Drew Hudson

  • published Update on the West Roxbury #ClimateTrial in West Roxbury 2018-03-22 11:37:55 -0400

    Update on the West Roxbury #ClimateTrial

    Yesterday, the prosecutor informed our legal team that the charges against the 13 remaining West Roxbury Resisters will be reduced to civil infractions — basically the equivalent of a parking ticket.

    These defendants have been denied a jury trial, although the judge had signaled an inclination to allow a necessity defense — an argument that actions blocking construction on the West Roxbury Lateral pipeline were justified in order to avoid the greater harms of climate change and threats to public safety posed by this pipeline. In fact, the charges were probably reduced in order to avoid the trial for which the defendants, their legal team, nine expert witnesses, and many supporters had prepared. 

    The attempt to take these cases to trial was a long shot.  We knew that the District Attorney was unlikely to let us have our day in court. Remember, nearly 200 other people were also arrested during the Resist the Pipeline campaign in West Roxbury, and none of them stood trial. But we took a gamble based on the idea that by offering a necessity defense, we could turn the tables on a system that rubber stamps pipelines and drilling applications while it criminalizes protest and dissent. Not so, this round.

    While we are disappointed, we are not disheartened. As climate activists in 2018, we know that long shots and moral imagination are some of the most promising tools for culture-shifting transformation.

    If you’re in the Boston area or were planning to join us for the trial, we invite you to meet us at the West Roxbury District courthouse on Tuesday morning. The defendants will be there, as required, and they may have a chance to make brief statements before the court. For those who RSVP, we will send information about travel to the courthouse and other logistics.

    We also invite you to join us Wednesday Night for the Jamaica Plain Forum. You can meet up with our team in Boston, or tune in online from wherever you are. We'll celebrate this campaign of climate disobedience, hear some of what the defendants had hoped to present in court, and share our thoughts on action and legal strategies in this moment.

    The Commonwealth of Massachusetts may be unwilling to hear the evidence about climate change and community risk, but we will not be silent. I hope you’ll join us.

    We may not get the #ClimateTrial we wanted — or the one our communities and planet need — in Boston next week. But the fight will continue in this community and in many more.

  • published Diane Martin in West Roxbury 2018-03-14 17:26:38 -0400

    Diane Martin

    Bedford UU Climate Justice group. She embraces her work role with Cambridge's Living Well Network, nurturing community and expanding programming for area seniors aging in-place. After growing up in Vermont, she lived for 20 years in California where she graduated with a BA in Geography from UC Berkeley. Diane lives in Cambridge with her husband, Ron Moulton, who develops solar energy solutions for remote African villages.

    What did you do?

    I blocked construction of the pipeline by entering the construction site and the ditch where the pipeline was being laid. I wanted to take action in addition to calling legislators and attending rallies.

    Why did you do it?

    I am opposed to all new pipeline construction and fossil fuel extraction. I am committed to making my position known. I am very clear that many oppose the expansion of the fossil fuel industry – but as an older person whose children are grown and who is not building a career, I take this stand for any who want to but don’t because they are busy with raising their children, building their careers, focusing on pressing health concerns, etc. I did this because I can. I consider climate change the most pressing issue of our times. I want future generations to enjoy a biologically diverse world. We have many problems to solve to make our world more just, but we won’t even have the chance to do that if there is catastrophic and human-induced climate change.

    Why did you oppose the West Roxbury pipeline?

    The pipeline is not needed or wanted. Its operation exposes West Roxbury and surrounding towns to unnecessary health risks. The fossil fuel industry chooses new construction and expansion of the industry instead of investing in repair and maintenance of old and failing pipelines in the Boston area that are still in constant use. The governor of Massachusetts and investors in the pipeline hope to force the people of Massachusetts to pay for this new infrastructure although ratepayers are overwhelmingly opposed to the new pipelines including the one in West Roxbury. Spectra ignored what the people of West Roxbury and Boston want and is focused on profits for a few regardless of the health and climate change risks in every step of the fracking and delivery process. It’s wrong.

    What reports, studies, articles, personal experiences, etc convinced you that pipelines, fossil fuel extraction, and climate change are serious issues?

    Books - Deep Economy: The Wealth of Communities and the Durable Future” and “Oil and Honey: The Education of an Unlikely Activist”, both by Bill McKibbons; films – “An Inconvenient Truth”, “Gasland”, “An Inconvenient Sequel”, various reports.

    Why did you believe social movements/civil disobedience can make a difference?

    It helps family members, friends, social networks, colleagues, acquaintances, and others recognize that an issue is so important to me that I’m am willing to risk arrest and all that an arrest entails, in order to stand for my beliefs. It is a really strong statement that presents numerous opportunities to talk about the issue and educate people about what’s going on with climate change and the fossil fuel industry. Because of the risks involved with civil disobedience (jail time, financial, etc) it is an empowering stance at a time when many of our leaders are failing us.

    What other attempts did you make to stop the West Roxbury pipeline, keep fossil fuels in the ground, stop climate change, etc?

    I participated in a walk that followed the path of the pipeline in Massachusetts (one full day only). I spoke publically at my church in front of 400 people about my arrest and reasons for it. I joined the Climate Justice group at my UU church. I have protested the pipeline at the MA statehouse and participated in rallies and marches. I am a member of Mothers Out Front Cambridge.

    What articles, books, reports, personal experience, etc convinced you that our governmental processes are not effective at protecting our communities from threats like this pipeline?

    Al Gore says (and I’m paraphrasing) that especially in times when we have a leadership gap we must step up and lead ourselves. Too many of our political leaders have financial interests in promoting the interests of the fossil fuel industry and are not providing the science-based reasoning and leadership we need. The attorneys for Spectra have continually stymied attempts to require them to provide a safety plan. The federal and state government has repeatedly paved the way for expanding the fossil fuel industry and its profits in spite of overwhelming opposition.



  • published Karenna Gore in West Roxbury 2018-03-14 17:26:15 -0400

    Karenna Gore

    Karenna Gore, a teacher and administrator at the Center for Earth Ethics at Union Theological Seminary and a mother of three.

