Three Years Later

Don’t you find there are periods of rapid change interspersed among long plateaus in your life? Although those plateaus are becoming fewer and lasting shorter periods of time.

The last three years have been a time of momentous change, both in my life, and in the world. I’m trying to explain what has been happening to me, because these experiences convince me we must all make similar changes if we are going to make the major adjustments needed to try to mitigate deepening environmental damage. The world has been spiraling out of control these past three years, dramatically impacting all our communities and individual lives. I think of these changes as related to the idea of a house of cards. The cards in this case being dollars of the capitalist economy.

(c)2023 Jeff Kisling

Foundational Stories

I was born into a rural Iowa Quaker community and have been a Quaker all my life. I attended Scattergood Friends School, a Quaker boarding high school on a farm in Eastern Iowa.

Recently I was challenged to consider what my foundational stories are, how they began, how they changed over time, and what they are now. I’ve been writing this series of blog posts about these stories, which are related to the intersections between my Quaker faith, protecting Mother Earth, and photography. You can read my foundational stories here:

I spent my entire adult life in Indianapolis. I arrived in 1970 to spend two years in a Quaker community organizing project, Friends Volunteer Service Mission. To support myself financially, I received on-the-job training to be a respiratory therapy technician. I later obtained a degree in Respiratory Therapy, and a career in neonatal respiratory therapy, and then thirty years doing research in infant lung development and disease in Indianapolis at Riley Hosptial for Children, Indiana University Medical Center. I retired and returned to Iowa in the summer of 2017.

Part of the Mother Earth piece of my foundational stories was “driven” by a spiritual leading that showed me I could not contribute to the pollution from owning a personal automobile, so I didn’t. That had all kinds of repercussions.

Although my leading to try to live without a personal automobile grew over time, the actual decision came about abruptly. I had a couple of used cars but felt increasingly uncomfortable having one. When my car was totaled in an accident, I took the opportunity to see if I could live without a car in the city. It took some time to work out the bus schedules, especially because I was working all kinds of hours and on weekends. And I had to learn how to shop such that I could carry everything home.

But because we derive our sense of identity and socioeconomic status from work embedded in a profit driven economy, transformative day-to-day self-sufficient activities, when they are applied in an urban or suburban setting, give rise to second set of intangible sociocultural barriers that involve taking significant social risks. Peter Lipman the former (founding) chair of Transition Network and Common Cause Foundation encourages us to take these social and cultural risks. But what exactly are the more difficult risks needed to move us in the right direction? It is important to identify intangible socioeconomic challenges in order to side-step them.

In short, our identities are tied up in what we do for a living and how we do what we do for a living must radically change. Because, let’s be honest, living and working, having lifestyles and livelihoods that are truly regenerative and sustainable look nothing like how most of us currently live and work.

Against the Economic Grain: Addressing the Social Challenges of Sustainable Livelihoods by Kim Kendall, originally published by, January 27, 2023

It was difficult for us (environmentalists) to find pressure points, places where we could call attention to the existential threats of environmental chaos from burning fossil fuels. In 2013, activists recognized the application for approval of the Keystone XL Pipeline as such an opportunity. This decision was solely up to President Obama, allowing us a focus for our efforts. I was trained as an Action Lead in the Keystone Pledge of Resistance in 2013. There I learned many skills related to community organizing. Four of us trained about forty people in the Indianapolis community, and organized many demonstrations and actions against fossil fuel companies and the banks that fund them.

We were able to train others in those skills later when the White Pines Wilderness Academy in Indianapolis wanted to bring attention to the dangers of the Dakota Access Pipeline (DAPL).

Wet’suwet’en peoples

I was always looking for news about fossil fuels and our environment. This blog post from 1/14/2020 describes my discovery of the Wet’suwet’en peoples and their struggles against the Coastal GasLink (CGL) liquid natural gas pipeline being constructed through their pristine territory in British Columbia.

I have just begun to learn about the Wet’suwet’en people. A friend of mine from the First Nation-Farmer Climate Unity March traveled to the Unist’ot’en camp about 4 years ago and found it to be a life-changing experience. I also asked other friends I made during the March about this, and they indicated support for these people.

You may wonder why I am trying to learn and write about the Wet’suwet’en people now. The literal answer is I saw this article recently: Hereditary First Nation chiefs issue eviction notice to Coastal GasLink contractors. TC Energy says it signed agreements with all 20 elected First Nations councils along pipeline’s path. Joel Dryden · CBC News · Posted: Jan 05, 2020.

Any efforts to stop pipelines catch my interest.

Wet’suwt’en People, Jeff Kisling, 1/14/2020

I wrote this booklet about the Wet’suwet’en struggles, including some videos of confrontations with Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP). Assault rifles trained on unarmed youth.

