Joyful, unyielding.

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My wife Sue and I criss-crossed America these past few weeks — from the Mackinac Straits of Michigan where they want to run tar sands oil through aging pipes beneath the Great Lakes, to the Chevron refinery in Richmond, California where they’d like to turn tar sands into gasoline. We saw coal plants, fracking wells and stretches of Pacific coast they’d like to turn into carbon ports.

But mostly we saw people — the beautiful face of a movement that’s growing, learning, coming together.

It’s incredibly diverse, as one would expect — people in Maine are from people in Moab, Utah are different from people in Trumbull County, Ohio. But no matter our differences, everywhere we share an adversary: a fossil fuel industry so focused on greed that they’re willing to rip apart the planet and its communities.

We’ve put up a slideshow with photos and reportbacks from Summer Heat events — it’s a small glimpse of the power and beauty shown across the country in the past few weeks. Click here to see it: 350.org/en/about/blogs/what-happens-when-climate-movement-decides-summer-isnt-hot-enough

Everywhere I went, people also shared a spirit: firm, joyful, unyielding. I particularly liked the banner that hung from the I-5 bridge over the Columbia River: “Coal, Oil, Gas: None Shall Pass.” It all has to stay under ground.

For a few weeks we took the hottest stretch of the summer and turned it politically hot as well. A lot of people felt the pinch of handcuffs — myself included — but they felt the embrace of the rest of the movement too. Everywhere people were embracing the power of the local climate justice movement, in all its forms.

If this was a movement of a few big organizations or a few leaders, then the industry wouldn’t need to worry so much. But instead there are thousands of local leaders, and hundreds of local organizations — and they’re linked together in new, exciting ways that spell trouble for the fossil fuel barons, and hope for a troubled earth.

So many thanks to everyone who raised the heat. Let’s keep going,

Bill McKibben
 

  • HAPPENING NOW: “Years of Living Dangerously” watch-parties and web-chat. More at 350.org/years

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