The Vermont Gas Pipeline: Where do we go from here?
On January 8, the Vermont Public Service Board (PSB) reaffirmed its approval of the Addison Rutland Natural Gas Project. The PSB did exactly what we expected, giving a green light to private enterprise, while maintaining an illusion of democracy. This project continues Vermont’s reliance on polluting fossil fuels, and mythologizes natural gas as a “clean” alternative to other fuels. But Vermont Gas’ is in a weaker position today than it was 3 years ago, and we are stronger. It is time to move on. It is time to escalate. Given the dire state in which the climate crisis places us, many are wondering how and why government agencies have so thoroughly rejected public opinion and ignored scientific mandates.
Unfortunately, this complete failure of democracy is not a sign that the system is broken and needs to be repaired or reformed. The power structure that approved the fracked gas pipeline is part of the same power structure that fuels war and militarism across the globe, killing thousands of innocent people along the way. It is entrenched in the same old models of economic growth at any cost to human and natural communities, so the rich can get richer and the poor can get poorer. The system is doing just fine: it just happens to be designed to work against the interests of almost everyone. The good news is, we can forget any hope that this system could work for our interests and stop pretending it’s going to save us.
It’s time to hunker down and organize our friends, neighbors and coworkers to develop the real solutions we need to survive and thrive. We’ll have to keep doing everything we can to stop this pipeline. We’ll shut down every eminent domain proceeding, obstruct construction as much as possible, and engage in a massive campaign of direct action. The path of continued resistance is the path of dignity and respect. As we walk together down this path, we will be sowing the seeds of collective power, grassroots democracy and ecological stewardship for the future we are building together.
We know we need an energy revolution. We also know we need a social and economic revolution. We must find the strength and courage to uproot this system founded upon white supremacy, patriarchy and exploitation of workers, the poor, and the environment. At a time when the current system is forcing us to the brink of planetary collapse, and treating indigenous, black, brown and poor communities as if they are collateral damage on a spreadsheet, our very survival depends on all of us taking leadership from these communities to organize and fight like hell for the greatest social transformation since the Industrial Revolution.
We need to generate local economies based on mutual aid and solidarity and adhere to new values that ensure everyone’s needs are met, and all people and communities have the self-determination they need to attain lives with dignity. And we absolutely must develop a restorative, respectful relationship with the ecosystems in which we live so that our processes of production and consumption do not destroy the water, soil, and air on which we depend.
You are the leader you’ve been looking for. NO politicians will save us. The United Nations just decided in Paris which communities can perish in the climate crisis, but were less clear on which ones will be allowed to survive. We need each and every one of you to join us this winter and spring as we blockade, occupy and shut down every part of the system that allows fossil fuels to expand during the hottest year on record. It’s going to take everyone, starting with you.