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Worth the wait! G20: Quit Coal $$$ Fund Climate Recovery September 30, 2009

Posted by skolmk in copenhagen, G20, tcktcktck.
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G20: Quit Coal $$$ Fund Climate RecoveryPITTSBURGH, PA 9/22/09– Activists unfurled a 30′ banner as international coal conference attendees departed for a tour of a carbon capture and sequestration test facility. The large banner read “G20: Quit Coal $$$/Fund Climate Recovery”.

The banner unfurled at 9 AM on as 20 coal conference attendees boarded the bus. A spokesperson for the coal industry tried to defend industry practices as activists held a ceremony on the sidewalk to apologize to the coal for extracting it and promise to keep it in the ground.

The activists are connecting the dots between dirty energy companies and the obstruction of the global climate and energy treaty process.

Organizers of today’s action oppose false solutions to climate change such as clean coal, industrial bio-fuels and nuclear power. Instead the group promotes truly renewable energy technologies and local solutions as part of a fair, ambitious and binding global climate treaty.

“Real solutions to climate change will support healthy communities with global agreements to reduce CO2 levels to 350 parts per million,” says Sue Massey, an activist visiting Pittsburgh to demonstrate. “Coal has absolutely no part in that process, from the destructive mining to dirty burning to the huge problems with pollution in land, air and water ways. If G20 leaders grew up with coal plants in their backyards, coal wouldn’t get any money in a global climate treaty.”

On the G20 negotiating table this week are hundreds of billions of dollars for economic recovery and climate solutions, which world leaders will bargain and haggle over. Activists fear some of that money will pad the coffers of the coal industry. The presence of the coal conference in the same city, earning the attention of government officials and policy makers is a vulgar affront to genuine progress on climate change.

The coal process has major impacts at extraction, processing, burning and waste disposal, according to the Sierra Club, the nation’s largest and oldest environmental advocacy organization. The group sites clear cutting, erosion and subsistence leading to property damage as side effects of mining, and respiratory diseases from air pollution. It cites mercury levels in breastmilk, destruction of whole ecosystems when miles of streams are covered with mine waste as water issues.

According to the Club, coal is also not the source of employment it usually claims to be. “Estimates of mining production and working coal miners show that between 1985 and 2005 mining production in the US increased 22%, while the number of coal miners decreased by about 55%.” The average income of coal miners has also declined over that period.

Today’s activists sent a bold message to the G20: it is past time to quit their addiction to coal and other destructive energy.

Check out footage of the banner drop and the press conference intervention here.


Our Calls for Climate Action Answered September 21, 2009

Posted by skolmk in copenhagen, flash mob, G20, tcktcktck.
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This morning brought big news that shook the tone and message of today’s wake-up call: Gordon Brown upped the ante by committing his attendance to the UN climate change talks in Copenhagen, being the first major head of state to do so. Luckily the Action Factory was awake early, diligently preparing ourselves for the days’ event. Our original action was planned to feature four world leaders, none of which included Prime Minister Brown, until the news broke. We excitedly shared the news amongst ourselves, and amended our action to feature just President Obama, Chancellor Merkel, and Prime Minister Brown as the world leader’s asleep on the job- but now with an added twist.

Arriving to the location of our event, I grew excited seeing three different TV stations already set up and speaking with our media. The event grew larger as time passed, with more and more reporters looking to find out what had brought so many dedicated citizens to this park corner on a Monday afternoon.At 12:10 I put on my robe and crossed the street with our version of Gordon  Brown (I wore the Merkel mask), and we met up with our President Obama and laid down in the middle of the park, snoring loudly while the world waits for international climate action. The photographers and cameras gathered around, clicking away so loudly that I wouldn’t have been able to sleep on the job even if I wanted. At 12:18 exactly the alarms sounded, and we were quickly surrounded by masses yelling “wake-up! climate action now!” Myself and the other two leaders rose to our feet, and instructed the crowd to call our Senators and our President, carrying out a literal call for strong climate action this December. We further thanked Gordon Brown for rising to this unmet challenge.

The media was as abundant as the participants, and we ended by walking to one of Pittsburgh’s historic and iconic bridges to take one last group photo. This event was covered by many media outlets including live TV broadcast which you can see here!

Our own footage of the event will be streamed in the global premier of The Age of Stupid tonight, another massive wake-up call event.

So much excitement, and to think- it’s only the beginning of the G20 week. Stay tuned and stay safe.

Sign up! Global Wakeup Call September 18, 2009

Posted by Morgan in flash mob, G20, tcktcktck.
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Global_Wake_Up_Call_Toolkit_FINAL.pdfBecause the world needs to know. “On Monday, September 21, we’re getting together in public places all round the world for “wake-up call” flashmob events pressing our leaders to take action on climate.”

Sign up now to take part in the Pittsburgh global wake up call event. And bring your alarm clocks, because we need to really wake them up!  On the corner of 7th and Penn, at the plaza, hundreds of Pittsburgh activists will converge on sleeping leaders.

At over 1500 events world-wide, people will gather in public places in flash mobs. They’ll find each other by raising their synchronized alarms in the air (12:18pm, representing 12/18, the final day of Copenhagen negotiations). And then they’ll make phone calls to heads of state telling them to wake up and get serious about climate action.

