While in his recent column Matt Driscoll helpfully observes that effective social movements must do more than protest (“Does RedLine Tacoma, and the city’s anti-fossil fuel movement, have a second act?” TNT, Aug. 5), his description of Tacoma’s growing environmental movement fails to appreciate just how diverse a series of organizations are involved and how positive and collaborative their contributions are.
After watching the Port of Tacoma and Tacoma City Council help Puget Sound Energy build a fracked, liquified natural gas facility, many of us have concluded Tacoma’s history of secretive, corrupt politics controlled by polluting industry never went away.
Regardless of whether any one enviro, political or indigenous group has a “second act,” the larger movement against dirty, dangerous, outdated industry — and for a clean, safe, economically vibrant Tacoma — will thrive.
Though RedLine Tacoma is often used by those in power (Port of Tacoma, City Council, Economic Development Board, Chamber of Commerce, etc.) to identify the local anti-fossil fuel movement, there is a much more robust and transformative groundswell at play.
The visceral community response to the backdoor decisions being made by the Port and City Council can be felt by anyone paying attention.
You’ll see us at public meetings speaking against LNG. You’ll see us in plazas and parks and on sidewalks holding NO LNG! signs. You’ll see many of us wearing red to signify we stand against new fossil fuel development.
You’ll see woven cedar hats worn by members of the Puyallup and other Coast Salish tribes asserting their historic role as leaders protecting the land, the air, and, especially, the water.
We understand the importance of not only protest and civil disobedience, but of building relationships, supporting good candidates running for office, and participating in every process of decision-making.
What’s the message? We are a movement, not a moment. We aren’t going away; we’re growing.
We’ve grown weary of dirty politics and dirty energy sources. We’ve grown tired of the status quo with its lack of transparency and public involvement.
Now, we’re taking matters into our own hands and we’re growing stronger and more determined. We’re growing seeds of awareness and hope and change. We’re changing the conversation in Tacoma ensuring the environment and the future are made a priority.
We see the truth of the present situation: that the fossil fuel industry has corrupted our political process. It takes massive public subsidies, yet tells us that renewable energy isn’t economically viable. It presents a false choice between living-wage jobs and a livable environment.
The ominous signs this month — a week of record temperatures, in which smoke from B.C. wildfires gave Tacoma some of the most polluted air on the planet — send a more powerful message than any election result could.
Denial is no longer an option. You can’t replace one fossil fuel with another. LNG is not a bridge.
We will continue to stand with fellow water protectors and climate warriors against pollution and greed. We will continue to fight to protect and preserve the environment because it is the right thing to do. It is the only thing that makes sense.
We are inspired, energetic and enthusiastically fighting for environmental justice. We are building momentum with allies and supporters. This was never a one-and-done movement. This was never about one political race or one election cycle.
Our current goal is to stop Puget Sound Energy’s fracked gas pipeline and facility. If it’s built, we’ll fight to ensure it doesn’t become operational. If it becomes operational, we’ll work to shut it down.
We’re still here. We aren’t going away. We’re growing. Join us!
Valarie Peaphon has lived in Tacoma for five years. She works as a representative at a local labor union and volunteers with the environmental group RedLine Tacoma.