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The Fight Continues


24 activists were detained last Monday, after blockading the departure of the Polar Pioneer for Alaska. Carlo & Emily were among those detained, as were 10 other local activists (including our dear friend, Council Member Mike O’Brien), as well as a dozen Greenpeace activists who joined us from farther afield. Lisa Marcus, Michael Foster, and many other 350 Seattle folks were also on the water, along with dozens supporting the kayakers on land. We’re deeply grateful that so many of you that gave so much of yourselves in the days and weeks leading up to Monday’s action.

Watching the rig depart was heartbreaking; we thought we’d be able to hold them off for longer, but the tugs were much too aggressive. The whole campaign has been a real success, though, as well as a deeply heartening example of what needs to happen worldwide–with groups large and small jumping in and finding ways to work together to fight the monster projects that could doom the climate (and, not so incidentally, us). We are deeply grateful for the vision, leadership, resolve, and compassion of our allies: the Backbone Campaign, The Other 98%, Bayan, Idle No More, Rising Tide, the Raging Grannies, the other ShellNo Action Coalition groups…and, of course, Greenpeace, the staff of which has as much experience in these fights as anyone; their expertise, openness, and commitment were essential. Working so intensely with amazing people from near and far was an incredible experience: Shell has no idea what a movement it has wrought here.

We’ve been incredibly successful in our quest to put the issue of Arctic drilling in the public eye; I suspect that we’ve increased the number of people who know about the Nature study (indicating that there’s no level of safe Arctic drilling, if we want even a 50% chance of avoiding catastrophic warming) by an order of magnitude, and we’ve given them a human-sized image of hope and defiance that was an unforgettable metaphor for the David-and-Goliath fight that we’re in, both against the fossil fuel companies and against climate change itself.

And the fight is by no means over. Several local groups (including 350 Seattle) will soon be sending a letter to the Governor, Mayor, King County Executive, and City Council, urging them to use the full extent of their powers to fight Shell’s return. Together, they’ve done a great deal of good work on climate issues; we need them to show that spirit and more in the fight agains Shell. Some of the same people are also in conversation with the Port of Tacoma, trying to make it clear that Shell’s business isn’t worth the trouble it would cause them, if we win here. We also intend to slow the departure of the Noble Discoverer from Everett in the coming days…and we need to keep up the drumbeat of communications in the media and in social media, to make sure this issue stays in the public eye: only then can we hope that federal and global political leaders will begin to catch up to we-the-people, and ban Arctic drilling forever.

Many of you were incredibly dedicated in this fight, and we are profoundly grateful–you came to meetings that seemed to happen every day for weeks on end, you volunteered to haul kayaks or make art, you showed up at pickets and demonstrations of all kinds, and you chimed in with fabulous ideas and important concerns, which you then took responsibility for realizing, or helping to solve. We couldn’t have done it without you–all of you.

Many of you have asked how you can help support 350 Seattle’s ongoing battles against Shell and all our other important work: please use this link. As you may know from our one appeal back in February, we’re trying to build a base of support so that six people on our leadership team can get paid for a day or two a week; getting grants is a slow process, and meanwhile, some of us have been working six or seven days a week on this fight for months now. We deeply appreciate anything you can do.

Several people have specifically wanted to defray our Coast Guard fines. To donate to the legal support fund, please go here; the Shell No Action Council (SNAC) is managing this fund as a support for anti-Shell work citywide (and eventually for other climate actions as well). Doing this all-for-one-and-one-for-all means that people who engage as individuals can still be covered, as can marginalized groups that might have a harder time raising money. We know it’s a little confusing to have two different links for donations, but the existence of the SNAC legal defense fund is a pretty exciting thing, so we can’t resist pointing you there even though we really need your support, too.

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