The Progressive


A project of Common Dreams

For Immediate Release

Anacortes Break Free Mobilization begins FRIDAY

Anacortes, Wash.

On Friday, hundreds of regional residents will gather in Anacortes to kick off the Pacific Northwest Break Free from Fossil Fuels mobilization. The action is the last of dozens currently taking place around the world.

In the lead-up to the event, hundreds of people have attended Nonviolent Direct Action (NVDA) trainings, kayaktivism trainings, art builds, and more. Over 500 people have said they will risk arrest in a mass civil disobedience, and over 2000 will attend in support.

The weekend also features an Indigenous Day of Action, "It's in Our Hands", which will include speakers such as Tsleil-Waututh Sundance Chief Rueben George; Seattle City Council Member Kshama Sawant will speak as marchers gather to join the indigenous event. There is also a just transition-focused People's Climate Conference being held all weekend at the Anacortes Transit Shed, with speakers such as KC Golden of

Internationally and locally, the mobilization is intended to be an escalation of protests in the face of government paralysis. In the December climate talks in Paris, world leaders acknowledged that we need to stay below 1.5degC of warming in order to avoid catastrophe; no treaties or regulations currently on the table anywhere will come close to achieving that. "No government has a workable plan to protect a stable climate, " says Rising Tide Seattle organizer Ahmed Gaya. "Nature won't wait, and mass disobedience is the only tool proven to bring about rapid social change. Breaking free from fossil fuels and ensuring a just transition is going to be hard, but not doing so would have unthinkable consequences."

Organizers say the civil disobedience will likely begin on Friday and continue through the weekend.


Quotes from Participants

"No one would consciously choose the future we'll get with fossil-fuels-as-usual: an escalating climate crisis and further concentration of the oil industry's wealth and political power. So we must break free. But here's the biggest news: we have the means and the will to do it."--KC Golden, Board Chair

"These young protesters coming to Anacortes inspire me to think about their future and the future of the planet. They bring a great deal of energy, knowledge, and courage with them. We know the transition to clean energy needs to be fair to all: workers, citizens, all living things. After the protest, we all need to work together." --Connie Snell, Anacortes grandmother and retired teacher.

"These refineries impact health both locally and globally. People in India and in countries of the global south are facing devastating impacts, and desperately need rich countries to rapidly shift to a fossil-free economy," says Afrin Sopariwala, an organizer with Women of Color Speak Out. 4

"I'm taking part in Break Free PNW with my children to take action and to stand in solidarity with the children of Fort McMurray Canada, with the children of the Philippines, with the children of Syria and with Indigenous and all children and families across the world whose lives and future are violently being stolen by the Fossil Fuel industry." -- Adriana Voss-Andreae, mother, scientist & 350PDX co-founder.

"Given the role of the refineries in the local economy and the inevitable transition to reduced fossil fuel dependency, it is particularly important for Anacortes to tangle with the need for a just transition."--Bud Ullman, Anacortes resident.

"I am going to Anacortes because I feel the urgency of the climate crisis. I admire the people who look at it and don't turn their eyes away, or give in to fatalism. I choose to stare it down shoulder to shoulder with the activists." Sandra Clark, Eugene, University of Oregon instructor and mother of three.