Boston-area residents arrested at LDC Natural Gas Conference at Westin Copley Place

BOSTON, MA — Local members of the global grassroots movement, Extinction Rebellion, disrupted the LDC Natural Gas Northeast Forum at Westin Copley Place, Tuesday June 11 at 2:30 pm. They are demanding that Massachusetts and the U.S. immediately halt all new construction of pipelines, natural gas, and fossil fuel infrastructure.

Approximately 60 protestors occupied the hotel lobby with flags and signs chanting “Gas stinks!” and “Tell the Truth,” accompanied by The Second Line Social Aid and Pleasure Society Brass Band. Members of Extinction Rebellion demand that natural (methane) gas executives stop hiding the truth about methane’s climate and health hazards and that Governor Baker take immediate steps to phase out natural gas along with coal and oil. Eleven of the protestors were arrested for blocking the entrance to the Westin Hotel on Huntington Avenue.

Physicians for Social Responsibility, the largest physician-led organization in the U.S. working to protect the public from the threat of nuclear proliferation, climate change, and environmental toxins, states, “To protect human health from the ravages of climate change, we must stop spewing heat-trapping gases into the atmosphere. One of the most urgent gases to control is methane.”

Activists propose that new natural gas and fossil fuel infrastructure be prohibited.

“Natural gas is a dead end,” said Nadia Colburn, PhD, and Extinction Rebellion spokesperson. “We cannot use natural gas to transition away from oil and coal since gas will increase global warming. The climate and ecological crisis demands that we take immediate action and move urgently towards renewable energy sources in order to reach net-zero greenhouse gas emissions.”

“At the end of the day, it falls on Governor Baker and Massachusetts state and municipal officials to enforce real change. The fossil fuel industry will not willingly sacrifice its profits for the greater good,” said Ned Hall, Professor of Philosophy at Harvard University. “The fossil fuel industry has spent the last 30+ years confusing, misleading, and misinforming the public about the severity of climate change, and their role in catalyzing it. It is up to our government leaders to protect our communities and ensure a livable future.”

These concerned Boston-area residents generally support shifting directly to electricity generated by renewable energy: solar, wind, hydro and geothermal. They explain that the extraction & mining, delivery, and burning of gas worsens global warming, is dangerous to the health and safety of communities as the explosions and fires in the Merrimack Valley demonstrated, pollutes drinking water, and releases cancer-causing toxins into the air.

Two recent reports from the UN uncover that the world is facing an ecological and climate emergency because of burning fossil fuels like natural gas. The 2018 Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change Report (IPCC) report states that societies need to cut fossil fuel emissions in half by 2030 and reach net zero emissions by 2050 in order to keep temperatures from warming 1.5C, which is considered the safe zone. Many climate scientists are concerned that the IPCC report is too conservative because the report didn’t take into account the earth’s tipping points, or positive feedback mechanisms, that once reached, would lead to irreversible changes potentially resulting in the collapse of society.

The 2019 Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES) Report from the UN states that one million species of plants and animals are at risk of going extinct within a few decades because of the effects of human activity. Deforestation, overfishing, toxic pollution, pesticide use, and global warming from the burning of fossil fuels are wreaking havoc on the environment. The report says that the destruction of biodiversity will pose significant threats to humans. It will affect human’s access to food, clean drinking water, clean air, and cause disease and parasites to spread more quickly.

Extinction Rebellion Massachusetts is one of many local environmental groups that are calling on policymakers and corporate leaders to prioritize renewable energy sources and stop developing natural gas and fossil fuel infrastructure, including Mothers Out Front on Climate Change, the Fore River Residents Against the Compressor Station in Weymouth, Sunrise, Youth Climate Strike, 350 Mass Action, and more.

Extinction Rebellion Massachusetts is a part of the international grassroots movement that started in London in 2018. It’s mission is to tell the truth about our ecological and climate crisis and spark immediate action to prevent climate catastrophe and ecological collapse. We mobilize people in Massachusetts and around the world to utilize non-violent direct action to demand that governments take radical action to avert societal collapse due to spreading climate and ecological disasters, and to protect front-line communities, biodiversity, and the natural world. This movement is beyond politics, and unites all of humanity behind a singular goal of a just and livable future. Learn more at: xrmass.org

  1. LDC Natural Gas Northeast Forum at Westin Copley Place: “The 24th Annual Northeast Forum is the premier event where 600+ of the Natural Gas Industry’s leaders gather in Boston for three days of networking, insights, and deal making.”
  2. IPCC 2018 Report
  3. IPBES 2019 Report

Statement from Extinction Rebellion Massachusetts

Today we disrupt the Westin-Copley and the LDC Natural Gas Northeast Forum for one simple reason: the public must know the truth that business as usual is a death sentence for our future. Our government and media, along with a decades long misinformation campaign spearheaded by the fossil fuel industry, have failed to alert the public to the existential, immediate emergency we face. We are here for our children, and our children's children. We are here for the children of these fossil fuel operatives. We are here to salvage what we can of a just, livable future.

There is a substantial chance that we are too late to avoid mass suffering - and that is why we will continue to perform civil disobedience and take non-violent disruptive action until our government lives up to their responsibility to protect our lives and the general welfare of our communities. Frontline communities across the globe are already being devastated by increasingly frequent superstorms, droughts, floods, wildfires, and the famines and conflict they create. These communities--long the victims of the greed and overconsumption that have brought us to this crisis--must be prioritized and protected. Our non-violent rebellion to save humanity and our ecosystems is necessary. We will not stop until we win, because the alternative is unthinkable.

With love and rage, Extinction Rebellion Massachusetts

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