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Stopping the Buffett Train: May 5th StopCoal Takes to the Tracks in White Rock

Connecting the dots: Coal exports and Climate Change 
Tomorrow, let's stand together for our future.

What a week!  It started with Googling "contact information Warren Buffett" last Sunday, it's built through expressions of support from Dr James Hansen, a Grist article by Bill McKibben, mentions in the Huffington Post, and now, today, widespread local media interest in IPCC member Dr Mark Jaccard's statement that civil disobedience over climate change is the right thing to do. Try Googling "coal protest Warren Buffett" now and you can see how far we've come.   

To top it all off, it looks like it may just be sunny tomorrow! We hope you will join us at the pier any time after dawn.

We invite you to join us any time after dawn
on May 5th at the White Rock Pier. 
We will be there all day unless we are stopped. Bring a book, bring a board game, bring food and water. Prepare for the weather. Meet fellow citizens who share your concerns.  Tell stories and make music.  Enjoy the view of the ocean.  Help us send a strong message about the need for action on climate change and our collective ability to make a difference. It is going to be quite a day.
There are a number of details we need to share with you so that you can prepare for the day.
First the important stuff:

Please bring something tomorrow that reflects why you think it's worth fighting for our future. It may be a frisbee, perhaps it's a violin.  We've got the complete poems of Walt Whitman, and four copies of Shakespeare's The Tempest - if you have more copies please bring them and we can do the whole play together.    

Make no mistake -- we're getting together tomorrow to make an important point.  We take civil disobedience very seriously, and we hope you do too.  We're ready to spend the day defending our right to a safe and healthy planet, but we want to have a good time doing it. We want to show that we can do this while still taking pleasure in the things we're working to protect: performing, playing, telling stories, and enjoying the fresh air and the ocean with people who share our values.

If you can, bring some food to share -- muffins, cookies, fruit  and so on.  Don't forget your cameras. Please take note of the forecast and dress accordingly.  Umbrellas, raincoats and warm clothes are all a good idea.  If you have some folding chairs and small, easily portable tables please bring them along.  It will be nice to sit down and read, share a snack and have a conversation.

Bring a "dot," so that we can all "connect the dots."  The good folks at have been incredibly helpful in promoting this event, and we want to show our gratitude by sending them a fantastic photo of all of us, side by side along the tracks, each holding up a dot.  We may not reach quite all the way from Westshore Terminals to the coal fields of Wyoming but we'll get the point across.  Dot making details can be found here, but if you want to keep it simple a good sized orange dot on a white background will do the trick.

Please, please remember that we are here to make a statement about the need for action and our willingness to stand up for what we believe is right.  This will be a peaceful, non-violent action, without property damage.  We will not put ourselves or others at risk.  It is not worth getting hurt to make a statement.  No matter what happens tomorrow, we all want to be safe and ready to do this good work another day.

Civil disobedience: the legal details.  If you are considering participating directly in the act of civil disobedience there are some things you should do to prepare.  None of these preparations commit you to risking arrest of course -- you can leave that decision to tomorrow if you like -- but you should come ready.  We have retained the services of a lawyer, and anyone who is arrested will have their legal concerns taken care of from the time they are arrested to the time they are released by police.  We can discuss these details in the morning and provide you with contact information for the lawyer then.

We will discuss the possible legal consequences of action in the morning as well. We recommend you read the Protesters Guide to The Law of Civil Disobedience, especially the section on injunctions.  

Note that the legal implications of this action are evolving as we write this email.  We've caught the attention of Warren Buffett and BNSF and they are pushing back. We will provide you with the fullest possible explanation of the legal consequences of action in the morning, so that you can make your own best choices based on the risks and consequences involved.  Remember, simply bearing witness to what happens is important and puts you at no risk.

Some things to bring if you are considering engaging in civil disobedience:

  a.. photo ID.  If you are arrested, the police need to know who you are.

  b.. essential medications, in their original container.

  c.. your personal background information.  Please download and print this document here, fill it out, and bring it with you tomorrow.  The lawyer needs to know about you.  (Leave "offense" blank. Any questions we can sort out in the morning)

What not to bring:

  a.. anything illegal -- weapons, recreational drugs and so on.

  b.. masks or balaclavas -- they scare people, they put you at greater risk of arrest, and they give people who are not in support of our cause an opportunity to infiltrate our peaceful assembly and cause problems.

  c.. anything you don't want to be searched or confiscated -- cell phones with important contacts, laptops, etc.

We're 7 hours away from May 5.  It's not likely we will be able to answer any questions, arrange rides, and so forth from this point forward.  If you need to arrange rides, please talk to your friends and use the facebook group.  We hope we see you tomorrow.

Your fellow concerned citizens.


twitter: @stopcoalBC
facebook: I can't believe BC exports that much coal!

Connecting the dots: Coal exports and Climate Change

Bill McKibben & have announced Saturday May 5th, 2012 as an International Day of Action to “connect the dots” on climate change. We're ready.

On May 5th, for 24 hours, we intend to stop all coal coming from the US on the BNSF railway, through White Rock, for export out of BC's ports. We've sent a letter to Warren Buffett, owner of BNSF, explaining our intentions.

We invite you to join us any time after dawn on May 5th.  Details below.

We're doing this because we have to. The science is solid: if we don't get to work, within the decade we are going to run out of time to avoid runaway global warming. It's not enough any more just to go to rallies, write letters, and have dinner in the dark once a year. We're aware of what is at stake, and we have a moral obligation to do our best to stop the things that are destroying the planet.

We really don't want to spend the day on the tracks and risk arrest by stopping coal trains, but we're running out of options. We're forced to take this dramatic step to get government's attention, because in addition to ignoring the scientific warnings, they've refused to respond to our repeated requests for a public discussion on this issue.

We need a province-wide discussion about what is at risk for our families and communities, and how British Columbia can start working towards a healthy and secure future that is fair for all. We hope that discussion starts on May 5th.

This action will be peaceful and non-violent. There will be no property destruction. We are striving to be the best citizens we can, and we will stand up for what we believe is right and conduct ourselves with dignity.  We invite you to take part in this work with these intentions in mind.

This event will be public, open and transparent. Our actions will be announced well in advance. We've done our research over the past year and we're confident that we can do this safely.

We invite you to join us any time after dawn on May 5th at the White Rock Pier.  We will be there all day unless we are stopped.  Bring a book, bring a board game, bring food and water. Prepare for the weather. Meet fellow citizens who share your concerns.  Tell stories and make music.  Enjoy the view of the ocean.  Help us send a strong message about the need for action on climate change and our collective ability to make a difference. It is going to be quite a day.

You are welcome to participate directly in the action of stopping coal trains. You can help with one of many important supporting tasks. Or you can simply bear witness to our actions. All these roles are important.  Simply showing up will make a statement and will not put you at any risk of arrest.

We will provide an overview of the legal risks involved in taking action and civil disobedience training at the site on May 5th for those of you who wish to consider participating directly in this action.  If you are thinking of taking part directly in the action, please print and fill out the personal information form found here and bring it along with a piece of photo ID on Saturday.

For further information and to prepare yourself in advance:

Protester's Guide to Civil Disobedience
BC Civil Liberties Association Arrest Handbook

We encourage you to talk to others about this event, and to organize together to get to White Rock and take part.  You can also organize on our facebook site.

Information on public transit to White Rock can be found here.

If you have questions or comments please contact us at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

We acknowledge that this event is taking place in unceded Coast Salish territory. Your fellow concerned citizens.

      Stop Coal Campaign
      PO Box 8701
      Victoria, British Columbia V8W3S3

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