LOCAL NEWS

Kayaktivists flock to Anacortes for 3-day protest against fossil fuel industry

May 13, 2016, 5:23 AM | Updated: 8:26 am
Kayaktivists, who floated into Elliott bay last year to protest drilling in the arctic, plan to ret...
Kayaktivists, who floated into Elliott bay last year to protest drilling in the arctic, plan to return to the Northwest to protest a fossil fuel refinery in Anacortes this weekend. (AP)
(AP)

When kayaktivists swarmed the giant Polar Pioneer oil rig as it sailed into Seattle last year, they had the world’s attention.

This weekend, more than 2,000 climate activists hope to garner that same attention in a three-day demonstration against fossil fuels, at the foot of the Tesoro refinery in Anacortes.

Related: Kayaktivists vow to protest if Shell returns to Seattle

Although the U.S. and other nations agreed in November to do everything possible to prevent average global temperatures from rising more than 1.5 degrees above pre-industrial levels, Break Free Pacific Northwest organizer Emily Johnston says it’s not enough. Some estimates show temperatures have already gone up 1.3 degrees.

“Washington state jobs and lives are already at risk, with all the crazy wildfires we’ve had, with the problem with the salmon runs and the oysters,” Johnston explains. “People are definitely waking up to the fact that this is a real and local issue.”

Johnston says there needs to be immediate action to break free from fossil fuels, however, they are used — not slowly over the next decade or so, but now.

And part of that is making sure industry workers are not left behind.

“Anacortes, like other refinery towns, is a place that is economically dependent on fossil fuel jobs. You know, a lot of those are good jobs – they’re union jobs, they’re family wage jobs. So nobody wants to see that kind of work go away and not be replaced by something – also not have it be a really rational and careful transition,” Johnston says.

And those workers are all invited to participate in the weekend’s events, which will include workshops and discussions to educate anyone who wants to know more, and arm activists with information to be part of the climate fight.

A fleet of kayaks will be out on the water constantly, celebrating the earth and water, and honoring indigenous peoples of the Northwest with traditional blessing ceremonies.

And, of course, there are plans for civil disobedience.

“For obvious reasons, we’re not going to be specific about exactly what that is or exactly where or exactly when,” Johnston says.

Johnston says the group is committed to nonviolent action, and they will not be blocking refinery workers’ access to the facilities because of that. However, at least 500 attendees say they are fully prepared to be arrested.

On the other hand, the group is careful not to disturb the area’s delicate ecosystem – they brought in biologists to map out heron nesting areas and native fauna — just in case.

The weekend is just one of six events across the nation and more protests that span every continent, except Antarctica, that are pushing to wean individuals, businesses, and governments off fossil fuels.

“Whether it’s getting involved in hearings and writing letters, you know, talking to your legislators and all those kinds of things,” Johnston said. “Or occasionally just showing up en masse and putting your bodies on the line and joining together with other people who are just as concerned as you are — all of those things really can help people understand they have power in the world and they have the power to try to save this world for their kids and their grand-kids.”

Local News

Seattle police protest...
Hanna Scott

Audit from police watchdog warns of ‘gaps in the discipline system’ for Seattle officers

An audit of the Seattle Police Department’s disciplinary system lead to nearly a dozen recommendations by the city’s Office of Inspector General.
11 hours ago
Election fraud...
Nick Bowman

Claims of election fraud from Washington Republicans persist amid flood of emails to AG’s office

Washington Attorney General Bob Ferguson was flooded with emails last weekend, pushing for him to support the latest claims of election fraud.
11 hours ago
Green Lake...
MyNorthwest Staff

Should Seattle take a traffic lane for an outer loop at Green Lake?

Green Lake in Seattle could have an outer loop in the near future with even more space for people to walk, run, and bike around the lake. 
11 hours ago
Washington state forest...
Dalton Day

Washington state to preserve, reseed two million acres of forest by 2040

The state Department of Natural Resources makes a substantial investment in its forests, pledging to preserve or restore 2 million acres of trees by 2040.
1 day ago
homeless encampments...
Dalton Day

King County Council rejects attempt to remove public homeless encampments

King County Council ahs rejected a motion to codify procedure for removal of homeless encampments in unincorporated King county.
1 day ago
Charleena Lyles...
MyNorthwest Staff

Seattle agrees to settlement in Charleena Lyles wrongful death lawsuit

The City of Seattle will pay a $3.5 million settlement to the family of Charleena Lyles, a Black woman who was shot and killed by Seattle police in 2017.
1 day ago

Sponsored Articles

...
Experience Anacortes

Coastal Christmas Celebration Week in Anacortes

With minimal travel time required and every activity under the sun, Anacortes is the perfect vacation spot for all ages.
...

Delayed-Onset PTSD: Signs and Symptoms

Lakeside-Milam Recovery Centers SPONSORED — You’re probably familiar with post-traumatic stress disorder. Often abbreviated as PTSD, this condition is diagnosed when a person experiences a set of symptoms for at least a month after a traumatic event. However, for some people, these issues take longer to develop. This results in a diagnosis of delayed-onset PTSD […]
...

Medicare open enrollment ends Dec. 7. Free unbiased help is here!

Washington State Office of the Insurance Commissioner SPONSORED — Medicare’s Open Enrollment Period, also called the Annual Election Period, is Oct. 15 to Dec. 7. During this time, people enrolled in Medicare can: Switch from Original Medicare to a Medicare Advantage plan and vice versa. Join, drop or switch a Part D prescription drug plan, […]
...

How to Have a Stress-Free Real Estate Experience

The real estate industry has adapted and sellers are taking full advantage of new real estate models. One of which is Every Door Real Estate.
...
IQ Air

How Poor Air Quality Is Affecting Our Future Athletes

You cannot control your child’s breathing environment 100% of the time, but you can make a huge impact.
...
Swedish Health Services

Special Coverage: National Prostate Cancer Awareness Month

There are a wide variety of treatment options available for men with prostate cancer. The most technologically advanced treatment option in the Northwest is Stereotactic Body Radiation Therapy using the CyberKnife platform.
Kayaktivists flock to Anacortes for 3-day protest against fossil fuel industry