    What did you do?

    In June 2016 I participated in gathering at the site of the construction of the West Roxbury Lateral portion of the Algonquin Incremental Market (AIM) pipeline, an fossil fuel expansion project of Spectra Energy that was being installed against the will of the community of West Roxbury and the city of Boston. I joined in the prayers for victims of climate impacts and listened to the songs, the eulogies and other words spoken by local community members who opposed this project. I also participated in discernment with this group, carefully planning a peaceful nonviolent action that would impede the continuation of this pipeline and prompt a public discussion about it. And finally, I walked into the construction site and climbed down into the ditch and occupied it, alternatively sitting and lying down (I recall that the sun was extremely strong and bright when lying down!). When approached by police officers, I explained the motivation for the action and declined to move. Eventually the officers brought the means to remove us from the trench and put us in the vehicle to go to the jail, which I did not resist.

    Why did you do it?

    I am concerned about the trajectory we are on, putting more and more global warming pollution into the atmosphere, even as we see that accumulated pollution is already disrupting our weather systems. I feel it is extremely dangerous, for the most vulnerable people in all parts of the world, and for all of our children and grandchildren. It seems wrong to go along is if everything is fine, and yet many of us have put it out of the forefront of our minds because the problem is so big and so pervasive, and the timeframe is not instant. I am convinced that much more needs to be done to raise both awareness and civic courage, and I felt that I was in a position to help others to do that.

    We (meaning citizens in a democracy) have the ability to chart of a different course for life on this planet, specifically by making investments in energy efficiency and accelerating our transition to clean renewable energy, but the entrenched power of the fossil fuel industry stands in the way. They are bullies- they have been bullying communities all over the world and they were clearly bullying this American neighborhood. I am interested in the intersection of the climate crisis and the precarious state of our democracy—and this is particularly clear in cases where local communities have rejected fossil fuel expansion but are nonetheless overridden.

    I also joined this particular action because it was framed with faith-based and moral language. In my own studies and work, I have been moved by moments when political debates have shifted to moral frameworks (Gandhi in liberating India from the British Empire. Martin Luther King’s words in the civil rights movement, etc.) and particularly when Americans have been compelled to draw on their deepest values and belief to demand civic change. I believe it is this approach that will bring about the change we need to confront our climate crisis, and it is best done in demonstrations of solidarity- both with our neighbors and with people on the other side of the world. Finally, as a mother of three children, I am driven by a desire not only to protect them but to show them that it is better to be on the outside of an unethical system, pressuring it to change, than to continue going along with it.

    Why did you oppose the West Roxbury pipeline?

    I live in New York and had recently been a part of opposition to the Constitution Pipeline, which would have run through the Catskills, an ecosystem I know and love. In that process, I learned that the FERC process is highly flawed: a small group of people (sometimes with obvious conflicts of interests) basically rubber stamp these pipelines regardless of harmful impacts or local opposition. I also saw how difficult it is to go against the “natural gas” branch of fossil fuel industry because of the success of their public relations and lobbying campaign to make people view gas as a “bridge fuel” (or even a clean energy source!).  And I learned more about the science behind fracking and methane and became aware of the great harm it is doing to groundwater (and other aspects of the environment) in local fracking sites as well as the immense heat-trapping power of the sizable leaks from these operations and pipelines. We were successful in stopping the Constitution pipeline but it was clear how powerful this industry is—and how skilled they are at subverting the democratic process.

    When I learned that the West Roxbury community in Boston had been protesting a fracked gas pipeline and had successfully convinced all their elected representatives to oppose it and that the city of Boston was even suing to stop it, but that the corporation was putting it in anyway, with the conscripted help of local law enforcement officers . . . . I felt compelled to support them. Also I learned about this conflict not only from my friend Tim deChristopher, but also from several women faith leaders I admire who are from Massachusetts—Rev Margaret Bullit-Jonas and Rev. Mariama White Hammond.

    I also lived in Boston for 4 years in college, where I studied American history and literature. I love Boston and am familiar with the significance and legacy of this great city in the founding of our republic, so it seemed especially poignant to me that a triumph of corporate rights over local democracy was happening here.

    What reports, studies, articles, personal experiences, etc convinced you that pipelines, fossil fuel extraction, and climate change are serious issues?

    Dr. Katharine Hayhoe’s presentations and writings, notably “A Climate for Change”

    Al Gore’s work, notably Senate hearings in the 1980s, Earth in the Balance (1992), The Assault on Reason (2007) and slideshow presentations

    IPCC Fifth Asssessment Report (2014) as articulated by then IPCC chair Dr. Rachendra Pachauri and others

    Bill McKibben’s work, notably “Global Warming’s Terrifying New Chemistry” (The Nation, 3/23/16)

    Jacqui Patterson’s work at the NAACP Environmental and Climate Justice Program, including Coal-Blooded: Putting Profits Before People (2012)

    Elizabeth Kolbert’s work, notably The Sixth Great Extinction (2014)

    Pope Francis’ Laudato Si: On Care for Our Common Home (2015)

    Gasland, film by Josh Fox (2010)

    Numerous speeches, presentations and conversations in Paris during COP 21 in December, 2015

    Learning from Indigenous leaders in conversations, including at the Religions for the Earth conference at Union Theological Seminary (2014)

    Touring frontline communities in the South, including talking to farmers, shrimpers, crabbers, fisherfolk who lived through BP oil spill and Hurricane Katrina

    Spending time with Rev Tafue Lusama of the Church of Tuvalu (who stayed at my home in 2015) and hearing his experience losing his home to rising seas

    Personal experience with erratic weather, especially more warm days in the middle of winter, and stronger storms, including Superstorm Sandy in my hometown of NYC which blew giant trees down right across the street from my apartment (in addition to all the more serious harm done downtown and in the far Rockaways).

    Why did you believe social movements/civil disobedience can make a difference?

