By Phyllis Hasbrouck, 350 Madison Tar Sands Team

We have important work to do here in Wisconsin! If you’ve read, skimmed, or heard about the recent report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), you’ll know that UN Secretary General António Guterres summed it up this way: “Delay equals death.” That’s the bad news. The good news is that it is not too late to save many lives in the future! There is something that every person on earth can do to slow and then reverse climate change, and we who live in Wisconsin are especially lucky.

How so, lucky? Follow these steps to see why we couldn’t be in a better place to help the climate:

  1. The burning of the Alberta tar sands will continue to devastate our climate if, and only if, Enbridge can maintain a cost-effective way to get that toxic sludge to market.
  2. The Bad River Band’s lawsuit to remove Line 5 from their reservation will mean shutting down a significant channel for moving tar sands oil, UNLESS Enbridge can replace that 12-mile segment with a new 45-mile segment.
  3. The longer the permitting process for the proposed expansion takes, the more likely it is that massive divestment from the tar sands industry will force Enbridge to throw in the towel and decommission Line 5.
  4. BIG NEWS! On March 16, the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) wrote a letter to the US Army Corps of Engineers, whose task it is to protect the navigable waters of the United States. The EPA stated that Enbridge’s proposal “‘may result in substantial and unacceptable adverse impacts’ to the Bad River and the Kakagon-Bad River Sloughs wetland complex.…” This surely means a delay if, as expected, the Army Corps tells Enbridge to rewrite their proposal.
  5. But what about the lucky part?, you ask. Hold on — I’m getting there.
  6. Who has the power to turn down Enbridge’s applications for permits? The Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources (DNR), and ultimately, Governor Tony Evers. We Wisconsinites have the knowledge, the connections, the passion, and the determination to lead and contribute to a movement to stop the Line 5 expansion and all new fossil fuel infrastructure in our state.

That’s what I call luck! By chance, we landed in a place where our efforts can have a huge effect on the future of life on this planet. Let’s make the best possible use of it. Read on and choose from the smorgasbord of actions that will help us bring down the fossil fuel industry, focusing for now on the Line 5 expansion.

Feeling climate despair? Try climate activism instead!

Which of these can you do in the next 2 weeks to help us increase the number of comments to the DNR, telling them to #RejectLine5?

  1. If you haven’t already, send in a public comment to the DNR, criticizing their woefully inadequate draft Environmental Impact Statement. Submit your comment here.
  2. Hand out flyers and hang posters. We have a number of flyers and posters that can be posted at libraries, grocery stores, and coffee shops. Contact Jadine Sonoda if you can help.
  3. Table for comments. Imagine sitting outside the Willy St. Co-op and helping people sign and send comment postcards to the DNR. It’s an easy way to find people who will be eager to sign! Contact Phyllis Hasbrouck to sign up for a shift.
  4. Phonebank for comments. We’ve been getting a great response from a list of Sierra Club supporters. Every Saturday, we do a 2-hour shift from home, with a zoom training and zoom debriefing. This is a low-stress phonebank, leaving lots of messages and talking to some friendly people. Contact Phyllis Hasbrouck to sign up for a Saturday (or other day) shift.
  5. Write a letter to the editor. We’ve got a great toolkit to make it easy. Contact Phyllis Hasbrouck to learn more and get your name in print!

We are in an epic struggle to save humanity. What can you do in the next 2 weeks? Activism is the best tonic for despair. Join us and feel better!

P.S. The photo below, taken by Ron Turney, shows a frac-out by the Mississippi River in Minnesota. We must not let Enbridge do to Wisconsin what it did to Minnesota!