Global temperatures are rising; literally, figuratively, anyway you spin it.
Despite the desperate cheerleading of economists and Wall Street pundits, despite the cheap credit of suppressed interest rates and the ingenious accounting gimmicks of the big banks, the veneer of financial stability is wearing thin as the consumptive economic model that demands everlasting growth meets with the reality of diminishing natural resources. The cheap oil that made the model possible is now only a distant memory in a bygone century. The water and arable land that civilization is founded upon are stretched to their limits.
It is this bleak backdrop that explains the emergence of recessionary economics in Europe, the slow down in Asia, and violence and revolution in the Mideast and across Africa. It is the same setting in which the story of an increasingly authoritarian and unequal United States unfolds before our eyes. The world is on edge, and you can sense the twist in the plot approaching, but if you're like me, it's a complete mystery how things will proceed.
Complicating the treacherous planet wide socio-politico-economic situation is the increasingly disruptive and warming climate. This is the crucible of our moment. Under the pressure of failing economies, governments and ecosystems, what will happen?
In Turkey, trees in Gezi Park were the symbol that brought this simmering narrative to its climax. I expect something similar here as the #FearlessSummer is about to get hot and 350.org's Summer Heat project is ready to fan the flames.
Fearless Summer is a campaign of resistance to the fossil fuel industry that will unite dozens of protests, acts of civil disobedience, and rallies to oppose fracking, mountaintop removal, and the Keystone XL Pipeline. A coalition of more than 50 organizations is organizing these efforts that will get underway next week with at least 16 dramatic actions, including in:
- Texas: A series of actions focused on TD Bank, one of the financiers of the Keystone XL tar sands pipeline.
- West Virginia: Actions against impacts of coal mining and a march from the Office of Surface Mining to the Governor's Office demanding enforcement of laws that protect communities and the environment.
- Montana: A rally in Missoula to protest the Otter Creek Coal Mine
- Utah: A family camp and protest on the site of the first proposed US tar sands mine
- Washington, DC: A rally against tar sands at the Canadian Embassy
- and more ...
For a complete list of actions and information on how to get involved, keep an eye out at: wearefearlesssummer.org
Actions will continue throughout the summer, including during "Summer Heat," a series of mass civil disobedience protests being organized during the final two weeks of July that will "take on the fossil fuel industry on all fronts. Focusing on the hottest weeks of the year at the end of July, people across the country are challenging fossil fuel infrastructure in their back yards, and demanding real solutions for people who have already felt the sting of climate change."
The scale and intensity of the resistance to the fossil fuel industry's extreme energy projects represents a new phase for the environmental movement that must match the growing threat this rogue industry represents. #FearlessSummer and "Summer Heat" will unite individual fights and tell the story of this growing movement to protect communities and the planet.
Somewhere in that story, the United States will be introduced to its own Gezi Park. This summer represents an escalation in the growing climate movement. From the White House sit-ins against the Keystone XL pipeline to the ongoing direct action against fracking, mountaintop removal, and the southern leg of Keystone XL, over the last year both grassroots groups and mainstream environmental organizations have turned to direct action and civil disobedience as a way to challenge the fossil fuel industry. Just like Gezi, expect this environmental spark to grow into something much more, because the struggle to preserve the planet is part of the struggle of every fight for justice.
Will you be there? It's an open call for citizens across the country to take action in defense of their communities. These are truly grassroots phenomena, not funded or orchestrated by any one organization. Refusing to trade one communities' suffering for another, the organizations endorsing Fearless Summer and Summer Heat are coming together to resist any form of energy that destroys people's health and communities. You are invited to stretch the term "energy that destroys people's health" as far as you need to in order to get out into the street with your neighbors.
Follow Abel Collins on Twitter: www.twitter.com/be1Collins