Spirit led connection to Mutual Aid

The title THREE YEARS LATER refers to my introduction to Des Moines Mutual Aid a little over three years ago. I took the photo below on Feb 7, 2020, when a small group of us organized a vigil in support of the Wet’suwet’en. I know the Spirit led Ronnie James, from Des Moines Mutual Aid, to join us. He was surprised that anyone outside his circle knew what was happening to the Wet’suwet’en. Ronnie is an Indigenous organizer working with the Great Plains Action Society (GPAS), and as such was interested to see if these were people who could become allies.

That meeting changed my life in many ways, all stemming from what I was learning from Ronnie and others about Mutual Aid, which has become the focus of my justice work since.

Over the years I’ve enjoyed documenting justice actions photographically. I like the challenge of an ever-moving group of people, the varieties of signs, the reactions of the people and the public. But for the past several years posting photos of demonstrations is discouraged if people’s faces are visible. Which police sometimes later use to bring charges against those people.

Ronnie and I are both part of Des Moines Mutual Aid’s free food project. The Wet’suwet’en being part of our history, we continue to support them. Because of COVID and people wearing masks, we were comfortable taking this photo during one of our Mutual Aid gatherings for the food project.

Des Moines Mutual Aid supports Wet’suwet’en peoples’ struggle again Coastal GasLink natural gas pipeline

Three Years Later

And yet, three years later, the Wet’suwet’en peoples’ struggles continue.

March 29, 2023
Contact: Jennifer Wickham, Media Coordinator, Gidim’ten Checkpoint,, 778-210-0067

URGENT MEDIA ADVISORY: RCMP C-IRG Raid Wet’suwet’en Village Site, Make 5 Arrests 


WET’SUWET’EN TERRITORY (Smithers, BC) – This morning, a large force of RCMP C-IRG raided a Gidimt’en village site and arrested five land and water defenders, mostly Indigenous women, including Gidimt’en Chief Woos’ daughter. The raid accompanied a search warrant for theft under $5000 with no clear relation to the Gidimt’en village site.

This large-scale action by the RCMP’s Community Industry Response Group (C-IRG) involved more than a dozen police vehicles and officers drawn from throughout British Columbia. The arrests come just weeks after the Civilian Review and Complaints Commission (CRCC) announced they have “initiated a systemic investigation into the activities and operations of the RCMP “E” Division Community-Industry Response Group (C-IRG).”

In the days leading to this police action, RCMP C-IRG have been found patrolling Wet’suwet’en traplines and cultural use areas, harassing and intimidating Wet’suwet’en members and disrupting constitutionally protected Wet’suwet’en cultural activities. Members of a private security firm hired by Coastal Gaslink pipeline, Forsythe, have also escalated harassment and surveillance efforts against Wet’suwet’en members in recent days. 

Both the RCMP’s C-IRG unit and Forsythe are named as defendants in an ongoing lawsuit launched by Wet’suwet’en members, which alleges that police and private security have launched a coordinated campaign of harassment and intimidation in an effort to force Wet’suwet’en people to abandon their unceded territories. 

Sleydo’, spokesperson for Gidimt’en Checkpoint, said: 

“This harassment and intimidation is exactly the kind of violence designed to drive us from our homelands. The constant threat of violence and criminalization for merely existing on our own lands must have been what our ancestors felt when Indian agents and RCMP were burning us out of our homes as late as the 50s in our area. The colonial project continues at the hands of industry’s private mercenaries–C-IRG”

The arrests come days before Indigenous delegates are set to arrive at Royal Bank of Canada’s Annual General Meeting to oppose expansion of fossil fuels without consent on their territories, including Wet’suwet’en Hereditary Chiefs who oppose RBC’s funding of the Coastal Gaslink pipeline.

Wet’suwet’en Hereditary Chief Na’Moks offered the following:

“This is harassment, and exactly what Royal Bank of Canada is funding. Ahead of its shareholder meeting next week, RBC continues to fund corporate colonialism, and displace Indigenous peoples from our lands at gunpoint – all for a fracked gas pipeline we cannot afford now or in the future. In the context of the theft of our ancestral land, alleging stolen saws and clothing is outrageous.”

Yesterday morning at my Quaker meeting, we considered the following set of questions related to our environmental responsibilities.



All of creation is divine and interdependent: air, water, soil, and all that lives and grows. Since human beings are part of this fragile and mysterious web, whenever we pollute or neglect the earth we pollute and neglect our own wellsprings. Developing a keen awareness of our role in the universe is essential if we are to live peacefully within creation.

The way we choose to live each day‑‑as we manufacture, package, purchase and recycle goods, use resources, dispose of water, ‑design homes, plan families and travel‑affects the present and future of life on the planet. The thought and effort we give to replenishing what we receive from the earth, to keeping informed and promoting beneficial legislation on issues which affect the earth, to envisioning community with environmental conscience, are ways in which we contribute to the ongoing health of the planet we inhabit.

