BREAKING: Environmental Advocates Disrupt Oil & Gas Industry Meeting to Demand Transition Away from Fossil Fuels and Cessation of Industry Destruction of Louisiana
Action Coincides with Global Student Climate Strike
(New Orleands, LA)
Today, more than a dozen environmental advocates are demanding that Louisiana’s oil and gas industry begin the long-overdue process of developing a comprehensive plan for the state to transition away from the use and damaging effects of fossil fuels as Louisiana continues to be on the front lines of pollution and climate change.
On behalf of the students worldwide who are engaging in the School Strike for Climate, as well as the thousands of Louisiana residents who have made public comments and attended public hearings in the last year, the advocates have taken their concerns to the annual meeting of the Louisiana Mid-Continent Oil & Gas Association (LMOGA) as part of the organization’s session on discussing public perceptions of the fossil fuel industry.
“As someone raised in southern Louisiana,” says Hannah Chalew, a New Orleans-based visual artist participating in today’s action, “and who wants to raise my own children here, I feel it’s important to disrupt the oil and gas industry’s business-as-usual tactics. Since our government is unwilling to effectively regulate their practices, it is up to everyday citizens to make these companies face the realities of global warming and understand their industry’s implications in climate change. They need to keep it in the ground and change their destructive business model so that we can all have a livable future.”
The panel that is being interrupted today is entitled “The Industry and Public Perception.” No discussion about the public perception of the fossil fuel industry is complete without an examination of the devasting effects of its decades-long policy of ignoring its adverse impact on the state’s quality of life-an examination that the industry would prefer not to undergo.
“The industries represented by LMOGA regularly disrupt the lives and safety of communities along the Cancer Alley corridor, the health of our vital wetlands, and any attempt to transition Louisiana to a more sustainable economy-all with virtually no meaningful consequences,” says Alicia Cooke, board president of 350 New Orleans, an all-volunteer advocacy nonprofit. “If regulatory agencies won’t hold them accountable, we will meet them face-to-face so they can see the people whose lives they are impacting.”
Today’s action comes as Louisiana students join others around the world in the School Strike for Climate, their action to urge today’s leaders to take serious action to address climate change. Louisiana continues to fall victim to a multi-faceted attack from the backers of what is long-known to be an unsustainable business model, including the fossil fuel industry’s continued public denial of and failure to act on climate change, the use of pipelines across the Atchafalaya Basin and exorbitant tax breaks that dilute the state budget.
“Today we are following the lead of the children who are begging us to do the right thing and leave them a planet they can live on,” says Anne Rolfes, founding director of Louisiana Bucket Brigade. “I grew up in Lafayette and was taught to revere the oil industry, but its radical destruction of our state-in terms of public health, coastal erosion and clean air and water-is endless. We can and must do better. Our future depends on it. Enough is enough.”
More than a dozen advocates are participating in today’s action. They include:
John Clark, Ph.D.
Dr. Clark is an author and emeritus philosophy professor who, for more than two decades, lectured in environmental studies at Loyola University New Orleans. He is a member of the La Terre Institute for Community and Ecology that promotes sustainable ecological development and his forthcoming book, Between Earth and Empire, examines the political failure on the right and left to address the world’s various global crises. He is a 10th-generation New Orleanian whose family first arrived in Louisiana in 1719.
Hannah is a visual artist raised in New Orleans whose artwork depicts what it means to live in an age of global warming. Since 2018, she has worked to divest the extractive oil and gas industry from her work by using sustainable materials, powering her art studio via solar panels and harvesting rainwater for use in her artwork and everyday life in New Orleans. Her work, the result of the past decade, is included in two creative atlases, Unfathomable City: A New Orleans Atlas and Nonstop Metropolis: A New York City Atlas.
Ashley is an artist and activist with 350 New Orleans and RISE St. James, a community-led organization fighting the spread of pollution and petrochemical development in St. James Parish, La. Her artwork incorporates the creative reuse, or upcycling, of materials otherwise slated to enter the region’s landfills. She and other activists brought attention this year to likely adverse health effects tied to a proposed power plant in New Orleans East.
350 New Orleans is a volunteer climate activist group connecting southeast Louisiana to the international climate change movement led by 350.org.
Louisiana Bucket Brigade uses grassroots action to support communities impacted by the petrochemical industry and hasten the transition from fossil fuels.
Alicia Cooke, 350 New Orleans, (646) 538-0673, email@example.com