    Civil disobedience made a difference in the civil rights movement, from the lunch counter sit-ins to the freedom rides to defying injunctions against public demonstrations, such as Martin Luther King Jr did in the case that led him to wrote the powerful “Letter from a Birmingham Jail.” It has made a difference in many movements to change unjust laws because it unmasks the injustice inherent in the system. There is also a soft power side to the proper exercise of active nonviolence-- the concept of ahimsa that Gandhi lifted up—in that it brings to light a different, non-polarized way of being in the world, and thus opens the possibilities for change. Of course, there are other aspects to social movements, including speaking out in public forums, writing and calling elected officials, going door-to-door to persuade neighbors, working for voter turnout to support candidates for change on the issue at stake, divesting and calling for divestment, boycotts and selective consumption, pickets, open letters, marches, and the like.

    The best of the American idea is that the people govern ourselves through an egalitarian process in which we each use our own moral reasoning and make our voice heard. This idea is under threat and strain and we must work harder to restore and reinvigorate it. This time is critical- we really cannot afford to wait or pass it off to others—and the only way to do it successfully is with exponential numbers of people, inviting people to come off the sidelines and join in.

    I wrote a book about women who did this kind of work (Lighting the Way: Nine Women Who Changed Modern America, 2006) and I also owe my belief in social movements to their example and impact: Ida B. Wells-Barnett, Mother Jones, Alice Hamilton, Francis Perkins, Virginia Durr, Septima Clark, Dolores Huerta Helen Rodriguez-Trias and Gretchen Buchnenholz. Many of them were arrested, harassed or mocked for being a step ahead of the necessary legal changes that needed to be made in their time, such as stopping lynching, ending child labor, ensuring voting rights for African-Americans, and working for women’s reproductive health care.

    What other attempts did you make to stop the West Roxbury pipeline, keep fossil fuels in the ground, stop climate change, etc?

    I have written op-eds, spoken at rallies, attended marches and protests, organized conferences and workshops, spoken at churches, participated in Bible studies, had personal conversations in numerous venues, and founded an organization called the Center for Earth Ethics designed to educate, convene and assist movement building to confront and solve our ecological crisis.

    Here is my op-ed against the Constitution pipeline: https://www.nytimes.com/2016/04/16/opinion/stop-a-pipeline-for-fracked-gas.html

    Why didn’t you trust that legal systems would avert the harm of the pipeline? What articles, books, reports, personal experience, etc convinced you that our governmental processes are not effective at protecting our communities from threats like this pipeline?

    My own legal education at Columbia Law School and following the work of the Sabin Center for Climate Change Law at Columbia

    The experience as an American citizen in the aftermath of 9/11 and the lead up to the second Iraq War.

    Corporations Are Not People by Jeffrey Clements and other work on corporate rights in this country right now.

    Merchants of Doubt by Naomi Oreskes and Eric Conway

    The Moral Limits of Markets by Michael Sandel

    The work of the Community Legal Defense Fund (CELDF) including their Community Rights papers

    The lack of meaningful legislation so far in this country, despite the huge risks and increasingly available technologies.

    The lack of coverage of this issue in the mainstream media.

  • published Mike Bucci in West Roxbury 2018-03-14 17:25:44 -0400

    Mike Bucci

    My name is Michael G. Bucci; I live in New York City. I am married to a wonderful woman. I work as an affordable housing developer, helping community-based non-profit organizations, like Habitat for Humanity, develop affordable housing and supportive services for low income folks, many of whom have been homeless and are persons with special needs, such as victims of domestic violence, people living with HIV/AIDS, the elderly, mentally disabled and folks recovering from addictions. I have been doing this work for over 35 years and have developed about 2,300 units of affordable housing. I was also a Jesuit for 9 and 1/2 years studying to be a catholic priest.

    Photo Courtesy of Erik McGregor

    What did you do?

    I entered the West Roxbury Lateral Pipeline trench to stop construction of a high-pressure methane gas

    Why did you do it?

    The extraction, storage and transport of fracked gas/methane is extremely harmful to all life, adding significantly to the dangerous accumulation of greenhouse gas emissions that are harmful to the environment, causing overheating of the living planet and extreme hardship for humans and all living creatures.

    Why did you oppose the West Roxbury pipeline?

    I wanted to support the efforts of community members blockading the WRLP in MA. I was part of a citizen’s group in Westchester County, NY, where hundreds of folks conducted a three-year campaign to stop the construction of Spectra/Enbridge Energy’s dangerous high pressure AIM pipeline, running under the beautiful Hudson River, and 105 feet from the faulty Indian Point Nuclear Power Plant which places over 10 million people in harm’s way.

  • published Nathan Philips in West Roxbury 2018-03-14 17:25:18 -0400

    Nathan Philips

    What did you do?

    On August 18, 2016, I stepped into the trench with six others and stopped construction of the West Roxbury Lateral Pipeline.

    Why did you do it?

    As a scientist; because I know that methane leaks, pipelines fail - newer ones at an even higher rate - and fracked gas damages our health, safety, and climate; as a parent, for the children of West Roxbury, Boston, and beyond, including my own children; and as an educator, for my students at Boston University and students everywhere who are demanding our leadership to accelerate our transition off dirty, unsafe energy to cleaner, sustainable energy.

    Why did you oppose the West Roxbury pipeline?

    It locks Boston in to unnecessary, wasteful & polluting 20th century fossil fuel infrastructure for decades when we need to be cleaning up our old leaking gas pipeline system and moving off gas to cleaner, safer energy.

    What reports, studies, articles, personal experiences, etc convinced you that pipelines, fossil fuel extraction, and climate change are serious issues?

    My own research (Phillips et al. 2013; Jackson et al., 2014;  McKain et al. 2014; Hendrick et al. 2016). That of others (Howarth et al. 2011; Jackson et al. 2010; NASA study 2017) shows that fracked gas in not clean nor safe.  Research led by Dr. Curt Nordgaard shows that fracking chemicals and a suite of carcinogens are in the leaking gas on our streets, sidewalks, and in our homes, and that even combusted gas has negative health impacts.  The substantial health impacts of natural gas infrastructure were the focus of a recent symposium I co-organized at BU: http://www.bu.edu/earth/naturalgaspublichealth/

    In addition, what I learned about FERC conflicts of interest through reporting of Itai Vardi.  Principally, that FERC accepted Environmental Assessments from a contractor (NRG) to the applicant (Spectra).  This violates universally-accepted standards governing perceived or actual conflicts of interest.