Preserving the quality of life on Earth calls forth all of our spiritual resources. Listening to and heeding the leadings of the Holy Spirit can help us develop qualities which enable us to become more sensitive to all life


  • What are we doing about our disproportionate use of the world’s resources?
  • Do we see unreasonable exploitation in our relationship ‑with the rest of creation?
  • How can we nurture reverence and respect for life?  How I can we become more fully aware of our interdependent relationship with the rest of creation?
  • To what extent are we aware of all life and the role we play? What can we do in our own lives and communities to address environmental concerns?

Faith and Practice, Iowa Yearly Meeting (Conservative)

Quakers, abortion, and the white Christian problem

The Policy Committee of the Friends Committee on National Legislation (FCNL) is asking Quaker meetings for input for a statement about reproductive justice and abortion.

In the interest of time, I have not yet converted this to a blog post. You should be able to read and/or download “Quakers, Abortion, and the White Christian Problem” using the link below. We plan to discuss this at my Quaker meeting this weekend.

I began collecting various statements about abortion from my Yearly Meeting. Reproductive justice has always been a concern of Indigenous people in this country, so I also included some writings from my Indigenous friends. As can be seen in this document, young people, and especially my Indigenous friends see abortion as a problem of White Christians. I’m wondering what my White Quaker Friends think about that. Does that change how White Friends think and act about reproductive justice? Isn’t this an opportunity to build community amongst all of us?

DISCLAIMER: I am the author of this, and it is not an official publication of any group or organization.

Imperialist contradictions

I’ve had a lifelong struggle to call attention to this country’s flagrant disregard for the need to protect nonrenewable sources of energy and the mounting environmental devastation from our greenhouse gas emissions. Obviously, these are also global issues. We are depleting fossil fuel supplies of the entire world. And our gigantic fossil fuel emissions affect the world.

It is often pointed out that those nations with the lowest emission are most affected by the environmental damage done by “developed” countries.

I haven’t learned enough about these global impacts. This recent paper, Eight Contradictions in the Imperialist ‘Rules-Based Order’ that I’ve been writing about is helping with my education.
(See: )

Eight Contradictions in the Imperialist ‘Rules-Based Order’

  • The contradiction between moribund imperialism and an emerging successful socialism led by China.
  • The contradiction between the ruling classes of the narrow band of imperialist G7 countries and the political and economic elite of capitalist countries in the Global South.
  • The contradiction between the broad urban and rural working class and sections of the lower petty bourgeoisie (collectively known as the popular classes) of the Global South versus the US-led imperial power elite.
  • The contradiction between advanced rent-seeking finance capital versus the needs of the popular classes, and even some sections of capital in non-socialist countries, regarding the organisation of societies’ requirements for investment in industry, environmentally sustainable agriculture, employment, and development.
  •  The contradiction between the popular classes of the Global South and their domestic political and economic power elites.
  •  The contradiction between US-led imperialism versus nations strongly defending national sovereignty.
  • The contradiction between the millions of discarded working-class poor in the Global North versus the bourgeoisie who dominate these countries.
  • The contradiction between Western capitalism versus the planet and human life.

The eighth contradiction summarizes the fundamental contradiction, the contradiction between Western capitalism versus the planet and human life.

The inexorable path of this system is to destroy the planet and human life, threaten nuclear annihilation, and work against the needs of humanity to collectively reclaim the planet’s air, water, and land and stop the nuclear military madness of the United States. Capitalism rejects planning and peace. The Global South (including China) can help the world build and expand a ‘zone of peace’ and commit to living in harmony with nature.

With these changes in the political landscape, we are witnessing the rise of an informal front against the US-dominated imperialist system. This front is constituted by the convergence of:

  • Popular sentiment that this violent system is the main enemy of the people of the world.
  • Popular desires for a more just, peaceful, and egalitarian world.
  • The struggle of socialist or nationalist governments and political forces for their sovereignty.
  • The desires of other Global South countries to reduce their dependence on this system.

The main forces against the US-dominated imperialist system are the peoples of the world and the socialist and nationalist governments. However, there must be space provided for integrating governments that wish to reduce their dependency on the imperialist system.

The world currently stands at the beginning of a new era in which we will witness the end of the US global empire. The neoliberal system is deteriorating under the weight of numerous internal contradictions, historical injustices, and economic unviability. Without a better alternative, the world will descend into even greater chaos. Our movements have revived hope that something other than this social torment is possible.

CONTRADICTIONS OF THE IMPERIALIST ‘RULES-BASED ORDER’ by Vijay Prashad, Tricontinental: Institute For Social Research, March 10, 2023

What can those of us in capitalist systems do? We must find alternatives. For me, this has been to become involved in Mutual Aid.
(See: )

Contradictions of the Imperialist ‘Rules-Based Order’

Have your views about our environmental situation changed? It is more difficult to deny environmental damage in the face of all kinds of climate chaos occurring globally.

