Kayaktivists visit Chambers Bay to protest climate change during dry and dusty U.S. Open

Activists in kayaks, canoes, pontoons and sailboats, visited Chambers Bay during the U.S. Open with signs protesting climate change and oil trains as Professional Golf Association pro’s trod the dead grass of the brown fairways. Boats from the water could easily see the effects of warmer days and drought conditions in Western Washington as the brown of the golf course stood out against the evergreens and blue sky. One catamaran hoisted a massive banner that read “No Oil Trains” as Burlington Northern Santa Fe locomotives pulled trains of boxcars and oil tankers between the course and the water. Activists mentioned that during the train watch, up to four entire trains of Bakken Crude tankers went by the course daily, yet during the tournament, none did.

As Mt. Rainier provided the dramatic scenery, two sailboats raised a banner between them that read “Save Our Climate”. The boats rotated between showing their banners to the land and to those watching the events from the water, well behind the Coast Guards 1000 yard “security” zone. Armed Coast Guard vessels along with a Pierce County Sheriff boat, one from Mercer Island Police, and also from the Department of Homeland Security Customs and Border Patrol, patrolled the “security” line, warning kayaks, spectator powerboats, and sailboats as they drifted with the current, that they had crossed the line.

The Seattle Raging Grannies sang from the powerboat as activists from Olympia, Tacoma, and as far as Salem, Oregon joined them from the water. One paddler from Puyallup, Chris Canfield, says “You guys are out here saying hey, this what we believe in, this is our message. It’s a good message.” After four hours of paddling some activists were feeling the effects of the sun and strong current. Activists began to turn back and some were towed as the tide began to change and the wind began to slacken. No arrests were made and all activists returned safely.

From the event website…

“Enjoy Father’s day and the first day of summer, on the water, while making a powerful statement to protect our environment and our future.

Join the People’s Climate Action Fleet, Sunday- June 21, 2015 off the coast of the Chambers Bay Golf Course in Pierce County. Bring all your watercraft – kayaks, canoes, sailboats, and power boats. The Chambers Bay Golf Course hosts the 2015 U.S. Open Golf Tournament June 15th-21st.   More than two hundred thousand people will attend the tournament and one hundred million more will watch the action on television.

This is our chance to bring a dramatic climate justice message to the attention of a national and international audience

Chambers Bay is a new world-class golf course immediately north of Steilacoom. The train tracks run between the golf course and Puget Sound.

100-car oil trains already use the tracks several times a day to transport oil to refineries in Tacoma, Anacortes, and Cherry Point. The streets around Chambers Bay will closed to the public during the tournament, but boats and kayaks on the Sound will be visible to all the cameras and spectators. One of the chief attractions of the golf course is the spectacular view of the Salish Sea, Fox Island, McNeil Island and the Olympics.  We hope to steer our fleet, with signs, kites and balloons carrying our message, into the middle of that view. We envision a colorful demonstration, much like Rising Tide’s waterborne demonstration on the Columbia two years ago.

Coal, Oil, Gas

None Shall Pass

This is our chance to demonstrate to millions of people around the nation and around the world that the people of the Northwest understand that climate change is the greatest challenge that humans have ever faced; that we will not allow big coal, gas and oil companies to turn our coast into a hub for the export of fossil fuels; that we are determined to stop the oil train bombs that threaten all the communities through which they pass; that we demand a rapid transition away from fossil fuels to renewable energy; that we will continue to raise our voices and put our bodies on the line in marches, rallies and demonstrations in order to preserve a livable future for our grand- children and for all generations to come. This time we go down to the sea in boats – the Salish Sea, Puget Sound. We hope the People’s Climate Action Fleet will carry our message!  Join us!

Your Help is Needed

A demonstration this size requires cooperation and planning throughout the Northwest. We are contacting as many active environmental groups as we can to see if they can join us. The two primary groups planning the demonstration are the Olympia Fellowship of Reconciliation’s climate crisis group and the Backbone Campaign, but we will need numerous co-sponsoring groups to help at all stages of planning.  To be a co-sponsor, a group must agree to let us use its name in our e-mails and flyers. No other commitment is necessary, but keep in mind that we will need many boats, volunteers, and donations to make this vision a reality.” – http://www.peoplesclimatefleet.org/

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