I’m in Montana at the bottom of the foothills of the Rocky Mountains. People are pouring into the “Climate Change Ground Zero Action Camp.” For the next week, we’ll be talking about how to answer the $200 Billion dollar question of how to beat the climate challenge. The coal and oil industry and most of our country’s elected officials want to invest in oil pipelines, oil refineries and coal fired power plants. We think that looks a lot like what got us into this mess in the first place so we’re honing strategies to take back our future.
Why Montana? Two reasons. First, Montana is at the center of the oil and coal bonanza lurking just on the horizon of North America. We’re camped just outside of Helena, where the Governor is pushing plans to expand four oil refineries in the state mostly in order process cheap, dirty crude oil from the Canadian Tar Sands–part of a massive nationwide push to tap into one of the biggest and most destructive industrial projects on the planet. Montana also sits on top of more coal than just about anywhere on the planet. If the Governor and his industry backers get their way, most of that coal will pulverized, burned and pumped into the atmosphere–pollution and global warming be damned.
The second reason we’re in Montana is JR Roof. JR’s spent most of his life training activists in creative campaign strategies and non-violent direct action tactics with Greenpeace. Most of the people you’ve seen hanging banners from bridges and buildings over the last 20 years probably learned some of what they know from him (or someone he that trained with him). For the last two years, he’s been based in Montana and Alberta, organizing ranchers and farmers to oppose punching a power transmisison line through some of the continent’s most pristine wilderness just North of here. He’s pulled together some of the most experienced rabble-rousers on the continent pass on non-violent direct action skills to the climate movement and “make sure that this new generation of activists has an opportunity to learn from our mistakes.”
So here we are, from Montana, Alberta, Ontario, Washington, Oregon, Idaho, Utah, California, New York and Washington, DC, passing on skills getting ready to take action for the climate. We’ll be blogging, posting interviews and photos all week.