Riot Roundup: This Summer’s Best Environmental Protests

 by Sammy Caiola

Native Foods Cafe


There’s no better way to reflect on the season than with a
few “best of summer 2013” lists, and I’ve got one for you right here. This
summer, it wasn’t just the weather heating up but also the environmental
activists, whom I hold near and dear to my heart. With universities out of
session, rebel-rousers young and old have an open three months to rally, flyer
the streets and stand on busy corners asking for donations.

But there’s more than just talk going on in the green
community, and I’d say it’s time to commend some of the serious action that’s
taken place this summer. Here are my top 5 favorite protests from Summer 2013.
Some are extreme. Some are commendable. Some are just plain silly:


1. Greenpeace Climbs the Shard

While temperatures were climbing, so were six very brave
Greenpeace women, who climbed for 16 HOURS up the side of the tallest building
in Western Europe. The building, called The Shard, is designed to resemble ice, which is just what’s being
threatened by Shell Oil Company’s harmful arctic drilling practices. The
daredevil move got tons of live coverage and put Shell under the spotlight in a
bad way. Now they’re under heavy media fire for contributing to global warming.
Way to bring it to a whole new level girls!


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2. 350 organizes Summer Heat

So it turns out I’m not the only one clever enough to equate
heat with rebellion. National non-profit beat me to it with their “Summer Heat” campaign, whose motto was “As the Heat Rises, So Do We.” During
the last two weeks of July, they organized protests from San Francisco to
Massachusetts, the biggest of which was a Keystone XL Pipeline protest in Washington
DC. At the DC rally, protesters lined up in front of the Environmental Resource
Management building and physically held themselves together using a tool called
a lockbox. Police managed to pry the boxes off and arrest 55 of them. But
still, that’s dedication right there.

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3. Manhattan Flash Mob against Rockaway Pipeline:

To lighten the mood a bit, I’d like to give a round of
applause to the green folks in Manhattan for one of the most entertaining and
eye-catching protests of the summer. Described on its Facebook
as “highly visual and spectacular,” the protest event
featured giant pipeline puppets and a live brass band. The show may have been
festive, but the subject is no laughing matter, as the new pipeline could cause
even more water contamination in an already polluted city. You may have missed
the June 26th party, but you can still learn about the party pooper here.


Ny flashmob
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4. Seneca Lake Flotilla versus U.S. Salt

This one’s more of a demonstration than a protest, but it
gets extra credit for occurring entirely on water. On July 1st about 90
vessels, from kayaks to sailboats, launched into this New York Lake and started chanting outside the U.S. Salt Company, whose parent
company Inergy LP wants to store 88 million tons of propane gas dangerously
close to the lake. Gross! Thanks sailors for getting out there and taking a
stand (or a sit, technically).

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5. Maine Blockades Fracked Oil Carrier

Talk about standing your ground. On June 27, dozens of
people stood on a train track in Fairfield, Maine to prevent a Pan Am train
from delivering 70,000 barrels of fracked oil from North Carolina. Fortunately
no one was hurt, but six people were arrested for the cause. The anti-fracking
movement has been growing for years, partly because of the toxic nature of the
oil and partly because of the damage the trains do to the environmentally sensitive areas of which they pass. Sounds like these protesters are on the right

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