Monday, September 26, 2011

Greenpeace Summit promised, I have spent a good week revelling in the the trip to Chicago for Greenpeace's Quit Coal Summit, and am ready (as ready as I'll ever be) to share the delicious details here.

First of all, my camera bit the dust over the weekend, so I am short on photos of the fun. Sorry.

The back story on this trip is that Greenpeace was given some funding to develop a new campaign fighting coal in impacted communities. The stipulation was that the work be directly with community members and community groups--not a "top down" effort, but a real grassroots effort. Yay!

In that spirit, Greenpeace set out to let the communities in question guide the direction of their campaign. Double yay!

After reading the speech I gave at the March on Blair Mountain, I got an email from a delightful Greenpeace staffer who wondered if I might be willing to provide some feedback for their effort. We spent a couple hours on the phone discussing the fight, my community, myself, and so on, and they asked if I would attend the Summit in Chicago to further develop their campaign. They had me at "all expenses paid."

One of the (many) cool things about the event was that it was held at a religious retreat and center. Hence, it was beautifully quiet and sparse. Loved that!

There were so many interesting and wonderful people in attendance: a filmmaker from New Jersey who had fought toxic pollution in his community, women from West Virginia and Kentucky fighting mountain top removal coal mining, several Navajo people from out West fighting coal plants and working for renewables on their reservation, a veteran activist from California fighting incinerators, some wonderful young people from Texas fighting coal, a real live Sea Shepherd, and several others who are involved in this fight in their own right--not to mention the many Greenpeace staff members who attended. A diverse and wonderful group of people, for sure!

Our intrepid leaders, Hannah and Ivy, took us through many hours of interviews, discussions, and brainstorming, which morphed into some very specific plans-of-action that Greenpeace might take on.

There were so many insightful and creative ideas, it was truly mind blowing--from peer-to-peer workshops to video campaigns to coordinated days of action--the ideas were as dynamic as the people in attendance. I can't wait to hear which projects Greenpeace takes on. I will let you know when I do.

In the meantime, you can check out their new Quit Coal website

And watch a video of the history of the organization:

Thanks, Greenpeace! For a great weekend, forty years of kicking butt and taking names, and infusing a whole lotta hope for those of us on the front lines fighting coal!

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