Celebrating a Big Victory and Organizing for More!

Victory in South Portland: Share in the Struggle; Share in the Celebration!


On July 21 the South Portland Community Center reverberated with cheers as the city council passed the Clear Skies Ordinance, which will not only protect South Portland, Maine, New Hampshire and Vermont from potential pipeline reversal and the export of tar sands, but sent a strong message to municipalities facing their own unique threats that they have a right to protect their people, community, and air.

“You’ve dealt a huge blow on behalf of the planet’s atmosphere,” said Bill McKibben, founder of 350.org, in a teleconference with the city’s mayor, local advocates, and the media.

What a change from November when the Waterfront Protection Ordinance failed! Yet we can see that the November loss worked to build participation and a wellspring of support for the Clear Skies Ordinance. The city council even thanked citizens for getting involved; they said they were amazed at the level of public participation.

The oil industry has made it clear that it is considering a legal challenge and South Portland Mayor Jerry Jalbert is thinking about crowd funding for legal fees. “I think they’ll find wide support,” McKibben said of the city’s potential legal fund.

350 Mainers have supported Protect South Portland’s efforts on the drive to keep tar sands out of the city, beginning with Summer Heat in 2013. It’s been a long struggle, but now it’s time to celebrate! There will be a celebratory gathering at Bug Light on August 3 at 4:00 p.m. We’ve worked hard for this victory; let’s savor it as we prepare to do more. (Image credit: Dan Wood)

Prepare for the People’s Climate March—with 350.org!

072714b.jpgIf we are to make history on September 21, we need to collectively turn out more people than have ever taken part in a climate-oriented event before. That’s why it’s important to think about how we can break down some of the organizational and sectoral barriers inside this movement for a safe climate, healthy communities and jobs. To do that, we need to not just mobilize our own members, but also to reach out to our affiliates, chapters, partners and any other organizations we’re in touch with who might be interested in getting involved. We also need to reach beyond the environmental and climate justice movements; we need to share the word with our friends and allies in other social movements.

This Thursday, July 31, 350.org will be in Portland helping prepare us to do that outreach. The workshop will cover the basics of how communities are organizing ahead of the march and outline some of the resources available to help you take the first steps to get involved. It’s all about thinking about what communities you’re part of and digging in. Register for the workshop here; for more information contact Lee Chisholm at 207-776-3746 or leechisholm@comcast.net.

Creating Cooperatives, Democratizing Food Systems

Bill McKibben has noted that a tomato traveling a long distance to market has to “feel” as bad as he does when he travels distances to address climate disruption. Cooperatives are a growing solution to promoting local food sources and sovereignty, and Maine is home to many new cooperative efforts, including over five new local foods retail stores, farming cooperatives, restaurants, service cooperatives and more. “Creating Cooperatives in Our Communities” is a workshop now touring Maine and sharing information about the values of cooperatives, history of cooperatives in the United States, and the structures and finances of cooperatives. The program includes a participatory design session. The tour has stops in Eastport on July 30, in Waterville on August 1, and in Portland on August 5. For more information check the link above or contact Jonah Fertig (207-615-9970, Jonah.fertig@gmail.com).

Suggested Media:

“Maine City Council Votes To Keep Tar Sands Out Of Its Port” from NPR: “All Things Considered”
“Maine’s tar sands oil ban a win for activists” from The Boston Globe
“Tar sands ban: Maine city blocks crude oil shipments” from The Christian Science Monitor
“Maine Town Effectively Bans Tar Sands Oil In Move Hailed By Environmentalists” from The Huffington Post
“'David vs. Goliath Victory': Port Town Votes to Block Tar Sands Export” from Common Dreams

Save the Date:

  • August 2, Brunswick: Tenth Annual Peace Fair on Brunswick Green from 10:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m.
  • August 6, York: 350 Maine York Region meeting, 7:00-8:00 p.m., York Public Library, Kennebunk Room (downstairs), York. All are welcome. FMI contact Hilary Clark at 207-363-8128 or clarkhamel@aol.com.
  • August 7, Portland: 350 Greater Portland meeting, 6:30 to 8:30 p.m., Unitarian Universalist Church, 524 Allen Ave., Portland. All are welcome. FMI contact Lee Chisholm at 207-776-3746 or leechisholm@comcast.net.
  • August 8-10, Greensboro Bend, Vermont: Northeast Regional Climate Justice Camp, sponsored by The Vermont Workers Center, 350VT and Rising Tide Vermont. Another opportunity to prepare for People’s Climate March.