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Declare Independence From Fossil Fuels

This piece was originally published on the Green Education and Legal Fund.


When in the Course of human events, it becomes necessary to act on global warming and dissolve our dependence on fossil fuels, a decent respect to the opinions of others requires that we should declare the causes which impel us to the dissolution.

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that the burning of fossil fuels is a leading contributor to climate change. As a result of our addiction to fossil fuels, extreme weather, melting ice caps and glaciers, global sea level rise, diminishing food and water supplies, forced migration, and damage to public health threaten the world’s populations.

We call for a Green New Deal. An immediate halt to the development of more fossil fuels. A rapid transition by 2030 to 100% clean, renewable energy. A Just Transition that helps impacted workers and vulnerable communities. A public jobs initiative to provide full employment through a sustainable, publicly controlled economy.

Prudence dictates that institutions long established should not be changed for light and transient causes. But when a long train of abuses and usurpations evinces a design to reduce the People to poverty, sickness, insecurity, and death, it is their right, their duty, to throw off such a system and provide new guards for their common security. The history of the present power structure is a history of repeated injuries and usurpations, all having in direct object the establishment of a tyranny of the Few over the Many. Let these facts be submitted:

  • Big Oil, Gas and Coal corporations have known for decades that their extractive industry, if left unchecked, would doom our common future with extreme weather, global sea level rise, ocean acidification, diminishing food and water supplies, forced migration, damaged physical and mental health, and a progressive unraveling of the very bonds of Civilization.
  • They have continued to seek untrammeled profit over the health and welfare of the People, endeavoring in every manner to manufacture doubt and mislead the People about the consequences of their activities, using their vast Wealth to skew the Body Politic into confusion, apathy, distraction, and even self-destructive support of their very Oppressors.
  • And they have known1 that those who will suffer first and most from these ravages will be those who are most innocent of the damage: the poor, the flora and fauna of our Earth, and our future generations.

In every stage of these oppressions we have petitioned for Redress, stating the facts well studied by our best minds and lately observed all over our Earth. Our repeated Petitions have, unfortunately, been answered by repeated injury and a turning away from these Truths so inconvenient to our Oppressors.

It is against such Corporate and Governmental abuses that we, the People, join forces in common purpose to end the dirty-energy era and bring about a Just Transition to a future based on clean energy and economic opportunity for all, rather than the few. There is not a moment more to lose.

We urge Governments of all States to say no to fossil fuel infrastructure, to deny permits, certifications, and other regulatory approvals for further extraction, transport, processing, and combustion of these dirty fuels.

Our governments must lead on energy by 1) accelerating investment in renewable energy like offshore wind, community solar, geothermal, regenerative agriculture, mass transit, electric vehicles, and energy efficiency measures; 2) holding corporate polluters responsible for their actions, in the courts and through financial penalties (e.g., a carbon tax); and 3) divesting from its investments in fossil fuel companies.

Winning our energy independence requires winning democracy, breaking free from the political and economic domination of fossil fuels companies including their Corporate campaign funding.

To preserve our only planet and protect our communities, we need to create community-owned and democratically controlled energy systems that incorporate a Just Transition for impacted workers and vulnerable communities.

We therefore, in the Name and by Authority of the good People of this Earth, solemnly publish and declare our intention to become independent from fossil fuels and transition to clean, renewable energy. And for the support of this Declaration, with a firm reliance on the rectitude and necessity of our Purpose, we mutually pledge our Lives, our Fortunes, and our sacred Honor.

1 Robert F. Kennedy Jr., Dick Russell (2007). The Men Who Are Destroying Life on Earth―And What It Means for Our Children.

Written by Mark Dunlea

Mark Dunlea

Mark Dunlea is chair of the Green Education and Legal Fund, where he coordinates the Campaign for 100% Renewables Now in NYS. He has been a member of the steering committee of 350 NYC and the People's Climate Movement NY. He was the Executive Director of the Hunger Action Network for NYS for nearly three decades and served as the Head Organizer in several states for ACORN. An attorney, he is author of Madame President: The Unauthorized Biography of the First Green Party President. He lives in a passive solar home he and his wife built at Common Farms thirty years ago, an intentional community in Poestenkill NY.

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Declare Independence From Fossil Fuels