Home Climate change Climate Activists Plan Arts Centric “Circle of Protection: Bent Mountain” 

Climate Activists Plan Arts Centric “Circle of Protection: Bent Mountain” 

"First of Two Creative Days of No Pipeline Action for Global Climate Strike Week"


From the Virginia Sierra Club:

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Climate Activists Plan Arts Centric “Circle of Protection: Bent Mountain” 

First of Two Creative Days of No Pipeline Action for Global Climate Strike Week

During Global Climate Strike Week, September 20-27, millions of people from around the world will join young climate strikers to demand climate justice and an end to the age of fossil fuels. Their message is simple: Our house is on fire – let’s act like it.

On Sunday, September 22 from 1-9 pm, “Circle of Protection: Bent Mountain” will use an arts centered format to bring awareness to what is happening locally in Southwest Virginia to exacerbate the climate emergency and what we can do to stop it.

A second event, “Climate Emergency: Tri-State Pipeline Strike”, will feature a rally in downtown Roanoke at 10 a.m. on Monday, September 23.

These two events will draw particular attention to the threat posed to Virginia, North Carolina and West Virginia by the Mountain Valley and Atlantic Coast Pipelines and the impact that those fracked methane gas pipelines would have on climate change.

“Circle of Protection: Bent Mountain” will be adjacent to the path of the Mountain Valley Pipeline and will gather pipeline resisters and newcomers from three states for an incredible program of events that includes workshops (3-4:30), a potluck supper (5 p.m.), a strategic plenary session (6 p.m.) and a powerful two hour concert (7-9 p.m.).  It also will include small group strategy campfires and optional overnight camping.

Advance registration for Circle of Protection: Bent Mountain is required, and entry is from 1 pm to 5:30 pm.  Sign up to participate at Registration Circle of Protection: Bent Mountain.  Media is invited from 1-9 p.m.

The September 22 event will have an arts centric format and strong participation from the arts community.

“This is about getting together in real time to share our beliefs, our strategy, and the beauty and creativity of our diverse community,” says Kay Ferguson of ARTivism Virginia, a Virginia based arts collective that is a principal producer of the September 22 event.  “This terrible storm of climate change is washing away any illusion that any of us are other, lesser, separate or immune.  We all share the same backyard when it comes to climate change and there can be no more sacrifice zones,” said Ferguson.

The September 22 event will feature “Art Build,” an interactive program to create materials for the following day’s Climate Strike event in Roanoke.  Art Build will be facilitated by Mara Eve Robbins, creator of 1000 Flags 1000 Waters and will include artivists from all over the region.

Circle of Protection: Bent Mountain also will include a “Sing! Song Workshop,” which will teach four songs for group sing for the Monday event.  Sing! Song Workshop will be facilitated by Catherine Backus, a singer, songwriter, and board-certified music therapist currently based in Roanoke.  Her original songs have won numerous accolades, including 1st place at the Merlefest Chris Austin Songwriting Contest and 4th place at the Rocky Mountain Folks Festival Songwriter Showcase.  Backus is also the newest member of the band After Jack.

“Ties that Bind” workshop led by Amelia Williams, will allow participants to create braided art pieces of resistance.

Circle of Protection: Bent Mountain also will feature a not to be missed concert from 7 -9 p.m. by the SUN SiNG Collective.  The SUN SiNG collective is a group of ten musicians who produced “To the River,” which has become an anthem for the pipeline resistance.

To the River was unveiled earlier this year in a specially produced music video using a “sun bus” and was recorded entirely with solar power. It will be performed live on September 22 along with the full body of SUN SiNG Collective’s work.  Also performing will be Blood Sisters, a duo of Appalachian fiddlers from Bent Mountain, who are directly threatened by the MVP.

The concert will include keynote speakers from all three states and a participatory, dance centric, Earth Grief Ceremony led by Katie Wells of Radford University and founder of Interweave Love, Kay Ferguson and Richmond based Lobo Marino http://www.lobomarinomusic.com/.

“The climate change line in the sand is drawn in West Virginia, Virginia and North Carolina along the 1,000-mile routes of the Mountain Valley and Atlantic Coast fracked gas pipelines, says Dr. Emily Satterwhite, Associate Professor of Appalachian Studies at Virginia Tech, who plans to participate in both events.

“Together, those two pipelines would more than double Virginia’s greenhouse gas emissions from fixed sources,” said Dr. Satterwhite. “Stopping these pipelines is the low hanging fruit for protecting our future from climate catastrophe and they are here, in our back yard.  These are our rivers, our mountains and this is our opportunity to save them,” she said.

