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View of Red Lake with Ollalie Butte in the distance

Climate Change: Mankind Must Stop Destroying ‘Our Own Mystical Place’

Author: Renée Roman Nose

[Resposted from Indian Country]

Milky way galaxy over the river and dark pine forest

Plants were blooming in the middle of winter near the Cascade Mountain Range; the Iditarod had to be moved almost 300 miles from Willows to Fairbanks due to lack of snow for the mushers; and California could run out of water in a year.

These are drastic indications that things are amiss, said American Indian leaders meeting in Portland, Oregon earlier this month. To them it was obvious that climate change is already here and that collaboration is necessary in order for tribes to survive and thrive.

They gathered, spoke and strategized at the Affiliated Tribes of Northwest Indians Tribal Leaders Summit on Climate Change on March 10 and 11 in Portland, Oregon. Sponsored by the Institute for Tribal Government at Portland State University and the Department of Interior-Northwest Climate Science Center, the conference brought together tribal, federal, regional and state agencies and leaders to discuss the climate change crisis facing our world. Tribes from all over the northwest, including Idaho, Montana and Alaska, were represented and shared their concerns, and the theme that emerged was one of unity.

“Climate change is affecting the whole planet…the food and everything is out of balance,” said Shoshone-Bannock Tribes Vice-Chairman Lee Juan Tyler, addressing attendees on the second day. “We need to sit together for our future. Men are going to destroy our own mystical place if we don’t.”

The evidence was right outside the window.

The nearby peaks of the Cascades have been experiencing record low snowfall compared to past years. Some mountain areas were even devoid of snow this past winter. In Portland, bushes and flowers began blooming in late January, with some local rhododendrons bursting forth in February.

“The climate of the Northwest is changing,” says the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) website. “Over the last century, the average annual temperature rose by 1.5°F, with increases in some areas up to 4°F. Changes in snowpack, stream flows and forest cover are already occurring. Future climate change will likely continue to influence these changes. Average annual temperature in the region is projected to increase by 3-10°F by the end of the century. Winter precipitation is projected to increase while summer precipitation is projected to decrease, though precipitation projections are less certain than those related to temperature. Future climate change impacts would be compounded by pressures related to the region’s rapidly growing population.”

Farther south, California is well into its fourth year of drought. But the changes have been evident for much longer than that.

“Up in Alaska we’ve been dealing with climate issues for over 50 years,” said Dennis Katzeek, Athabascan, emphasizing the importance of trees as he urged that people take action. “Planting one tree can make all the difference to future generations. We are the stewards of the land.”

Climate change issues locally, regionally, nationally and internationally were discussed, providing additional information to attendees from the EPA, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) and the National Oceanic & Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). Also involved were a Tribal Leadership Panel consisting of Jamie Donatuto, PhD, from Swinomish; Salish Kootenai Environmental Director Mike Durglo; Kathy Lynn, Tribal Climate Change Project Coordinator for the Pacific NW Climate Change Networks, and Cornilia Rindt, Director of Ecosystem Services, among others.

The conference provided a solid foundation of expertise, experience, knowledge and ideas shared by presenters and attendees alike. Attendees posed questions and expressed great concern about climate change. Many suggested that tribes exercise sovereignty and reach out to other nations across the globe, partnering to create solutions for issues such as ocean acidification and methods of adaptation, as well as to help try and reverse climate change, or at least mitigate its effects on the planet and all her denizens.

“The summit really focused on tribal resources, tribal sovereignty and the impact of climate change on tribal communities,” said Don Sampson, Umatilla, executive director for the Institute for Tribal Government and coordinator for the ATNI Climate Change Project. “It’s not that tribes don’t believe in what’s happening. It’s not like some public citizens who say, ‘Well, it is or isn’t happening.’ [Tribes] are clear and very convinced that it’s affecting their communities today—their lifestyles, the gathering of traditional foods, their treaty-protected resources like salmon.”

Many topics were discussed, and due to the limited time, people focused on their needs. Tribes were looking for “an action plan to move forward and the resources from the federal government to do so,” as Sampson put it.