In Pittsburgh, a sleeping Obama (US), Harper (Canada), Merkel (Germany) and others will be snoozing on the sidewalk, when they’ll get the wake-up of their lives with huge alarm clocks and a chanting crowd.

Come help! They are pretty deep sleepers!

Press Advisory [PDF]: PBGH Global Wake-Up Call

Why is the “Greenest City” Silencing Green Voices? September 9, 2009

Posted by Julie in G20, Uncategorized.
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This morning, we at the action factory had an impressive showing at the National Press Club where representatives from Pittsburgh sought to explain “Why Pittsburgh” was chosen as the city for the G20 meeting that President Obama will host this September. The city officials are touting Pittsburgh’s economic revitalization and green initiatives over the last several years as an example for the world leaders to replicate elsewhere as they seek to address the global financial crisis and the global climate crisis during the G20. Yet they have been denying us climate advocates and our allies working on other issues the right to protest by not giving permits. So today we stood up and made our voices heard.

Watch video coverage on WPXI.com.

G20 Climate Protest at National Press Club

Here’s our press release:

Why is the “Greenest Sity” Silencing Green Voices?
Activists Call for Free Speech and Climate Progress at the G20

Washington, DC — Environmental advocates hoping to influence G20 climate commitments are surprised to find that Pittsburgh is showcasing its green recovery while stalling permits and planning for a major crackdown on free speech activities during the summit. To show their frustration, they twice held up banners and were subsequently escorted out during a briefing on Pittsburgh and the G20 at the National Press Club this morning. The banners read “Why is the greenest city silencing green voices?”

The Pittsburgh meeting is the G20 leaders’ last chance to make progress on climate change policy before the expected deal at the UN talks in Copenhagen this December. President Obama has asked finance ministers to bring climate finance proposals, but negotiations are gridlocked. The stakes are high, and climate advocates intend to be part of the conversation by encouraging the G20 to be ambitious in creating a just and sustainable future.

And yet, the efforts of climate activists have thus far been thwarted and their first amendment rights denied along with other groups organizing free speech activities in Pittsburgh. Many groups, including the Three Rivers Climate Convergence and the Thomas Merton Center for Peace and Social Justice are still awaiting permits to hold peaceful marches and demonstrations.

While city officials and the secret secret service have failed to grant permits, the Pittsburgh City Council is considering legislation that would criminalize costumes, props, and signs and authorize police to arrest protesters based on suspected “intent” to disobey police orders. Parts of downtown will be heavily militarized under the $18 million security plan, severely limiting those hoping to have their voices heard.

“I find it ironic that peaceful climate activists working to influence the international climate agenda would be denied free speech in a city trying to tout it’s environmental credentials,” says Julie Erickson, a climate change fellow with Avaaz.org, “Pittsburgh isn’t quite as ‘green’ a city as officials claim.”

Pittsburgh is not only failing to encourage good environmental decisions at the international level during the G20. The city’s own air quality has repeatedly ranked worst in the nation and southwestern Pennsylvania is also home to dirty coal mining operations that destroy homes, pollute water sources, and fracture communities.

As G20 leaders prepare for the Pittsburgh summit, Climate activists and other organizers remain intent on making their voices heard. “We’ve got to show the G20 that it’s time for a global climate treaty that puts people’s needs over corporations’ profits.” says Morgan Goodwin, another organizer with Avaaz.org. “We are focused on making clear our demand for a global economy that is sustainable for all people and the planet; we just wish that Pittsburgh city officials were more on our side.”

See G20Media.org for more info on preparations for the summit.

Our Voice at the G20: Free speech with the volume muted September 3, 2009

Posted by Morgan in G20.
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pittsummit_iconIn 3 weeks, 18 of the most powerful men and 2 of the most powerful women in the world will meet in Pittsburgh for the G20 summit.  Their combined voices will direct hundreds of billions of dollars, set policy and effect not only the residents of their countries, but all 6.7 billion of us.  They have a pretty loud voice.

The rest of us are working to amplify our voice to call for a bold global climate treaty, and end to current wars, and more money for human needs.  In order to raise that voice, activists need to use all the tools at their disposal, and exercise their full 1st amendment rights.  Those rights are under attack right now from the City of Pittsburgh and the powers above their heads.

  1. No permits for any demonstrations, marches or events of any kind have been granted. The only permit issued so far is to the police to camp (military encampment?) at Point State Park – Pittsburgh’s iconic downtown green space.
  2. Proposed ordinances 1708 and 1709 which criminalize intent when carrying certain materials or wearing masks. link
  3. The city recently passed a resolution for a $19 million security budget ($0 for amenities for visiting demonstrators, $0 for local failing schools, underfunded public health programs, etc.) and is bringing in 3,100 extra police officers. link
  4. The secret service has yet to announce what the security perimeter will be. The 64+ hour perimiter is rumored to shut-down all of downtown, including all bridges and public transportation.  But the details are unknown.  Delaying with the details is an impediment to the planning of peaceful protests, thereby decreasing the volume of our free speech. (more…)