August 25, 2020 on Colorado & California fires: “The greasy fingerprints of Big Oil and Gas are all over these fires”

USA — In 2020, amidst record-breaking temperatures and the global COVID-19 pandemic, the Greenland Ice Sheet has passed the point of no return; warming oceans are bringing unprecedented double hurricanes, floods and storms throughout the Carribean, Gulf and Atlantic Coasts; rare derechos are bringing hurricane-like conditions to Iowa and the Midwest.

Year-round fires from the West Coast to Colorado are forcing people from homes, causing rolling blackouts, poisoning air and water, and threatening workers, food, and health.

“The greasy fingerprints of Big Oil and Gas are all over these fires. This climate destruction is paid for through the lives and livelihoods of Indigenous Peoples, Black folx, immigrants, and farm workers,” said Tianna Arredondo, California and Hawai’i Field Organizer. “Despite his rhetoric, Governor Newsom is failing to stand up to Big Oil and offer meaningful action to address environmental racism inherent in California’s expansion of oil extraction. We’re rising up to hold fossil fuel companies accountable for their climate crisis, demanding a Just Recovery providing immediate and direct relief to those most impacted – we can’t forget how powerful we are together even amidst crisis.

In Colorado, as communities work to stop fracking near schools and homes, recent fires have brought the fourth worst air quality in the world. 

“Climate change is hitting Colorado’s Western Slope hard and watching our memories burn is heart-wrenching. My family is living in an apocalyptic nightmare of endless days of smoke-filled lungs, ash falling from the sky, and no rain in sight; wondering when the next evacuation calls will come,” said Julia Williams, 350 Colorado Communications & Development Director. “Yet, Colorado continues to approve fracking permits despite its climate action goals and duty to protect our health and safety. There is nothing ‘healthy’ or ‘safe’ about fossil fuels in the mix when you are living in a box of kindling.” 

Communities everywhere are demanding a Just Recovery to the compound crises of COVID-19, climate breakdown, and racism, including the redistribution of resources away from fossil fuel corporations toward community relief, mutual aid, public power, and community-determined solutions for long-term health and a regenerative economy.

“I don’t have air conditioning in my home, so opening the windows at night to cool down the house is an absolute necessity. I work at home and have two kids now ‘distance learning’ at home – so having a home that we can be in throughout the day that is not stale and hot is also a necessity,” shared Gwen Garcelon in Carbondale, CO with 350 Roaring Fork. “Last night when I opened the windows it smelled like a campfire, but I had no choice. If this is the new normal we may have to move – and add our numbers to the climate migrants.”

This comes as the world commemorates 15 years since Hurricane Katrina on Saturday, August 29. On Wednesday, September 9, 350 US will hold the second of four mass Solidarity School calls, during which we’ll address Defund, Abolish & Divest: Climate, Racial & Economic Justice.” 

“It’s the devil and the deep blue sea,” added Fred Malo in Carbondale, CO with 350 Roaring Fork. “You want to stay outside because you’re safer from the coronavirus, but if you do, you breathe in all that smoke and ash.” 


Contact: Lindsay Meiman, [email protected], (347) 460-9082