They Matter (VIDEO)

A beautiful, moving video from the iMatter Earth Day March back in April, reminding us to love our kids, and our only home. Our children have some strong words for us to hear and honor. They depend on us to protect their future.

The children were protesting the proposal to expand coal exports through Seattle and the Northwest from 2 – 3 trains per day to 18 – 37 trains per day, so Peabody Coal can sell it as quickly as possible to Asia for the next few years. The additional CO2 emissions will more than equal the emissions from the Keystone XL pipeline if allowed.

Our PBS station created a wonderful documentary, COAL. Here’s a preview:

Art Build May 19th: Coal Train for Solstice Parade

If you missed the first Art Build for Earth Day, Come out and make art with us for “Procession for our Future” the coal train vs. sustainable energy ensemble in the Fremont Summer Solstice Parade!  We’ll be at the Powerhouse, 3940 Fremont Ave N. from 10-4 on Sunday, May 19th, making art. Please join us!
iMatter train crosses tracksiMatter hands all block trainiMatter trainsformer sustainableiMatter pirate trainiMatter happy trainsformer
A coal train driven by skull masked people transforms into beautiful murals when we implore the Fremont Solstice Parade audience to help us stop it (photos above) There will be stilters with windmill headdresses, solar panel costumes, animal- masked- dressed-up kids of all ages, beautiful fluttering butterflies, flags and banners, herring and salmon puppets, a band, and more! You and your families are welcome to join us to create more art and be in the Solstice parade!
Save the dates:
  Sunday, May 19th, 10:00-4:00 Art Workshop at the Powerhouse: 3940 Fremont Ave N.
  Saturday, June 15th, 10:00-4:00 Art Workshop and Rehearsal at Sierra Club: 180 Nickerson St #202 or in the parking lot
  Saturday, June 22nd Parade 3:00 in Fremont (be there by 2:00)

This ensemble is supported in part by a grant from the Fremont Arts Council to create costumes and props. Additional images are being supplied by the Backbone Campaign and local artists.

Check out other great opportunities in the parade here:


Drop in to the art workshop any time, and stay as long as you’re having fun! Your artful contribution will be instrumental! Even if you can’t make it to the parade, please come make art with us!

All ages of youth and adults are welcome! (Parents help your younger kids.) Make paper mache puppet masks (above), paint train wheels, make small flags with sun block prints, and a small banner and more flags with fabric crayons. Draw and paint the last train car panels and frames (continuing the mural above). We can also work on sustainable energy costume options. We’ll expand outside in clear weather.
If you have any of the following supplies you can bring, please let us know:
yarn, raffia, trim, feathers, and ribbon (for the masks)
small bamboo or other stakes about 2′ lengths (for flags)
animal costumes from recycled or extra fabrics
brightly colored leftover latex paint
what else do you have that might make great costumes or props?
We’ll have a snack table so bring something to share!
Hope to see you on Sunday, May 19th!

Another One Bites the Dust as Coal Exporter Kills Terminal Plan

 The battle over coal export terminals in the Pacific Northwest has shifted dramatically with the announcement on May 8 by Kinder Morgan that it would walk away from plans to build a massive coal export terminal near Clatskanie, Oregon, along the Columbia River.  

iMatter hands all block train
Children block the coal train at the waterfront tracks during the iMatter March on Earth Day. It’s working!

The announcement is sending shockwaves across the Northwest, where coal export companies have faced unprecedented opposition from local residents, business owners, public health professionals, elected officials, farmers, conservationists, and many others.

“There is a thin blue line separating Asian coal markets and the coal mines in Wyoming and Montana,” says Bruce Nilles of the Sierra Club. “In these blue states of Washington, Oregon, and California there are tens of thousands of activists, an army of lawyers, and a growing number of elected officials who are ensuring that this line is never broken and coal exports never materialize. Mr. Buffett and others pushing these deadly coal exports: it is time to take your toys and go home. Accelerating climate disruption is not negotiable.”

Originally there were six proposed coal export terminals in the Pacific Northwest, and now three are either dead (Grays Harbor, Washington and the Kinder Morgan’s St. Helens proposal in Oregon) or tabled (Coos Bay, Oregon).

The terminals, the coal barons’ last best chance to revive an industry dying in America, would enable the vast coal deposits of the Powder River Basin in Wyoming and Montana to be shipped to Asia.

But climate change advocates have joined with Oregon and Washington residents concerned about coal dust and traffic tie-ups caused by mile-long trains.

A Hopi Elder Speaks

These are Ten Considerations gathered from 5 Hopi Elders, accompanied by other wise words from unnamed elders. Sweetwater and Denise shared these words at the youth rally as we prepared to march through Seattle. Those of us in the crowd repeated the words back line by line, and now I find myself still reflecting on these thoughts long after the march.

