Rainforest Action Network

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This article is part of the Coal Issues portal on SourceWatch, a project of CoalSwarm and the Center for Media and Democracy. See here for help on adding material to CoalSwarm.

The Rainforest Action Network is a U.S.-based group advocating the protection of tropical rainforests and "the human rights of those living in and around those forests." Its current campaigns focus on stopping logging companies from cutting down old growth forests and criticizing Ford for its opposition in the U.S. to mandatory increased mileage-per-gallon standards.

Rainforest Action Network is a member of the Business Ethics Network and profiled in the WiserEarth database here. It is formally allied with 350.org.

Founded by Randall Hayes and Mike Roselle.

History

RAN was founded in 1985 and has run campaigns employing civil disobedience and consumer boycotts against companies including Boise Cascade, Burger King, Citigroup, Mitsubishi and Ford. [1]

Nonviolent direct actions

April 1, 2008: Rainforest Action Network blockade of NYC Citibank office

On April 1, 2008, as part of the Fossil Fools International Day of Action, 25 "billionaires for coal" blockaded Citibank's Upper West Side headquarters in New York City. Two people chained themselves to the door, while others - dressed in tuxedos and top hats - drew attention to Citi's funding of new coal power plant development and mountaintop removal mining. Police cut through the chains locking the two billionaires to Citibank's door, and arrested them.[2]

September 15, 2008: Dominion CEO's presentation replaced with images for Wise County lock-down

In San Francisco, activists with the Rainforest Action Network infiltrated Dominion CEO Thomas F. Farrell’s presentation at Bank of America’s Annual Investment Conference. Farrell’s PowerPoint presentation was replaced with a slideshow of the Wise County Plant protest. [3]

November 14-15, 2008: National Day of Action Against Coal Finance

Thousands of activists around the United States mobilized to protest coal mining, coal-fueled power plants, and coal financiers. The grassroots groups involved in the action included Rainforest Action Network, Greenpeace, Rising Tide North America, Mountain Justice, Student Environmental Action Coalition (SEAC), Coal River Mountain Watch, Ohio Valley Environmental Coalition, Southern Energy Network, and Earth First. Activists placed anti-coal banners in strategic locations across the country, protested at Bank of America and Citibank branches and shut down ATMs shut with crime scene tape, and infiltrated Bank of America's Energy Conference.[4]

Activists march against Bank of America on November 30, 2009.

October 30, 2009: Activists protest mountaintop removal at EPA offices throughout the U.S.

Activists from Mountain Justice, Rainforest Action Network, and other groups protested outside EPA's D.C. headquarters and outside other EPA offices throughout the country.[5] More than 50 people staged a sit-in and rally at EPA headquarters. More than two dozen events took place on the same day, including actions in Atlanta, Boston, Dallas, Kansas City, and San Francisco. The activists are calling for immediate action to stop mountaintop removal coal mining, particularly targeting the Massey Energy blasting site at West Virginia's Coal River Mountain.[6]

November 30, 2009: 200 rally over global warming at Bank of America: San Francisco, CA

More than 200 activists from Rainforest Action Network and other environmental groups marched to the Bank of America skyscraper in San Francisco to protest the bank's coal financing and interference in climate legislation. Dozens of protesters blockaded the building, some of whom locked themselves inside the building's revolving doors to disrupt business. 22 activists were arrested.[7]

March 2010: EPA Headquarters Protest

In late March 2010, environmental activists, some associated with the group Rainforest Action Network, camped out in front of Washington DC's headquarters for 32 hours in an attempt to send a message to EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson to end mountain top removal. Purple tents were erected and protesters perched on tripods. As reported by the blog It’s Getting Hot in Here, which explained the action:

Almost every person who passed through our ‘Purple Mountain’s Majesty’ and underneath the banner “EPA: Pledge to End Mountaintop Removal Coal Mining in 2010” has been incredibly encouraging of our action. EPA employees, tourists and DC residents all demonstrated their support on the issue.
In addition to the many comments from EPA employees that “we are doing a great job” and “please keep doing what you’re doing,” Lisa Jackson personally tweeted her response. Administrator Jackson said in her tweet: “People are here today expressing views on MTM, a critical issue to our country. They’re concerned abt human health & water quality & so am I."[8]
Chase Bank Die In - RAN Chicago, April 2010.

