestion scheme. License plates are read at control gantries and owners are automatically charged.

Milan implemented its downtown congestion pricing system for most vehicles in January 2012, based on an earlier system that exempted a large number of lesser polluting vehicles. Entry into the cordoned area during weekday hours costs €5 ($61.5 as of April 2108). An eight-week suspension of the system due to a court ruling provided an immediate indication of how effective it was. Traffic and pollution immediately spiked. Even with that gap, benefits were still tremendous. From 2011 to 2012, traffic dropped 31% percent, particulates 18% and carbon pollution 35%. The $21 million raised by the program that year went to transit and bicycle access.

Studies indicate substantial social and environmental benefits from congestion pricing. A 2011 study by C40 Cities found that the London system:

  • Cut traffic levels in the priced area by 20%, or 75,000 vehicles per day, and around the area by 30%, during charged hours
  • Reduced carbon dioxide emissions within the area by 15%, or 30,000 metric tons per year, and around 100,000 metric tons across the London metro, much from lowering the amount of fuel burned in traffic jams
  • Reduced NOx emissions 13% and PM10 emissions 15%
  • Increased transit trips by around 40,000 per day, and bicycle trips by 83%.
  • Decreased traffic deaths and injuries by 40-70 annually in the charged area –A University of Lancaster study found 40% fewer traffic collisions per mile driven in the area.

The study found that the retail sector in the area was outperforming the national average, while no impact of congestion pricing could be detected on commercial property values.

A University of Washington Evans School study found that a weekday charge of $2.15 – Stockholm’s original charge – to enter an area bounded by I-5, Puget Sound, Denny Avenue and S. King Street would:

  • Provide $585 million in benefits to the region over a 30-year period on a net present value basis.
  • Generate $109 million/year in revenues
  • Reduce carbon emissions 12%, carbon monoxide 14%, NOx by 8.5%, and particulates by 14%
  • Cut traffic accidents by 3.6%
  • Reduce overall travel time inside and outside the cordon by 3.5%
  • Increase transit usage by 9.2%.

While the benefits are indisputable, congestion pricing raises equity questions, since it can add a cost burden for lower-income people. A number of studies have been done on this issue. In general, they conclude that properly structured congestion pricing systems will tend to be progressive rather than regressive for lower-income communities. Most important is that revenues be invested in transit and other transport options, which are more likely to be used by lower-to-moderate income people. 350 Seattle supports dedicating these revenues to transit.

Notes Todd Littman of Victoria Transport Policy Institute, “. . . road tolls are generally less regressive than financing urban highway expansion by increasing fuel taxes (which all motorists pay, not just urban commuters) or general taxes (which everybody pays regardless of how much they drive), and can be progressive overall if a portion of revenues are used to improve alternative modes, such as public transit, so lower-income travellers have better alternatives to driving.”

A study done in advance of Stockholm’s congestion pricing implementation found, “If revenues are used for improving public transport, this will benefit women and low-income groups the most. Given that it is likely that the revenues will be used to some extent to improve the public transport system, we conclude that the proposed congestion-charging scheme for Stockholm is progressive rather than regressive.”

Incomes of people who commute by car, and at peak hours, are much greater on average than people who commute by transit, biking and walking. A Portland study shows the average family income of people who drive to work is $73,600, versus $44,700 for people who use transit. Congestion pricing will reduce transit times and travel times in general.

Congestion pricing’s reduced pollution, noise and traffic deaths can disproportionately benefit disadvantaged communities. Studies of congestion pricing in eight United Kingdom communities have found “that the reduction of emissions from motor vehicles after the cordon charge have been both sizable and steeply progressive in their distribution of air quality benefits.

If Stockholm had not instituted congestion pricing in 2006, over the next four years air would have been 5-10% more polluted, and young children would would have experienced 45% more asthma attacks from 2006-10, a Johns Hopkins University study concludes.

Congestion pricing can bring similar gains to Seattle, substantially reducing congestion, pollution and road injuries, while supporting transportation options that benefit everyone, and lower-income communities most of all. It all depends on how the system is structured, and the revenues are spent. 350 Seattle supports an equitable congestion pricing system for Seattle to move us beyond car dependence to a 21st century transportation system that reduces carbon pollution and global warming. Free street space is anything but free in terms of local and global impacts. We need to quickly make driving reflect its true costs, and congestion pricing is a step in that direction.