“The takeaway is we have an incredible brain trust in the northwest,” said Fawn Sharp, Quinault Tribal Chairwoman and President of ATNI. “We have some amazing tribal leadership. We have some excellent partners. So I think we have the foundational pieces to really build a very strong Northwest agenda.”

She expressed appreciation for the presence of the United South and Eastern Tribes (USET), which added to the unified effort that tribes are making to address climate issues.

“Between the West Coast and the East Coast, we are on our way to building a very strong climate change agenda for Indian country,” Sharp said. “We face a daunting future. Right now we are in a crisis—there are wildfires in Idaho, in the dead of winter. People are going to become more and more desperate for solutions. Let’s lead the way.”

The unity theme extended to the personal level, as attendees made new connections and renewed ties.

“On a personal level, I appreciated the opportunity to connect with friends and meet new people,” said Arwen Bird, Climate Boot Camp Coordinator for the NW Climate Science Center at the University of Washington, heartened by the diverse audience at this vital meeting. “It’s important for me to be with people who do not view culture as separate from natural resources. I learned a lot as I listened to people share the breadth and depth of how climate change is affecting them. I appreciate being able to hear people share from their hearts. Attending the ATNI conference generated a surge of energy and ideas that will help in planning the NW CSC’s climate boot camp.”

There was also a sense of urgency.

“We need to act on greenhouse gas, which is the real reason we have climate change and ocean acidification,” said one of the speakers, Heida Adelsman, Executive Policy Advisor for the Washington State Department of Ecology, sharing information about the Pacific Coast Climate Action Plan and the dangers posed by ocean acidification. “The time to act is now. We cannot leave it in the hands of others. Ocean acidification is an urgent issue for us on the west coast. The PCC [Pacific Coast Collaborative] leaders have demonstrated that transitioning to a low-carbon economy can create jobs and support economic growth. Engaging the tribes is something we don’t even think about, it’s something that we do.”

The youth in attendance, those under 30, were asked to stand and witness the conference as Sampson emphasized the importance of their involvement.

“I think that the next generation needs to be engaged, and they’re going to be the ones who pick this up,” Sampson said. “So, that’s kind of the long-term goal. The tribes are mobilized, they understand the spiritual connection, they can start responding … by educating their own communities, as well as educating the youth.”

Next, Sampson said, the group will compile the input received from tribal leaders at the conference, as well as information from some of the conservation organizations that attended, and craft an action plan to be adopted at the May ATNI conference in Warm Springs. That will then be forwarded to the National Congress on American Indians (NCAI), as well as to states, counties and other partners who are neighbors of tribes or may affect tribal resources, he said.

Port Westward Blockade – Donate to Sunny’s Legal Fund

Sunny & supporters rally on the courthouse steps after the hearing
Sunny & supporters rally on the courthouse steps after the hearing
Remember last fall, when Portland Rising Tide blockaded the tracks to Port Westward for over 9 hours, successfully delaying an oil train from reaching the terminal?
Well, our brave friend Sunny, who was atop the tripod blocking the tracks, was sentenced on February 18th, 2015, in the courthouse in St. Helens, OR.  For their courageous act of resistance, Sunny has been ordered to pay $1860 in fines and to perform 80 hours of community service – as if standing up to the fossil fuel industry isn’t the pinnacle of community service!
Sunny is almost finished with the coerced labor aspect of their sentencing, but we need to fundraise to help cover the legal costs of the action.  Please donate today, and indicate that you’d like your donation to go to Sunny’s legal fees.  
For the Earth!


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Portland Breakin’ Up with Fossil Fuels – City Hall Party, 2/13– Pembina Propane Export Opposed; Divestment from Fossil Fuels Demanded

IMG_0929On World Environment Day in 2013, Portland Mayor Charlie Hales declared, “The City must urge the Oregon State Treasurer, the Local Government Investment Pool, and the Oregon Investment Council to divest of all state holdings in fossil fuel.” Unfortunately a year-and-a-half has passed and the resolution has yet to come before City Council. In the meantime, the city purchased $20,000,000 in ExxonMobil bonds and is actively re-writing its own Environmental Conservation Habitat codes to accommodate a dangerous propane export terminal at the Port of Portland.