Did you know the U.S. Military emits more carbon dioxide than many nations?

This leads to an existential paradox. If we are ever going to begin to mitigate greenhouse gas emissions, we must end military operations. Could this be a path to peace? Or will imperialism continue to feed increasing environmental devastation?

The new document described below, “Eight Contradictions in the Imperialist ‘Rules-Based Order’” identifies conflicts between imperialist nations and the rest of the world.

The Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists has now moved the Doomsday Clock to 90 seconds to midnight, the closest it has been to the symbolic time of the annihilation of humanity and the Earth since 1947. This is alarming, which is why leaders in the Global South have been making the case to halt the warmongering over Ukraine and against China. As Namibia’s Prime Minister Saara Kuugongelwa-Amadhila said, ‘We are promoting a peaceful resolution of that conflict so that the entire world and all the resources of the world can be focused on improving the conditions of people around the world instead of being spent on acquiring weapons, killing people, and actually creating hostilities’.

In line with the alarm from the Doomsday Clock and assertions from people such as Kuugongelwa-Amadhila, the rest of this newsletter features a new text called Eight Contradictions in the Imperialist ‘Rules-Based Order’ (which you can download as a PDF here). It was drafted by Kyeretwie Opoku (the convenor of the Socialist Movement of Ghana), Manuel Bertoldi (Patria Grande /Federación Rural para la producción y el arraigo), Deby Veneziale (senior fellow, Tricontinental: Institute for Social Research), and me, with inputs from senior political leaders and intellectuals from across the world. We are offering this text as an invitation to a dialogue. We hope that you will read, circulate, and discuss it.

We are now entering a qualitatively new phase of world history. Significant global changes have emerged in the years since the Great Financial Crisis of 2008. This can be seen in a new phase of imperialism and changes in the particularities of eight contradictions.

CONTRADICTIONS OF THE IMPERIALIST ‘RULES-BASED ORDER’ by Vijay Prashad, Tricontinental: Institute For Social Research, March 10, 2023

Eight Contradictions in the Imperialist ‘Rules-Based Order’

  • The contradiction between moribund imperialism and an emerging successful socialism led by China.
  • The contradiction between the ruling classes of the narrow band of imperialist G7 countries and the political and economic elite of capitalist countries in the Global South.
  • The contradiction between the broad urban and rural working class and sections of the lower petty bourgeoisie (collectively known as the popular classes) of the Global South versus the US-led imperial power elite.
  • The contradiction between advanced rent-seeking finance capital versus the needs of the popular classes, and even some sections of capital in non-socialist countries, regarding the organisation of societies’ requirements for investment in industry, environmentally sustainable agriculture, employment, and development.
  •  The contradiction between the popular classes of the Global South and their domestic political and economic power elites.
  •  The contradiction between US-led imperialism versus nations strongly defending national sovereignty.
  • The contradiction between the millions of discarded working-class poor in the Global North versus the bourgeoisie who dominate these countries.
  • The contradiction between Western capitalism versus the planet and human life.

In my mind, Indigenous nations, Indigenous homespaces, Indigenous homelessness must be engaged in a radical and complete overturning of the nation-state’s political formations and a refusal of racial capitalism. My vision to create Nishnaabeg futures and presences must structurally refuse and reject the structures, processes and practices that end Indigenous life, Black life and result in environmental desecration. This requires societies that function without policing, prisons, and property.

Nishnaabeg formations of nationhood mean a radical overturning of the current conditions and configurations within which we live—an absolute refusal of capitalism.

Maynard, Robyn; Simpson, Leanne Betasamosake. Rehearsals for Living (Abolitionist Papers) (p. 125). Haymarket Books. Kindle Edition.

Epic battle

The battle to stop construction of the proposed militarized police training facility being referred to as “Cop City” in the Atlanta Forest has many components.

    Militarized policingAt this time of endless instances of militarized policing the last thing we need is a facility to train police to use these tactics. To train police from all over the country. International?
    Training will be provided for urban warfare. Including helicopter pads and a mock city.
    Of course, the location chosen was right next to communities of Black, Indigenous, and other people of color. Where men, women and children who are already traumatized by policing would hear all the shooting from the training facility.
    Police from multiple agencies have continually harassed tree defenders. Manuel Teran (Tortuguita) was killed by police.
    Indigenous rights“You must immediately vacate Mvskoke homelands and cease violence and policing of Indigenous and Black people in Mvskoke lands” (Atlanta Forest)
    Civil libertiesAs is occurring all over the country, civil disobedience and protest is being threatened by elevating charges to domestic terrorism.
    66 Organizations Urge that Domestic Terrorism Charges Against Defend the Atlanta Forest Protesters Be Dropped
    EnvironmentTrees are more important now than ever to pull carbon dioxide out of the air.

    an autonomous movement for the future of South Atlanta

    We call on all people of good conscience to stand in solidarity with the movement to stop Cop City and defend the Weelaunee Forest in Atlanta.


