Environmentalism, most people think this involves unemployed homeless hippie who is just bitching about anything they can grasp onto. The truth is that most people are too lazy to look into what is actually going on, what is truly happening even in their own back yard. Environmentalism is people caring for the environment and the well-being of others. Over the past year I had the pleasure of meeting hundreds of people involved in environmentalism, I spoke with people in Charlotte, NC to Columbus, OH.
The people I met where on both sides of environmentalism movement, most people I encountered where involved in protest that where against the fossil fuel industry. But the people I met that worked for the fossil fuel industry where in my thoughts environmentalist as well, I mean they cared about their environment. They needed to care for their environment because it was what provided them with a living. It was how coal miners provided for their families, it was how pipefitters put food on their table or shoes on their kids feet.
One thing we all need to learn is that we are all in this together no matter what side you are on, I think this is the most important piece of this puzzle we haven’t finished yet. The fossil fuel industry may not see this or even listen to this, but at the end of the day the leaders of even the biggest coal company still go home to their family at the end of the day.
We need to bridge the gap between the fossil fuel industry and environmentalist, we all need to work together to figure out a safe way to keep this world safe and beautiful for us, I say us because I am tired of waiting for the future the future needs to be NOW!
As a photographer I spend a lot of time looking at people and studying their movements, this helps me get the best shot. But what it also has taught me is how to approach people, how to talk to people who I have never met before. I needed this knowledge more than ever this year as I met and spoke with people from both sides of the environmentalism movement.
I ask you to look listen and feel what I encountered over the past year, below you will find photographs and video of events that happened over the year. While you are looking at the images I ask you to think if you relate to the images or people in the images. When you watch the videos I want you to think if what you are hearing makes sense to you. So please take a look and comment as much as possible, we are not going to solve anything unless we continue the conversation.
JANUARY several groups from Community, Labor, Environment, Student, Faith Groups and Occupy Charlotte formed a coalition to occupy the Bank of America’s share holder meeting in May.
The Coalition marched through uptown Charlotte, NC to Bank of America’s corporate office. The coalition had marched to Bank of America’s corporate office to bring light onto Bank of America’s dirty deeds and to deliver their demands of change. While trying to deliver a letter with their demands to Bank of America, they were ask to leave Bank of America’s corporate office before they could even deliver their letter, the security guards would not even allow them to leave the letter for Bank of America.
The video is pieces of what happened during the March and the speeches given by the coalition. In the video you can see the coalition carrying coffins labeled RIP Democracy and the marched through Charlotte, NC
Buy the end of
JANUARY the people of Charlotte, North Carolina were fighting to keep some simple rights such as Free Speech. Charlotte’s City council was drafting an ordinance that would give the Charlotte Police department more power with probable cause in a way that would allow people to be stopped and searched the same way as NYC Police do in the NYC subway. (NYC Police can search anyone in the subway system with a large bag or backpack) The ordinance also listed a things that would be deemed illegal for a person to have in their possession. The list had things like tripods, water bottles, bike helmets and more. All the items on the list would be deemed illegal by the city manager at a moment when he decided an event was an extraordinary event.
Occupy Charlotte – FIGHT FOR YOUR RIGHTS Free Speech 12-01-22
Occupy Charlotte had organized a march to protest and bring awareness to the city councils new ordinance. The march had about two hundred people and lasted several hours. Occupy Charlotte marched from their camp at 600 Trade Street to Bank of America’s corporate office. At Bank of America’s corporate office Occupy Charlotte spent a lot of time handing out fliers on the new ordinance and talking to as many people that they could. Several speakers took the microphone and said their peace.
In an interview Don from Occupy Charlotte who was organizing the march in protest of the new ordinance gave his thoughts about the ordinance.
FEBRUARY Greenpeace organized a protest outside of Duke Energy’s corporate office in Charlotte, NC to inform Dike Energy that they were tired of paying for dirty energy with their HEALTH, ENVIRONMENT, and PAYCHECKS. About a hundred people showed up to show and also called Duke Energy to personally tell them their thoughts on dirty energy. 800-777-9898
In an interview with Monica Embrey a Field Organizer for Greenpeace in Charlotte, NC she explains why they are at Duke Energy’s corporate office.
Toward the end of
February the Rainforest Action Network arranged for a tour of Duke Energy’s Riverbend Coal Plant, it wasn’t your everyday tour it was a Coal Ash tour around the Catawba River. Riverbend is located at 175 Steam plant Rd, MT Holly, NC it has a capacity of 454 megawatts, but it was built-in 1929 and has boilers from the 1950s. It is also located next to a large community, in fact the community has to drive by the coal plant to get to their entrance to the community. It is also located across the road from the entrance to Mountain Island Lake called Riverbend access area.
The Riverbend tour was hosted by award-winning journalist Rhiannon Fionn, the tour started at Cowan’s Ford wildlife refuge where one can get a look at how large Riverbend coal plant is, one can also see the sides of Riverbend’s coal ash ponds. From Cowan’s Ford wildlife refuge we traveled across the river past Riverbend Coal plan to a small community that sits at death’s door to Riverbend’s poison, after parking we walked through the woods to a small grave site located about four hundred feet from Riverbend’s coal ash ponds.
In this video Rhiannon Fionn explains the history of Riverbend Coal Plant and the coal ash ponds that are also at Riverbend’s coal plant.
March the 99% Spring lead off with NVDA Training for trainers held by the Rainforest Action Network and 350.org. They passed the word around by saying “We need you to answer the call and become a civil disobedience trainer” The trainings were attended by over two hundred people who then went out into their local communities and held their own NVDA trainings.
