The Fight Against Fracked Gas: Activism and Changing Minds

Governor Jay Inslee has changed his mind and says he is now opposed to the Liquefied Natural Gas Plant in Tacoma, WA. My first impression regarding his change of mind was cynicism. Activists have been fighting for years to protect not only the potential danger to our community from a leak in the storage facility or a derailed train, but those communities in which toxic fracking operations already poison and deplete the water supply. In fact, here is a podcast I produced in 2016 with some of the activists that first brought the dangers of the Tacoma LNG project specifically to the public’s attention. [This was after our community’s successful battle against the proposed Methanol plant.] But this is a huge fight, and we need all the allies we can get: late to the battlefield or not.

We need to pay attention to the science and keep fighting for sound environmental policies. Climate change is real, man-made, and threatens the safety of our current and future generations. The disproportionate impact of climate change on low-income communities and communities of color necessitates that anyone interested in protecting human rights also pay attention to environmental protections.

Use your skills to contribute to this fight: Do your research with credible resources. Question funding sources for studies. Continue to hold elected officials and candidates accountable on these issues. Use the PDC to track campaign contributions. Write letters. Call representatives. Organize rallies. Make posters. Share information via social media. And parents/ educators, teach your kids why activism is so important. Change is possible and imperative.

Projects

The last few weeks have been jam-packed with projects, and I feel like I’m just now able to catch my breath.

On April 19, I presented my research project, “Immigration and Tacoma: Past and Present,” at Tacoma’s Tripod Series. Thank you to all those who agreed to be interviewed for this project, and to the fabulous Lynn Di Nino for allowing me to be a part of this event. I will share more on this at a later date.

Earlier in that same day, I hosted South End Neighborhood Council’s Neighborhood Moment, in partnership with TV Tacoma, as well as guests from Tacoma Community House and the Tacoma Refugee Choir. Click here for more information.

If you’re in Tacoma on Friday, May 10, you should check out the Grand Cinema’s 253 Short Film Fest Viewing Party! I signed up with a group of total strangers, wrote the script, and constructed props for the project “Terrorium”, which we had 72 hours to complete. Like you, it will be my first time seeing the finished product! Click here for tickets and more details.

Currently, I’m available for writing, presentations, consultations, and more. Send me a message at suzanneskaar@hotmail.com.

Cheers!

Suzanne

When You Love Somebody…

… Sometimes you have to call them out.

It’s February, so I should be devoting time to my Valentine, Isobel. She just turned 4 this last week. Every day she does something else to remind me how quickly she’s growing, and how soon this magical time will be gone.

But the time I could be spending with my little one has been spent actively fighting a new danger to my Northwest community. It’s not bad enough that our local government has proven to be nothing more than a way for rich residents to play dynasty. Our Port has leased land to a Chinese LLC which aims to build the world’s largest methanol refinery to date using fracked gas in Tacoma. Methanol is a highly combustible compound, and the refinery will be placed next to a new natural gas facility, amplifying the potential for worst case scenarios (leaks, explosions, irreversible damage to water and soil, worsening of air quality, increasing health disparity, etc.).

I have been attending Environmental Impact Scoping meetings every chance I get. The most recent meeting I attended saw 1200+ residents against and three paid representatives for the project. The plant will use up to 20,000 gallons of water a minute despite the world wide shortage of clean water and a global rallying cry to convert to green energy. The purpose of the methanol refinery? Making plastics in China.

As an appointed member of the City of Tacoma Human Rights Commission, I was particularly troubled by the Tacoma Fire Department’s plan for detainees in the Northwest Immigration Detention Center that in case of catastrophe, there will not be an evacuation, instead they are to “shelter in place.”

So Tacoma, I love you, but I’m calling you out.

And for those who come to this page looking for cute drawings, not politics, I leave you the first in a series of illustrated responses to the proposed Tacoma Methanol Refinery. so as not to disappoint.

 

Otter_Destruction_Draft
Draft: Otter Destruction. 2016. S. Skaar

I’ll post the finished illustration when it’s complete. If you want to learn more about the methanol refinery and how you can help protect our environment, please check out Red Line Tacoma.