An Invitation From People V. Fossil Fuels

Above Photo: Hundreds gathered at the Capitol to protest the pipeline. Maria Alejandra Cardona / MPR News.

We, the undersigned, come from the trenches in the fight against fossil fuels. From fracking sites and oil wells, to pipelines and refineries, to plastic plants and more, we are impacted Indigenous, Brown, Black, and low-income communities living on the frontlines of this climate emergency. Over the years we have written thousands of messages to politicians, attended countless hearings, testified hundreds of times, and have placed our bodies on the line when needed, all the while our government continues to ignore the science and Indigenous traditional ecological knowledge and steers us toward climate catastrophe.

We have everything to lose and no time to wait. President Biden promised to address the climate emergency and a history of environmental injustice, but so far, his administration continues to allow the fossil fuel industry to poison our communities and desolate our Mother Earth. The President could stop dangerous fossil fuel projects like the Line 3 pipeline and Formosa Plastics plant with a stroke of his pen, but his inaction is continuing widespread environmental injustice and the violation of Indigenous rights and rights of nature. We will hold Biden to his “Justice 40” initiative; we expect him to help stop the destruction of fenceline communities, homelands and neighborhoods by the fossil fuel industry, and demand equity, restorative justice actions for the same.

We are asking you to stand with us. As representatives of communities who have carried the brunt of the harm from fossil fuels for generations, we ask you to join us in solidarity—and risk arrest—in Washington DC, October 11-15, 2021, as part of Build Back Fossil Free’s People vs Fossil Fuels Week of Action.

We will be going to Washington DC, to the White House itself, to send a clear message: “President Biden, in light of the upcoming COP26 United Nations climate summit, you cannot claim to be a climate leader when you are still supporting fossil fuels. Stand with frontline communities, stand with future generations, stop approving fossil fuel projects, declare a climate emergency now.”

The UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC)’s 2021 report led by hundreds of scientists once again made it unmistakably clear: Climate change is here, it’s a crisis, and it’s caused by fossil fuels. The report tells us that the window to stop irreversible harm to all life on Earth is closing while Congress wastes time bickering over baby steps.

If we don’t stand together now, no matter where we live, all of us —you, your children and grandchildren will all eventually live in sacrifice zones of drought, record temperatures, wildland fires, hurricanes, floods, food shortages, pandemics and more. Transitioning away from fossil fuels cannot be put off any longer—we can either come together as a species now, or make this planet uninhabitable for the foreseeable future.

We know that participating in People vs Fossil Fuels is a big request. This would be a sacrifice of time, money, energy and freedom, and all under the shadow of a resurgence of COVID-19 cases. But we also know the despair many of you feel, the anxiety of this moment, seeing environmental devastation and human rights abuses around you, but not knowing how to help.

If you have ever marched, rallied, called your representatives, lobbied, signed petitions to urge governmental leaders to act — we call on you to take the next step. Nonviolent civil disobedience is a time-tested tactic for change. Every movement for change—from suffragettes to the Civil Rights movement, has proven that the defining moments are those where people are willing to risk arrest.

If we all come together, put our bodies on the line in the name of climate justice, we may be able to change the course of history. Please consider joining us on October 11-15 for one day, for the entire week, or for whatever time you can offer.

In solidarity for the protection of Mother Earth and the next seven generations of life,

Dawn Goodwin, RISE Coalition, Stop Line 3

Taysha Martineau, Camp Migizi, Stop Line 3

Winona LaDuke, Honor the Earth, Stop Line 3

Sharon Lavigne, Founder, RISE St. James

John Beard, Jr., Founder and CEO of the Port Arthur Community Action Network

Joye Braun, National Pipelines Organizer with Indigenous Environmental Network

Juan Mancias, Carrizo Comecrudo Tribe of Texas

Tasina Sapa Win Smith, Cheyenne River Grassroots Collective

Siqiniq Maupin, Sovereign Inupiat for a Living Arctic

Crystal Cavalier, Stop MVP Pipeline Organizer

Pueblo Action Alliance Leadership, Tewa Territories

Casey Camp-Horinek, Environmental Ambassador, Ponca Nation of Oklahoma

Cesar Aguirre, Central California Environmental Justice Network

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