Sunday, March 24, 2013

What Has Occupy Done For the Environment?

I woke up this morning with one thought on my mind:

What is the Occupy movement doing, right now, in terms of the environment?

I know, I know... not exactly your standard first-thought-of-the-morning.  In my defense, however, thought number 2 was a bit more normal:

Where's my coffee?!
drawing of steaming coffee in a tan colored mug
Ahhh... there it is...

After answering thought number 2 with a nice mug full of fair trade, dark roast coffee, I went to discover the answer to thought number 1.  I mean, what exactly has the Occupy movement been doing in regard to the environment?

It turns out, a lot.

According to, roughly one year ago the Occupy movement held an Occupy Earth Day in order to call attention to the fact that the government only listens to the needs of the largest corporate entities, ignoring the cries from everyone else to reduce pollution and create alternative energy sources.

The Occupy movement's call to action began with a call to
"Disrupt the business of pollution : A day of global direct action to disrupt and expose the dirty business as usual and its political supporters. We will occupy corrupt polluters, politicians and front groups like Duke Energy, ExxonMobil, BP, Shell, the American Petroleum Institute, through a diversity of creative actions on a local level." (source)
on March 23rd, no doubt to coincide with Earth Hour, then called for a continuing campaign from March 24th, in which a rally would take place, until April 22nd, Earth Day.

And that was just a year ago.  Occupy is still going strong.

Occupy has been involved in the struggle to stop fracking.  A rally was held in Denver, Colorado in May 2012, and others were held in January and February 2013 in Albany, New York.

Indeed, fracking has gotten quite a bit of attention from Occupy. Occupy the Pipeline is the direct descendant of the New York movements, and became a way to call for an end to the Spectra pipeline construction.  It grew into a fight against all pipeline construction that directly threatens the environment.

And it's proving itself quite effective in Pennsylvania... 

(Full Article from the Times Herald-Record)
The Pike County Chamber of Commerce's "Third Thursday" breakfast seminar scheduled for March 21 was canceled after the chamber was told that protesters would target the event.
The seminar topic was "Gas Lines in Pike County: Understanding the Needs, Pressure and Strategy of Locating Gas Lines." The guest speaker was to be Allen Fore, director of public affairs for Kinder Morgan Corp., which owns the Tennessee Gas Pipeline.
The chamber has been receiving notifications that individuals and groups of people will be targeting the seminar to "heckle" the speaker, have a "huge picket line" and to "show him (the speaker) that he is not welcome," according to a press release from the chamber.
"For the safety and protection of our guests, the speaker and the staff, we feel it is in the best interest of all involved to reschedule this seminar," the chamber statement said.
The Pike County Chamber of Commerce presents seminars for area business people on a variety of subjects. Recent seminars have covered subjects such as Obamacare, public relations training, and how to market a business on a limited budget.
"It is not the Chamber's intention to be used as an 'occupy' site for the benefit of any particular partisan belief," the release said. "The Chamber strongly believes that everyone has the right to demonstrate. However, we are afraid of having our private breakfast program disrupted; even more, putting people in jeopardy."
"We are sorry for any inconvenience this may have caused for the speaker Allen Fore, Kinder Morgan and any of the attendees who wanted to be educated to better understand about the gas lines," said Michael J. Sullivan, the chamber's executive director. "The chamber regrets that it must take this action."
For more information, or questions about future "Third Thursday" seminars, call Sullivan at 570-296-8700 or visit (source)
It appears that neither the county government nor the reporter were particularly supportive of the Occupy movement, which is too bad.  Being able to get an idea of what each side of an issue believes is central to complete understanding.

That happened just a few days ago, and it happened because people were willing to band together and peacefully protest something that directly opposes their health and well-being.

While the powers that be may have been worried about any inconvenience to the Director of Public Affairs of a multimillion dollar corporation, these protesters were hard at work, protecting their community.

And that's awesome.

This is only the beginning.  There's so much more.  What has Occupy done for the environment in your area?  Look into it.  They've probably done more than you think.

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