We urge the City to perform a careful study and to engage in meaningful consultation that leads to rapid implementation of a truly equitable congestion pricing policy. We can’t afford to wait.


Longhouse wrap-up

No Permit? No Problem! Replica longhouse build at PSE

With a pending permit in hand, we and Protectors of the Salish Sea built a small replica longhouse blocking Puget Sound Energy's HQ entrance---to demonstrate how absurd it is that PSE can build an 8,000,000 gallon pressured fracked gas tank in Tacoma without all its permits and against the wishes of the Puyallup tribe and residents of the 3 mile blast zone.Please call Gov. Inslee and ask him to intervene and stop construction: 360-902-4111. #noLNG253 #NoPermitNoConstruction #HonortheTreaties #StandwithPuyallup

Posted by 350 Seattle on Tuesday, April 3, 2018

As Puget Sound Energy continues to build its Tacoma Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) facility despite widespread concerns, dozens of us constructed a small longhouse replica and used it to block the main entrance to PSE’s corporate headquarters in Bellevue early Monday morning!

PSE hasn’t consulted with the Puyallup Tribe (the historical owners of the land), and lacks key permits, including one from the Puget Sound Clean Air Agency, which recently ordered that a Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement be completed before they would consider the permit. Nevertheless, construction continues.

We requested a permit for our structure on Friday, and were awaiting approval from the Bellevue Planning Department. “PSE hasn’t gotten its permits, and they’re continuing to build, so we figured we could do the same,” said Stacy. “The simple fact is, we can no longer allow corporations and politicians to determine what happens with resources that belong to all of us. We’re here to demand a change in the priorities of our energy system.”

Dakota Case of the Puyallup Water Warrior Movement pointed out that the question of rights to the land being built on is also open to interpretation in both cases. “This is how it feels when your consent is taken from you—we’re building without permission on PSE property, just as PSE is doing on our land. But ours is a peaceful symbolic gesture, not a bullying, dangerous, and profit-taking one. We gave the United States permission to be here in the treaties, and we retained rights that would preserve our way of life. We are demanding that PSE honor those treaties. We’re asking PSE to respect our salmon, we’re asking them to respect our mother Earth. This facility does not belong on our land and our water.”

“PSE is at war with the children of the future,” said Paul Cheokten Wagner. “Never see yourself as separate from nature.”

The action also commemorated the 4th anniversary of the gas explosion at the LNG facility near the Columbia River in Plymouth, WA. That explosion forced hundreds to evacuate their homes, injured five workers, and caused $69 million in damages. Residents within a two-mile radius of the facility were evacuated. One reason for widespread local opposition to the LNG facility is that it’s being built in the heart of Tacoma, when international regulatory bodies recommend siting LNG facilities at least 3 miles away from populations.

Over 53,000 people have signed a petition urging Governor Inslee and AG Ferguson to stop construction until all permits, treaty rights, and procedures have been upheld, and 14 tribes have also written Gov. Inslee to urge that he enforce the treaties.

Call Governor Inslee and ask him to issue a stop-work order! (360) 902-4111.

Find out more at www.PSE-LNG.com

And be sure to check out this video, too—Stacy decided to ask some construction workers on their lunch break, what they thought of PSE’s actions….

Real construction workers react to PSE's illegal building

We interviewed some real construction workers in downtown Seattle yesterday, to see if they think what PSE is doing in Tacoma is legal and safe.#NoLNG253 #NoPermitNoConstruction #HonortheTreaties

Posted by 350 Seattle on Monday, April 2, 2018

Civil Disobedience as Community Service

by Barry Westbrook

A couple years ago, I was watching events at Standing Rock unfold. At the time, the 2016 election was kicking into gear and the world felt increasingly, hopelessly complex. The world grew bigger as I became smaller. Whether it was yet another police shooting, the war in Syria, or a pipeline protest, I felt powerless to make anything change. But Standing Rock seemed different, and events since then have confirmed that perception. It seems like the protest never died, just spread to other locations.

Watching water protectors face the brutality of local police, counterterrorism tactics from private companies like TigerSwan, and hostility from elected officials was infuriating and compelling. I believe their cause is just, their tactics sound, and I admire their bravery. What stops me from joining them?

