Friday, December 4, 2009

Parade for Clean Energy

SF/SC members parade to the Constellation Energy Commodities Building in the Inner Harbor to protest CE's use of dirty fossil fuels & mountaintop removal coal

On Monday, November 30th, SF/SC members joined concerned Baltimore citizens for "From Constellation to Copenhagen," a parade from MICA's Cohen Plaza to the Constellation Energy building in the Inner Harbor. Parade members carried a giant mountain puppet, signs, and an 8 foot by 11 foot letter signed by MICA students (pictured below, folded into a giant envelope). They received car-honks and cheers of support from drivers and pedestrians as they paraded down North Charles and Pratt Streets, chanting "No coal is clean coal!" and "Constellation Energy, BGE, we want cleaner energy!"

At the CE Building, protesters chanted and read their letter aloud over a megaphone. The letter presented three demands: that CE immediately cease all purchase of coal from mountaintop removal strip mines, that CE transition from coal to clean, renewable energy sources that do not leave long-lasting toxic wastes (nuclear power and "clean coal" are not acceptable alternatives), and that CE instruct their lobbyists to put the health and safety of the people and the land before corporate self interest. Parade-members cheered at the letter's closing statement: "The harm you are causing to our city, to our state, to our country and to our planet is unacceptable. You must cease irresponsible business practices, and you must do so NOW."

SF/SC chose to protest CE's use of dirty fossil fuels and mountaintop removal coal with a parade, and with large props, because they wanted to harness the creative energy of the MICA community in their non-violent direct action, one of many that occurred around the world on November 30th. This date marks one week before UN climate negotiations in Copenhagen and the 10th anniversary of the WTO protest in Seattle. Read more about other November 30th actions here.

Constellation Energy owns three of the six largest coal fired power plants in Maryland. Two of these plants, Brandon Shores and Herbert A Wagner in Anne Arundel county, are fired with coal mined from seven mountaintop removal strip mines in the Appalachian mountains of West Virginia and Kentucky. C. P. Crane in Baltimore County, also owned by Constellation, does not burn mountaintop removal coal, but it supports the practice by purchasing coal from companies that engage in the practice. You can learn more about Baltimore's connection to mountaintop removal, and more about the process of mountaintop removal, by visiting

On December 1st, SF/SC president Zoe Keller spoke at the Rally for Maryland's Clean Energy Future, put on by the Chesapeake Climate Action Network, Environment Maryland, the MD League of Conservation Voters and other concerned groups. The rally was called to protest MAPP (Mid-Atlantic Power Pathway) and PATH (Potomac -Appalachian Transmission Highline) power lines that would bring more dirty coal and nuclear energy to Maryland. Protesters view these lines as a huge step back for Maryland, following the landmark passage of the Maryland Greenhouse Gas Emissions Reduction Act.

Zoe discussed the role of Maryland's youth in the climate movement. You can watch video of the rally (including some of Zoe's speech) at 2b4 the World ("Rally for Responsible Energy").

Thanks for the photos Mike & Miranda!
words - Zoe