The new year is proving to be a promising one for Northwest climate progress, especially for the movement opposing fossil fuel development, which we’ve taken to calling The Green Line. One measure of the movement’s success—hard won over many years in countless communities around the region—is a trio of new stories about its history, cast of characters, and surprising success.
- Great News at Long Last!, an hour-long program by Barbara Bernstein, host of Locus Focus at KBOO Community Radio, who has for years tirelessly documented the movement, profiling activists and telling important stories on her radio program as well as her four-part documentary series Holding the Thin Green Line. For this episode, Allie Rosenbluth with Rogue Climate in Southern Oregon, and I discuss the spate of positive developments in late January, including denials of key permits for the Jordan Cove LNG export terminal in Coos Bay and a huge methanol refinery in Kalama, Washington. On the heels of those victories came President Biden’s inauguration, his denial of approval for the Keystone XL oil pipeline, and a new administration with a serious focus on climate change.
- The Thin Green Line is People, a new resource-rich toolkit and history project hosted by Washington State University-Vancouver. Born from a commitment to preserve the history of the struggle to keep the Pacific Northwest from being transformed into a fossil fuel transport corridor, the website profiles a range of local activists and leading advocates across Cascadia. The project is still in development and gathering resources for posterity, but it’s worth perusing now.
- A Thin Green Line with Global Impact, a long-form examination of the movement by Robert McClure at the journalism project InvestigateWest. The piece explores the vital importance of tribal resistance, grassroots activism, and professional advocacy to stop coal, oil, and gas developments across the Northwest.
All these resources are worth absorbing as the anti-fossil fuel movement considers what’s ahead in 2021. There is still important work to be done mopping up the remnants of the proposed fossil fuel expansions that have threatened the region over the past decade, including likely appeals from rejected projects and a few unresolved schemes like Tacoma LNG and the Trans Mountain Pipeline in British Columbia. At the same time, the Thin Green Line should begin expanding its scope to begin dismantling the dirty energy infrastructure that was built over the course of the 20th century and that cannot, for the sake of the climate, be allowed to operate much longer.