 This relationship has gone on too long. It’s time for Portland to break up with fossil fuels.

Rising Tide and 350PDX celebrated the “break up” in style.  We partied with music, flowers, and candies, and a special guest appearance by the Raging Grannies! Personalized break-up letters were sent directly to Charlie and our photo petition garnered dozens of supporters.

NW Portland Neighbors Climate Change Action Forum, Feb 10, 2015

Our Community Response to Climate Change: CHOOSING ACTION

Climate change feels like an overwhelming issue: we often feel it is so big and complex that there is nothing we can do. But we are not helpless, there are actions we can take as individuals and as a community.

Join us in a forum to learn, discuss, and share ideas.The program will include brief informational sessions on:

  • Neighborhood impacts of climate change and local actions we can take
  • Policy efforts being addressed by the legislature
  • Green investing and divestiture of fossil fuels from the investments of our families and the organizations we’re involved with

The presentations will be followed by facilitated discussions on each topic which participants can choose by interest area.

Presenters include:

  • Kari-Lyons Eubanks, Multnomah County Health Department, and McKenzie Southworth and Griselda Maria Palma, Multnomah County Office of Sustainabilit
  • Jana Gastellum, Oregon Environmental Council
  • Lenny Dee, Board Member, 350 PDX

Tuesday February 10, 2015
7:00 – 8:30 PM
Friendly House
1737 NW 26th Ave
Portland, OR

Northwest Neighbors CAN Make a Difference!

Sponsored by Portland State University and Friendly House

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Oil spill behind industrial fencing. Tank farm in the distance.

On KBOO: NW Fossil Fuel Corridor & Climate Change– February, 2015

Reposted from

NW fossil fuel corridor & climate change: citizens fight back against proposed gas export terminals

A pond full of fossil fuel muck, oil probably, surrounded by a fence. There is a tank farm in the distance. All of it is under a clear blue sky.

Program: Wednesday Talk Radio— Stream Here
Air date: Wed, 02/04/2015
Short Description: Activists from around the region discuss their efforts to shut down controversial projects
Continuing our coverage of accelerating climate change and the Fossil Fuel industries’ attempt to transform the West Coast of the U.S. and Canada into a massive export colony for the global economy.


Guests will include:

Pembina Propane terminal in Portland:
Daphne Wysham, Center for a Sustainable Economy
Bob Sallinger, Conservation Director, Audubon of Portland (not yet confirmed)
Mike Stanton, President, ILWU (not yet confirmed)

Jordan Cove Liquified Natural Gas terminal in Coos Bay & Pacific Connector Pipeline:
Francis Eatherington, Conservation Director, Cascadia Wildlands

Warrenton LNG terminal/ Oregon LNG:
Laurie Caplan, Co-chair, Columbia Pacific Common Sense

See also previous shows on the “Methane Time Bomb“and the Pembina Propane Terminal.

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Rally Against Propane Terminal at Planning and Sustainability Commission hearing

Hundreds Rally Against Proposed Propane Terminal at Planning and Sustainability Commission Hearing

Rally Against Propane Terminal at Planning and Sustainability CommissionPortland, OR – Tuesday: Hundreds gathered in a rally and packed the Planning and Sustainability Commission public hearing to show their opposition to the controversial propane terminal proposed by Pembina Pipeline Corporation. With standing room only, the Planning and Sustainability Commission had trouble accommodating the large crowd, and over 100 people signed up to testify. The meeting ended with over 2 hours left of testimony un-heard. Community members spoke to climate impacts of propane, the destruction caused by fracking, and the impact to the sensitive conservation area at the proposed terminal site.

 Community opposition and numerous unanswered questions regarding the  planned terminal caused the Planning and Sustainability Commission (PSC) to postpone their decision and schedule a second public  meeting to consider Pembina’s proposal on March 17, 2015.

