As warm spring weather arrives, I’ve found myself wanting to read less but hear and experience more. In that spirit, I offer a recommendation for the work of Portland radio documentarian Barbara Bernstein, who continues her vital work telling stories about the fight against fossil fuels. In an era of hot takes and short attention spans, Barbara’s treatments are refreshing for their depth, thoughtfulness, and pace.

I’ve had the honor of being featured in several of Barbara’s recent projects on KBOO community radio, including two audio profiles and one video webinar. So, for Sightline readers interested in digging deeper into the Thin Green Line—and taking a break from reading too—please enjoy these three resources:

  • Celebrating the Thin Green Line: An Earth Day Special is something of a retrospective, looking back on a decade of successful opposition to dirty energy projects in the Northwest, with a special emphasis on the big coal export fight in Whatcom County. In this episode, I’m joined by Lummi Nation leader Jay Julius, who describes the essential role that Northwest tribes have played in protected their sacred resources. Jay is a powerful storyteller who upholds his Xa xalh Xechnging (sacred obligation) by continuing to empower Native leadership, and to advocate for the Salish Sea. He has served as Chair of, and on Council at, Lummi Nation; has organized and executed Tribal, local, regional, and national campaigns; and has working relationships at all levels of government.
  • Winds of Change in Appalachia explores that region’s rocky transition away from coal as a comparison study to the Northwest. West Virginia, which is suddenly at the center of the nation’s political debate about climate, exemplifies the choice now facing the Ohio Valley. One option is to double down on fracking, continuing to build out countless miles of pipelines, and hoping for petrochemical developments to create a market for more gas and its derivatives. The other option is to follow the lead of a growing network of activists who envision a different future, where prosperity derives from building new infrastructure like broadband internet and clean energy resources, and where paychecks come from restoring the region’s aging mines, drilling wells, forests, and streams. In this episode, I’m joined by Ted Boettner with the Ohio River Valley Institute and Reimagine Appalachia.
  • Celebrating the Thin Green Line: a webinar with leading activists tells the story of more than the long fight in Northwest communities that faced off against proposals to build giant coal, oil, and fracked gas projects from southern Oregon to the Salish Sea.

Now, in 2021, most of these projects have been canceled, and the rest are in the throes of death. The webinar features key actors in the Thin Green Line movement who share their stories about how their victories were won and what challenges remain ahead. I was very pleased to be featured alongside an all-star team of activists: Jay Julius with the Lummi Nation; Klamath-Moduc artist and activist Ka’ila Farrell Smith; Longview, Washington activist Diane Dick; Elijah Cetas with the Braided River Campaign in Portland; and Claudia Riedener with Redefine Tacoma.