Aji and Adonis, 2 talented brothers, made TV News and the Seattle paper when they performed “Exploding Trains” outside City Hall. The music sounds like the lullaby “Somewhere Over The Rainbow” on ukelele, juxtaposed with painful lyrics that shock and ignite listeners to stop the trains. “Think about the future generations… What to them do you give?”
The 2 brothers serve in our community as Ambassadors for Climate Justice in the children’s organization Plant-For-The-Planet, a worldwide initiative empowering children to end the climate crisis now. Older brother Aji was learning ukelele when he learned about the exploding trains and decided to write the song to bring attention to the dangers of oil trains and burning fossil fuels.
Immediately after the powerful rally on the steps of City Hall, Aji and Adonis performed again inside Council Chambers for a committee hearing to decide on the language of a Resolution against the dangerous trains passing through Seattle. Every week more trains roll past two stadiums and tunnel under a mile of downtown Seattle and Pike Place Market where an explosion would be catastrophic. Seattle City Council sees unacceptable risk to our densely-populated urban neighborhoods.
Last month Ambassador Stella spoke out at another rally against the trains. She evoked Martin Luther King Jr. as she called for climate justice and sharing a vision of her future where everyone gets what they need and “no one poisons anyone else with fossil fuels regardless of whether they live over or under the poverty line.”
WHY OIL TRAINS?
Oil-by-Rail shipments have “exploded” recently, up 40-fold over just a few years ago. Every month North Dakota Bakken crude oil uses more railroads to get to market. Fracking the oil to get it out of the ground puts dangerous secret volatile chemicals in the oil which make it much more explosive and deadly. But the old rail cars are not safe enough to transport this oil which ignites at a temperature of 73 degrees. Several accidents in the last few months resulted in huge fireballs burning for hours or days, and several deaths. The National Transportation Safety Board released a blunt warning to keep the trains away from “metropolitan areas” to prevent loss of life.The warning stopped just short of banning the trains altogether.
Cities along the railroad lines are now speaking up for public safety. Simultaneously the oil shipments have grown from less than 10,000 rail cars a few years ago to over 400,000 rail cars, increasing the chances of an accident and snarling rail service around the country. Oil refineries on Washington’s coast want permits to handle more of the explosive oil. In my view, this means we can pollute the planet faster, or as the industry hopes to grow we can start exporting fracked oil to make America more energy independent. (Not sure how exporting oil make us more energy independent).
Bakken crude oil, unsafe when you frack, move in pipelines or rail lines, refine, or ship. But guaranteed “unsafest” of all for our children when you safely ignite in your internal combustion engine. depending on whether you value life and nature above dirty energy and wealth.
“Leave fossil fuels in the Ground!”
Plant-For-The-Planet ambassadors share their 3-Point Plan for ending the climate crisis, the hardest part being “Leave fossil fuels in the Ground!” We all need to speak out to stop these trains to keep our children and the future safe. We all need to travel less and burn less fossil fuels.
Let’s thank the Seattle City Councilmembers who unanimously passed a very strong resolution asking Governor Inslee to place a moratorium on oil trains coming through Seattle. The trains are dangerous according to the NTSB. Increasing oil trains from 3 a week to 3 per day in Seattle will accelerate global warming and the chances of a major accident. Companies shipping oil-by-rail know the risks, but have a product to move. Cities take the risks, bear the responsibility to public safety, and oppose the trains. Let the Governor know that you support protecting our cities and our children.
Our children need all of us to help stop more trains from bringing fracked oil to market. Only people like you and me can help our children bring their vision of a safe, livable planet into reality. Take action now.