The Standing Rock Protest

This post was originally supposed to recap our experiences at the 2016 International Raging Grannies Uncon(vention) held in Seattle.  However, the events unfolding at North Dakota’s Standing Rock Sioux reservation in response to the proposed Dakota Access Pipeline have taken precedence.

The Standing Rock Sioux have been engaged in a nonviolent protest against the Dakota Access Pipeline. The pipeline is intended to transport oil obtained via hydraulic fracturing (fracking) from North Dakota’s Bakken Shale basin.   If allowed, the pipeline will cross farms, natural areas, and the ancestral lands of the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe.  It will cross under the Missouri River just above the Sioux lands.  The Standing Rock Sioux has filed a lawsuit and requested a court-ordered injunction. The lawsuit holds that the pipeline is a violation of the National Historic Preservation Act.

On September 9, 2016, federal judges are set to rule on this lawsuit.  The lawsuit requests that the tribe be better consulted before a portion of the pipeline is drilled beneath the Missouri River.  Part of the risk is that a leak in the pipeline would affect the tribal water supply.

“In 2014, the proposed route of DAPL went through Bismarck, the capital of North Dakota, with roughly 61,000 residents, 92 percent of them white. After the Corps determined that the pipeline could contaminate drinking water, it was rerouted to pass by Standing Rock. “That’s environmental racism,” said Kandi Mossett, of the Mandan, Hidatsa, and Arikara Nation in North Dakota and an organizer with the Indigenous Environmental Network.” From

What is unprecedented in this situation is that the protest is bringing together a large number of tribes in the interest of protecting the water and the earth. Members of the Black Lives Matter movement have also joined efforts at the camps.  This is an historic coming together to address environmental racism.

Kelly Hayes, a Chicago activist, blogger, and contributor to Truthout wrote,

“We need our non-Native allies to continue to lock arms with us. We need everyone. Because we can’t do this alone.”

One of the things we learned at the Uncon was how we, as people of whiteness, can best support the efforts of people of color.  We have been told that we can contribute through monetary support, by bearing witness, and by being on the front lines in solidarity with our brothers and sisters of color.  To that end, we, the Portland Raging Grannies, have made a donation to the Standing Rock Sioux to help them sustain their protest. Individual members of our gaggle have also contributed.  We are also working with other gaggles throughout the United States and Canada to make September 9 a day of solidarity against the exploitation of the earth for the gain of fossil fuel companies. We are hoping that the federal judge will give us cause to celebrate, but we are prepared to dig in for more protests should the ruling go the other way.

In keeping with our mission of supporting peace, social justice, human rights and environmental protection, we, the Portland Raging Grannies, stand with the Native Peoples gathered on the Standing Rock Reservation in North Dakota who are there protecting the Water….the Water that is Life…the Water that sustains us all, the Water that is more important than money.  In this instance, it is another pipeline to carry Bakken crude oil beneath and across the Missouri River, which is the immediate threat to not only their lives but to lives of all those millions of people who live downstream. We honor these peaceful warriors and thank them for their protection of the earth and all people.

As plans solidify, we will keep you informed.

In the meantime, there are immediate actions you can take.

Here are some links for more information about the Dakota Access Pipeline and the protests being led by the Standing Rock Sioux. 

Spring/Early Summer 2016 Actions

It’s been a busy spring for us. We’ve been active in actions against fossil fuels and oil trains. This includes testifying at hearings and being at the Break Free Pacific Northwest Action in Anacortes, WA.

We’ve also participated in the PrideNW weekend by participating in the Pride Parade, Dyke March, and we cheered on members of our Trans community as they stepped off for the Trans March.

Prepping for our performance at PrideNW Parade


More recently, we commemorated the arrest of early birth control activist Margaret Sanger in Portland. Photos courtesy of Jodi Darby.


Although we weren’t there in an official capacity, a few of our members were at the event held in memory of the Lac Mégantic tragedy in which an oil train exploded killing 47 people and destroying a town in Quebec, Canada. This event was especially poignant given the recent derailment of an oil train in Mosier, OR.

