Madison, Wisconsin, June 9 – 350 Wisconsin and over 50 climate activists rallied in Madison, WI to call for an immediate shut down to Line 5 and action from Governor Evers’ and President Biden’ administrations to stop approving new fossil fuel projects. The “Protect the Waters” event brought together music, art, and passion in support of climate justice in Wisconsin and the rest of the world.
“Today was an expression of our rage and our hope,” said Emily Park (she/her) with 350 Wisconsin. “We’re angry that the people in power are not taking immediate action to protect our futures, but we showed up today because we still have hope that things will change. Today’s action was a powerful example of grassroots artivism in action, and I’m so proud of everyone who showed up in the middle of their busy workday.”
People in Madison took action with approximately 70 actions across the country to uplift a national call for President Biden to keep his climate promises. These actions signal the need for a change in the Biden administration’s continued approval of new fossil fuel projects ahead of the UN Climate Ambition Summit in New York this September. Since President Biden’s disastrous approval of the LNG and Willow oil projects in Alaska and his debt ceiling deal that fast-tracks the Mountain Valley Pipeline, millions of people across the country have taken action to oppose new fossil fuel projects and hold Biden accountable for the promises he made when these climate activists helped elect him. This action is a next step in escalating the call to stop the Mountain Valley Pipeline, overturn approval of the Willow Project and LNG Alaska, and immediately deny permits for any new fossil fuel projects.
“With Line 5 currently less than 10 feet from the Bad River in northern Wisconsin, Indigenous and frontline communities are on the brink of environmental catastrophe,” said John Greenler (he/they), Executive Director of 350 Wisconsin. “One bad storm could devastate their communities, Lake Superior, and all of the people and ecosystems who depend on the larger Great Lakes ecosystems for their lives and economies. We’re calling on President Biden to immediately shut down Line 5, and for Biden and Governor Evers to halt the proposed Line 5 reroute that would continue to trample on Indigenous treaty rights, and their sacred lands and waters. We need a climate emergency declaration, and an end to new fossil fuel infrastructure everywhere. The time for action is now.”
The event in Madison and the others around the country are about ending the era of fossil fuels and fighting for a just transition to clean, renewable energy. Members of the public who joined the Protect the Waters rally gathered in the Wisconsin Capitol rotunda and held signs that said “Water is Life – Stop Line 5!”, “Biden: End the Era of Fossil Fuels”, “Shut Down Line 5 – Save the Great Lakes”, “Biden: Stop the Mountain Valley Pipeline”, and more. Professional opera singer Amanda Lauricella led the group in a song inviting all of us to protect the waters now, creating a powerful call to action that reverberated to all corners of the Wisconsin Capitol.
Addressing the crowd, Carrie Huff Chesnik (she/her), member of the Oneida nation, said, “we’re saying: Dear President Biden, Dear Secretary Deb Haaland – hello, our water is being poisoned. Our water is under attack. Our manoomin is under attack. That is what defines us as Indigenous people, our traditional foods. You don’t want to hear it, but you’re committing genocide.”
President Biden has the ability to impact Line 5 and other fossil fuel fights across the country by declaring a climate emergency. By declaring a national climate emergency, Biden can unlock additional powers to limit oil and gas exports, increase the availability of clean energy technologies, and ensure communities hit hardest by climate disasters receive the resources they need to rebuild. Stopping Line 5 and declaring a climate emergency are about ending the era of fossil fuels, transitioning to just, clean energy systems, and bringing justice to communities impacted most by fossil fuels.
This action was organized by 350 Wisconsin and is part of a nation-wide escalation to end fossil fuels from June 8th-11th sponsored by People Vs. Fossil Fuels, 350 Network Council, the Center for Popular Democracy, Zero Hour, Fridays for Future, and Climate Organizing Hub and endorsed by 64 other Indigenous, climate, labor, and environmental justice organizations nationwide.
For a selection of photos and videos from today’s event, please visit this folder.
350 Wisconsin (formerly 350 Madison) mobilizes grassroots power to change hearts and minds, laws and policies, and humanity’s massive systems to make transformational progress toward environmental justice and solving the climate crisis by 2030. For more information, visit 350wisconsin.org.