Pembina Pipeline Corporation, with investments in the Canadian tar sands, wants to bring explosive liquid propane by rail to Portland for export to Asia from the Port of Portland’s Rivergate Terminal opposite West Hayden Island. This proposal will require that a pipeline be built crossing a fragile riparian area along the Columbia River which is zoned as a conservation area. Portland currently has a zoning code that prohibits the transport of hazardous materials via pipeline, like liquid propane gas (LPG), through such zones. In order for the proposal to move forward, the PSC would have to modify this zoning code. Today was the first public hearing held regarding the zoning amendment.

“The analysis of the Pembina proposal provided to the PSC fails to address many potential risks to human health, safety, and equity, now and into the future. We ask the Commission to recommend against any code changes that would allow this dangerous project to move forward,” said Regna Merritt of Oregon Physicians for Social Responsibility.

According to standard US government figures, the daily climate impact of this propane once burned would be equivalent to the daily emissions from 760,000 passenger vehicles or almost 1.5 times the number of such vehicles registered in Multnomah County in 2013. The propane is likely to be sourced from “fracked” gas and Alberta’s tar sands, the target of international protests due to the impact tar sands extraction is having on First Nations peoples and the environment. Fracking has been banned in several states due to its serious health and environmental impacts. The Pembina project is one of many projects proposed around the country that have met resistance from grassroots groups, including the Keystone XL Pipeline, coal, oil and gas terminals, and oil by rail projects.

“Using environmentally sensitive port lands to facilitate a $6 billion-a-year foreign company’s exports of a greenhouse gas pollutant originating from carbon intensive and environmentally destructive sources could not be further from Portland’s recently achieved title of ‘Climate Champion’ ” said Dr. John Talberth, President and Senior Economist with the Center for Sustainable Economy.

The International Longshore and Warehouse Union Local 8, publicly announced its opposition to the pipeline project. Mike Stanton, ILWU Local 8 president, states that “Propane exports squander the port’s potential by squeezing out rail capacity for other cargoes, including Oregon agricultural projects, containers and more. Pembina’s promise of jobs – other than a short initial construction burst – is simply false.”

The Climate Action Coalition (CAC) is calling for the rejection of the proposed propane terminal in Portland and for a moratorium on all fossil fuel infrastructure and transportation construction in Oregon.

Sponsored by Climate Action Coalition of Portland: Portland Rising Tide, Raging Grannies, 350PDX, Unitarian Universalist Community for Earth, NoKXL, PDX Bike Swarm, Sustainable Energy & Economy Network (SEEN).

[Portland Planning and Sustainability Commission will accept written testimony until March 17th. Email:psc@portlandoregon.govUSPS: 1900 SW 4th Avenue, ATTN- PSC, Portland, OR 97201]

*Thanks to Vance Walstra for the photography.

Rally against propane terminal at Planning and Sustainability Commission Hearing

Rally against propane terminal at Planning and Sustainability Commission Hearing

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Portland Mayor Hales Must Reject Proposed Propane Terminal

The following is a press release from the Climate Action Coalition:

For immediate release: December 17, 2014

Media contact: Dr. Kelly O’Hanley, Climate Action Coalition, 503-880-8844 (cell)

Adriana Voss-Andreae, M.D, PhD, 350PDX: 503-329-5302 (cell)

Rev. Kate Lore, First Unitarian Church: 503-906-6482 (cell)

Daphne Wysham, Center for Sustainable Economy: 503-657-7336; 202-510-3541 (cell)

Two weeks after the White House awarded the City of Portland and 15 other cities across the U.S. the title of “Climate Action Champion,” Oregon’s Climate Action Coalition says Portland Mayor Charlie Hales is in danger of being viewed as a “climate hypocrite” for pushing forward on a plan for a major propane export terminal in the city. Mayor Hales has expressed public support for the terminal. Yet two weeks ago, when receiving the Climate Action Champion award from President Obama, Hales stated that it is time for Portland “to think smarter, to demand more of ourselves.”

“We think the best way for Mayor Hales to think smarter about his legacy as either a climate champion or a climate hypocrite is to put an end to fossil fuel infrastructure development in the City of Portland, starting with a proposal being developed by one of the most profitable companies in the Canadian tar sands of Alberta, Pembina,” said Dr. Adriana Voss-Andreae, Chair of 350PDX.