More From Break Free PNW

Ali, one of our members who attended Break Free PNW, reported that there were about 3,000 people there. The Portland Grannies were in good company with Grannies from Seattle, Corvallis, Eugene, and Salem.  We are so proud of the involvement of these groups in raising awareness of the need to reduce our dependence on fossil fuels.

Here are a few more pictures from the action.


Granny Ali

Break Free from Fossil Fuels

Our members are participating in the Break Free PNW event in Anacortes, WA.  Break Free is a world-wide event spanning May 13-15. Protests in Canada, the United States, Brazil, Turkey, Nigeria, South Africa, Indonesia, Australia and New Zealand have joined the call to “Break free from fossil fuels.” Break Free is an initiative of the US climate activist group

The PNW Break Free actions are taking place near the Tesoro and Shell refineries, the largest unaddressed point source of carbon pollution in the Pacific Northwest.

Kudos from Major Hales, reported by the Center for Sustainable Economy

Got this in an email today and needed to share – often I feel that our actions make a difference – but it’s so hard to measure.
I had an interesting conversation with Hales’ chief of staff the other day. I pressed him on what it was exactly that got Hales to change his mind on Pembina, a change of mind that has had ripple effects, leading to the groundbreaking fossil fuel export policy. You know what he said? It was these grandmas that kept beating him up all over Portland, he told me. They were relentless, he said, and Hales finally had to reconsider. So, thank you, Raging Grannies! For all you do for all of us. You’re our secret weapon!

Daphne Wysham

Director, Climate and Energy Program

Portland Raging Grannies endorse the US NGO letter to Obama.

US NGO Letter to President Obama on Climate Negotiations in Paris

Dear President Obama,

On behalf of our environmental, social justice, faith, consumer and partner organizations who collectively represent millions of Americans, we thank you for taking important steps to keep fossil fuels in the ground by rejecting the Keystone XL Pipeline and cancelling some upcoming Arctic lease sales. We are equally grateful that your administration continues to harness the Clean Air Act’s successful pollution-reduction tools to reduce greenhouse gas emissions through the Clean Power Plan and rules for transportation sources. These are important steps but much more will be necessary if we hope to avert the worst impacts of climate change.

The actions taken in the next decade will either avert the worst harms from climate disruption by limiting warming to below 1.5°C or commit the world to unacceptable harms for billions of people. You have the capability to negotiate a climate agreement in Paris that will mark the turning point in the world’s efforts to avert catastrophic climate damage and thus protect the human rights of present and future generations.

In order to do so, we ask that you:

  • Greatly increase our country’s emissions reduction commitment for Paris—as demanded by both science and justice;
  • Pledge to keep at least 80% of U.S. proven fossil fuels reserves in the ground; and
  • Finance a just transition to 100% renewable energy by 2050 in the U.S. and contribute the U.S.’ fair share of finance for adaptation, mitigation, and loss and damage in developing countries.

President George H.W. Bush signed and the Senate ratified the U.N. Framework Convention on Climate Change in 1992. In so doing, the U.S. agreed to take the actions necessary to avoid dangerous climate change, and also agreed as a matter of fairness that the world’s rich, developed countries, having caused the vast majority of the problem, would take the lead in solving it. Today, the U.S. remains the world’s largest cumulative carbon emitter. Having caused the greatest share of the problem to date, the U.S. must now meet its obligations to respond, and must understand that human rights, equity and fairness matter and are vital to unlocking cooperation in the international negotiations.

Independent scientific analysis demonstrates that our country’s Intended Nationally Determined Contribution (INDC) is not yet consistent with keeping warming below even 2°C. A far greater commitment will be necessary to account for our nation’s historic responsibility and serve as the basis of a just international agreement. A recent Civil Society Review concludes that the current U.S. INDC represents only about one-fifth of our country’s fair share of mitigation action. For these reasons, in advance of the Paris talks we urge you to greatly increase the U.S. commitment to reduce emissions at home and finance a just transition abroad, in line with what science and justice demand.

