Santa Arrested at Gates of Crestwood Saying No to Dirty Energy, Yes to Renewables
The Grinch, Santa and his elves took a short break from their Christmas preparations today to visit the gates of the Crestwood gas storage facility near Seneca Lake in New York to warn the company that Santa—and the world—is watching. His elves and local friends held signs saying, “Dirty energy = naughty, clean renewables = nice” and “Here comes the sun, go solar!”
Santa and 12 others, including the Grinch, were arrested for disorderly conduct while stopping a truck pulling construction equipment. Their message: there’s still time to get on Santa’s “nice” list.
“Santa is very worried about climate change,” elves close to Santa said. “He paid close attention to the climate negotiations in Paris. Where will we live when the ice at the North Pole melts? The reindeer are already falling through the melting tundra in their feeding grounds. It’s not just an issue for us, but for all the people living near the coasts … as ice melts, seas rise. Santa does not want anyone to be climate refugees.”
The Crestwood gas storage facility proposes to store methane, propane and butane in salt caverns under the shores of Seneca Lake. It is one of many projects, including pipelines, which aim to develop “new markets” for the current glut of natural gas from the fracking boom, committing people to using natural gas far into the future. Natural gas is primarily methane, a significantly more potent greenhouse gas than carbon dioxide over a 20-year timeframe.
“I’m here today to make sure kids know who’s being naughty and nice,” said Santa. “Crestwood has been very, very naughty by promoting the use of natural gas, which is making climate change worse. The people getting arrested at the gate, on the other hand, are very, very nice and are working hard to protect all of us.”
Happy Holidays from We Are Seneca Lake! @SenSchumer @SenGillibrand @NYGovCuomo https://t.co/v7sKBKJShU— We Are Seneca Lake (@We Are Seneca Lake)1450709636.0
“I applaud what protesters there [at Seneca Lake] are doing,” Robert Howarth said in an interview with Evan Dawson on WXXI’s Connections in response to news that the North Pole gang was blockading at Crestwood.
Howarth is a climate scientist and was a Cornell University delegate at the Paris climate talks earlier this month. “Coming out of Paris, we need to be carbon neutral by about 2035. Natural gas, and shale gas in particular, is a disaster to what we are trying to do to reach this climate target ... Methane is 100-fold more potent a greenhouse gas than carbon dioxide when it’s in the atmosphere ... If we immediately move off of natural gas, it will buy us 30 or 40 more years before we hit that 1.5 degree temperature increase.”
Santa and the Grinch joined many friends from the area in welcoming the return of the sun at Winter Solstice, noting that solar panels have been particularly high on the wish list requests in the area this year.
“Seneca Lake and the climate of the world are more important than things that go blink or things that are swirled,” said the Grinch. “The people who stand on this line today show the spirit of Christmas is not far away.”
Schuyler County deputies arrested the 13 shortly before 2 p.m. as they blocked a dump truck pulling a mini excavator from leaving the facility.
The 13 protesters were transported to the Schuyler County Sheriff’s department, charged with disorderly conduct and released.
#Santa arrested. Explains 2 trooper "my home is melting, reindeer starving" @billmckibben @democracynow @maddow # https://t.co/XYUjFetCz2— We Are Seneca Lake (@We Are Seneca Lake)1450725244.0
Crestwood’s methane gas storage expansion project was approved by the U.S. Federal Energy Regulatory Commission in October 2014 in the face of broad public opposition and unresolved questions about geological instabilities, fault lines and possible salinization of Seneca Lake. The total number of arrests in the civil disobedience campaign over the past year now stands at 452. Whether due to low natural gas prices or the ongoing direct action campaign, construction of Crestwood’s natural gas storage expansion has not yet begun.
The 13 arrested today included: Stefan Senders (Santa Claus), 56, Hector, Schuyler County; Charlotte Senders (The Grinch), 19, Hector, Schuyler County; Coert Bonthius (Elf), 62, Ithaca, Tompkins County; Krys Cail (Elf), 62, Ulysses, Tompkins County; Lyndsay Clark (Elf), 54, Springwater, Livingston County; Kim Cunningham (Elf), 59, Naples, Ontario County; Barbara Eden (Elf), 63, Ithaca, Tompkins County; Patricia Heckart (Elf), 64, Ulysses, Tompkins County; Gretchen Herrmann (Elf), 66, Ithaca, Tompkins County; Todd Hobler (Elf), 53, Buffalo, Erie County; Gabrielle Illava (Elf), 26, Ithaca, Tompkins County; Bruce Reisch (Elf), 60, Geneva, Ontario County; and Gabriel Shapiro (Elf), 19, Ithaca, Tompkins County.