    Also, reading the outlandish and alarming projection from National Grid about gas demand expected for Boston over the next 10 years, to be enabled by the West Roxbury Pipelijne, which will not just make reaching our climate action plan targets impossible, but would severely exacerbate climate damage. (Grid-Algonquin Contract pdf).

    I learned that the supposed seismic assessment of the blasting quarry was not an actual study but only concluded that no impacts “were expected”. (I need help to find that text).

    Also reports that I could not read because they don’t exist - like an emergency safety plan for the West Roxbury Lateral.

    Why did you believe social movements/civil disobedience can make a difference?

    Because there is clear evidence that it works.  Exhibit A is the Keystone XL pipeline, which still isn’t built, and whose economic viability becomes worse with every year its delayed by the social movement #NoKXL.  Closer to home, the social movement and civil disobedience helped to put a stop to the Northeast Direct pipeline and Access Northeast pipelines, and are clearly the principal reason why the Weymouth Compressor Station has not yet been built.  

    What other attempts did you make to stop the West Roxbury pipeline, keep fossil fuels in the ground, stop climate change, etc?

    I participated in several peaceful vigils and protests to demand answers to safety concerns - and saw that no safety plan was forthcoming, and still does not exist.  I presented information to the Dedham Health Board on the gas leaks my research has uncovered and the significant safety and climate risks of natural gas. I have worked with grassroots organizations including Mothers Out Front to advance Boston and Commonwealth policy to fix gas leaks and use our existing system more efficiently so that we do not need to expand fossil fuel infrastructure when we now must be transitioning off it.  I helped found my chapter of 350 Newton; have been a core member of the Boston University Fossil Fuel Divestment Coalition; was appointed as a member of the BU Climate Action Plan Task Force, and direct the BU Earth House Living Learning Community, whose mission is to relentlessly transition to sustainable resource use, including reduction in the use of fossil fuels and the transition off fossil fuels.

    Why didn’t you trust that legal systems would avert the harm of the pipeline? What articles, books, reports, personal experience, etc convinced you that our governmental processes are not effective at protecting our communities from threats like this pipeline?

    Most academics involved in climate change research have no idea how broken FERC is with such clear conflicts of interest that have been exposed by investigative journalists like Itai Vardi.  I was also unaware of the problem of FERC until I learned about its industry ties and conflicts from climate activists. The corrupted process undertaken by Spectra, NRG and FERC in partnership with National Grid has the imprimatur of law and regulation and I don’t trust it.


  • published Nora Collins in West Roxbury 2018-03-14 17:24:33 -0400

    Nora Collins

    Nora Collins: lifetime resident of Jamaica Plain, Boston, 21, college student & future teacher.

    What did you do?

    In July of 2016, I entered the construction zone of the proposed West-Roxbury Later Pipeline and lay down in the trench with many other members of my community. When we were asked to move, I did not and instead went limp along with seven others. We were lifted out on stretchers and arrested.

    Why did you do it?

    I did it because I could~ my lack of a criminal record, my privilege & whiteness. And because I wanted to. I was raised by a Unitarian Universalist minister and believe deeply in the "interdependent web of existence of which we are all a part." As described below, I felt that this specific action spoke to that in a way I liked.

    Why did you oppose the West Roxbury pipeline?

    I was disturbed be the pipeline for many reasons-- its dangerous lack of regulation and proximity to my house, its ridiculous proposed existence given the climate crisis and its legitimizing of new fossil fuel infrastructure, the way the city council and mayor voted unanimously against it and still it was able to move forward, the fact that it was fracked gas and would primarily be exported to Europe, and so on.

    But I chose to participate that day because I liked this specific action. We laid down in the trench, surrounded by different faith leaders in Boston, explicitly in solidarity with people around the world who had died and continue to die at the hands of climate change and recent heat waves. We wanted to lift up the way that trenches like the one being built for the pipeline in West Roxbury create trenches like the ones where mass graves were being constructed at that time in Pakistan. I wanted to participate in something that had an analysis of American empire and imperialism and was also local and relevant to my life.

    What reports, studies, articles, personal experiences, etc convinced you that pipelines, fossil fuel extraction, and climate change are serious issues?

    Naomi Klein's This Changes Everything, learning from the movement at Standing Rock, participating in my college's REInvestment campaign to divest from fossil fuels and seeing how entrenched our Socially Responsible Investment Advisory Committee is in the normalization of fossil fuels, the work of the Radical Action for Mountains' and People's Survival (RAMPS) in West Virginia, a session at a UU General Assembly in Phoenix about carbon emissions, my dad taking me out to breakfast one morning in the 5th grade to tell me, "Nora, the world is going to change dramatically in your life and you need to develop hard skills"...

    Mostly, though, I think it has been a lifetime of watching how disasters affect people differently depending on your region and structural vulnerability and an intuitive understanding that my consumption is connected to other people's pain. Since getting arrested back in 2016, I have lived and worked on the US-Mexico border providing humanitarian aid in the desert. I've seen the way so many people (who have very small carbon footprints themselves) are fleeing an instability that is fostered if not prompted by a dramatically changing climate and I could not be more convinced that this is a deeply intersectional and deadly issue.

    Why did you believe social movements/civil disobedience can make a difference?

    I hoped that even if this pipeline got built, our actions would discourage another one somewhere else, which is still of course making a difference. I believe social movements/ civil disobedience can do this because it's the only thing I've seen that ever has.

    What other attempts did you make to stop the West Roxbury pipeline, keep fossil fuels in the ground, stop climate change, etc?

    I called my city councilors and urged them to vote against it, which they unanimously did, but this did not stop it.

    Why didn’t you trust that legal systems would avert the harm of the pipeline? What articles, books, reports, personal experience, etc convinced you that our governmental processes are not effective at protecting our communities from threats like this pipeline?