Author Jeff Biggers notes that while Lisa Jackson recognizes the protests, she nonetheless used the acronym "MTM" which is the industry phrase for mountain top mining instead of the activists term, MTR, which is short for mountain top removal. Biggers also notes that an EPA spokeswoman yesterday said the protest was “based on a fundamental misunderstanding of EPA’s role” and explained that the EPA does not regulate the mining industry, but is only “responsible for ensuring that projects comply with the Clean Water Act.”

“Except,” notes Biggers, “it’s the mining industry that isn’t complying with the Clean Water Act.”[9]

April 2, 2010: JPMorgan Chase Protest in Chicago

On Friday April 2, 2010 activists associated with the Rainforest Action Network (RAN) in Chicago staged a "die-in" at a JPMorgan Chase bank in downtown to protest the bank's investment in mountaintop removal (MTR) projects. Between thirty and forty people took part in the protest but none were arrested. It was RAN's first such direct action campaign to pressure the company to abandon its MTR investments.

"JPMorgan Chase is on the run in this campaign and they are looking for a way to end this campaign," said RAN activist Adam Gaya. "[They are seeing that] people are willing to go beyond making a phone call and sending a email [and are] canceling their account and taking direct action."[10]

July 8, 2010: Rainforest Action Network Activists Stage Sit-in at EPA Headquarters

Only July 8, 2010 activists associated with the Rainforest Action Network (RAN) staged a sit-in at the EPA headquarters in Washington DC. The activists demanded stronger protection for Appalachia’s drinking water and an end to the devastating practice of mountaintop removal (MTR) coal mining, citing in particular the Pine Creek permit authorized a week prior for a project in West Virginia. As a RAN press release stated:

After entering the EPA building, activists sat down in the center of the lobby, locked themselves together with metal ‘lock boxes,’ and began to play West Virginia’s adopted state song, John Denver’s ‘Take me Home, Country Roads,’ mixed with intermittent sounds of Appalachia’s mountains being blown apart by MTR explosives. An additional activist climbed to the top of the EPA front door on Constitution Ave and blocked the door with a banner reading: ‘Blowing up mountains for coal contaminates Appalachia’s water, Stop MTR.’[11]

July 22, 2010: Rainforest Action Network Disrupt Massey CEO Don Blankenship’s talk at the National Press Club in Washington, DC

Rainforest Action Network (RAN) attended Massey Energy CEO Don Blankenship’s National Press Club speaking event on July 22, 2010. RAN disrupted Blankenship's talk by holding signs that stated "Massey Coal: Not Clean, Safe or Forever". The focus of the protest focused on Massey's moutaintop removal strip mines and their ongoing safety violations which led to the death of 29 miners in the Upper Big Branch Mine Disaster in West Virginia. The protesters were escorted out by security.

“Massey is the BP of the coal industry: reckless, arrogant and an obstacle to the clean energy future that the president and the country is calling for,” said Amanda Starbuck of the Rainforest Action Network in a press release about the action. “The bottom line is that clean, safe and forever are three words that Massey Energy can never credibly say.”[12]

September 14, 2010: Rainforest Action Network Dumps Dirt on Sidewalk of EPA

In September 2010 the Rainforest Action Network dumped 1,000 pounds of Appalachia dirt on the sidewalk of EPA headquarters in Washington DC in protest of the mine. RAN's message: "EPA: Don't Let King Coal Dump On Appalachia." No arrests were reported.[13]

March 2011: Protesters rally in Salt Lake against coal export plan

Rainforest Action Network along with Peaceful Uprising, Utah Moms for Clean Air and the International Brotherhood of Boilermakers organized a 60 person rally in from of the office of coal exporter Ambre Energy asking them to stop their development of coal export facilities in Longview, Washington.