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theDOCK aims to innovate the Israeli maritime sector. Pexels<p>The UN hopes that new investments in ocean science and technology will help turn the tide for the oceans. As such, this year kicked off the <a href="https://www.oceandecade.org/" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">United Nations Decade of Ocean Science for Sustainable Development (2021-2030)</a> to galvanize massive support for the blue economy.</p><p>According to the World Bank, the blue economy is the "sustainable use of ocean resources for economic growth, improved livelihoods, and jobs while preserving the health of ocean ecosystem," <a href="https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0160412019338255#b0245" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">Science Direct</a> reported. It represents this new sector for investments and innovations that work in tandem with the oceans rather than in exploitation of them.</p><p>As recently as Aug. 2020, <a href="https://www.reutersevents.com/sustainability/esg-investors-slow-make-waves-25tn-ocean-economy" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">Reuters</a> noted that ESG Investors, those looking to invest in opportunities that have a positive impact in environmental, social and governance (ESG) issues, have been interested in "blue finance" but slow to invest.</p><p>"It is a hugely under-invested economic opportunity that is crucial to the way we have to address living on one planet," Simon Dent, director of blue investments at Mirova Natural Capital, told Reuters.</p><p>Even with slow investment, the blue economy is still expected to expand at twice the rate of the mainstream economy by 2030, Reuters reported. It already contributes $2.5tn a year in economic output, the report noted.</p><p>Current, upward <a href="https://www.ecowatch.com/-innovation-blue-economy-2646147405.html" target="_self">shifts in blue economy investments are being driven by innovation</a>, a trend the UN hopes will continue globally for the benefit of all oceans and people.</p><p>In Israel, this push has successfully translated into investment in and innovation of global ports, shipping, logistics and offshore sectors. The "Startup Nation," as Israel is often called, has seen its maritime tech ecosystem grow "significantly" in recent years and expects that growth to "accelerate dramatically," <a href="https://itrade.gov.il/belgium-english/how-israel-is-becoming-a-port-of-call-for-maritime-innovation/" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">iTrade</a> reported.</p><p>Driving this wave of momentum has been rising Israeli venture capital hub <a href="https://www.thedockinnovation.com/" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">theDOCK</a>. Founded by Israeli Navy veterans in 2017, theDOCK works with early-stage companies in the maritime space to bring their solutions to market. The hub's pioneering efforts ignited Israel's maritime technology sector, and now, with their new fund, theDOCK is motivating these high-tech solutions to also address ESG criteria.</p><p>"While ESG has always been on theDOCK's agenda, this theme has become even more of a priority," Nir Gartzman, theDOCK's managing partner, told EcoWatch. "80 percent of the startups in our portfolio (for theDOCK's Navigator II fund) will have a primary or secondary contribution to environmental, social and governance (ESG) criteria."</p><p>In a company presentation, theDOCK called contribution to the ESG agenda a "hot discussion topic" for traditional players in the space and their boards, many of whom are looking to adopt new technologies with a positive impact on the planet. The focus is on reducing carbon emissions and protecting the environment, the presentation outlines. As such, theDOCK also explicitly screens candidate investments by ESG criteria as well.</p><p>Within the maritime space, environmental innovations could include measures like increased fuel and energy efficiency, better monitoring of potential pollution sources, improved waste and air emissions management and processing of marine debris/trash into reusable materials, theDOCK's presentation noted.</p>
theDOCK team includes (left to right) Michal Hendel-Sufa, Head of Alliances, Noa Schuman, CMO, Nir Gartzman, Co-Founder & Managing Partner, and Hannan Carmeli, Co-Founder & Managing Partner. Dudu Koren<p>theDOCK's own portfolio includes companies like Orca AI, which uses an intelligent collision avoidance system to reduce the probability of oil or fuel spills, AiDock, which eliminates the use of paper by automating the customs clearance process, and DockTech, which uses depth "crowdsourcing" data to map riverbeds in real-time and optimize cargo loading, thereby reducing trips and fuel usage while also avoiding groundings.</p><p>"Oceans are a big opportunity primarily because they are just that – big!" theDOCK's Chief Marketing Officer Noa Schuman summarized. "As such, the magnitude of their criticality to the global ecosystem, the magnitude of pollution risk and the steps needed to overcome those challenges – are all huge."</p><p>There is hope that this wave of interest and investment in environmentally-positive maritime technologies will accelerate the blue economy and ESG investing even further, in Israel and beyond.</p>
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