One highlight of the September 22 event will be a “Mama Bear Story Share,” featuring an impressive panel of women who have taken direct action to stop pipelines.  This workshop will include: Red Terry, who, together with her daughter, Minor Terry, took to trees on their own land to stop the Mountain Valley Pipeline;  Becky Crabtree, teacher and grandmother of five who chained herself inside her 1971 Ford Pinto to stop the MVP in West Virginia; Crystal Mello, a grandmother and professional house cleaner, who took to the trees on Yellow Finch Lane in Elliston, Virginia as part of a continuing aerial blockade of the MVP that is into its second year; Elise Gerhart, who participated in an epic 741-day tree sit to stop the Mariner East Pipeline in Pennsylvania; and  her mother, Ellen Gerhart, a retired special education teacher and grandmother who went to jail as part of the same protest to stop Mariner East from destroying her 27- acre farm.

In advance of the September 22 event, participants in the Mama Bear Story Share are once again speaking out.

“We resist because we cannot answer the pillaging of the land with silence,” said Becky Crabtree.

“What have I got to lose?” asks Red Terry.  “Everything I love. The way they’ve got this thing snaking through our land, if it explodes it will kill every member of my family except the one child who lives in Northern Virginia.”

Red and Minor Terry took to the trees in April 2018 on land that has been in their family for seven generations in order to stop the Mountain Valley Pipeline. Their tree sits inspired the “Stand with Red” movement, which brought national attention to a dangerous and unnecessary climate busting project that the Terrys said would never survive close scrutiny.

In the intervening months, all of the direct-action protests like the Terrys’ have proven to be prescient: the Mountain Valley Pipeline is years behind schedule and billions of dollars over budget. It has lost multiple federal permits in federal court, has been subject to a criminal investigation by the U. S. Attorney’s office and at least one worker has died on the project, which is led by a contractor that has a history of killing its own workers. Wall street analysts now openly question whether the pipeline will ever be completed.

A year and half later, the “Stand with Red” trees are gone, but the Terrys, and thousands like them in the path of the pipeline, remain, determined as ever to defend their land, their water and the planet we all call home.

Monday’s Climate Emergency: Tri-State Pipeline Strike.” will take place at 10 a.m. at the Wells Fargo Plaza in downtown Roanoke and will include speakers, SUN SiNG musicians and the debut of a giant mobile art sculpture entitled “Earth on Fire”.  For details on this event, contact Rachel Velez rachel@cwfnc.org

As citizens from Virginia, North Carolina and West Virginia take their place in the Circle of Protection: Bent Mountain and in the Climate Emergency: Tri-State Pipeline Strike, they will be joining a worldwide movement of millions of people who say no to more fossil fuel production and say yes to climate justice. Everyone who breathes air, drinks water and lives on the only planet we have is encouraged to attend these important events on September 22-23 in Virginia. Our house is on fire. Let’s act like it.

Circle of Protection: Bent Mountain and Climate Emergency: Tri-State Pipeline Strike is being sponsored by at least 100 community organizations, volunteers and artivists including the following:

350 Loudoun
350 Triangle
1000 Flags 1000 Waters
Appalachian Voices
ARTivism Virginia
BREDL: Blue Ridge Environmental Defense League
CCAN: Chesapeake Climate Action Committee
Chatham Research Group
Charlottesville 100
Chesapeake Pipeline Resistance
Clean Virginia
Clean Water for North Carolina
Clinicians for Climate Change
Concern for a New Generation
Divest RVA
Don’t Frack North Carolina
Earth Folk Collective
Faith Alliance for Climate Solutions
Food and Water Watch- Virginia
Friends of Buckingham
Friends of Nelson
Interfaith Alliance for Climate Justice
Mothers Out Front
Naku Books, Lindside, WV
NC Alliance to Protect Our People and the Places We Live
NC Poor People’s Campaign:  A National Call for Moral Revival
Poor People’s Campaign: A National Call for Moral Revival
POWHR: Protect Out Water Heritage Rights
Preserve Floyd
Preserve Giles County
Preserve Monroe
Preserve Montgomery County VA
Preserve Salem
RAPTORS of the Valley
Reclaim Augusta
RVA Interfaith Climate Justice League
Sierra Club Virginia
Sierra Club West Virginia
Sustainable Roanoke
T&M Personalized Services, Ballard WV/Charleston SC
Unitarian Universalist Church of Loudoun
Virginia Interfaith Power & Light
Virginia Organizing
Virginia Pipeline Resisters
Virginia Poor People’s Campaign:  A National Call for Moral Revival
Virginia River Healers
Wild Virginia


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