Forty Lopezians attended one or more days of the recent Break Free actions in Anacortes, making our group the largest to attend from the San Juans. This event was one of many world-wide during the month of May to galvanize global attention on the urgency of holding climate disruption dangers in check by keeping remaining fossil fuel reserves in the ground.
Liz Lafferty, Kim Foley, Life Has Meaning and Kai Sanburn arrived on Friday, May 13th and participated in the evening flotilla of kayaks with luminarias. Liz and Kim reported on the ethereal beauty of the event and the positive feeling of cameraderie among the boaters.
Being in the right place at the right time, Liz was interviewed for a news piece filmed by 3 Monkey Productions out of Seattle which was aired on Democracy Now with Amy Goodman. You can watch the five minute snippet here: http://www.3monkeyproductions.org/2016/05/16/democracy-now-coverage-of-break-free-actions-may-14-15-2016/
On Saturday, the larger group arrived on foot and via carpools and bike, assembling at the March’s Point Park & Ride for the Indigenous Day three mile march up the peninsula past the Shell and Tesoro refineries.
Transition Lopez Island and allies carried signs, banners, and drums crafted at the Break Free Lopez Party the week before.
At the tip of the peninsula, we were hosted by the Swinomish Tribe who had invited other Coast Salish peoples to stand in solidarity with the triple themes of breaking free from reliance on fossil fuels, supporting a just transition for fossil fuel industry workers, and demanding development of clean, renewable energy sources. When Lummi Master Carver Jewell James got up to speak about the tribe’s recent defeat of the Cherry Point Coal Terminal, the largest coal port ever proposed in North America, the crowd spontaneously erupted into a standing ovation.
Arriving back in Anacortes after the march, a huge crowd descended on the Transit Shed for a salmon BBQ, also courtesy of the Swinomish, and an inspiring evening program of music and talk, at which attendees were privileged to hear Jill Stein, presidential candidate for the Green Party, speak for the second time that day.
Later, we heard that, hours before, over 150 people had set up camp on the railroad tracks leading to the refineries and successfully blocked oil-laden trains from making their deliveries before 52 of them were arrested the following day.
The mass actions promised for Sunday never actually materialized, although many Lopezians, including Kai, Kim, Liz, Colin Doherty, Ron Metcalf, David Bill, Faith Van De Putte, Eric Hall, Elf Fay, and others were prepared to participate. Many thanks to Colin for transporting multiple kayaks and training people beforehand.
Throughout the weekend, as part of the “People’s Climate Conference,” various organizations staffed booths and led informational sessions and discussions at the Transit Shed.
In the end, I think everyone would agree that it was worth the immense effort to organize logistics to make this weekend of peaceful, focused action happen. In the words of Seattle climate activist Anne Miller:
Taking action is a way to say to yourself and others that you believe that things can change. Taking action is an acknowledgement that all children deserve clean air, clean water, food that is safe to eat and wilderness left to explore. Taking action is a way to choose hope.
Profound thanks to Steve Horn and Scott Finley for their generous sharing of Break Free photos.