    MY GOODMAN: On Wednesday, a group of Mvskoke Creek activists interrupted a Regional Commission meeting and attempted to give an eviction notice to the Atlanta mayor.

    MVSKOKE CREEK ACTIVIST 1: Objection. Objection. We have a letter being delivered from the Mvskoke Creek Nation on behalf of Mvskoke Creek spiritual leadership in opposition to Cop City.

    MVSKOKE CREEK ACTIVIST 2: I came all the way on the Trail of Tears to deliver this letter to you folks.

    UNIDENTIFIED: You’re welcome to leave.

    MVSKOKE CREEK ACTIVIST 2: We want you to know that the contemporary Mvskoke people are now making their journey back to our homelands and hereby give notice to Mayor Andre Dickens, the Atlanta City Council, the Atlanta Police Department, the Atlanta Police Foundation, the Dekalb County Sheriff’s Office, and so-called Cop City, that you must immediately vacate Mvskoke homelands and cease violence and policing of Indigenous and Black people in Mvskoke lands. We also ask for an independent investigation into the assassination of our relative Tortuguita and that the charges be dropped against Weelaunee Forest defenders.

    Opposition Grows to Atlanta “Cop City” as More Forest Defenders Charged with Domestic Terrorism

    A number of people and organizations are calling for the cancellation of “Cop City”
    Students of the Atlanta University Center Denounce the Building of the Atlanta Public Safety Training Center
    Forest Defenders Vow Resistance After Court Okays Phase I Of ‘Cop City’
    Detroit ‘Cop City’ rally held in solidarity with Atlanta environmental defenders – BridgeDetroit
    CrimethInc. : The Forest in the City : Two Years of Forest Defense in Atlanta, Georgia
    Sign the petition: No massive police training complex. Stop Cop City!
    Elders Say Stop Cop City!
    Multiple State and Local Police Agencies Violently Raid Weelanuee Forest Music Festival, Week of Action Perseveres  

    On 1/31/2023, a number of people who are involved in justice work in central Iowa gathered at the offices of the law firm that represents Corporation Services Company. Which in turn represents U.S. Multifamily Capital Markets at Cushman and Wakefield. John O’Neill is the President of U.S. Multifamily Capital Markets. He sits on the executive committee board for the Atlanta Police Foundation, which is building “Cop City” in Atlanta. Where Manuel Teran (Tortuguita) was killed by police who were clearing tree sitters from the proposed construction area.

    Following are some of the photos I took at our action that morning.

    See more about “Cop City” here:

    Pause and Transform

    I recently attended a Zoom meeting hosted by the Climate Mobilization Network. I was interested because I’ve been following the Climate Mobilization Network’s work for years.

    They articulate what has not been working and that they are looking into different strategies that might be successful. I was especially interested to discover their emphasis on Mutual Aid programs.

    This collective visioning, movement incubation and learning gathering will equip you with space for reflection, new ideas, inspiration, and next steps to participate in this new campaign.

    Together we will build relationships and explore:

    • How survival and mutual aid programs can grow the movement
    • New, creative approaches to taking action against fossil fuels
    • Ways to integrate healing into our work
    • And how to create space for reflection, intentionality and strategic clarity

    Why We Decide to Pause and Transform our Strategy

    • Congressional failure to take meaningful action on climate
    • The slow pace of local climate programs where policy change is severely limited by what’s considered politically possible
    • Rising inequality amid continued neoliberalism
    • Escalating climate disasters that are hitting global and US-based frontline communities the hardest and will continue accelerating rapidly!
    • And widespread cultural and generational concern about climate change has not yet been tapped into effectively by a mass movement.

    Climate Mobilization Network

    Movement Analysis

    We reached out to more than 20 leaders across the Just Transition movement to guide our strategic planning process – we asked them about what learnings, gaps, and critical takeaways they saw emerging in their movement work. The opportunities that interviewees identified our movement needs to build on included:

    • We need more support for escalating, disruptive direct actions
    • We need work building a movement of movements
    • We need local organizing & base building as a foundation for larger mass movement
    • We need solutions outside of government
    • We need a more coherent, clear, and unified narrative strategy and message
    • We need more training on healing and community care as the center of our movements – and a politics of empathy and love at the center of our movements

    Climate Mobilization Network

    Climate Mobilization’s 2023 Pilot Programs: Political Education on Climate Survival, Healing Justice, Movement History and the Need for Escalated Direct Action

    After processing our movement analysis, as well as the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and challenges of our current focus campaigns and Network – and realizing the need for more radical and inventive approaches to addressing the climate emergency – we decided to build for our pilot program to focus on building out a transformational, motivational and commitment-driven political education training program that builds understanding, alignment and action around the need for climate survival programs and escalated, coordinated, and creative direct action. 

