Reflections on Refugio

If you don’t want to read this long piece please sign these two petitions!

1. Santa Barbara City Council: Divest Now.

2. Governor Brown: Ban Fracking Now.

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The oil spill happened, but you already knew that! We’re mad and sad and we’re organizing. What did you expect!

Why We Exist As 350 Santa Barbara

Part of our goal 2 ½ years ago in forming this group was to bring more fire to the community with a particular emphasis on climate justice.

Becca had read Bill McKibben’s Terrifying New Math article, and Colin and I had just got back from an intensive direct action training with Tar Sands Blockade in Houston, Texas. We each agreed that the environmental community here was much too sleepy for how serious the climate crisis is. We wanted to wake people up by bringing some grassroots take-it-to-the-streets energy, so we did!

Admittedly, we came off at times as as needlessly oppositional. I showed up to a county planner’s commission meeting dressed up as Darth Vader, pretending to be in support of an extraction project because it was “evil.” On my speaking slip I wrote that my name was “Darth Fracker.” Silly I know, but the point was to “rock the boat” of the “don’t rock the boat” culture here through humor and creativity.

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We brought a lot of energy to a lot of events, such as the Climate Rally on July 27, 2013 and the Draw The Line rally we had on September 21, 2013. This is where our now famous 90 foot pipeline was born, which has been featured in the New York Times, and has been used at multiple rallies in California.

Santa Barbara Draws the Line with a 90' Pipeline!

Santa Barbara Draws the Line with a 90′ Pipeline!

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We attempted to educate the community about climate change being a social justice issue that impacts some people more than others on the global scale.

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And of course, we helped form a coalition called the Santa Barbara County Water Guardians, which took on Big Oil directly through a ballot initiative that tried to ban extreme oil extraction in our county.

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Chevron and their buddies spent over $8 million to defeat the fracking ban, outspending Water Guardians 20-1, resulting in a pretty bad loss. Alas, the most carbon intensive form of oil extraction in the world lives on in Santa Barbara County (cyclic steam injection, AKA steam fracking).

But the war on extreme extraction in California has really just begun. In February we helped get 2 buses full of people from Ventura and Santa Barbara counties to Oakland to demand Governor Brown ban fracking. That was the biggest climate march California has ever seen, and it was led by our indigenous brothers and sisters at the frontlines of this global crisis. We were 8,000 people strong, and we had a great time up there.

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Governor Brown will cave in to our demands eventually, and every signature on this petition helps — so please sign.  

In between then and now, Becca was hired by Food and Water Watch to continue efforts to ban the most extreme forms of energy extraction. She was even hired as a consultant with the World Business Academy to bring 100% energy solutions to the community. Colin has been working on GIS mapping projects linking the spatial and racial relationships between oil and gas development sites and proximity to schools. I’ve been mostly working on my graduate program to become a mental health professional and working two jobs, so I haven’t had as much time available to dedicate to this work…

But then…

The Horrible, Horrible Oil Spill

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You probably know the details by now…

Over 105,000 barrels of crude oil mixed with Benzene and other dangerous chemicals ruptured out of a pipeline owned by Plains All American on May 19, 2015. It has been killing marine life daily, from SB to LA.

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Some people in the community got out to the Gaviota coast in a totally volunteer, DIY capacity and started cleaning up. Some of them, who did work to stop the gang injunction in Santa Barbara last year, started their own new group called End Oil Now. They got national news!  

Some who were impacted by the 2010 BP spill in Louisiana wrote this open letter to them to warn them of the health effects of handling oil.  

Divestment activists in the Bay Area then brought to my attention the fact that the retirement funds our city relies on have over $100,000,000 invested directly in Plains All American! In total, the state retirement funds CalPERS, CalSTRS and the UC Pension System have over $500 billion invested in dirty energy companies. So I decided to replace the time I had been spending ocean swimming (giving that up for a while) to rekindle the city divestment conversation.  

So city council members… can you pass a resolution urging the state retirement funds our city relies on to divest? (Sign the petition here.)

Thanks if you came out to the ultra-positive #standinthesand rally last Sunday and, lots of respect if you instead chose the American Indian Movement healing ceremony at the Mission denouncing Junipero Serra at the same time. It’s too bad when important events conflict like that…

And……….. as always…………….. onward!!

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Max
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350 Santa Barbara

Rally Success!

Noozhawk published this article about us!


Above: Katie davis speaking about “California’s Keystone XL” at Santa Barbara County’s first ever climate rally. Photo by Sophia Billikopf.

Santa Barbara County’s First Ever Climate Rally A Success!

As part of climate change advocacy group 350.org’s nationwide mass action campaign “Summer Heat,” more than 100 citizens rallied at Linden Field in Carpinteria on Saturday to call on local, state and federal representatives for more urgent action on climate change.

Cyclists rode to the rally from Bici Centro, a volunteer-run bike repair shop on 506 E. Haley St. in Santa Barbara, wearing homemade messages opposing the fossil fuel industry safety-pinned to their shirts. Some cyclists even rode in from Ojai.

“We want to show the need for a larger voice of opposition to the fossil fuel industry as well as an outcry to politicians to start doing the right thing,” said ride organizer and Bici Centro member Alex Favacho.

“We have the ingenuity, the technology, the know-how and the capability to make a rapid shift from fossil fuels to renewable energy,” said Katie Davis, a graduate of Al Gore’s Climate Reality Project training. “All we need is the will.”