    Many of my co-defendants have offered examples of how Spectra failed to so much as produce a meaningful safety plan, how it was a legal issue of eminent domain that allowed for this pipeline's construction in the first place, and how corporations and concentrated wealth have a very strong influence on our government and thus our legal system. I echo these, and my honest answer is that legality has never meant morality to me given my understanding of the history of colonization and legal slavery in the United States. I do not expect legal systems to protect communities over the private sector unless we make enough noise that they are pressured into doing so.

  • signed Join 2018-03-14 16:47:40 -0400


    Please sign up here to receive email updates on our work, important news about climate disobedience happening across the country, and new opportunities to engage in effective action to address the climate crisis.

    Sign up

  • published Pat martin in West Roxbury 2018-03-14 16:19:30 -0400

    Pat martin

    What did you do?

    On the morning of August 6, 2016, I joined three other individuals in trespassing onto the construction site of a metering and regulating station in a residential neighborhood in West Roxbury, MA.  We found a shallow hole in the ground beneath the chain link fence which surrounded the construction site. We were able to slide under the fence unobserved and climb over construction materials to make our way to where the backhoes were operating.  We sat in front of the backhoes to stop construction.

    Why did you do it?

    I am deeply concerned that my fellow citizens are unaware of the fact that it is not only environmental groups sounding the alarm on climate change and the dangers of fossil fuel expansion, but even the United States Department of Defense has declared climate change a national security threat multiplier.  It is my hope that being arrested while trying to stop construction, will bring attention to this growing global disaster.

    Why did you oppose the West Roxbury pipeline?

    When I heard that a high-pressure gas pipeline was being routed through a residential neighborhood in proximity to an active quarry, I was horrified.  Moreover, a metering and regulating station, which carries many of the same health risks as compressor stations, is embedded right next to homes!

    What reports, studies, articles, personal experiences, etc convinced you that pipelines, fossil fuel extraction, and climate change are serious issues?

    My first exposure to the military’s position on Climate Change came from Truman National Security Project, President & CEO, Michael Breen, speaking at a Local Energy Solutions Conference in 2010.  http://trumancenter.org/about/board-leadership-staff/

    In response to that presentation, I joined Operation Free, http://operationfree.net/

    I followed and donated to the development of the documentary film, “The Burden.”  http://operationfree.net/campaign_sections/the-burden

    I helped bring a special showing of “The Burden” to the NH Legislature in February 2016.

    Why did you believe social movements/civil disobedience can make a difference?

    From the Boston Tea Party to Ghandi to Nelson Mandela, when people discover they are up against an “empire” that isn’t concerned with the people’s welfare or rights, civil disobedience may be the only effective means of resistance.

    The fossil fuel industry is one of the biggest industries in the world.  Its grasp on our national priorities is defended with our military, lobbying dollars, expensive lawyers, regulatory capture and an advertising budget that cannot be matched by environmental organizations and members of the public.

    What other attempts did you make to stop the West Roxbury pipeline, keep fossil fuels in the ground, stop climate change, etc?

    I have been fighting climate change and fossil fuel expansion since I was an undergraduate at the University of New Hampshire in the 1970s.  

    As a volunteer on town energy committees, I have written grant applications for funds to implement energy efficiency and renewable energy projects.  For the last 9 years I’ve tracked my town’s energy consumption using Portfolio Manager and I report the results in our town’s annual report to citizens.  (Reports begin in 2010 http://www.rindgenh.org/towncloud/content/-30)

    I regularly attend and submit comments and testimony at legislative and Public Utilities Commission hearings in support of clean energy policy.  

    Why didn’t you trust that legal systems would avert the harm of the pipeline? What articles, books, reports, personal experience, etc convinced you that our governmental processes are not effective at protecting our communities from threats like this pipeline?

    It is a sad fact that the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC), New Hampshire’s Site Evaluation Committee and the New Hampshire Public Utilities Commission explicitly do NOT consider the impact of these projects on climate change when they make their decisions approving and siting energy projects.  Although I am less familiar with the Massachusetts DPU and siting authorities, these organizations are also subordinate to FERC.

    I submitted comments and testimony before FERC, the NH PUC and the NH SEC in opposition to the Northeast Energy Direct (NED) pipeline.  Hundreds of people submitted comments like mine, but we were all ignored. We were told repeatedly that climate risk is NOT a consideration.  Had Kinder Morgan been able to interest enough shippers into signing capacity agreements by 2016, the NED pipeline would be under construction right now.  

  • published Brown Pulliam in West Roxbury 2018-03-14 16:19:07 -0400

    Brown Pulliam

    What did you do?

    On three occasions, one in late 2015 and two others in the summer of 2016, I went to West Roxbury, MA and entered the construction site of the Spectra Pipeline Corporation with the intention of stopping the work on its West Roxbury Lateral Pipeline.

    Why did you do it?

    1. Because I was able and fit enough to walk on to the construction site.
    2. It was a way to protest in a non-violent manner.
    3. My church congregation had just adopted a set of resolutions opposing the further expansion of fossil fuel infrastructure, of which the first two are:
      1. We have an inherent right to a livable climate, and that right trumps laws legitimizing the continued extraction and consumption of fossil fuels.
      2. The continuation of extraction and burning of fossil fuels as immoral; therefore the construction of new fossil fuel infrastructure is unconscionable.
    4. As a retired person, I had little concern that any arrests on my record would adversely affect my well being or social position.
    5. I felt that if enough people were to join with me on a daily basis we could actually stop that construction.
    6. I was convinced that lawful agencies and institutions would not stop the continued expansion of fossil fuel infrastructure, nor replace that infrastructure with appropriate renewable clean energy, in time to avert catastrophic runaway global warming.
    7. I felt it was the least I could do to assure a better world for the grandchildren and great grandchildren that I already have.

    Why did you oppose the West Roxbury pipeline?