    This includes: 

    • Direct action strategy and tactics from Indigenous struggles, from the Global South & from history, encouraging participants to develop their emergent ideas
    • Why and how to start mutual aid based climate survival programs – pulling case studies for effective models of sustained community resilience 
    • Mass movement history  & state of current climate / need for climate survival 
    • Healing Justice organizing practices addressing burnout, trauma, climate grief at the root cause; integrating organizing and healing justice approaches into one, making climate organizing a more joyous, community-oriented, accessible, and sustainable practice for all peoples to get involved in – with a focus on building out leadership of resilience of frontline communities 

    Why This: Political education is movement connective tissue and a key resource for organizers to become more resilient, effective and reflective. Climate organizing in the US is particularly disconnected from the important resources offered by movement history rooted in global context.

    Why Now: This program addresses several emergent movement needs:

    • Burnout is at an all-time high, a signal to reflect, rebuild resilience, shift organizing practices across the movement to center healing, and re-root our organizations in movement history. 
    • Climate groups’ interest in direct action remains high, while increasing numbers of groups working on other issues will be trying to add climate programs. We will provide a container for this work. 
    • We’ve also heard concerns that the direct action toolbox and strategy need to be expanded and strengthened.

    This program will forge common ground among a burgeoning climate survival movement that brings together climate and non-climate groups. Alignment and political education around direct action, healing justice and mass movement history is an unmet need across sectors; the training will also provide an appealing, approachable framework for groups new to climate work to launch climate survival programs. The focus is on moving people to launch direct action and climate survival programs, change their organizing practices (to incorporate a climate survival focus and become more healing justice centered), and access improved resilience in the work they are already doing.

    Climate Mobilization’s New Direction for 2023

    Here are the slides from the presentation

    #NoCarbonPipelines #NoCO2Pipelines #MutualAid

    Changing course

    How straight has the course of your life been?

    During my life I’ve changed course many times. Sometimes a change was forced upon me, sometimes a voluntary change. Sometimes both.

    I grew up on farms and in small towns in rural Iowa. I hadn’t lived in any cities prior to moving to Indianapolis in 1971. That was a culture shock. I had a tough time seeing how many cars there were and could see and smell the auto exhaust (prior to catalytic converters). I had a Spiritual vision of my beloved Rocky Mountains hidden in clouds of exhaust. That vision played a huge role in the rest of my life.

    In one way you might say my vision was wrong. The Rocky Mountains have not, yet, been hidden by smog. Although they are engulfed with greenhouse gases.

    In the late sixties we traveled to California. As we approached Los Angeles, our eyes began to water, and we coughed a lot. We were told we would get used to it. And the mountains and hills around Los Angeles were veiled in auto exhaust.

    I’d always had objections to people owning personal automobiles. Why own a complex machine that sits idle most of the time? Vast amounts of land became covered by highways. Those in large cities routinely sat in traffic for a long time each day. All the traffic and parking infrastructure, and police. Interstate highways cut through the middle of communities. Little or no mass transit was being created.

    I’d also always been interested in science. I learned how fossil fuels were formed, how long that took. And, most importantly, that meant fossil fuel sources needed to be protected, because they were not renewable. Our profligate waste of fossil fuels was energy stolen from future generations.

    When I first moved to Indianapolis, it was to join the Friends Volunteer Service Mission (VSM). There, wages from one year of working were saved to support yourself to do service work in that neighborhood the second year. So, there was no money for a car. At the end of those two years, I tried to avoid having a car. But the Metro city bus schedule did not always extend to the hours I was working, nor always run in the neighborhoods I lived in. When someone in the neighborhood offered to sell me his used car for $50, I bought it.

    Necessary Evil?

    But all this weighed on me spiritually. I knew it was not right to have a fossil fuel-based society/economy. And yet, I began to think having a car was a “necessary evil”, as so many people told me. But how could “evil” be “right”?

    After a few years, my car was involved in a traffic accident. Fortunately, no one was hurt, but the car was totaled.

    I clearly remember a Spiritual leading, telling me that this was an opportunity to find an alternative to a necessary evil. I had put a lot of prayer and thinking into my discomfort in having a car all during the time I had one.

    I had been making some changes that made this look possible now. I moved nearer downtown, since that is where the Medical Center where I was doing research was located. I had to be within walking or running distance of work in case the bus schedule changed. Or more commonly, to get to work on the weekends when the bus schedule was scaled back.

    I also made sure a laundromat and grocery store were within walking distance. I had been learning how to shop in a way that I could carry everything home.


    My grandmother, Lorene Standing, said the will of God is often revealed in a series of small steps. The above is an illustration of that. With the pieces now in place, I wondered if the accident provided a new opportunity to try to live without a car. I remember a feeling of unease, whether I could really do this. At the same time, there was a much greater awareness that this might be the time. If not, I feared I would fall into the trap of owning a car. There was the fallback possibility, to get a car if this experiment didn’t work out.