Dr. Kelly O’Hanley, a physician with 25 years of public health experience in 37 countries, submitted comments on behalf of the Climate Action Coalition (CAC) on the proposal by Pembina Pipeline Corporation to build a propane terminal at Portland’s City Council meeting the morning of Dec. 17, 2014. The CAC, whose members include Portland Rising Tide, 350PDX, Center for Sustainable Economy, First Unitarian Church Community for Earth, Portland Raging Grannies, Portland Greenpeace Working Group and Portland Bike Swarm, is opposing the terminal both for the climate impacts this proposal would have globally and for the environmental impacts the terminal would have locally and in Alberta. The proposal calls for an initial daily shipment of 37,000 barrels of propane which, when burned, will emit some 3,601,820 tons of CO2 per year, equivalent to annual emissions from 760,000 passenger vehicles, or 1.5 times the emissions from all of the passenger vehicles registered in Multnomah County in 2013. Pembina, a Canadian fossil fuel company operating in the tar sands and elsewhere in Alberta, wants to ship dangerous liquefied propane (LPG), a byproduct of fracked oil and gas, by rail from Canada to Asia from Terminal 6 in Portland. Portland is on the verge of rolling back its environmental code along the Columbia River, including a 1989 law that prohibits the transport of hazardous materials, like LPG via pipeline through conservation zones including the critical riparian areas along the shores of the Columbia.

Propane Inside City Hall“This terminal provides yet another economic incentive to the fracking industry, while undermining an urgent need for all of us to transition to clean and safe renewable energy,” said Rev. Kate Lore, Social Justice Minister at Portland’s First Unitarian Church.

“We need Mayor Hales to be a true climate champion, not turn Portland into a magnet for dirty and dangerous fossil fuel exports,” said Daphne Wysham, Climate Policy Fellow with Center for Sustainable Economy.

At the recent Lima UN Climate Summit, every country around the world agreed to reduce their greenhouse gas emissions. President Obama has set a target of overall emissions reductions for the United States of 26-28 percent below 2005 levels by 2025. Portland’s own goal is to reduce 1990 emissions by 40% in 2030 and by 80% in 2050.

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Portland Rising Tide delivers Restraining Order to Kinder Morgan in Solidarity With Trans Mountain Tar Sands Pipeline Protestors on Burnaby Mountain, BC.  

Vancouver, WA — A group of activists with Portland Rising Tide interrupted business as usual on Monday afternoon at the Vancouver office of Kinder Morgan to deliver a ‘People’s Restraining Order’ against the company’s plans to expand the Trans Mountain tar sands pipeline in British Columbia.

WA: Climate Change Activists Target Kinder Morgan Over TMPL ExpansionA representative from Kinder Morgan’s office tried to prevent protesters from entering the office by blocking the door. He refused to receive the ‘People’s Restraining Order,’ calling the peaceful gathering a major disruption.

The proposed Trans Mountain pipeline expansion would transport oil from the Alberta tar sands, and would travel through un-ceded Musqueam, Squamish, and Selilwitulh territories in British Columbia. The Trans Mountain expansion has faced serious opposition from local residents and first nations people in Burnaby Mountain, with over 100 people arrested since early September.  On December 1st, the Burnaby community celebrated when the court ruled that Kinder Morgan could not continue to block protesters from entering the proposed expansion site where the company had been surveying and performing geotechnical drills. Kinder Morgan has plans to continue construction of the pipeline and intends to go to the Canadian National Energy Board in early 2015 to present its case for the approval of the Trans Mountain expansion pipeline.

Rising Tide is an international group with chapters in Portland and Vancouver that works to address the root causes of climate change. Portland Rising Tide opposes the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion due to its ultimate role in extracting Alberta tar sands, facilitating what many have called the most destructive industrial project on Earth.

According to Portland Rising Tide organizer, Meredith Cocks, “We are here to show Kinder Morgan that we stand in solidarity with the Burnaby residents and first nations people resisting this project. In light of the climate negotiations in Peru, continuing to allow expansion of tar sands extraction, and fossil fuel infrastructure in general, is fundamentally a disastrous route to take.”