    1. As with all new gas delivery infrastructure it is not and should not be needed because existing pipelines must cover our current needs while we make the necessary transition to renewable energy sources.
    2. Pipelines are so expensive that to make economic sense they must operate at high capacity for 30 or 40 years, and if they were to do that, the carbon they would convey to the atmosphere would prevent us from meeting our statutory goals for reduced carbon foot print.
    3. If the pipelines are not used for their economic life, it would be no loss to the owners because they would still be allowed to bill the rate payers for their cost. Needed or not, there is no disincentive for the investment in pipeline construction, so the company can’t lose.
    4. The regulatory processes are flawed. The FERC is composed primarily of ex energy company executives who never saw a pipeline they didn’t like, and have not always imposed sufficient safety requirements. State and municipal regulators are tilted toward business interests, as are the politicians who appoint them. This creates an uneven playing field that favors the older entrenched companies over newer energy technology.
    5. The builders of that pipeline, Spectra Pipeline Corp. has, on occasion, demonstrated a noticeable disregard for basic safety concepts. One example is their total unwillingness to submit a meaningful safety plan to appropriate municipal authorities. Another example is their choice of the route of the line and the placement of a major metering facility just across the street from a working rock quarry where routine blasting generates ground shock waves that are felt by local residents up to a half a mile away.
    6. The fracking process by which the gas in the pipeline is extracted from the ground imposes environmental damage and loss of water that is not paid for in the pricing of the extracted gas. These liabilities are simply passed on to future generations instead of including them in the selling price of the gas. This price advantage reduces the competitiveness of alternative energy sources, thus adding environmentally dangerous delays to their adoption.

    What reports, studies, articles, personal experiences, etc convinced you that pipelines, fossil fuel extraction, and climate change are serious issues?

    1. My undergraduate college degree was a Bachelor of Science with a major in Physics, so I had a basic awareness of how scientific research is supposed to work, and most of the time does work. My interests were in the design of electronic hardware, so I had no more knowledge of climate science than what anyone could pick up in the daily newspapers.
    2. It was in the late 1950s or early 1960s that I happened to read in the Atlantic Monthly (though it could have been Harpers magazine to which my family also subscribed) an article about global warming and how, by the melting of the polar ice, the sea level would begin to rise. I remember thinking that at the rate of rise then predicted, the rise in level would not become significantly apparent within my lifetime. Of course, at that time I felt I would be lucky if I lived to age 65, and now I am 87.
    3. As press reports about climate studies began to build my awareness of global warming, probably beginning in the 1980s, I did begin to be aware of push back against the prevailing scientific conclusions about human caused global warming by non-scientists like the novelist Michael Chighton, as well as scientific flacks who were employed by big oil. Having observed the tobacco industry’s brazen and criminal push back against the scientific evidence that cigarettes cause cancer using their in house medical doctors, I was not surprised that fossil fuel companies could hire supposedly reputable scientists to undercut scientific methodology into debates of “equally valid” propositions.
    4. It wasn’t until 2015 when I met Wen Stephenson and read his book “What We Are Fighting For is Each Other” as well as Naomi Klein’s very informative book “This Changes Everything” that I realized how far behind the climate eight ball we were. Klein especially, connected a lot of dots and showed how our entire society and economy had become captive of the oligarchs. Stevenson’s book introduced me to Tim DeChristopher, and made me first consider the possibility of civil disobedience.

    Why did you believe social movements/civil disobedience can make a difference?

    1. In the history of labor rights, racial justice, Vietnam War protests, and other social advances, the breaking of unjust laws often was the first event that caught the attention of the wider public, leading eventually to a successful social movement.
    2. Often it is only the social movement that persuades those with excess power and advantage to relinquish some of it.

    What other attempts did you make to stop the West Roxbury pipeline, keep fossil fuels in the ground, stop climate change, etc?

    1. Prior to 2015 my concern about fossil fuels was manifested by attempts to reduce my personal carbon footprint by making fewer automobile trips, more use of my bike, support for modifications to my church’s physical plant to conform to a “green sanctuary” standard, and joining the Energy Committee of my senior living residence.
    2. Two months prior to my first arrest in W. Roxbury, my first venture into climate activism was a trip to a Milford, NH annual town celebration parade to carry a sign protesting the Kinder Morgan pipeline.
    3. I supported my state senator’s bill to implement carbon pricing in the Commonwealth.

    Why didn’t you trust that legal systems would avert the harm of the pipeline? What articles, books, reports, personal experience, etc convinced you that our governmental processes are not effective at protecting our communities from threats like this pipeline?

    1. In early spring 2016 I attended a meeting with about ten other climate activists from Bedford and neighboring towns with our State Senator and State Representative. We learned from them that the priorities of the Governor and legislative leadership were on cheap energy, not clean energy. The state leaders were content to tout methane gas as the “bridge” to renewable energy. I find it all too believable that their tilt toward a good “business environment”, supplemented by significant financial contributions and expensive lobbyists have been able to convince at least some legislators that we still have plenty of time to tame the CO2 in our atmosphere.
    2. Naomi Klein’s book “This Changes Everything” makes a clear case that big business, big government, and “Big Green” (Nature Conservancy, National Wildlife Federation, World Wildlife Foundation, National Resources Defense Council, The World Resources Institute, Conservation Fund, Conservation International, and most of all, the Environmental Defense Fund” are still heavy boosters of methane “natural” gas, and this cheap gas is the enemy of wind and solar development.
    3. When the Spectra Corporation refused to submit any kind of meaningful safety plan, as required by law, neither the FERC, State utilities regulators, nor municipal authorities were able to stop the construction of the W. Roxbury Lateral pipeline until such a plan was submitted, and it never was.
    4. Governments and the market economy have been unable to collect the current environmental costs of much coal strip mining, fracking for gas and oil extraction, and future cost of the Carbon Dioxide they dump to the atmosphere. Thus all fossil fuel extraction and use are most harmful when these costs and the severe climate damage and danger are passed along to our future generations.

  • published Warren Senders in West Roxbury 2018-03-14 16:18:43 -0400

    Warren Senders

    Warren Senders is a musician and educator, an internationally-acknowledged master of Hindustani classical singing.  A faculty member of New England Conservatory of Music, he’s spent his life integrating musical and philosophical influences from all over the world.  He views his environmental activism and his work in music as essential complements to one another."

