Organizer UVM joined other organizations and activists in downtown Burlington on September 24 to protest the controversial Line 3 oil sands pipeline project.
Organize UVM formed in 2019 as a collective initiative to fight against climate change, according to its UVM clubs web page. Its first victory was the push to divest from the fossil fuel industry, and the club’s next goal is to get the university back on track with its climate action plan.
UVM students began to gather on the Andrew-Harris green. They coordinated chants, held up signs and completed a black snake costume for several people – an interactive piece of art created for the event – to represent the pipeline that was to stretch from Alberta, Canada. , in Superior, Wisconsin.
The students walked to City Hall Park to join the rest of the protesters. The event drew a crowd of around 200, said Laura Simon, event organizer and member of the martial team.
Protesters stopped at TD Bank, the first Line 3 funder according to Action Network, then walked up Church Street to Chase Bank, the world’s largest funder of the fossil fuel industry according to a Morning Consult article from March 24.
They wrote chalk messages on sidewalks and bank walls, while a band performed to the tune of Solidarity Forever. Protesters then hand-delivered “love notes” to Chase Bank, calling on banks to stop funding the fossil fuel industry.
The Biden administration backed Trump-era approvals for construction of Line 3, a project by a Canadian pipeline company called Enbridge, according to a June 24 New York Times article.
âOne of the areas they cross is tribal treaty land, which is one of the main reasons for this activism,â said Matt Hand, Organiser’s treasurer. “The precedent has been simply to ignore treaties, for most of US history, although it shouldn’t be.”
Indigenous communities have taken up the cause as an environmental justice issue, speaking out against the pipeline because it flies in the face of government treaties and jeopardizes the sovereignty of Indigenous lands, the article said. It also compromises the safety of the feed water supply in the event of an oil leak.
“It’s not a question of ‘if’, it’s a question of ‘when’,” said David Sidelle, President of Organizer. “It’s incredibly devastating when this leak occurs.”
This results from pipeline cuts through the waters where wild rice grows, which is an essential part of the Anishinaabe community culture and local economies, they said.
Sidelle said he was arrested in Minnesota in June for high-risk action while protesting the construction of Line 3 and spent 30 hours in jail with other activists. They had just closed one of the line 3 construction sites.
âIt definitely made the subject of Line 3 really resonate with me, just seeing all this passion out there and everyone working together on the front line,â he said. “I thought there would be a lot of value in having an action like this [march], where people could really feel empowered.
At Battery Park, the final destination of the course, the sounds of percussion, brass and wind instruments gave way to electronic music spouting from loudspeakers on stage, where activists and musicians continued to spread anti-pipeline sentiments. and pro-indigeonus in speeches and songs.
The September 24 rally also aligned with a global climate strike organized by Fridays for Future – the first global climate strike since the COVID-19 pandemic struck, according to a Guardian article from September 24.