You have stated that the transition to a clean energy economy is going more quickly than anticipated, and that “if we’re going to prevent large parts of this Earth from becoming not only inhospitable but uninhabitable in our lifetimes, we’re going to have to keep some fossil fuels in the ground rather than burn them and release more dangerous pollution into the sky.” As a fundamental policy to achieving our emissions goals, leaving fossil fuels in the ground is critical to protect people from the ravages of oil, gas, and coal extraction. A major study from Stanford University found that that it is feasible for the U.S. to achieve 100% renewable energy by 2050, and that doing so will generate a net increase of two million American jobs and a reduction of approximately 62,000 air pollution-related deaths per year.

A study by Carbon Tracker has demonstrated that the world needs to keep 80 percent of proven fossil fuel reserves in the ground if we are to keep warming below even 2°C. As the leader of the world’s largest historical emitter, we urge you to exert leadership by pledging to keep at least 80% of U.S. proven fossil fuel reserves in the ground. Two critical first steps are needed in order to implement this pledge: placing a ban on fracking and other dangerous extraction techniques, and ending fossil fuel leasing on public lands and waters to keep these publicly owned resources in the ground where they belong.

Finally, we urge to you commit to financing a just transition to a renewable economy at home and abroad. We request that you exert pressure immediately on Congress to make good on the $3 billion pledge to the Green Climate Fund. In Paris, the U.S. should commit to a clear roadmap for the provision by developed countries of $100 billion in public, grant-based funds for climate actions in developing countries by 2020, as well as a plan to scale up climate finance beyond $100 billion annually after 2020. The U.S. should also commit to targets to significantly increase public finance to meet the cost of mitigation, adaptation, and loss and damage in developing countries, particularly for the most vulnerable communities and nation-states. This includes committing to mechanisms for raising new and additional resources such as a financial transaction tax (as France has committed to), halting subsidies for fossil fuel production immediately and investing those public dollars in clean energy solutions that benefit communities on-the-ground.

You recently proclaimed that “America is now a global leader when it comes to taking action to fight climate change.” On behalf of the millions of Americans that our organizations represent, we urge you to bring reality to your rhetoric—and be the bold climate leader that both the domestic and international communities need.

Respectfully submitted,

ActionAid USA
Center for Biological Diversity
Center for International Environmental Law
Friends of the Earth

Institute for Policy Studies, Climate Policy Program
Public Citizen

Sustainable Energy & Economy Network

Thank you, Governor Brown

We are concerned about the backlash in the United States for the ISIS attack on Paris.  We must take a stand to counter the fear, the terror, and the emotionalism of uninformed Oregonians who equate the attackers with all Muslims.  We thank you for your effort to inform Oregonians that the asylum-seekers are also fleeing ISIS and terrorism.  And for your commitment that as Oregonians and Americans who have strong values in offering sanctuary to refugees from violence, we must offer sanctuary to these refugees.

Open Letter to Portland Mayor Hale Regarding Fossil Fuel Policy and the Oil Train Resolutions

Dear Mayor Hales,

We want to thank you for co-sponsoring the Fossil Fuel and Oil Train Resolutions as well as your brave action in changing the course of the negotiations with Pembina.  We appreciate your listening to the people of Portland on that issue.  

We urge you to vote ‘yes’ on each of two landmark resolutions on November 4th – the Fossil Fuel Policy resolution and the Oil Train resolution.  These two measures (and their effective implementation) will serve to: 

  1. protect our community members health and well-being, 
  2. promote safety throughout the region, and 
  3. significantly reduce this region’s contributions to the very substantial expenses and dangers of climate disruption globally (including those that we already have experienced in our own region).

Portland has already demonstrated its commitment to significantly reducing carbon emissions with its adoption of CAP (Climate Action Plan).  The proposals to prohibit any projects that would increase the amount of crude oil being transported by rail or to expand infrastructure whose primary purpose is transporting or storing fossil fuels in or through Portland or adjacent waterways puts real teeth in the CAP and will move us significantly closer to meeting Portland’s climate action goals.

The frosting on the cake is the opportunity for Portland to be a leader of other cities in the movement to implement real and effective measures to combat climate change and our extreme over-dependence on fossil fuels.  We will all be so proud of our  city’s leadership in this very important area when this becomes a reality!  

Mayor Hales, please cast your votes in favor of approving the Fossil Fuel Policy resolution and the Oil Train resolution.

Yours truly,

The Portland Raging Grannies