The Year Ahead

December 15, 2016

Hello Friends,

The climate change movement has entered decidedly new territory. The results of the last election will present major challenges to those of us leading the efforts to halt the deterioration of our climate on our dear old Planet Earth.

As you know, 350 Missoula is not shy. Our resistance will be strategic, innovative, and strong!  That’s why we’re asking you to donate so we can face the challenges ahead.

We’re the folks who went to the train tracks to stop the insanity of coal exports and to oppose an impending new coal mine in Montana. (Until now at least, the Otter Creek Mine is as dead as a doornail.) We’re the folks who joined with activists from all over the Northwest last spring to demonstrate against expanding the fossil fuel infrastructure at two refineries at Anacortes, Washington. (The refinery expansion died.) We’re the folks who set up the bully pulpit right in front of NorthWestern Energy’s brand new copper-and-glass headquarters in Butte to harangue them on their new plan to stiff wind and solar and build a new generation of fossil fuel generators worth $1.3 billion. (To a TV reporter, a NWE spokesman denied his own company’s written plan.)   

Even this month, we are not going quietly into the holiday season. We sponsored an evening with Leonard Higgins, who faces charges for shutting down a tar sands pipeline in Montana. Leonard brought the role of conscientious objection front and center. His trial in Fort Benton next March or April will feature a “necessity defense,” a revolutionary idea that, because our leaders refuse to shut down greenhouse gas pollution, it’s up to citizens to stop the most polluting fossil fuels. Leonard is putting his faith on trial that jurors in rural Montana will listen to expert testimony about the climate crisis and conclude that stopping tar sands oil is not a crime. (Stay tuned.)

Our collection of arctic gear for the water protectors at Standing Rock surpassed the bounds of generosity. I saw the pickups we sent off weighted with insulated coveralls, and all manner of gloves, coats, hats, food, and good will from the people of Missoula.

On December 17, we’ll get our leadership team together to decide on a strategic plan for next year, balancing our capacity with the demand for climate change activism right here, right now.

We hope you can donate to 350 Missoula.

We are an all-volunteer organization supported almost entirely by individual donors. Our mission is to end fossil fuel burning with the greatest urgency. We envision a rapid conversion to a 100 percent renewable global energy system using wind, water, and solar. We are working with the global grassroots climate movement to achieve these goals and safeguard Earth’s life-support systems.

We’re out to prove that amazing things will happen on a budget of less than $4,000 – no office, no staff – when a tough-minded team creates a good plan and brings lots of passion to build a movement of ordinary citizens on the right side of history.

“The right side of history” sounds a bit . . . inflated. I wish it were. We know where the leadership of this country is going. There’s little doubt where authoritarianism leads and who wins and loses.   It’s the time to get ready. Thus:

  • 350 Missoula will continue our fruitful alliances with our parent organization, 350.org, with our regional friends along the Northwest’s rivers and railroad tracks, other aligned organizations throughout Montana, and many local organizations like the student group, ReInvest Montana, Climate Smart, and the Climate Lobby.
  • We’ll continue to keep over 3,000 supporters like you informed and ready to rally to save a stable climate and our threatened Montana rivers, forests, and farms.
  • We’ll continue to pressure the Public Service Commission and NorthWestern Energy to free renewables from arbitrary constraints. It’s clear from polls that Montanans embrace a carbon-free future.
  • We’ll bring speakers like the “valve turners” to share the broad vision of the climate movement in the Northwest and the nation.
  • And we’ll be resourceful and flexible enough to respond quickly, no matter what path our current oil-drenched leaders take us.

That’s an ambitious agenda!

So this is where you come in. Please be as generous as you can. Make sure to write your check to “Jeannette Rankin Peace Center (JRPC) / 350 Missoula” and mail it to 350 MISSOULA, P.O. Box 7006, Missoula, MT 59807. JRPC is our nonprofit sponsor and allows our donors a tax deductible.

Thank you for your support. Thank you for being a part of the local climate change movement.

Jeff Smith, Chair, 350 Missoula