Greenpeace activists project messages in Portland, Oregon, Nov. 2, 2013, in protest against proposed coal export terminals. Greenpeace is working with residents and coalition partners to defeat proposals to export Powder River Basin coal from Columbia River ports. Photo by Natalie Behring/Greenpeace
One of the fiercest fights to stop climate change in the United States is happening right now in the Pacific Northwest, where community members are battling new coal export terminals.
Greenpeaces flagship, the Rainbow Warrior, sailed up the Columbia River to Vancouver, Washington last week to support the work of these determined activists.
The grassroots effort to stop coal export terminals in Oregon and Washington is a key piece of a global movement to end the age of coal. Thats why we took to the streets of Portland, to project words and images that amplified the voice of the people.
Coal terminal proponents like Ambre Energy, Peabody, and Arch are peddling the mythology that China, Japan, and Korea are hungry for US coal, and worse yet, that exporting one of the dirtiest fuels on the planet is an act of global charity to citizens of emerging economies. Of course, this is a gross fabrication.
Activists across the globe are tackling the coal industry in their backyard, from community members in Australia resisting massive coal export expansion plans to Chinese residents and scientists pushing for clean air policies in the wake of an air pollution crisis.
Greenpeace partnered with the Illuminator, an artist collective, using a technology called the peoples pad that projected real time drawings from local activists.
We projected images of the true environmental and public health costs of coal, and the people who are standing up for a better future.
Activists from the other side of the world shared personal testimonials about why they are standing up to the coal industry.
And we shared our message in 8 foot letters on the Burnside bridge.
Coal companies will continue to spend big money trying to convince elected officials that the export terminals are in the public's best interest. We will continue to amplify the true story of the global movement to end coal.
Kelly Mitchell is the Energy Campaign Director for Greenpeace, based in Chicago. Since 2006, she has worked with activists and organizations across the country to confront corporate polluters and transform U.S. energy policy. She currently leads Greenpeace's campaign for an economy powered by 100 percent renewable energy, pushing some of the largest companies in the world to embrace wind and solar and working alongside communities to develop a just and democratic energy system.