Referring to the Monterey Shale Formation stretching from the central coast to Los Angeles, Davis said “it’s just as dirty as the tar sands of Canada because shale oil can only be extracted by energy processes such as fracking, breaking up the rock with water and chemicals. About 15 billion barrels of oil. That’s as much as would flow through the Keystone XL Pipeline if constructed.

“If we go that route, rather than being part of the solution, our children will not be able to reverse the devastation we are setting in motion.”

Entrepreneur John Reed of ChannelWind.org delivered a speech reminding people of the abundant offshore wind energy in our region and about the forward progress in offshore wind development already happening along other coasts in the nation. He and others are looking for more local college research and wealthy investors to get behind an offshore floating wind farm. It could potentially provide 33 percent of the electricity that the 900,000 people in our California Senate District 19 demand using only 103 six mega-watt floating wind turbines.

Nathan Alley, attorney with the Environmental Defense Center, spoke about a number of new proposed oil projects in the area including Santa Maria Energy’s proposal to build 136 wells using an energy and water-intensive steam injection project that would make the project “the largest greenhouse gas polluter in the county.”

“We are staring down a potential boom unlike any other we have seen in this county for over half a century,” he said. “Onshore oil folks have a target on us. We are in the bulls-eye of this Monterey Shale formation. And you are the folks that are standing between it and the rest of the world. So are we going to let them take the impacts and export it from our county and hurt the rest of the world?” To which the crowed replied, “No!”

“Although personal lifestyle choices are very important, we need to build political will and put a price on carbon,” said Rebecca Claassen, one of the rally organizers. “A sizable and steadily increasing carbon tax, imposed upon extraction, will level the playing field for renewable energy and border tax adjustments will allow the power of the market to lower emissions internationally. Also, to protect our fundamental rights to clean air and fresh water, we must consider writing new laws that enable us to decide whether or not fracking happens in our county, instead of letting corporate interests and state pre-emption decide for us.”

There were four workshops after the speakers were finished. One was on fossil fuel divestment, another was on the community-rights based approach to banning certain fossil fuel industry practices on the municipal level, another on how to put a price on carbon on the federal level and one on bike repair.

350.org is building a global grassroots movement to solve the climate crisis and push for policies that will put the world on track to get to 350 ppm of atmospheric carbon dioxide.

50 UCSB Faculty Call on SB Mayor To Support Fossil-Fuel Divestment

Another article by Noozhawk, this time in the form of a Letter to the Editor.

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[Note: The following is a letter sent May 15 from UCSB faculty members to the office of Santa Barbara Mayor Helene Schneider.]

Dear Mayor Helene Schneider,

We are a group of UCSB faculty in support of the fossil fuel divestment campaigns sweeping universities, cities, churches and other institutions right now.

There have been resolutions passed by both the UCSB and SBCC student senates to have their campuses divest from the fossil fuel industry, and there is a campaign now among faculty at UCSB to call on our faculty Legislature to do the same.

Some of us have been in contact with organizers from the group 350 Santa Barbara, who say they have been in communication with you about fossil fuel divestment.

It is our understanding that you told them the City of Santa Barbara divested long ago. We think it would make a strong statement to publicly state that the city has already divested and will not invest in any fossil fuel companies in the future, that you support these recent campus divestment initiatives and that you hope other local institutions will consider divesting as well.

It is in the interest of the economy, the public’s health and general welfare, and our globally shared environment that we support these divestment initiatives wherever they may continue cropping up.

Great changes start with small steps. Please join us in taking those steps now. The whole world is waiting.

Sincerely,

John Foran, Sociology
Elisabeth Weber, German
Harold Marcuse, History
Ruth Hellier-Tinoco, Music
Paul Spickard, Asian-American Studies
Aranye Fradenburg, English
David Lopez-Carr, Geography
Lisa Parks, Film and Media Studies
Greg Mohr, Environmental Studies
Marc McGinnes, Environmental Studies
Casey Walsh, Anthropology
Raymond Clemençon, Global and International Studies
David Cleveland, Environmental Studies
Catherine Gautier, Geography
Aashish Mehta, Global and International Studies
Veronica Castillo-Munoz, History
Celia Alario, Environmental Studies
Rita Raley, English
Chris Newfield, English
Sharon Farmer, History
Stephanie LeMenager, English
Jeffrey Hoelle, Anthropology
Simonetta Falasca-Zamponi, Sociology
Aranye Fradenburg, English
Leila Rupp, Feminist Studies
Stephanie LeMenager, English
Richard Appelbaum, Global and International Studies
Patricia Clancy, Linguistics
Nancy Gallagher, History
Claudio Fogu, Italian
ann-elise Lewallen, East Asian Languages
Eileen Boris, Feminist Studies
Maria Charles, Sociology
Howard Winant, Sociology
Bruce Bimber, Political Science
Celia Alario, Environmental Studies
Barbara Harthorn, Feminist Studies Arturo Keller, BREN School
Catherine Nesci, French
Ralph Armbruster-Sandoval, Chicano Studies
Bodo Bookhagen, Geography Julie Carlson, English
Mary Hancock, Anthropology
Mayfair Yang, Religious Studies
Diane Fujino, Asian-American Studies
Tim Cooley, Music
Grace Chang, Feminist Studies
Roberto Strongman, Black Studies
Kum-Kum Bhavnani, Sociology