It’s not often you can, quite literally, don a hero’s cape for Planet Earth, and even less often that it would be plastic, and unheard of that this would land you in a global art festival, but here’s your invite: Thanksgiving weekend — on the eve of the most important meeting ever, when world leaders gather in Paris for climate talks — Eugene will mount a march and collaborative art event so creative and bold that we’re featured in the ArtCOP21 Global Climate Art Festival curated through London.
We’ll hear first from teen leaders, Mayor Kitty Piercy and elementary school kids suing the federal government for violating their constitutional right to a livable climate. (The kids now face the might of Big Oil, whose lawyers petitioned to join the case.) We’ll march for a binding, science-based climate treaty and equitable transition to 100-percent clean energy by 2050. Carrying giant puppets and hand-painted sunflowers, we’ll cross Ferry Street Bridge to Alton Baker Park to film a Thanksgiving video card to world leaders.
To deliver the “OFF Fossil Fuels, ON Clean Energy!” message, we’ll create a giant oil drip with our bodies and transform the drip into a living sun. To do that, we’ll drape that plastic — our “capes,” many reclaimed from a recent pipeline protest — over yellow shirts and, while filmed from above, remove the “oil” to reveal yellow tops. By reforming ourselves into a sun — the symbol of clean energy — we’ll symbolically transition from dirty to clean energy.
And we’ll do it together. It’ll be a bit chaotic, kinda like in real life when we go fossil-free. After we send world leaders our video, we’ll send Gov. Kate Brown a Thanksgiving card to thank her in advance for rejecting the Oregon fracked-gas-export pipeline only she can stop. (She’s invited; if she doesn’t show, we have a substitute.)
Any agreement is anticipated to be both hard-won and insufficient to avert wholesale global catastrophe, which is why millions of people worldwide are taking to the streets Nov. 28-29. Like Whos from Whoville using every last bit of strength to shout, “We are here, we are here, we are HERE!” people worldwide, especially in low-lying or drought-stricken nations, will demand climate justice. The meetings provide a rare — and long-awaited — moment of focused global attention on climate solutions. The time for speaking up is now.
The whole world was turning its attention to Paris before Friday’s horrifying attacks. It’s hard to know how they’ll affect talks and, therefore, our future, but in Eugene, we’re both far from that tumult and in the belly of the climate beast. It’s the U.S. that has been both the energy hog at the global table and the obstructionist to solutions. Only we the people can lead them on this, which is why we need every last Who in Whoville to stand up and shout our version of “We are here!” So on Thanksgiving weekend, after feasts, football and buying nothing on Black Friday (REI will close and pay employees to play outdoors!) come out for fresh air, exercise and the chance to join the global conversation.
Because things are shifting. The London Science Museum just severed its Shell sponsorship. More than 400 college campuses have divested from dirty energy (ahem, UO?). Even the Rockefellers broke up with coal, oil and gas. Keystone finally has a stake through its heart. (Bravo, Obama! And don’t try to tell me it’s insignificant when a black man confronts Big Oil.) Exxon is under indictment. And that pope! Calling for a “bold cultural revolution”! Seriously, can our job be easier? Countless climate groups have organized the crap out of the Northwest. Shell pulled out of Arctic drilling plans, citing public opposition — including those few hundred kick-ass kayakers who blocked their way (we love you, Portland and Seattle!).
Be part of it. Help push the world in the right direction. There’s no school Saturday. Grandma won’t leave ‘til Sunday. There’s no Ducks game (but wear the yellow shirt). We’ll have signs to choose from and cookies baked by students from the new Earth Guardians / 350 South club.
To join this family-friendly Global March for Climate Solutions & Epic Collaborative Art Event, gather at 2 pm at the Old Federal Building, 211 E. 7th Ave. March over Ferry Street Bridge to Alton Baker Park or meet us there at 3 pm. Wear yellow! More info at 350 Eugene’s website. — Mary DeMocker