Rising Tide has established itself as an umbrella group for a variety of actions against the dominance of fossil fuels economy. These actions, to be taken tomorrow under the banner of Fossil Fools Day, will occur in New Zealand, Australia, the United Kingdom and North America.
What events are planned in your neck of the woods? It’s hard to winkle that out from the website itself, which refers obliquely to a number of “surprise actions.” Given the list of suggested activist targets and activities, it’s not surprising that the efforts seem to have a semi-underground nature. Rising Tide suggests the following actions (among others; these are excerpted):
Stop the pumps
Consider such tactics as blockading the entrance to a gas station, locking down to gas pumps, or having a die-in in front of the gas station. It is quite easy to gain access to the roof for a banner drop with the use of a extension ladder. It should also be noted that all gas stations have safety shut off buttons that will shut off gas pumps in case of an emergency, which are generally located on the outside of the station.
Stick it to the Biofools
While we’re on the topic, agrofuel expansion is being touted as a solution to climate change, but agrofuels are actually a distraction from rejecting car culture at best. At their worst they use massive amounts of fossil fuels and pesticides to produce, waste enormous quantities of fresh water, and are one of the leading causes of deforestation in the global south.
In addition to going after research institutions taking corporate money to expand the production of industrial agrofuels, target your local large-scale industrial bio-refinery, be it for ethanol, biodiesel, or other proposed biomass facility. Try finding them at www.ethanolrfa.org/industry/locations/
Spank a bank
In the United States, groups such as Rainforest Action Network, Mountain Justice Summer, and Rising Tide North America have been targeting Bank of America and Citi for their financial support of the coal industry, and in particular companies practicing mountaintop removal coal mining. There have been over 100 actions against these banks ranging from branch occupations, to street theater, and banner drops. In England activists have targeted the Royal Bank of Scotland in similar fashion for its funding of the oil and gas industry. Even if you can’t pull a crowd together for a protest, a few people with “out of order” signs can shut down dozens of ATM machines owned by these banks in a matter of hours. Make sure there is a message in fine print on these signs about the banks role in climate change.
For additional resources check out http://dirtymoney.org/
Deflate or die
People in Sweden and France have developed a creative means of protest against gas guzzling SUVs. They simply let the air out of the tires, rendering them immobile. Thousands of tires have been deflated immobilizing hundreds of vehicles which has generated much media attention and awareness on global warming. The act is pretty simple and does not involve property damage. All one does is take off the valve cap and place a small pebble on top of the valve and screw the cap back on. If the pebble is placed correctly, it will press down on the air valve when you screw down the cap, thus releasing the air.
Fry the friendly skies
Travel agencies are a great, easy place to do an action; activists in the UK regularly U-lock their doors or otherwise blockade them. Due to the danger to both airplane passengers and yourself we discourage doing anything to interfere with airport runways. While this is largely uncharted territory in the US, activists in Europe have been at it for years. Let’s bring that trend on over here!
Resist road expansion
In Indiana activists have mounted fierce opposition to Interstate 69, otherwise known as the NAFTA superhighway. They have disrupted public meetings, held street demos, and even evicted the planning offices for the highway by throwing all of their contents on the curb!
Bikes not Buicks
Critical Mass is a time honored protest against car culture and an excellent way to get large crowds out for mass civil disobedience with relatively low risk. For a Critical Mass, all you have to do is get together a group of bikers and take to the streets. The idea is to take over all lanes of traffic to create an empowering atmosphere for bicycles while temporarily impeding automobile traffic.
This is not your standard Mom & Pop police-approved protest march. This is real disruption we’re talking about; disruption that could have a noticeable effect if accompanied with press releases. Rising Tide takes pains to say that they only support non-violent disruptive activities that do not directly injure human beings, but this kind of protest is sure to cause controversy at the least if successful. Perhaps that’s the idea.
The Fossil Fools Day of Action offers ideas for action that are huge (occupying a bank) and small (putting an “OUT OF ORDER” sign with information on energy policy on an ATM). Is this a call to action you plan to heed?