Climate Ground Zero Action Camp: Day 2

Climate Ground Zero Action Camp 014I’m sitting in front of the Greenpeace communications van, the pride and joy of Richard “Sky King” Dillman. Despite our relatively remote location, can transmit live audio, video or text just about anywhere in the world using a combination of radio, satellite, or cellular networks.

I’m joining Richard and colleague Mike Johnson for “tactical communications” workshops all week. The session covers everything from basic equipment and techniques to advanced “field problems” where we’ll use what we’ve learned to role-play non-violent direct action and mass mobilization scenarios.

Climate Ground Zero Action Camp 013In front of me is a scaffolding the size of a three story building. Ingrid Gordon and her team of climb trainers built the structure yesterday, outfitting it with ropes and guy wires to simulate an action canvass (Coal-fired power plant? Oil Refinery? State Capitol?). The workshop starts with an extensive safety training then moves to basic knots, equipment and techniques. Like the other workshops, they’ll end the week by conducting a simulated action scenario developed by participants at the camp.

This afternoon, Celia Alario hosts a media skills workshop featuring message development, release writing and on-camera interviews. After dinner, it’s an open schedule–time for hikes, skill-shares and after sunset, a healthy dose of stories around campfire.

Climate Ground Zero Action Camp: Day 1

setting up the climbing scaffoldI’m in Montana at the bottom of the foothills of the Rocky Mountains. People are pouring into the “Climate Change Ground Zero Action Camp.” For the next week, we’ll be talking about how to answer the $200 Billion dollar question of how to beat the climate challenge.

The coal and oil industry and most of our country’s elected officials want to invest in oil pipelines, oil refineries and coal fired power plants. We think that looks a lot like what got us into this mess in the first place so we’re honing strategies to take back our future.

Why Montana? Two reasons. First, Montana is at the center of the oil and coal bonanza lurking just on the horizon of North America. We’re camped just outside of Helena, where the Governor is pushing plans to expand four oil refineries in the state mostly in order process cheap, dirty crude oil from the Canadian Tar Sands–part of a massive nationwide push to tap into one of the biggest and most destructive industrial projects on the planet. Montana also sits on top of more coal than just about anywhere on the planet. If the Governor and his industry backers get their way, most of that coal will pulverized, burned and pumped into the atmosphere–pollution and global warming be damned.

The second reason we’re in Montana is JR Roof. JR’s spent most of his life training activists in creative campaign strategies and non-violent direct action tactics with Greenpeace. Most of the people you’ve seen hanging banners from bridges and buildings over the last 20 years probably learned some of what they know from him (or someone he that trained with him). For the last two years, he’s been based in Montana and Alberta, organizing ranchers and farmers to oppose punching a power transmisison line through some of the continent’s most pristine wilderness just North of here. He’s pulled together some of the most experienced rabble-rousers on the continent pass on non-violent direct action skills to the climate movement and “make sure that this new generation of activists has an opportunity to learn from our mistakes”

So here we are, from Montana, Alberta, Ontario, Washington, Oregon, Idaho, Utah, California, New York and Washington, DC, passing on skills getting ready to take action for the climate. We’ll be blogging, posting interviews and photos all week.


We live in a time that requires citizens to take Action on Global Warming. While our national politicians and leaders propose compromise and weak measures the situation gets worse day by day and year by year. Despite urgent warnings, and the steadily intensifying climate crisis, the strongest bills in both houses of the US Congress call for reducing emissions 80% below 1990 levels by 2050. 42 years from now. We believe waiting 42 years WILL NOT SOLVE the climate problem and demonstrates a clear lack of vision, courage and leadership from our national politicians, and also demonstrates how much the fossil fuel industry controls our politicians, our laws and our democracy.

It is time for American citizens to take leadership & direct action and make our politicians accountable to us. To this end we announce a Citizens Direct Action Training Camp in June 2008 in Montana to oppose and confront the massive development of Rocky Mountain Corridor from Fort MacMurry, Alberta all the way to New Mexico (see attached media article below). We oppose:

  • Alberta Tar Sands and Coal Development
  • Development of Coal in Montana and Wyoming feeding America’s electricity appetite
  • Montana Governor Schweitzer’s plan to import Alberta dirty fossils into the USA through transmission lines from coal plants in Alberta, and 7 proposed Tar Sand refineries in Montana
  • Proposed massive oil shale developments in Utah and Colorado
  • Transmission lines off of coal fired power plants proposed all over US
  • Mountain Top Removal

The Action Training will be five day training and include skills needed to do effective Direct Action Campaigning against dirty fossil projects and for a clean energy future. Sessions will include History and Practice Non Violent Direct Action, Campaign Strategy, Direct Actions Skills, Media Skills, Community Organizing

Where: Montana site to be announced – When: June 1st – June 6th 2008

This camp sponsored by and

and is being hosted and organized by:

  • Mike Roselle- Founder – Earth First!, RAN, and The Ruckus Society
  • JR Roof – Former Director of Greenpeace International Ships and Direct Action Division, Co-founder The Ruckus Society,

For further info contact

JR Roof at has a plan for getting off of fossil fuels as fast as possible. Entitled “Rosie Revisited: A U.S. –Led Solution to Global Warming”, it demonstrates how U.S. and global emissions could be cut 80% by 2025. This plan can be accomplished with present technology and has been endorsed by two of the nations leading energy analysts and is in the best interest of our national economy, national security and combating global warming.

