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August 2021 NCRN Newsletter
Empowering the Rights of Communities!
Recognizing the Rights of Nature!

“We need a world rebuilt with care at its heart.”
~ Rupa Marya and Raj Patel
Dear friends,
For many, this summer has shown us, without a doubt, the horrific consequences of our over-consumptive, exploitative, capitalist colonial culture. With COVID-19 and climate change exacerbating the chaos, more people are realizing that we are not separate from Nature and that our actions have influence on ALL LIFE and the environment that sustains us. Our compromised physical health and mental health are tied to the consequences of colonization. We have all been colonized.
"How do I know I've been colonized? Let’s count the ways!"
Based on the work of Jane Ann Morris.
June 30, 2021 NCRN webinar.
May we be grateful for our expanding Community Rights Network as we continue working “deeply” to decolonize and dismantle the fixed system and assist in rebuilding a more just world. And grateful for the actions taking place to #StopLine3. See our blog about the "Indigenous Youth Healing Prayer Run to Line 3" including our July 28th webinar “Indigenous Organizing”.

Doesn't it sometimes feel like our Community Rights (CR) and Rights of Nature (RoN) efforts bear little to no fruit? For some inspiration, check out this powerfully creative 4 minute video "Growing Upward" from Rupa Marya and the April Fishes. More about Rupa and her efforts in RESOURCES below.

May we find encouragement, strength and support in the physical and virtual connections we are making locally and globally.

Hope you are allowing yourself some time to pause, relax and enjoy the bounty of summer!

In solidarity!
Susie Beiersdorfer
NCRN president
***Environmental activists Will Falk, left, and Max Willbert, right, stand in front of the Thacker Pass encampment on May 18, 2021. They have helped organize tribal members to oppose the mine. Article here. Photo: David Calvert / The Nevada Independent

2021 Events
Save the dates and join us!

August 11, Wednesday, 6 pm PT, (9 pm ET): Join ORCRN to watch and discuss the documentary, The Corporation. For more information click here.

***August 25, Wednesday, 8 pm ET: NCRN hosts a discussion on Civil Disobedience with Will Falk, attorney, writer, activist, organizer with Protect Thacker Pass (Facebook), a lithium mine in the Central Basin, Nevada. Please Register here. After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the meeting.

August 29, Sunday, 2 pm ET: OHCRN's Democracy Film Festival continues with the documentary, The New Corporation: The Unfortunately Necessary Sequel. See the trailer (1:50) here. Join us for the live Q&A following the film with Move to Amend Outreach Director, Greg Coleridge.

September 29, Wednesday, 8 pm ET: NCRN will host a discussion with CELDF attorneys. Please Register here. After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the meeting.

October 27, Wednesday, 8 pm ET: NCRN will host an exchange with Fair Districts PA. For more info about this event and to join us, click here.

November 11, Thursday, 8 PM ET: "Striking Down Democracy: How our Rights Are Hijacked by Corporations in our Communities." A panel discussion with State Community Rights folks and Move to Amend (MTA) Greg Coleridge and friends. Stay Tuned! 

News from the State CRNs
Ongoing OHCRN Action: STOP Toxic Trespass from "Brine" Spreading
     For months OHCRN has planned and carried out actions to not only stop 2 bills in the legislature that would make RADIOACTIVE oil and gas waste ("brine") a commodity, but also to ALERT people to the fact that this radioactive waste has been spread on roads for decades as a de-icer and dust suppressant. Check out OHCRN Toxic Trespass page here
      A Columbus Free Press article describes the dangers and provides sample script/talking points for residents to use when calling elected/appointed officials and expected answers from officials.
     For more on oil and gas toxic waste, Rolling Stone magazine published “America’s Radioactive Secret"  by Justin Nobel on January 21, 2020. The “bombshell” investigation described how “Oil-and-gas wells produce nearly a trillion gallons of toxic waste a year” and “it could be making workers sick and contaminating communities across America.”  This investigation was confirmed by an NRDC report in a second Rolling Stone article, The Oil and Gas Industry Produces Radioactive Waste. Lots of It by Justin Nobel published on July 21, 2021.
     Also, Public Herald recently completed a 3 part series on radioactive health threats in Ohio. Local and OHCRN activists were interviewed. Links to Public Herald’s 3 part series are here, here, and here.

        Over a year ago, the OHCRN discussed creating a book of community stories from concerned residents who started out believing that their government was there to serve them. Now, the stories of seven Ohio communities have been written and are being compiled in book form. These are AMAZING stories of communities with activists who have tried working in the system, have come to realize that the system is fixed and continue to refuse to allow their communities to be sacrifice zones. We don’t lose until we quit! (Stay tuned!)
Please join OHCRN for our third film of the Democracy Film Festival on Sunday August 29, 2021 @ 2 pm ET. REGISTER here.

