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Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Thank You, Climate Hero

*This was originally published in The Ithacan on April 26, 2015

On April 20th, Heather Doyle plead guilty to her actions at Dominion’s Cove Point LNG export terminal in Lusby, Maryland on Feb. 3, in which she trespassed onto a construction site and scaled the arm of a crane to drop a banner that read, “Dominion get out. Don’t frack Maryland. No gas exports. Save Cove Point.”

Doyle, 31, did not accept probation and instead chose to go to jail. Judge John E. Nunn of the Calvert County Court sentenced Doyle 40 days, which she is now serving. In his statement the judge said he was sympathetic to the environmental movement, but did not understand why Doyle and her fellow crane-climber, Carling Sothoron, needed to scale construction equipment to make their point.

Writing letters and signing petitions only go so far, and in some cases, like Seneca Lake and Cove Point, our only remaining option is to speak with our bodies.

The following is a letter I wrote to Doyle. I wanted to share it on my blog to bring attention to her valiant efforts to protect what she loves, and her self sacrifice for a greater good. I hope sharing this will also bring attention to Dominion’s ill-fated intentions to construct the first LNG export facility on the East Coast.

An Uncertain Future

*This was originally published in The Ithacan on April 18th, 2015.

This blog post is about reproduction, overpopulation and climate change. All three are topics our society needs to become more comfortable with talking about. In the spirit of being more comfortable, I’m going to discuss a personal decision I made, openly, for everyone to read.

I grew up an only child, and I remember sporadically wishing out loud for a little brother. My parents never granted my wish — they ended up divorcing when I was 12 — but they did an awesome job with raising the one kid they did have, even after they split up.

From a young age, the kindness and devotion my parents gave to me inspired me. Like young girls often do, I planned how many kids I would have and what I would name them. While my opinion on baby names has changed over the years, one thing has always remained certain; I want to pay the love my parents showed me forward to a child.

My participation in the Great March for Climate Action over the course of five months changed my thoughts and perceptions on a lot of things. One thing I didn’t expect it to change was my firmly held plans about motherhood.

Syracuse University Divests

*This was originally published in The Ithacan on April 4th, 2015.

On the last day of March, Syracuse University announced it will be divesting — or withdrawing its endowment fund investments — from coal and other fossil fuel companies. The Orange Nation is joining a growing list of colleges and universities who are taking this step, in addition to municipalities, religious institutions, foundations and more.

The movement to divest has primarily been led by college students and broadcasted by environmental activist organization With hundreds of active student organizations across the country, sit-ins, marches and banner drops are becoming more and more common.

The City of Ithaca is on the list of municipalities who have divested, and the Park Foundation — an invaluable financial source for the Park School of Communications and Ithaca College as a whole — is among the list of divested foundations. The college, however, is nowhere to be found on 350’s “Divestment Commitments” list.

The college’s student organization aimed at pressuring administration to take this step, Divest IC, has faltered and become inactive. Without it, President Tom Rochon and the Board of Trustees are off the hook.

Justice Half Served

*This was originally published in The Ithacan on March 25, 2015

Dwain Wilder, Colleen Boland, Sandra Steingraber, Roland Micklem, Susan Mead, Judy Leaf, Jimmy Betts, John Dennis, Michael Clark and Kelsey Erickson. They all have at least two things in common. 1) They are outstanding and involved citizens in both their regional and global communities. 2) They went to jail for their efforts to protect Seneca Lake and expose the problems with Texas-based company Crestwood Midstream’s plan to store highly-pressurized gas in crumbling salt caverns.

Outstanding, involved, passionate and concerned citizens, going to jail. For a violation trespass — not a criminal trespass. They went to jail over something equivalent to a parking ticket.