It was around this time I found out about 350 Seattle and took the Pledge of Resistance, committing to direct action, civil disobedience, and if necessary arrest. Since then I’ve been part of several demonstrations and two arrestable actions. The first was on May 8th, when 13 Chase bank locations were shut down around Seattle in protest of their funding of tar sand oil pipelines. The second was on October 23rd where we targeted over 100 banks in Seattle that fund pipelines, disrupting business and locking down inside the building. Both times I was arrested and still face potential charges.

While Standing Rock was the match for me, the fuel was more personal. I wondered about my impact on the world, whether anything I did mattered, whether I’d die having lived a comfortable but meaningless life. Friends of mine are having children now, some I’ve known since elementary school. One two-year-old girl in particular came to represent something more for me. I get to be an uncle to her and that changed how I felt towards the world. I wanted to make it better for her and found myself worrying what the world would be like when she grew up. Would she see the beauty of the Salish Sea? Would she live in fear of ravaging storms? Would she worry about having clean water? Imagining her face probably more than anything, compelled me to act. But joining with the people at 350 Seattle kept me going.

When I’m blocking the doors of a bank, or protesting Puget Sound Energy’s LNG plant, or simply calling my legislator, I feel part of a whole. I’m supported, encouraged, and needed in the fight for climate justice. Often I’ve marveled at the quality of the people at 350 Seattle. They’re kind, determined, and self-sacrificing. They take personal risks for all of us, and often do so while anxious and afraid. They do so because they think beyond themselves, they think about the planet, about the future, about their children. It’s easy to be overwhelmed with the chaos in the world, but when I’m with 350 Seattle, engaging in direct action, I feel calm. Nothing any one of us can do will ever be enough but if there are enough of us doing it we can build bridges to a better world.

Seattle is my home, and the people that live here are my neighbors. Engaging in civil disobedience is an act of service to my community, it’s a statement of the value I see in others, and the future I believe in. If fighting for climate justice compels you, I encourage you to take the pledge and stand with us on the “thin green line.”

Inspired? In addition to risking arrest at actions, Barry is training to be a police liaison. Click here to sign the Pledge of Resistance and check out this Police Liaison training on March 28th from 7-9pm at Prospect UCC (1919 E Prospect St., Seattle WA 98112).


Locked to Your Love

by Valerie Costa

Lock yourself to your love. Sounds sweet, yeah? How about locked to your love to block the gate to a construction site at the crack of dawn, assuming you’ll be cut out and arrested hours later?

Jan and Gary Woodruff are an extraordinary couple. I met them a couple years ago, in the lead up to Break Free, three days of action in Anacortes targeting the two oil refineries there. Jan and Gary were living in Anacortes at the time, and Jan had been researching three high-incidence cancers in the area. She engaged in her first direct action in 2014, when she locked her arm in a concrete barrel on the rail line to Tesoro’s refinery, to protest the dangers of shipping oil by rail. Gary has filled critical action support roles over the years–making sure there are enough port-a-potties for crowds, ferrying materials around, being a go-to troubleshooter during an action. He had never risked arrest at an action–not until Block the Gates on December 18, 2017, when a couple hundred people blocked the gates to Puget Sound Energy’s LNG construction site in Tacoma.

I interviewed Jan and Gary to learn more about their story and their motivations, and to ask their advice for other retirees, as well as for younger people dipping their toes into this movement.

What did you do before you retired?

JW: I’m 64 and retired from being a marketing consultant in Portland.

GW: I’m 66 and am a retired construction manager.

So you locked yourselves together, why?

JW: We want to make a difference–we want the world to be a better place. We feel obligated to stand up for what’s right.

GW: We older folks have an obligation, basically. We had decades of privilege, had things go our way. We’ve made money, been big consumers…and now realize that wasn’t the right thing to do. We’re doing this in part to repair the damage that’s been done by our age group, by being lucky enough to be born with the opportunities that we had. Other people don’t have that, and the more you realize that, you see…something’s gotta change.

But, why lock yourselves together? I mean, you could have done something else.

JW: Climate change is an emergency and requires emergency measures.

GW: To bring attention to this issue–to the expansion of fracked gas here. Locking ourselves together, risking arrest….it makes people wonder why are there people out there with their hands in tubes. And then we can tell them why.