The New Corporation: The Unfortunately Necessary Sequel

See the trailer here. (1:50)
And join us for the live Q&A following the film with Move to Amend Outreach Director, Greg Coleridge.
     Doug Darrell, NHCRN and NCRN member, recently submitted an opinion piece, My Turn: The case for local self-governance in the Concord Monitor. The piece describes corporate threats, regulatory law, local self-governance, and the need for a state constitutional amendment, the NH Community Rights Amendment, that “recognizes, secures and protects our right to pass laws with greater social and environmental protections than those afforded by the state or federal governments”. 
     Doug writes, “Let the people decide if they wish to preserve the health, safety and welfare of their communities, thereby guaranteeing a sustainable future by protecting their valuable ecosystems and their social values and forcing corporations that seek to profit from industrial activities to be more accountable to the people and ecosystems most affected.”
CHECK OUT ORCRN's August newsletter here.
The Commonwealth of Pennsylvania works on
Community Building and Justice
            The fight for Community Rights in Pennsylvania has been going on for over two decades.  We have a history here of landmark work we would like to highlight. Modern Rights of Nature laws were born in coal country in eastern PA — Tamaqua Borough, population less than 7,000 — in 2006. The community rights and Rights of Nature movement has spread exponentially since that time, to hundreds of communities across the United States, and to dozens of countries around the world. 
            Reading, PA (July 2021): Petitioners in Reading, Pennsylvania have officially kicked off a campaign to amend the Reading City Charter to outlaw “toxic trespass,” the poisoning of people and the environment within the city. The ballot initiative is in response to unaddressed toxic waste and environmental racism in the post-industrial city. Link to press release here.
            We continue to see the work popping up in courageous communities throughout the state. Presently Clara Township (population 200) is threatened by a fracked waste injection well. The community has decided to resist and push back against corporate exploitative overreach by attempting to rewrite the constitution for the municipality. They have democratically decided to establish a Government Study Commission, which is doing research on other cities, boroughs and communities throughout the state. The study is looking at how to implement climate action plans, which are currently voluntary, and then how to advocate for cities to abandon investments in fossil-fuel corporations. Such a small community may feel like David facing Goliath, but we all know how that story ends.
            Grant Township in Indiana County is another small community fighting the Goliath of the fossil fuel industry. They have been successful in keeping out a fracked injection since 2014. In the time between then and now, the township has been sued three times, by Pennsylvania General Energy Co (the corp seeking to dump toxic waste water in an old abandoned well within the township boundaries) and by the PA Department of Environmental Protection (PA DEP). (And in case you missed the irony- yes, the Department of Environmental Protection has sued a community for trying to protect its environment). The pending trial, which will take place in the next year, will take place in Commonwealth Court and will focus on whether the DEP has failed to protect the environment in PA, as well as whether the people of Grant Township have the authority to protect their environment. 
            The final thing we want to highlight is the work we have been doing for the past four years in promoting a Pennsylvania Constitutional Amendment, giving all communities in PA the Right to Local Community Self- Government. During this session, a number of Representatives in Harrisburg will be introducing this new amendment, which would then need to be approved in consecutive sessions. Local Community Self- Government returns power to those who are most affected by important decisions: the people of the community. 
            We are committed to a multi-pronged approach to building strong communities. We see this happening best through the following tasks:
            1) working with communities at the local level who are most affected by harmful activities;
            2) challenging the corporate state, whether it’s the corporations that perpetrate the harm, the state that legalizes the harm, and/or the courts that justify the harm;
            3) and building the legislative frameworks at the local and state level that ban harmful activities and setting forth new thinking and visions for a sustainable world that protects nature, people, and communities.

Virginia Community
Rights Network

VACRN has been working with folks in Buckingham County, VA to gather support for our right to self determination, and protection from toxic trespass. In June 2020 we found out about the exploration for gold, in Buckingham County, and now elsewhere. Virginia was the hot spot for gold mining before the 1850s California gold rush.

Corporations have the right to stop us from trespassing on their property.  We, the people have the right and responsibility to protect our bodies, air, water and land from toxic trespass. It’s up to us to claim that. We want the metallic mining companies to “Prove it First”: to show us that metallic mining has not caused harm to other communities and it would not cause harm to us.

VACRN is partnered with the Friends of Buckingham (FoB) in a local and statewide campaign to ban metallic mining in Virginia. FoB, in alliance with over 50 other organizations, brought down the Atlantic Coast Pipeline on July 5, 2020 after a 6 year fight.

CELDF has been involved in establishing legal Rights for Nature in Western law for over two decades, from the beginning of this movement’s contemporary phase. Read their August 4, 2021 “Rights of Nature Principles”.

Democracy Now! Interview with two fascinating individuals, Rupa Marya and Raj Patel. Their newly released book, Inflamed: Deep Medicine and the Anatomy of Injustice, “uncovers the links between health and structural injustices and offers a new deep medicine that can heal our bodies and our world.” Interview (10 minutes). Introductory animated film (3:19) to the book by Aaron Kierbel.
       Rupa Marya is among other roles, a physician, professor of medicine, activist, mother and musician. Check out her 2019 album Growing Upward, her band Rupa and the April Fishes, and a KQED article about how she overlaps and converges her multiple identities.
       Rajeev "Raj" Patel is an academic, journalist, film-maker and activist who has a groundbreaking documentary, The Ants and the Grasshopper, being shown in film festivals now. This film follows the journey of a Malawian farmer and activist as she tries to end hunger and gender inequality in her village and tackle the climate crisis in the United States.  “The truth takes long to spread while the lies spread fast here, but I still have faith.”  See the 7 minute interview with Raj Patel and film trailer here.

Scene on Radio Podcast: Excellent listening. Check out Season 4 on Democracy. Season 3 on Patriarchy. Season 2 on Seeing White.
The Red Nation Podcast: Those of us awakening to the realization that we’ve been colonized and comodified have a lot to learn from Natives who have been living it for the last 500 years. Check out the podcasts on Palestine, Imperialism, Seeds Back Land Back, Boarding Schools, Line 3 actions, Hawaiian resistance and more.  

Truer, David. Amazing Article. Return the National Parks to the Tribes: The jewels of America’s landscape should belong to America’s original peoples. The Atlantic, May 2021 Issue.
Thanks for your Donation
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