Friday, June 2, 2017

“Making America Pathetic again!” Trump's Paris Exit Rally and Resistance in NYC! #parisagreement #resistFossilFools

Just back from the rally and march for the Paris climate accord at city Hall with my COP21 pin from Paris.  Top photo by Eric McGregor

A scene from December 12, 2015 Paris.  "How a planned disobedient street blockade during the state of emergency became a permitted protest and then turned into a playground, featuring the walking´s by Tools for Action Artur van Balen 
‪#‎redlines‬‪#‎D12‬,‪#‎COP21  Friends! We are still astonished about what happened with the inflatable barricade on D12 in Paris. The inflatable cobblestones were thrown into the air and a spontaneous swarm movement occured and rolled over the crowd, going back and forth. Artúr // TfAcaption tools for action. 

We knew it was coming.  But I still held out hope that the president would listen to his own secretary of state, who called for him to stay in the Paris Climate Agreement.  Yet, it took a quarter century to establish and four months for this administration to end it. It’ll take another three years for us to fully pull out.  But I had a knot in my stomach all week about it. 

Hearing the news on Wednesday, I rode up to the governor’s office where my friends in the Sane Energy Project were reminding us that all politics is local. The group was demanding the Governor appoint a: "People's Commissioners” to the NY Public Service Commission to speed the transition to a clean energy economy while ensuring a just transition that makes renewable, affordable power available to all New Yorkers, regardless of their zip code or income.

Monica was MCing. 

Ron Thomas of WE ACT for Environmental Justice stood up to remind everyone we have solutions right here in this city and state.

“I am here to speak to you about energy justice.  Energy is a right and for it to be just, it means that eberyone must have equal access to sustainable energy at a fair price….”  He argued: “Solar energy would allow people to think more freely about all their energy needs and not be subject to the ghettoization of energy.”

Monica asked other speakers to stand up.  I walked up started to speak.  But all I could do is groan.  Still all politics is local, I continued. It’s up to cities, full of the majorities of the people in the world, to think about our own solutions to create a more livable planet, including renewables, non-polluting transportation, community gardens and solar energy.

Finishing I rode downtown to the fish market where we interviewed Joe about cycling and the battles over public space in New York City.

Thursday, the administration made their plans public, announcing plans to pull out of the agreement.  

My book with a chapter about the Paris agreement is not even out yet. Sigh.  One wants to be optimistic.  But this is rough.

Emails about a rally at Foley Square starting filling my inbox:        

Rally and March Against Trump's Paris Exit
Trump will make his announcement about whether he'll pull the U.S. out of the Paris climate agreement Thursday at 3:00. Make no mistake: if he pulls out, this will be a devastating blow to our collective future. We’re not going to take this lying down. Now, more than ever, we need New York’s elected leaders to stand up and take bold action.

That’s why we will rally against Trump's announcement Thursday at 6pm - and call on our local leaders to take action. Join us at 6:00pm Thursday to say: NYC Stands Up Against Trump’s Paris exit. 

We will first rally at Foley Square in Lower Manhattan, and then march to City Hall. We will protest Trump’s outrageous action and call on Governor Cuomo, Mayor de Blasio and Comptroller Stringer to take the bold action we need to fight the climate crisis. This is a crisis and they should act like it.

In this dark moment, let’s take our outrage and channel it into positive change here in New York, where we know we can move Governor Cuomo, Mayor de Blasio, Comptroller Stringer and our other elected officials to action.

Join us at 6:00pm Thursday to rally at Foley Square in Lower Manhattan, and then march to City Hall. Please feel free to bring a sign, too, and get ready to raise your voice!

Together, we can fight back to save our collective future by making New York take the bold action we need.

This is a community I have organized with throughout the years, getting arrested, staging people’s climate marches, fighting, combating wars and an economy based on fossil fuels in favor or a more sustainable model of urbanism.

I ran into my friend Ann Shirazi, who I was arrested with at the Carlyle Group during the build up to the Iraq War back in 2003.  I introduced her to our daughter, who was born a few weeks before the invasion. We talked about her children and grandchildren.  “We were just starting to feel like we were making progress again,” she said.  I think that’s right.  So much of the activism is for the kids and the idea that we have a future.  We study science and create policy around it.  Over the 14 years after the Iraq War, we marched, organized, collected data about water, coped with rising tides, and planned to create something better of this world.

Monica, JK, Kim, Michelle and so many of the New York environmental movement were there to condemn what Esquire Magazine described as the dumbest statement ever made out of the Oval Office.

 “R u kidding me?” asked one woman’s sign.  There was no reason for the president to do this but to put his finger up to people who have been trying to move this world forward. 

“The frustrating part is we’ve been here before.  Bush did the same thing with the Kyoto Treaty,” noted my friend Michele.

“This is a stark example of profits over people.  He is a climate denier,” noted Tish James, New York’s Public Advocate. 

“All the disgust we have now we have to channel,” noted Leslie Cagan.

“The President owns a golf course in Scotland that he’s protecting from rising seas.  So he knows this is real.  He just doesn’t want to do anything about it for the rest of us,” noted Jerry Nadler.

“The climate is changing.  Now is the time to organize,” Tish continued.  “Its time to divest from fossil fuels, to lead, to rise and resist this man who is a threat to our democracy.  All of us who care about the planet and our kids, we have a responsibility to fight back.  His days are numbered.  We are coming to reclaim our planet.”

“This was a hard day,” noted Jumaane Williams. “But we have to remember we’ve been here before.  We will get through this.  We are part of a proud lineage of activists.”

“We can see through your lies.  Now its time to organize,” screamed the crowd, as we marched with friends from Judson Church to City Hall.

“Climate justice now.”
“Climate change is not a game.  You have brought our country shame.”

Cities and states will take the lead.  The US will maintain its commitment to the Paris Accord, declared former New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg.

Finishing, we strolled through the city up to 42nd street to Town Hall to hear David Byrne’s variety show of music, dance, and comedy, enjoy the feeling of being with people who love art and the pulse of the city together, through steps forward and backward, through history, one step up, two steps back.

This writer at the speak-out at the governor's office, before making my way downtown.
Photo by eric mcgregor to join my friends at the Fish Market.

music filling the streets of city.

Cameras by Diane Greene Lent.
Protest Trumps withdrawl of Paris Climate Agreement NYC

Friends --

Yesterday Donald Trump made one of the most dishonest and immoral speeches by an American President ever, withdrawing from the Paris Agreement and putting the profits of fossil fuel billionaires ahead of every other person on the planet.

Just hours after Trump’s announcement, my anger and sadness was met with feelings of re-commitment and hope for what we can still achieve at the local level here in New York City.

Thousands of us gathered at Foley Square and marched to City Hall, demanding that our city take the boldest action we’ve seen on climate yet by divesting from coal, oil and gas companies that backed Trump’s decision and are destroying the planet. Here are some photos that show what it felt like:

Thank you to those of you in the street last night. We are our own greatest hope.  You can still call NYC Comptroller Scott Stringer today and let him know that it’s time for him to side with New Yorkers -- not with the fossil fuel interests supported (and invested in) by Donald Trump.  

Click here to make a call.

The Paris Agreement happened because of the work of millions of people who fought to make climate action a priority for every nation on earth. Those people aren't going anywhere -- in fact, we're only getting stronger, and louder.

So if you are furious, frustrated or feeling let down today -- please also remember that you are not alone, and that together, we can do great things.



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