    Many adventures resulted from making the decision to give up a car. It lifted the burden of the spiritual weight of having a car. It showed me and others that having a car was not a necessary evil. A witness.

    Just because you can’t make a difficult choice at one point in your life, doesn’t mean the opportunity won’t come around again.

    Changing Course

    At the beginning I said sometimes change is forced upon us, sometimes a voluntary choice, sometimes both. Perhaps what we thought was forced upon us was actually a spiritual leading. If that is true, shouldn’t we be paying more attention to the Spirit in our lives?

    How did we get here?

    I often reflect upon how I don’t know what I’ll end up writing on any given day. I thought I’d be writing about a Zoom meeting I attended that was hosted by Climate Mobilization, an organization that has been going through changes in their approach to call attention to our climate emergencies. I’ve been following their work for years.

    Tuesday night was an introduction to Climate Mobilization’s change of course that I’ll be writing more about. I was fascinated to see the emergence of a national/international plan to prepare for climate survival. And to see the pieces that have been coming together for me over the past five years are the same that Climate Mobilization has been going through.

    You can see these points in the diagram below.

    • Emphasis on working locally
    • Mutual Aid
    • Indigenous sovereignty
    • Abolition
    • Prefigurative solutions
    • Healing
      • Emotional
      • Spiritual
      • Physical
      • Transformative Mutual Aid Practices (T-MAPs)

    Spirit, Justice, Mutual Aid, Healing and Survival

    A number of ideas have come together for me lately. So, I’ve taken some time to write the following, putting them all together.

    The PDF of Spirit, Justice, Mutual Aid, Healing and Survival can be found below. There is a button to download the PDF.

    This is the link to the same PDF document online: spirit-justice-mutual-aid-healing-and-survival.pdf

    Additionally, I’ve published an eBook version of the same document here:
    Spirit, Justice, Mutual Aid, Healing and Survival eBook version

    Feel free to leave comments below.

    Spirit, Justice, Mutual Aid, Healing and Survival

    Movement to Stop Cop City grows

    What do you think about “Cop City”?

    Cop City is a proposed $90 million, 300-acre police training compound backed by the Atlanta Police Foundation. It will be the largest police training facility in the US, to include a mock city where police will train with firearms, tear gas, helicopters, and explosive devices to repress protest and mass arrest.

    This is exactly the opposite of what those of us in the abolition (of police and prisons) movement are working for. All the more concerning because Cop City would be used to train police from all over the country. Imagine your local police going to Cop City and returning with all this knowledge about militarized policing and repressing dissent.
    (See: )

    It’s impossible for me to not see the connections of the police killings of Manuel Teran, Tyre Nichols, George Floyd, and hundreds of others.

    A coalition of more than 1,300 climate and racial justice groups from across the United States on Monday joined a call for an independent investigation into the police killing of forest defender Manuel Paez Terán earlier this month, and demanded the resignation of Atlanta Mayor Andre Dickens.

    The groups noted that Dickens and the Atlanta City Council have the authority to terminate the land lease for Cop City in the forest and called for the mayor to do so immediately, denouncing his strong support for the Atlanta Police Foundation’s proposal.

    Ikiya Collective, a signatory of the letter, noted that the training slated to take place at Cop City “will impact organizing across the country” as police are trained to respond to popular uprisings.

    “This is a national issue,” said the collective. “Climate justice and police brutality are interconnected, which is why we are joining the Stop Cop City calls to action with the frontline communities in Atlanta.”

    1,300+ US Groups Demand Atlanta Mayor’s Resignation Over Forest Defender Tortuguita’s Killing by Julia Conley, Common Dreams, January 30, 2023

    I attended a vigil for Tortuguita in Chicago the day after they were killed by police. One of the signs posted beside candles and other tributes included words taken from an interview Tortuguita gave to writer David Peisner. This is what they said of the movement to Stop Cop City:

    If enough people decide to do this with nonviolent action, you can overwhelm the infrastructure [of the state]. That’s something they fear more than violence in the streets. Because violence in the streets, they’ll win. They have the guns for it. We don’t.

    The Death of a Forest Defender at “Stop Cop City” by Kelly Hayes, TRUTHOUT, January 26,2023

    NLG National joins our Atlanta and University of Georgia Chapters and comrades in mourning the devastating loss of a beloved community member. Tortuguita was a kind, passionate, and caring activist, who coordinated mutual aid and served as a trained medic. The Atlanta Community Press Collective is compiling memories and accounts of their life, and we encourage everyone to honor and remember Tortuguita through the words of those who love them.