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Black Lives Matter: Anger and protests continue


On Tuesday, November 25, the day after the grand jury decision in the Michael Brown case, Ferguson residents focused on cleaning up from a night that involved both peaceful protests as well as smashed windows, stolen goods and burned buildings.  Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon ordered additional National Guard troops into the city.  As Ferguson smoldered, massive actions continued daily in cities across the nation with thousands of participants and hundreds more arrests by all accounts.  In the next wave, activists took aim at Black Friday, turning out at top retail outlets to express outrage against a grand jury decision not to indict a police officer for killing Michael Brown, an unarmed teen. 

On Monday, December 1, thousands of people took part in Hands Up Walk Out actions as participants left their jobs and classes across the country.   This protest took place at 12:01 p.m. Central time — the time Brown was killed on August 9 — with events planned in more than 30 cities in the U.S. and abroad, according to activists.

On Saturday night in Portland, Oregon at least 400 attended the rally dubbed DON’T SHOOT PORTLAND, reports  The event was created on Facebook under the hashtag #DontShootPDX.  Portland Police met the peaceful protests with flash grenades and arrests of at least ten activists.  Saturday night’s march marked nearly a week of demonstrations, in Portland and across the nation. Monday, December 1st, was the seventh day after the decision, and #DontShootPDX was at it again on in front of Portland City Hall…more soon.

An emerging issue that has exacerbated police violence targeting communities of color is the increasing militarization of US state and local police.  And despite the US Government’s proclivity for tracking statistics of every type, there is still no reliable national registry of police shootings or victims.  The Department of Justice  Arrest-related Deaths  database includes only self-reported information from about 750 law enforcement agencies. Portland police shootings have been tracked by  Portland Cop Watch.

Demands for police accountability will continue to grow across the country.  Portland Rising Tide will continue to support non-violent direct action for racial justice and against state violence. We believe that the struggle for social justice is inextricably linked to the fight for environmental justice. We believe that capitalism, racism and patriarchy are among the root causes of social and environmental degradation.


Rising Tide North America’s statement of solidarity with Ferguson can be read  here.


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Burnaby Mountain battle: notes from the courts, the woods and 100 arrests

Mychaylo Prystupa — The Vancouver BC ObserverThe Tar Sands Reporting Project — November 30, 2014

sunday_burnaby_mountain_kinder_morgan_protest_rcmp_clashes_-_mychaylo_prystupa_-_2014-11-23_18.01.52-4_w3000_0Kinder Morgan removed its drill equipment this weekend, after several momentous weeks culminating in more than 100 arrests on Burnaby Mountain.  The stories, photos, videos and emotions were incredible.  The following is some of our reporters’ notes from the field – from the courtroom to the conservation forest – where the dramas around the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion proposal unfolded.

Our news team started seeing matters “heat up” on Burnaby Mountain in early September.  That’s when Kinder Morgan began cutting down 13 trees (the number is disputed) in the city’s conservation park on the mountain.  But its authority to do so was in question.  Burnaby’s Mayor Derek Corrigan expressly forbade the company from cutting down the trees, and said doing so was in violation of municipal bylaws.  It then began legal manouvres to try and stop the company.

Ostensibly, Texas-based Kinder Morgan, known locally as Trans Mountain (after the name of its pipeline), was seeking to do borehole testing, to see if the mountain’s geology could handle the last leg of the company’s hoped for Edmonton-to-Burnaby pipeline expansion.  Kinder Morgan is the largest pipeline company in America, and the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion in Canada is the company’s most important project on the continent, a chief executive told investors recently.

If the export pipeline is approved by the NEB and the Harper cabinet next year, construction would begin in 2016, requiring approximately 4,500 workers for it to be built.


More coverage from the Vancouver Observer on the battle for Burnaby Mountain can be found here. This article is the most recent installment from  The Tar Sands Reporting Project.

Tar Sands FAQs

Alberta Energy Regulator maps and information can be found here.


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