Quit Coal Action Camp

by James Brady

July 29, 2011

Quit Coal

Apply today for the Quit Coal Action Camp, Sept. 2-5, in Sandusky, OH!

Are you as sick of coal as I am?  No, you are not because I am really, really sick of coal.  I want to work on something else besides coal.  I want to work on helping elephants.  Do you know that 100 elephants a day are murdered for Ivory?  That’s a lot of elephants.  I want to do something about that, but I can’t because of coal.  No one has time to work on anything except coal because coal is so bad that we have to stop it right now.  Even if we managed to save some elephants, they will just die of asthma from pollution from coal.  

Ok, maybe you are as sick of coal as I am, I don’t know you so I probably shouldn’t have made a blanket statement like that.  It was a pretty self-centered thing to say; I can see that now.  Still, I am awfully sick of coal.  I’m not sick from coal, as so many people are, so I shouldn’t be so whiny about it.  I am sick of people being sick from coal though but that just sounds like me whining again.

It’s not only coal, though, is it?  There’s Hydro-fracking, Mountaintop Removal Mining (for coal), Tar Sands, Pipelines, Tar Sand Pipelines, Oil Spills, Dead Krill, you get the idea.  It’s a lot.  It can be overwhelming and make me want to just not care.  Maybe you have felt this way?  

Maybe you have tried everything you can think of to get horrible, polluting industries out of your community, off your campus, away from your mountain, and out of your water?  Have you exhausted legislative remedies?  Is that crap still there?  That’s frustrating.  It would be for me anyway.  Do you want to try some new tactics?  Escalate your campaign?  Refocus the debate?  Get their attention?  Fight back?

Ok, good.  Here’s the plan:

We have made some real progress in the fight against coal.  Old, dirty plants are shutting down, new plants are being stopped, and people are more and more knowledgeable and committed to cleaning up their communities, cities, counties, and countries.  Now is the time to amp up the pressure on a national level and really get these industries to phase out their destructive, harmful, and greedy behavior.  Now is the time for us to push the envelope, do the unexpected, up the ante, and force the issue.  Yes, I like clichs.  Why all this hyperbole?  I’ll tell you why.  Climate change!  Seriously, climate change is a mess and it is not getting better.  I know this because when James Hansen, the NASA scientist, was getting arrested in West Virginia protesting Mountaintop Removal Coal Mining, he turned to me and said, “Climate change is not getting better.” So there you go.  

Greenpeace is sponsoring a Direct Action Training Camp for up to 80 activists to learn and share new skills and experiences so that we can all step up our game against extractive industries.  What is an Action Camp?  I’m glad that you asked that.  An Action Camp is where we share skills and ideas about Nonviolent Direct Action.  What is Nonviolent Direct Action?  Hmm, this is starting to be a lot of questions but I’m game, Nonviolent Direct Action is a mix of strategy, philosophy, and tactics for disrupting business as usual, confronting injustice, and throwing a spotlight on the problems we face in trying to create a just and sustainable society.  What does that mean?  Okay, seriously, focus here, people.

Participants in the Quit Coal Action Camp will learn about:

  • History and philosophy of nonviolence (like, how it worked in the past and how it can work now)
  • Direct Action strategy and planning
  • Scouting and reconnaissance
  • Blockades using people and tools
  • Getting media
  • How to talk to reporters during an action
  • Police/Media/Worker Liaisoning
  • Your legal rights and the legal process
  • Prop making and arts in action
  • And much, much more!  Well, actually not that much more because that is already a lot to cram into 4 days.  Seriously, I’ll be surprised if we even get through all that so really, nothing more.  Just that stuff I already said.

Though this camp is open to any and all activists who are fighting for the Enviroment and Justice and Enviromental Justice and any other permutation of those two words that you can think of, spaces are limited.  There are no pre-requisites for attendance but all applicants must fill out an application.  That’s obvious really, I suppose.  I mean, you can’t really be an applicant without having applied, can you?  Participants will have the option of sleeping in cabins with facilities or camping outdoors.  There is no cost to attend and all meals are provided.  What could be better than hanging out with other activists in a nifty campsite area with free food, free training, and movies?  Did I mention there will be movies?  Well, there won’t be actually.  There will be documentaries though, so that’s something.  For more details please go to http://secureusa.greenpeace.org/survey/start/378/ and apply.  Questions that have not been answered can be directed to jbrady[at]greenpeace[dot]org.  See you in Sandusky!

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