    As radical movement legal activists, NLG recognizes that this horrific murder and the related arrests are part of a nationwide attack on protesters, land defenders, and marginalized folks, especially Black, Indigenous, and other activists of color. Labeling these demonstrators “domestic terrorists” is a harrowing repetition of No DAPL activist Jessica Reznicek’s terrorist enhancement last year, and both are clear indicators that the people in power view protesters and environmental activists as enemies of the state.


    Jessica Reznicek

    As mentioned in the National Lawyers Guild (NLG) statement above, domestic terrorism charges are being brought to stifle nonviolent civil disobedience as part of a nationwide attack on protesters, land defenders, and marginalized folks, especially Black, Indigenous, and other activists of color.

    A PANEL OF three Trump-appointed judges this week upheld an excessive eight-year prison sentence handed down to climate activist Jessica Reznicek, ruling that a terrorism enhancement attached to her sentence was “harmless.”

    The terror enhancement, which dramatically increased Reznicek’s sentence from its original recommended range, set a troubling precedent. Decided by a lower court in 2021, it contends that Reznicek’s acts against private property were “calculated to influence or affect the conduct of government.” The appellate justices’ decision to uphold her sentence, callously dismissing the challenge to her terrorism enhancement, doubles down on a chilling message: Those who take direct action against rapacious energy corporations can be treated as enemies of the state.

    As her legal battles continue, Reznicek, whose acts of sabotage place her firmly on the right side of history, if not the law, deserves full-throated public support. As she noted in her 2017 statement claiming responsibility for the actions against the Dakota Access pipeline: “We acted from our hearts and never threatened human life nor personal property. What we did do was fight a private corporation that has run rampant across our country seizing land and polluting our nation’s water supply.”

    Right-Wing Judges Say It’s “Harmless” to Label Climate Activist a Terrorist. A court upheld Jessica Reznicek’s excessive sentence for vandalism aimed at stopping the Dakota Access pipeline by Natasha Lennard, The Intercept, June 8, 2022

    Stop Cop City

    Stop Cop City (SCC) or Defend Atlanta Forest is a decentralized social movement in AtlantaGeorgiaUnited States, whose goal is to stop construction of the Atlanta Public Safety Training Center by the Atlanta Police Foundation and the City of Atlanta. Opponents of the facility are concerned about the growth of policing in the city, which has witnessed several protests against police violence following the 2020 murder of George Floyd and the killing of Rayshard Brooks,[2] both by police officers.[3]

    The proposed location for the facility is the Old Atlanta Prison Farm, and opponents of the facility particularly object to this location because of its history and because destruction of the forest conflicts with their concerns about environmental justice, and attempts to preserve the land as an urban park and conservation area.[4]

    Stop Cop City, Wikipedia

    Manuel “Tortuguita” Terán

    This is a continuation of news and reflections about the first killing of an environmental activist in this country. Manuel “Tortuguita” Terán was killed in Atlanta on January 21, 2023. Other stories I’ve written about this are listed in this table. This troubles me because I am an environmental activist, as are many of my friends. I don’t like to think of us as targets of extreme police brutality. Or charged as “domestic terrorists”.

    Many stories tell of Tortuguita’s advocacy for nonviolence. Which makes it seem unlikely that they shot at police. But that is what the police are saying.

    In Solidarity with Atlanta’s Forest Defenders
    Do you trust the police?
    Killing and Criminalizing Activists
    Modern-Day Lynchings

    WASHINGTON – On January 21, 2023, Atlanta Forest Defender Manuel “Tortuguita” Terán was shot and killed by Atlanta police. Terán, an environmental activist, was peacefully protesting the clearing of South River Forest land near Atlanta, where the state plans to build a new military-grade training facility. In recent weeks police have conducted multiple raids on environmental activists camping in the forest, which was identified as a key area for mitigating climate change impacts in Atlanta.  

    Terán’s killing sets a dangerous precedent for environmental activism in the U.S., while over the last decade, thousands of environmental defenders around the globe have been and continue to be murdered, imprisoned or arrested for defending the planet. 

     Erich Pica, President of Friends of the Earth U.S., said this: 

    Friends of the Earth U.S. expresses our solidarity with those outraged and in mourning at the police killing of Manuel “Tortuguita” Terán, while protecting the South River Forest from logging and exploitation. His killing is a domestic example of the increasing threat of death faced by environmental defenders across the globe, while protecting their communities from companies and governments seeking to log, mine, dam rivers or extract fossil fuels.   

    Police brutality and the militarization of the police force is just one of the many violent and unconscionable attempts to crush those fighting to protect our planet. Indigenous Peoples, local communities and environmental defenders are the planet’s greatest caretakers and advocates. Friends of the Earth U.S. stands against the brutal treatment of these heroes around the globe. 

    Statement on Manuel Terán’s killing, Friends of the Earth, January 24, 2023

    Title: Atlanta Community Reacts to Police Killing of Forest Defender Manuel Teran
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