    What did you do?

    With Pat Brady Martin and two others, I entered the West Roxbury compound of the Spectra Pumping and Monitoring Station and sat down in the middle of the construction site in order to delay/block construction.

    Why did you do it?

    The crisis of climate change has escalated to a point where the future of our civilization and possibly our species is at grave risk.  It had become increasingly apparent to me that while “polite” methods of raising awareness and changing policy were (and continue to be) necessary, they are not enough.  I was determined to engage myself in more direct action, but without violating my principles of nonviolence. As to why this particular action at this particular time — it’s simple: I’d told my friends in the climate movement that the next time there were going to be NVCD actions, I wanted to be a part of them.

    Why did you oppose the West Roxbury pipeline?

    In preparation for the August NVCD action, I learned something of the history of the pipeline.  Spectra’s callous disregard for the safety of the community was vividly evident, as was the degree to which the approval and permitting process had been corrupted and distorted.  I don’t live in the immediate neighborhood of the pipeline, but I have long believed that one of the biggest problems climate activists face is the degree to which we are all able to relegate people in different places and times to the category of “Other,” and consequently dismiss what happens to them as not our concern.  

    What reports, studies, articles, personal experiences, etc convinced you that pipelines, fossil fuel extraction, and climate change are serious issues?

    The IPCC reports, Al Gore’s film and book, the work of environmental writers and climate scientists like Joe Romm, Michael Mann, and Bill McKibben.  More fundamental is the fact that I was raised in a family of scientists and learned about the scientific method and how scientists present their results.   I’m not a scientist myself, but I know enough about how climate science works that I can recognize a low-key statement of statistical probability as a scientist’s way of expressing genuine and extreme alarm!

    Why did you believe social movements/civil disobedience can make a difference?

    They made a difference in India.  They made a difference in South Africa.  They made a difference in the civil rights movement in this country, and in the movement for women’s suffrage, and in countless other situations.  These are inspirational moments in human history — moments in which ordinary people asserted control over their destinies in ways that had long-lasting positive repercussions.  

    I am a lifelong pacifist, and while I unhappily admit that humanity’s general history of, and propensity for, violence may demand in-kind responses, I regard this as personally unacceptable.  Gandhi said it well when he stated that there were causes for which he was willing to die, but none for which he was willing to kill.

    What other attempts did you make to stop the West Roxbury pipeline, keep fossil fuels in the ground, stop climate change, etc?

    I had attended marches and rallies against the West Roxbury pipeline.  But in the broader context, I have been engaged in various forms of “polite” activism since my daughter’s birth in 2005 pushed me to realize my responsibilities to her future on Earth.  At that point I resolved that I would try to do something each and every day to bring my energies to bear on the issue of climate change.

    From January 1, 2010 to December 31, 2013 — four years — I wrote a Letter to the Editor on the subject of climate change.  Every day. My letters were published all over the world (the NY Times, Washington Post, Boston Globe, USA Today, LA Times, Time Magazine, and countless other publications in the US; papers and magazines in India, Pakistan, Ireland, England, Taiwan, the Solomon Islands, Greenland, and elsewhere around the world).  A total of 1,461 letters.

    In October 2009 I began producing benefit concerts for the climate-change awareness advocacy organization 350.org and its Massachusetts affiliate.  As of today, I’ve produced sixteen such concerts — two a year — raising thousands of dollars for climate change awareness work over the past nine years while presenting the music of dozens of different and widely varied musical traditions from all over the world.

    I developed an online “video collage” project called “The Climate Message” in which hundreds of musicians, poets and dancers from across the globe recorded and posted their own short messages of artistic beauty and climate awareness (www.theclimatemessage.com).

    The day after Labor Day, 2015, I began daily vigils at a heavily-trafficked intersection near my home in Medford, Massachusetts.  Every morning I stand for an hour during the morning traffic rush, with a sign reading “CLIMATE CHANGE IS REAL.” I’ve kept this Act of Conscience going for (thus far) 123 weeks — through snow, rain, extreme heat, extreme cold, and increasingly bizarre weather, while bringing a message of climate awareness to thousands of drivers every day (perhaps more than a million “views" since I began).

    Why didn’t you trust that legal systems would avert the harm of the pipeline? What articles, books, reports, personal experience, etc convinced you that our governmental processes are not effective at protecting our communities from threats like this pipeline?

    The extreme influence of concentrated wealth has had a very problematic impact on the legal mechanisms of our society, skewing them increasingly in favor of the interests of the already wealthy and powerful.  It requires no highly advanced social awareness to recognize that individuals and institutions in positions of power are disproportionately advantaged by our legal systems, and that the fossil fuel interests are among the most powerful of all.  

  • published Dave Publow in West Roxbury 2018-03-14 16:18:22 -0400

    Dave Publow

    What did you do?
    I lay down in a trench with more than 20 other people to temporarily halt the installation of a high-volume, methane gas pipeline in West Roxbury, Massachusetts.

    Why did you do it?

    The pipeline is a public hazard on multiple levels. First, Spectra Energy has no safety protocol in the event that the pipeline is compromised in any significant way. Gas line leaks and explosions are common occurrences, and the bigger the pipeline, the greater the damages and potential loss of life. Second, methane is a powerful greenhouse gas. The fracking boom has released huge amounts of methane into the atmosphere and escalated the pace of global warming. If we continue to use fossil fuels, we face extinction. Third, the pipeline is meant primarily to facilitate exporting the gas. Once the export market opens up, methane prices will skyrocket. It’s lose-lose all around.

    Why did you oppose the West Roxbury pipeline?

