Note from OCA's Editors: The following article from the Huffington Post reports on actions organized by Beyond Talk and the Mobilization for Climate Justice in NYC. Here are videos of the NY action and the DC action, which OCA joined:
A phalanx of NYPD officers on foot and aboard several police vans surrounded the marchers as they walked up Sixth Avenue in the cold rain on Monday, at times pushing people off of the street and back on to the sidewalk. A group of roughly 30 climate activists, joined by award-winning NASA scientist and outspoken climate change expert, James Hansen, chanted as they went: "The earth, the earth, the earth is on fire. We don't need no cap and trade, the market is a liar."
Was it a satellite Goldman Sachs trading office that brought the greens out to the barricades? The Manhattan offices of a large and influential oil or gas company? The downtown penthouse of a Big Coal mogul? Nope. The soggy climate activists were camped out in front of the headquarters of the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC), one of the largest environmental advocacy groups in the country.
The activists accuse the NRDC of collaborating with polluters through its involvement with the U.S. Climate Action Partnership, or U.S. CAP, which is billed on its website as "an alliance of major businesses and leading climate and environmental groups that have come together to call on the federal government to enact legislation requiring significant reductions of greenhouse gas emissions." Members of the group include such corporate heavyweights as The Dow Chemical Company, Ford Motor Company, General Motors, General Electric, Shell, Alcoa, BP America and Caterpillar. Other environmental groups involved in the group include Environmental Defense, the Pew Center on Global Climate Change and World Resources Institute.
U.S. CAP played a pivotal lobbying role in drafting the massive Waxman-Markey climate bill in the House which, while calling for modest emission reductions, will also create an exponentially lucrative carbon trading market. And many of the largest financial institutions that have been deemed "too big to fail" (Goldman Sachs, Bank of America) are expected to cash in on what some activists have begun to call a new system of "climate profiteering."
Outside of the nondescript office building on 20th Street where the crowd eventually assembled, the NYPD set up a row of metal barricades around the entrance in an effort to keep the protesters away from the front entrance. For every three members of the crowd, there was roughly one police officer, with a total of three police vans and three small interceptor vehicles parked in a line out front.
"You have to be a little flattered by that," said Monica Hunken, a protest organizer who spoke to the crowd on a soapbox on the sidewalk. "They even brought out their pen, it's pretty heavy-handed." That contrasted with the police activity at the launch point for the march -- the Bank of America branch on 17th St and 5th Avenue -- where the group spoke out about the bank's investments in mountaintop removal and oil and gas prospecting. No such safety precautions were in evidence at that site.
The demonstration in Manhattan was one of over a dozen organized by the Mobilization for Climate Justice and organizers of BeyondTalk.net, a website that rallies individuals to commit civil disobedience in the name of climate change action. At least one member of the New York contingent did just that, when he attempted to lock himself to the front doors of the building.
"Stopping coal starts with the NRDC," yelled out Robert Jereski, co-founder of New York Climate Action Group, as he was handcuffed and hustled in to a paddy wagon parked up the street. Jereski was eventually charged with "obstruction of governmental administration" and disorderly conduct.