Singing for climate justice
On Feb. 19, 15 police officers faced off against a crowd of over sixty people. Not at a riot but a preliminary hearing in the process to seize land from a family of six in Williston by eminent domain, so that the Vermont Gas Company can force through a pipeline to carry fracked gas from Alberta, Canada, to Middlebury. The eminent domain process pits Vermont Gas and the State, represented by the Vermont Department of Public Service, against the landowners.
In a beautiful example of peaceful protest the assembled public burst into four-part harmony and, ignoring threats of arrest, continued singing for the length of the hearing.
Why the confrontation? Sadly, the process of implementing fossil fuel infrastructure is designed to discriminate against the ordinary citizen in favor of fuel corporations. You do not have the right to enjoy your property undisturbed if a corporation, with the backing of the State government, wants otherwise. As one protester put it ' We are powerless. The process is stacked against us, we have no other recourse but this '
In October the nations of the world agreed at the Paris talks that climate change must be addressed – beginning immediately. Indeed, Vermont now has a Comprehensive Energy Plan that is meant to address climate change and wean us off greenhouse gas-producing fossil fuels by switching to 90% renewable energy within 34 years. But instead the State ignores this and helps a corporation to build fracked gas infrastructure that will need to operate for the next 30-50 years if the corporation is to recoup its investment. It's exactly this sort of suicidal planning that will push us past the 2 degrees C increase in global temperature beyond which our one and only world will be unrecognizable.
— Li Shen Thetford Center