See Rosie Revisited – 80% by 2025 at

Excerpt from below media link/article:

“Montana’s Governor Brian Schweitzer brought a stark message to Calgary last week: North America must either develop its own domestic energy sources or conduct oil-fuelled warfare in the Middle East for the next two generations. “The good news is that the Rocky Mountain corridor is the most important energy region in the world,” Schweitzer told a breakfast audience at the Calgary Chamber of Commerce. “The hydrocarbon resources between Fort McMurray and New Mexico are easily equal to the Middle East. And at today’s oil prices, we can become self-sufficient in energy economically.”

Confirmed Trainers to Date. Additional trainers & keynotes will be added as confirmed

Ingrid Gordon (Climb Trainer Coordinator) Ingrid is Founder and Director of Gear For Good an organization that works with outdoor gear companies to attain gear needed for field and action work with non profit advocacy organizations such as Amazon Watch, The Ruckus Society and Buffalo Field Campaign amongst others. She is a former member of Greenpeace USA Direct Action Team 1988- 1996 and one of the original Ruckus Society trainers in 1995/96. Ingrid brings years of campaign and direct action experience to bear on her climb trainings to our camps.

Celia Alario (Lead Media Trainer) Celia is a media strategist with an expertise in grassroots environmental, human rights and economic justice campaigns. Her past collaborators include the Los Angeles Alliance for a New Economy, the Liberty Hill Foundation, Institute for Policy Studies, The Ruckus Society, Amazon Watch, Global Exchange, the Mobilization for Global Justice, the United Steelworkers of America, School of the Americas Watch, the Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom (WILPF), Sea Shepherd Conservation Society and many others. In addition, Alario is the founder of PR for People and the Planet

Matt Leonard (Campaign Finance Strategies and Climb Trainer) Matt works on Global Finance Campaign at Rainforest Action Network. He works to get big banks out of big coal – and help build a movement demanding an economy in sync with our ecology. He worked as an action trainer with RAN, Ruckus and Greenpeace and others for over a decade ad worked on campaigns around ending war, opposing corporate globalization, promoting revolutionary ecology and confronting the root cause of the climate crisis. He is also a member of Rising Tide North America and Bay Rising Affinity Group. He prefers dog to cats, whisky to rum and rock climbing over Frisbee.

James Brady (Non Violent Direct Action Training) James has been involved with environmental and huma rights campaigns, non violent direct action and trainigns for nearly 15 years with Greenpeace and The Ruckus Society. He currently works with Greenpeace USA in the Direct Actions Unit. James has developed highly extensive and practical non violence trainings

Mike Hudema (Greenpeace Canada Tar Sands Campaign Leader). Mike is a long time member of the Albertan activist scene. He was part of a motley band of activists that took to the streets of Quebec City for the FTAA protests, slept on the steps of the legislature to protest rising tuition rates when he was President of the University of Alberta Students’ Union, and occupied Anne McLellan’s office to defeat Canada’s anti-terrorism legislation. In his spare time he co-hosts CJSR’s alternative news program Rise Up: Radio Free Edmonton and co-writes books like the recently published “An Action a Day Keeps Global Capitalism Away”. Mike currently works for Greenpeace as the Tarsands Energy Campaigner. He is also a climb trainer with the Ruckus Society.

Hillary Hosta (Lead Climb Trainer). Hillary has worked on Mountain Top Removal the last 3 years and lives in West Virginia. Hillary has over a decade of experience in non violent direct action and public advocacy campaigns with various environmental and human rights organizations. Hillary was one of the original Ruckus Society trainers in the mid 1990’s.

Mike Harold (Campaign Strategy and Blockades). Mike originally hails from the United Kingdom where he served in many capacities on direct action and campaign work with Greenpeace. From 1990 to 1996 Mike served as the International Actions Coordinator for Greenpeace International in Amsterdam and then as Director of the Actions Unit in Greenpeace UK and Greenpeace USA. Mike has over 20 years of international experience developing and executing campaigns and direct actions; including considerable years working in Brazil and The Amazon. Mike has over 15 years leading trainings in non violent civil disobedience campaigns.