JW: Being older white people, our presence is disarming to the police; it makes them think twice about using drastic measures. I think it’s important for old bodies to be on the line for that reason if nothing else.

GW: We’re trying to change that head-in-the-sand mentality that seems to prevail out there.

What made you care so much about climate change?

JW: I came into this more from a NIMBY point of view. I discovered that Anacortes had high rate of cancers, and I wondered what was going on. Once I went down that path, I started learning more about the refineries and climate change. I got a nasty little education.

I don’t know if it would have been better to learn earlier in life, and live with that cloud over me. It comes as a bigger shock when you’re old and you believed in the American dream.

GW: – We’ve traveled a lot and been to a lot of places where the light bulb has come on at a zillion watts, seeing people who have been completely screwed over.

Jan’s first direct action, and Washington State’s first oil train blockade. Photo by @seattleactivist

Aren’t your afraid of getting cut out of the lockboxes? That part makes me nervous.

JW: I have a lot of trust. I know everyone planning these actions takes safety very seriously. The trust comes from the warmth, you feel taken care of. You know you are taken care of if you need something. The planning, the safety precautions. We’re doing our civic duty in a safe way.

GW: The lockbox didn’t bother me much to do that; I guess because I could have left anytime I wanted to as well. I didn’t have an issue unclipping.

But seriously, didn’t saws make you nervous?

JW: Is it not the saw they take casts off with? They wouldn’t take that chance–they don’t want to get sued. Does that mean we still believe in America? (laughs.)

OK – how about having to wear a diaper when locking down?

GW: I’ve only worn them once and they were fine and dandy. And they add some padding.

JW: I have to pass on this advice: you put on the diaper, then you put on the underwear. Always wear underwear over your diapers.

To something lighter – how did locking down together affect your relationship?

JW: How did co-criminality help our relationship? What a way to bond!

GW: It’s just another day in paradise.

JW: We support change agents. We’re social people. I find like-minded people. It certainly has created this little rag-tag family for us.

What makes it like family?

JW: Respect. Caring. The support you get in an action. People feeding you sandwiches, people massaging your shoulders. Trust. Honesty. I cannot imagine life without this…really. I don’t know what we’d do.

Tell readers about the Goose.

JW: It’s an RV in service to the frontlines. The night we woke up in Olympia (during the tarpee encampment on the statehouse lawn), it was 4 in the morning. The police car lights made me delirious.. red lights. Like a psychedelic disco. The cop knocked at the door. “Ma’am you’re gonna have to move the RV.” It was a little freaky.

They [cops] know exactly when to come; when your brain is asleep.

Sometimes we take the Goose to marches and the med team can work out of there. Or sometimes we have children come sit in the Goose. It’s a hospitable place for people to come in out of the cold and rain.

You’re both so wise. What advice do you have for other retirees? People who may be hesitant to join.

JW: The world is in a state of emergency … there are thing you can help fix if you want to get involved. What’s your legacy? Did you do something to help?

GW: One of the key things for older people is they don’t know what they can do to help. It can be simple things.

JW: There’s this mind switch you have to go through … Americans think you have to do something big — but it’s opposite. It’s the little things that add up.

GW: All gifts are cherished and treasured. Whether you made cookies for a meeting, locked down, or sat next to somebody who was locked down. Or you send $10/month to support the actions.

JW: This movement will give you all the challenge and all the social interactions you could ever want. My family says “she has the courage of her convictions” about me. And if you believe something is wrong, you must act with integrity toward it. I’ve always been that way and that’s why I’ve been in trouble and a troublemaker and a rebel.

You seem really happy and fulfilled being part of this movement.

JW: Gary and I have been support for each other since teenagers. Being and working with wonderful, skilled, supportive changemakers facilitates our journey to reach our highest potential.

Want to join Jan and Gary in engaging in direct action to stop new fossil fuel infrastructure from being built and to support climate justice? Sign the Pledge of Resistance today.



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From giving testimony at hearings to blockading oil trains, we work on all levels to fight for climate justice. We’re building a movement here in the region, and we need you!



Watch videos of our actions, events, members and community as we work together at all levels to safeguard our planet. 


The Science

Why 350 is the most important number in history: To protect our world from devastating climate disruption, science tells us we must stop global warming in its tracks, and justice demands it. This means holding total warming to the peak seen since the last ice age, just a little over 1°C


- Naomi Klein

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