We’re holding authority accountable—on divestment, oil-by-rail, and global climate justice

350.org Calls on Pope Francis to Divest the Catholic Church

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With the ear of 1.2 billion Catholics and the respect of Christians and non-Christians alike, Pope Francis is uniquely positioned to add both his voice and the moral power of his office to the divestment movement.
This Pope understands the threat of climate change. He understands that if we do nothing, then the impacts of climate change will be horrific, and will fall hardest on the world's most vulnerable people. He gets that humans are responsible for protecting the planet and ourselves. In the coming months, Pope Francis plans to release an encyclical, one of the highest forms of Catholic teaching, on humanity’s role in caring for the Earth. How powerful would it be if the Pope also called for divestment from fossil fuels?
Let’s ask Pope Francis to make divestment part of his legacy. —from May Boeve at 350.org (Image: en.wikipedia.org)

Oil-by-Rail Resistance Meets with Central Maine & Quebec Railway

Central Maine and Quebec Railway (CMRQ), the new owners of the Montreal, Maine, and Atlantic Railway that was responsible for the Lac-Megantic disaster, does not plan to rely on unit oil trains or crude shipments for its profitability. That’s what the 350 Maine oil-by-rail resistance team heard when it met with CMQR President and CEO John Giles on Wednesday, August 27. The meeting was in response to a letter of concerns that was sent to the railway’s management team in early August.

082914b.jpgRead and Heidi Brugger of 350 Maine and SEEDs for Justice, with Maria Girouard, a tribal council member for the Penobscot Nation, met with Giles for 45 minutes. Topics covered included emergency response trainings for Maine responders, infrastructure upgrades in process and planned, notification of communities when hazardous goods are passing through their towns. Giles was open and welcoming; he noted that the railway is not shipping hazardous goods until after upgrades due for completion in 2016. He plans to hold meetings with several municipal officials in towns along Maine portions of the line to introduce himself and hear local concerns. To date CMQR efforts have been focused on improvements and communication in Canada.

An important part of the discussion was Girouard making the railway aware that its tracks traverse Passamaquoddy and Penobscot territory in four areas. These lands carry specific protections to support the cultural and subsistence traditions of the tribes. CMQR will include Indian Island in its presentations to communities and was grateful to learn about this aspect of the railway—of which it was unaware until the meeting.

The meeting concluded with a reminder that the resistance in Maine is poised to prevent the resumption of oil-by-rail, which endangers Maine people and property as well as placing our water and other natural resources in jeopardy.

Talkin’ Buses to the Climate March

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Sierra Club Maine Chapter is focusing on buses for southern Maine and New Hampshire, nothing farther north. Currently Sierra has four buses: three leaving from Portland (some will stop in Portsmouth, NH) and one leaving from Biddeford. The Biddeford bus is serving University of New England students, but there could be room for others; to find out more about this bus, contact Bethany Woodworth. You can reserve a seat on one of the other Sierra buses here.

The Maine Unitarian Universalist State Advocacy Network (MUUSAN) has seats available on its bus to NYC for the September 21 march. The bus leaves Portland from the parking lot on Marginal Way (near highway & bus company) at 3:30 a.m., Sunday (9/21), and arrives in New York city around 11:30 a.m., which is the time for the start of the march. The bus will depart NYC around 8:00 p.m. and should arrive in Portland 2:30 a.m., Monday (9/22). Full price seats are $40; student/reduced seats are $30. Seats can be reserved either by going to www.muusan-bus.Eventbrite.com and paying with a credit card, or by sending a check made out to MUUSAN to: Trudy Ferland, 279 Somerset Ave., Pittsfield, ME 04967. If interested in riding with MUUSAN, contact anne.hemingway@gmail.com.

There is a move to charter an early (leaving a day before the march) bus from Brunswick. This effort is being captained by Allyson Gross at Bowdoin College. Contact her at 713-505-0260 or aagross@bowdoin.edu to see if there is room on that bus.

350 Maine is not chartering buses for the march. At this point we cannot be certain that charter buses are available. (Image: Cesar Maxit)

Pedal Power to the People’s Climate March

Several cycling enthusiasts are eager to bike to NYC for the march, which would be a great modeling of fossil-free transportation to a climate-related event! The Bike Brigade is strictly a voluntary, individual effort; the choices made and any liability are solely that of individuals who choose to join the ride. If this interests you, contact nebikebrigade@gmail.com.

Suggested Media 

★ “The oil pressure is increasing on Quebec: South Portland, Maine, says no to oil sands” (may be in French but worth translating) from the Le Devoir: Libre de penser

★ Video on renowned photographer Salgado supports the Climate Summit from Climate Summit 2014.  Images of life as it might have existed thousands of years ago, captured through the lens of Sebastião Salgado, the Brazilian photojournalist and UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador.

★ The Go CO2 Free Project has easy to follow information on climate change solutions on a user friendly website and app where you can explore actions, find resources and plan and track your progress. You can also connect with others in your community to share ideas.

Save the Date 

❏ September 2, via phone: Tar sands campaign phone conference, 7:00 p.m. Call number:  1-213-550-2200; Participant code:  ​317-1692#. Developing Agenda ​link​.

❏ September 4, Portland: Energy, Cleantech, & the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP), 7:30-9:00 A.M. at Pierce Atwood, Merrill's Wharf, 254 Commercial Street. Registration required, event is free.

❏ September 7, ?: “Disruption,” 350.org’s new climate change movie. Register to host a showing in your area. Click here to watch the trailer.

❏ September 17, Belfast“Gasland 2” at 6:00 p.m., Abbott Room, Belfast Free Library, High St. Sponsored by Waldo County Peace & Justice Group. Free, donation welcome. FMI contact rosc@psouth.net.