Proud of Portland

I don’t often do political posts here at the blog, but I am so very, very proud of these activist ‘kids’ that I felt compelled to post this:

shell_greenpeace_portland_blockadia_ap_img 2

Of course Shell oil ultimately won this skirmish, but these activists held up the ship headed to Shell’s Arctic oil-drilling effort for 36 hours. Some dangled from a bridge over the Willamette River while kayaks attempted to block access from on the river. Here’s a link if you want to read more details.

There may be times when we are powerless to prevent injustice, but there must never be a time when we fail to protest. 
Elie Wiesel

Not sure how this will work, but here’s an addendum from a new reporter at the Portland newspaper The Oregonian: If the Rachel Maddow segment comes through with a link to it, it’s well worth watching.

Here is the update that I promised all of you last night. I’m sharing with you a clip of the Rachel Maddow Show describing our efforts to block Shell Oil’s icebreaker ship, the Fennica, from reaching the Arctic for as long as possible. At 14:04 in the video Rachel interviews Oregonian reporter Jessica Greif who very accurately describes something that happened to me: the police and coast guard pulling activists out of their kayaks and into their ships for detainment or arrest when they wouldn’t stop trying to block the ship.
I was one of those activists who refused to move out of the way of shell’s ship and was physically pulled out of the water. I was sure that I was going to be arrested. Instead I was detained, along with six others, by the U.S. Coast Guard and released with no charges.
We were lucky. Many of our fellow peaceful protesters were arrested and we are now trying to raise money to help them with the legal fees and charges. Please, please consider donating whatever amount you can (big or small) to help the people who literally risked their safety to save our futures. Many of you offered to help me pay for bail should I have been arrested and it meant the world to me to have your support. Please consider helping my kayactivist friends instead. Donate here: https://portlandrisingtide.org/donate/
Global climate change is arguably the biggest issue of our time and it was an honor and a pleasure to be able to do something large and spectacular about it. THERE ARE SO MANY WAYS THAT YOU AND I CAN CONTINUE TO ADDRESS THIS ISSUE. (In no particular order.)
1. Call or write Senator Merkley and thank him for leading the call on the White House to rescind shell oil company’s arctic permit.
2. Stop buying from Shell.
(I realize that the other oil companies are awful as well, but by making the switch to a different oil company we can send all of them a very clear message: that we are fed up with the destruction and devastation caused by their actions.)
3. Ride your bike to work! Use public transportation! Reduce the amount of trips you make to the gas station all together. Your investment will speak volumes when combined and multiplied with all of our actions
4. Sign petitions: http://tiny.cc/lu190x
5. Remember the actions of the various elected officials in our area who stood against the people of Portland on this issue and be sure to vote against them in the coming elections.
Jessica Greif, reporter for The Oregonian, talks with Rachel Maddow about the dramatic, and physically dangerous confrontation between protesters in kayaks and…
(sorry, but the youtube link starts out with an ad)
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22 thoughts on “Proud of Portland

  1. Thanks Gunta – of course we saw plenty of news coverage up here, too, and I have to confess that I kept wondering about how they were peeing…but anyway, yes, good for them – a great spectacle, which was good for getting the word out. You just have to keep doing it.

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  2. I am so encouraged these days by the number of people who are turning from apathy to activism. I know there are always the activists at the forefront, but they can only carry on with support. It is as if people are waking up to the lies being sold them and demanding a better future – or even a future at all

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    • I believe the media plays a role in the perception that there isn’t much activism. There are plenty of folks out there trying to make a difference, but it seems the media is far more interested in some flaky starlet making a fool of herself or the circus that has become our political process these days. I’m surprised that this Greenpeace action was covered at all. If you watch the Maddow news clip (I think I fixed the link below the image at the end of the post) it goes into quite a bit of detail of how this was done and also how it actually made a difference. Something I hadn’t considered is what a narrow window of opportunity there is to drill up there in the Arctic because of the short “summer”.

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  3. Thanks not just for posting this but for using the Elie Wiesel quote to put it in context. It’s so easy to get discouraged. We have to stop expecting to win every battle. Or even any battle. We need to do what we can and trust that in the long run it will make a difference.

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    • Honestly, I couldn’t keep from posting this. It just gave me such a lift. The thought that these brave and idealistic folks risked life, limb and arrest and actually shut down Shell for nearly 40 hours. If you watched the Maddow show clip (I fixed the link), it gets into the nitty gritty details of what happened and why those 40 hours were so important. In short, much of it having to do with the narrow window of opportunity to drill in the Arctic. They can’t drill without that ship being on site. If I didn’t live a five hour drive from Portland, I might have considered being out there as one of the kayakers.

      There are times when I get discouraged with the way the fascists have been taking over, but I need to print out that quote for inspiration. It pretty much sums things up. Or as one of my t-shirts says: “Democracy is not a spectator sport!” 😀

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  4. Thanks for your post, Gunta. I received frequent updates via my Greenpeace membership. Kudos to the activists who did what they could to delay the ship.

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  5. Great post, Gunta. Big oil companies, corporates, they’re not easy to beat; but we’ve got to start somewhere and speak up, and how grateful I am to the courage and strength of those folks who speak for us. Great quote too.

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