Eye on the Amazon

Today We Celebrate Life and Resistance on the Front Lines of Extraction

Today We Celebrate Life and Resistance on the Front Lines of Extraction

Día de los Muertos is traditionally a day for remembering and honoring those who have come before us. For those of us committed to environmental justice, that often includes remembering those who have lost their lives resisting the impacts of pollution, deforestation, and land grabbing.

This Día de los Muertos is no exception. This morning, our Executive Director, Leila Salazar-López, and I joined a “Celebration of Life and Resistance on the Front Lines of Oil Extraction in California” in Sacramento. There, we built an altar to the individuals who have lost their lives to fossil fuel operations and climate-fueled natural disasters, and we also celebrated the rich legacy of resistance by the Latinx community, including their efforts to stop oil and gas infrastructure from California to the Amazon.

That includes the Shuar, Shiwiar and Kichwa people of Ecuador, whose ancestral lands deep in the Amazon rainforest could be auctioned off this winter, as well as the more than five million Californians living within a mile of an active oil or gas well.

Leila Salazar-López

In this celebration of resistance, of course we also took action: we delivered over one million petitions calling on California Governor Jerry Brown to phase out fossil fuel drilling and production in California. These petitions represent years of organizing by dozens of organizations urging Brown to show REAL climate leadership.

This spring, Amazon Watch help to launch Brown's Last Chance, a coalition of over 800 organizations pushing the governor to take action on oil and gas extraction ahead of his September Global Climate Action Summit. While the governor has yet to agree to our demands, we have succeeded in changing the conversation. His climate summit was not, as he had intended, a celebration of California's achievements on climate action. Instead, it served as a wake-up call to the world highlighting the unfinished nature of Governor Brown's climate legacy. His administration has issued permits for over 20,000 new oil and gas wells, and the state's refineries are the world's largest purchasers of Amazon crude.

The Saturday before the summit, thirty thousand of us marched for climate, jobs, and justice in the streets of San Francisco demanding an end to new oil and gas drilling around the world. We then protested “offsetting” carbon pollution outside of the Governor's Climate and Forests Task Force and gathered for the alternative Solidarity-to-Solutions Summit in the Mission. When the official summit got underway, we blocked the entrance to demand that delegates stand with communities and not corporations.

The momentum of that week, and of today's petition delivery, lies in the clarity and urgency of our demand to Governor Brown and other decision-makers around the world: stop the expansion of fossil fuel extraction, keep the oil in the ground, and begin a just transition toward an economy that works for all.

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