    "West Roxbury" pipeline is actually a misnomer. It’s really the Pennsylvania/New York/Massachusetts/Nova Scotia/Everywhere-else pipeline, and it’s a hazard from start to finish. The pipeline carries fracked gas, primarily from Pennsylvania. Fracking--and related activities such as waste water disposal--causes earthquakes, permanently toxifies water supplies, spreads carcinogens over the countryside, and releases methane directly into the air. The pipelines themselves cut across public and private lands, waterways, transportation and population hubs. Spectra Energy--a subsidiary of a Canadian company--has no regard for public safety. The “West Roxbury” pipeline extends across Massachusetts into New York and passes within 100 feet of the Indian Point nuclear power plant in Peekskill, NY. This same pipeline has a blast radius of 1000 feet or more. This means that, if there is an explosion there, it will almost certainly damage the reactor and the stored spent fuel rods, and spread radiation in all directions for many miles. This would place New York City, a large chunk of the American population, and a key part of the U.S. (and world) economy at direct risk, just so that some Canadian company can try and make a buck off an outdated form of fuel. As for the pipeline in West Roxbury itself: I grew up in NH. I lived in Somerville, Brighton and Jamaica Plain for 13 years. I still have friends here, and I know that Spectra Energy does not have people’s best interests at heart, and will place people in harm’s way.

    What reports, studies, articles, personal experiences, etc convinced you that pipelines, fossil fuel extraction, and climate change are serious issues?

    I committed to environmental activism after the Deepwater Horizon blowout and oil spill in April of 2010. Shortly after that, I began to learn about fracking, its pervasiveness, and the environmental damage associated with it. The documentary Gasland was certainly influential, but it was the more scientific studies that came out later that really showed the dangers of natural gas. One key study that came out of Cornell in 2011-12 was the analysis of the greenhouse gas footprint of shale gas obtained by high volume hydraulic fracturing, done by Anthony Ingraffea, Robert Howarth, Drew Shindell, Renee Santoro, Nathan Phillips, and Amy Townsend-Small. The study used very conservative figures, and still showed that high-volume fracking releases more greenhouse gases into the atmosphere than coal, which it was supposed to replace. That’s the gas that’s coming through this pipeline.

    Why did you believe social movements/civil disobedience can make a difference?

    The right question is not “why did I,” but “why do I.” Civil disobedience is one of the necessary tools of societal change. Our politicians are so bought-out at this point, that direct action-style activism is required to cut through the spin cycle. Our elected officials do not lead so much as try to keep just ahead of the curve of public sentiment. Public awareness shapes public sentiment. When we, as a people, do not get involved and maintain a proper vigil, corruption ensues. That is where we are right now, and it’s accentuated by the current administration in Washington.

    What other attempts did you make to stop the West Roxbury pipeline, keep fossil fuels in the ground, stop climate change, etc?

    I reached out to my elected representatives in New York State on multiple occasions to try and block this pipeline. I participated in non-arrestable protests. Then, in October of 2016, I climbed inside a different section of the same structure as the West Roxbury pipeline with 3 other people in Peekskill, NY and stayed there for 16 hours. We were arrested for criminal trespass, but we also got 3 major networks to cover that story and bring it to the public’s attention. That case is still pending in a different court, but we believe that we have a good chance at winning if the court allows us to use the necessity defense. Why was it a necessity? Because the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) and the NY State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC), and Governor Cuomo, and our Senators, Congresspeople and other representatives did not do what they needed to do to halt the installation of that pipeline right next to a nuclear reactor. As a result, there is now a pipeline, loaded with methane, like a bomb, right next to a massive, fragile, depository of nuclear fuel rods, and all of this sits in a town less than 50 miles from New York City.

  • published Tim DeChristopher in West Roxbury 2018-03-14 16:17:50 -0400

    Tim DeChristopher

    Tim DeChristopher, as Bidder 70, disrupted an illegitimate Bureau of Land Management oil and gas auction in December of 2008, by outbidding oil companies for parcels around Arches and Canyonlands National Parks in Utah. His actions and 21 month imprisonment earned him a national and international media presence, which he has used as a platform to spread the urgency of the climate crisis and the need for bold, confrontational action in order to create a just and healthy world. Tim used his prosecution as an opportunity to organize the climate justice organization Peaceful Uprising in Salt Lake City. Tim is a Co-Founder of the Climate Disobedience Center, and after graduating from Harvard Divinity School, continues the work to defend a livable future. Read More.

  • published Stand with W Roxbury in Drew working W roxbury 2018-03-09 14:53:22 -0500

    Stand with West Roxbury

    In the West Roxbury neighborhood of Boston, Massachusetts, Spectra Energy was building a fracked-gas pipeline off of their existing AIM pipeline. Beginning October 7, 2015, Resist The Pipeline began a campaign of climate disobedience, getting in the way of active pipeline construction. Climate Disobedience Center founder Marla Marcum provided training, logistical and jail support for Resist the Pipeline.

    The campaign grew, and eventually 198 people were arrested over the course of a year. The tactics escalated as well, beginning with just a few individuals in front of equipment and ending with large days of mass occupation, and other more disruptive actions.

    12 activists from the campaign, including 6 who participated in that June 29 "Mass Graves" action are taking their defense to trial. Their cases are currently scheduled for trial March 27th. The activists are committed to mounting a climate necessity defense, arguing that they had no reasonable alternative to putting themselves in the path of the pipeline's construction. If the jury is allowed to decide whether the defendants' actions were necessary in order to prevent a greater harm, we'll have a legal precedent that communities across the country can use in their own resistance to pipelines and other infrastructure

    Sign on here to support the West Roxbury Defendants, and we'll send you updates about their trial, and more opportunities to learn about their fight and landmark date with justice. If you can join us in-person, RSVP here

    Meet the West Roxbury Defendants

  • wants to volunteer 2017-11-06 12:58:01 -0500

    Community Sign-Up

    Powerful Climate Disobedience isn't the product of a special type of person: it is ordinary folks finding the strength and inward power to do extraordinary things to get in the way of the fossil fuel industry while supported by beloved community.

    We are building a program to help self-organizing groups build community and prepare for action, including reading material, discussion, training and more. To find out more, sign up below. Become a volunteer

Founder @Power_Thru herder of cats and wrangler of monkeys. Tweets here are my own thoughts and RTs do not imply endorsements or the promise of free drinks.
Join the newsletter Donate Donate Monthly