This video gives a small idea of what the training is was like and is only a small part of the two-day training held in Charlotte, NC
March Greenpeace organized an Occupy Duke day and had several speakers come out and talk about Duke Energy’s practices. Corine Mack from NAACP, June Blotnick from Clean Air Carolina, Hector Vaca from Action NC and Craig Glisson from Occupy Charlotte.
Monica Embrey a Field Organizer for Greenpeace in Charlotte, NC talks about how Duke Energy and jim Rogers are profiting from polluting their communities and they are tired of it. Monica also talks about how Duke Energy has increased rates to pay for more dirty energy.
April Occupy Charlotte and several other groups went out in force to protest against NC Amendment One, unfortunately the amendment was passed.
April the 99% Spring and the Environmental Coalition used their new skills in NVDA from the training in March and walked into several Bank of America branches to read a letter addressed to Brian T. Moynihan, Chief Executive Officer of Bank of America. The letter discussed the lack of taxes paid by Bank of America in 2011.
This is the video from one of the branches,
Rainforest action Network posted a blog spot “North Carolina Tax Day Actions Make BofA Pay” on the event as well
Rebranding Bank of America stadium 12-05-02
Rebranding Bank of America stadium
May five activist from the Rainforest Action Network dropped a seventy foot long banner across Bank of America stadium. The banner changed the name of Bank of America stadium to Bank of Coal.
The activist said “Bank of America could be renamed the “Bank of Coal”, and what better place to do that than at Bank of America Stadium in Charlotte, NC”
The banner was up for about an hour as Charlotte went to work, several people could be seen taking photos on their phones as they walked by.
350.org – CONNECT THE DOTS Charlotte, NC 12-05-05
CONNECT THE DOTS
On May 5th 350.org organized a global Connect the Dots project, it was a GLOBEL day of action meant to show people the connection between extreme weather and climate change. By connecting the dots of Climate Change from one corner of the earth to the other corner, from thousands of companies to thousands of record-breaking tempters. By making those connections clear and compelling, 350.org communicate a call for bold climate action to communities, the media, and policy makers at the local, national, and international level.
In Charlotte several different environmental groups joined together in front of Bank of America to hold their Climate Dot. The Climate Dot represented bank of Americas funding of the coal industry. Bank of America is currently the largest funder of coal in the USA. Charlotte, NC 12-05-05
The event was taken warmly by Charlatans as they passed by on their lunch hour, Bank of America’s building security was not as welcoming.
This video of Jenny Marienau a US Field Manager for 350.org and others talks about how Bank of America is connected to Climate Change with the funding they provide to the coal industry.
Showdown in Charlotte – Charlotte, NC 12-05-09
Showdown in Charlotte
On Wednesday, May 9th in uptown Charlotte a showdown took place between Bank of America and the 99%. They both boxed it out right at the corner of Trade and Tryon, all this while people were just going to work. Street theater is not knew to Charlotte but by the looks on people’s face as they walked by one would think they had never seen it before.
It was a tough match, with BofA going down a few times and getting up to nock down miss 99%. Miss 99% was truly outstanding as she battle her way back several times after hitting the sidewalk hard!
After several rounds BofA looked a bit over worked, probable from all that coal hoarding going on behind our backs.
In the late rounds Miss 99% really looked her best as she pounded her way back and eventually knocked out Mr. Coal hoarding BofA. It looked improbable for her but in the end she showed what the 99% are made of “true grit and determination” thats what she said.
While the defeat of Mr. Coal hoarding BofA was taking place in uptown Charlotte the people of the 99% were meeting in three different locations to march their demand to the Bank of America’s share holder at the intersection of 5th and College. When they all came together they owned the street and intersection at 5th and college.
After having several speakers and several music acts come to the center of the intersection just to the side of the debt ball and chains, the 99% took their demands and marched down the street passed Duke Energy (with a few taunts toward Duke Energy) on to Bank of America stadium to let Bank of America know that 99% is here to stay and will not be pushed around any more.
OWS – March Against Spectra Manhattan, NY 12-06-05
March Against Spectra
June OWS Environmental Solidarity Working group organized a rally and march, the march went through the city to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission’s office. About one hundred New Yorker’s showed up to protest at Federal Energy Regulatory Commission office with their signs and information to hand out to people walking by.
The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission is the body that approved the construction of the Spectra Pipeline, which enters NYC on the West side by the Sanitation Department building. The pipeline comes out of the water with in a hundred feet of a playground and an apartment building. This pipeline and it’s gas could give New Yorker’s cancer and shorten the life span of 30,000 of us.
The Hudson River Park Trust granted permission to Spectra Energy their pipeline in the West Village and has to change the Hudson River Park Act to do so.
OWS Environmental Solidarity will be fighting the Spectra pipeline till its end and has said that this is only the beginning of the battle against Spectra Energy and their pipeline.
This video was shot during the protest at Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, it shows Hector explaining his reason for being involved and why he brought the Puerto Rican flag.
Dont Frack Ohio Columbus, OH 12-06-17
Don’t Frack Ohio
Three days of community, people, friends, strangers coming together to build a movement to fight fracking in Ohio and beyond! Don’t Frack Ohio started with a morning meet and great followed by three days full of training. There was an art build, nonviolent direct action training, movie screenings and strategy sessions.
The regions largest gathering against fracking followed these three days. It started with a rally at Arch Park where speakers such as Bill McKibben of 350.org, and Josh Fox, director of Gasland spoke to the crowd and cheered them on. From Arch Park more than a thousand people marched to the Ohio State house and walked inside to hold a people’s Assembly. From this people’s Assembly came a law that Banned Fracking.
This video was taken on the third day of Don’t Frack Ohio and is an interview of Bill B, as he talks about some events of the day and explains his thought Don’t Frack Ohio