Nov. 15, 2011 Bank of America protests, Charlotte

Chanting "Bank of America, Bank of Coal," eight protesters affiliated with the Rainforest Action Network were arrested outside the bank's corporate headquarters in Charlotte. According to RAN, the bank has financed $4.3 billion in coal projects over the past two years. [14]

Jim Cooksey, a representative of the union, stated of the export plan:

“We are concerned about the exporting of coal to overseas markets in that there are no environmental standards once the coal leaves our borders. The International Brotherhood of Boilermakers understands the issue of climate change and is looking to secure alliances with other labor and environmental organizations to find solutions that protect workers and the environment.“[15]

Funding

According to their 2005 Annual Report, the following groups gave them more than $30,000 each:

$100,000

$30,000–99,999

Directors

Accessed May 2012: [16]

Honorary Members

Directors (2009)

Accessed October 2009: [17]

Honorary

Directors (from 2007)

Source

Directors (from 2005)

Accessed October 2009: [18]

Directors (from 2002)

Accessed October 2009: [19]

Directors (from 2000)

Accessed October 2009: [20]

Advisory Board (2002)

Accessed October 2009: [21]

Advisory Board (from 2000)

Accessed October 2009: [22]

  • David Brower, In Memoriam, Catherine Caufield, Alan Collenette, Judy Diamond, Anne Ehrlich, Hugh Iltis, Norman Myers, Gary Snyder, Vivienne Verdon-Roe

Critical Resources

Contact details

Rainforest Action Network
221 Pine St., Suite 500
San Francisco, CA 94104 USA
Tel: 415-398-4404
Fax: 415-398-2732
Email: rainforest AT ran.org
Web: http://www.ran.org/

Resources

References

  1. Rainforest Action Network, "Our Mission", accessed December 2007.
  2. "Billionaires for Dirty Energy Blockade Citibank in New York, Two Arrested", Fossil Fools Day blog, April 1, 2008.
  3. “Dominion CEO Punk’d!”, Rainforest Action Network’s Understory blog, September 15, 2008.
  4. Coal Finance Day of Action
  5. Suzanne Bopp, "Mountaintop Removal Protests at EPA Offices in D.C. and Several States," U.S. Climate Action Network, October 30, 2009.
  6. "DC Mountaintop Removal Protest Heats Up," The Understory, October 30, 2009.
  7. "San Francisco Climate Justice Action at Bank of America; 200 Rally with at least 22 Arrested," The Understory, November 30, 2009.
  8. "Two days locked-down to the EPA campaigning to end mountaintop removal" Sparki, It's Getting Hot In Here, March 19, 2010
  9. "Calling Out Big Coal at the EPA" Keith Goetzman, UTNE Reader, March 23, 2010.
  10. "RAN Chicago Takes Action in Chase Tower, Calls Attention to Chase's Investment in MTR" Kevin Gosztola, OpEdNews.com, April 6, 2010.
  11. "Activists Stage Creative Sit-In at EPA Headquarters to Call for Stronger Action on Mountaintop Removal Coal Mining" Rainforest Action Network, July 8, 2010.
  12. "BREAKING: RAN Activists Send Message to Massey CEO Don Blankenship" RAN Press Release, July 22, 2010.
  13. "RAN Protests Spruce Mine at EPA HQ" Daniel Kessler, Treehugger.com, September 14, 2010.
  14. Andrew Dunn, "Anti-coal protesters arrested outside of Bank of America," Charlotte Observer, Nov. 16, 2011.
  15. "Protesters rally in SLC against coal-export plan" Brandon Loomis, Salt Lake Tribune, March 22, 2011.
  16. Rainforest Action Network Board, organizational web page, accessed May 7, 2012.
  17. Directors, Rainforest Action Network, accessed October 16, 2009.
  18. 2005 Annual Report, Rainforest Action Network, accessed October 16, 2009.
  19. 2002 Annual Report, Rainforest Action Network, accessed October 16, 2009.
  20. 2000 Annual Report, Rainforest Action Network, accessed October 16, 2009.
  21. 2002 Annual Report, Rainforest Action Network, accessed October 16, 2009.
  22. 2000 Annual Report, Rainforest Action Network, accessed October 16, 2009.

Other SourceWatch resources

External links