“You have been telling the people that this is the Eleventh Hour, now you must go back and tell the people that this is the Hour.  And there are things to be considered . . .

Where are you living?
What are you doing?
What are your relationships?
Are you in right relation?
Where is your water?
Know your garden.
It is time to speak your Truth.
Create your community.
Be good to each other.
And do not look outside yourself for the leader.”

Then he clasped his hands together, smiled, and said, “This could be a good time!”

“There is a river flowing now very fast.  It is so great and swift that there are those who will be afraid.  They will try to hold on to the shore.   They will feel they are torn apart and will suffer greatly.

“Know the river has its destination.  The elders say we must let go of the shore, push off into the middle of the river, keep our eyes open, and our heads above water.   And I say, see who is in there with you and celebrate.  At this time in history, we are to take nothing personally, Least of all ourselves.  For the moment that we do,  our spiritual growth and journey comes to a halt.

“The time for the lone wolf is over.  Gather yourselves!  Banish the word struggle from you attitude and your vocabulary.  All that we do now must be done in a sacred manner and in celebration.

“We are the ones we’ve been waiting for.”

— attributed to an unnamed Hopi elder, Hopi Nation, Oraibi, Arizona

Great photos from the iMatter Earth Day March!

Thank you Alex Garland for these wonderful photos. You can see the whole album here!

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For young people who want to get connected to local iMatter actions, please check back here at needs your signatures on petitions to the President, whose plan to host a national climate summit seems completely derailed. He needs to hear from you to follow-through on his promise to make climate change a top priority. has a new 42-minute movie online, documenting the amazing movement building across the country right now. Very inspiring, watch it today!

Backbone Campaign offers trainings for activism.

Idle no More hosts public actions protesting the pipelines, coal trains, and much more. The indigenous rights of native tribes might stand as the last best legal defense against the continued expansion of industrial devastation in Canada and the U.S.  We all need to support and expand the amazing efforts of Idle No More!

Great Photos from the March!

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Go to Alex Garland’s facebook page to see the whole album!

If you want to get connected to future iMatter actions, please stay tuned to for upcoming local events. The website can use your signatures on petitions to the President who has signaled that he would like to host a national climate summit.

Also check out Backbone Campaign trainings for activism. iMatter boy

Photo Gallery: iMatter Now Earth Day March

I snapped some photos along the way, what a beautiful march!

Grab your walking shoes! iMatter Saturday April 20th at 11am

iMatterPosterSmallRally at Victor Steinbrueck Park by Pike Place Market for a pre-march event featuring youth speakers and music. We’ll march the amazing new “coal train” and awesome Backbone polar bear “Snowflake” through the streets to the waterfront carrying signs and banners. When we cross the (coal) train tracks kids in animal masks will transform our coal train into a thing of beauty. We’ll close our march with a traditional First Nations water blessing at the first crescent-shaped beach along the waterfront. The Earth Day for Kids Celebration at the Olympic Sculpture Park goes until 3:00 directly above the beach.

We’re sending a message for climate justice! Young people need real, bold action now!

Come as you are! Or wear animal costumes if you like, bring a banner for climate justice, bring a drum for marching percussion, and bring a bit of water from near where you live for the water blessing ceremony.

2nd Art Workshop Sunday! for Earth Day March

We’re gearing up for another wonderful art workshop on Sunday, April 14th, from 10-4 to get ready for our Earth Day iMatter Youth March the following weekend. Drop in any time, and stay as long as you’re having fun! Your contribution will be instrumental, so we invite you to be as much a part of it as you can!

All ages of youth and adults who care about them are welcome! (Parents are needed to help your younger kids.) Younger people will be finishing the wonderful paper mache puppet masks, finishing the skull masks, attaching elastic to all the masks, painting the wheels, making small flags with kids drawings on fabric, and perhaps a small banner. Teens and tweens will also be drawing and painting the train car panels and frames. We’ll have a second space up the street for some of the activities in the afternoon, and we’ll expand outside if we have clear weather.

The following supplies are needed for the mask and flag making for Sunday. Please let us know if you have any to contribute:

  • yarn, rafia, trim, feathers, and ribbon (for the masks)
  • small bamboo or other stakes about 1′ lengths (for flags)
  • small paint brushes, and brightly colored leftover latex paints (for train panel details)

MANY Thanks to all the families for coming out last week, and the fabulous artists who orchestrate the day! Wow!

Please RSVP and get directions at pre-march arts workshops so we can expect you, or drop in if you decide last minute!

iMatter March “Art Build” fabulous free fun on Sunday!

Teenagers creating the panels for the coal train transformation scene.
Teenagers creating the panels for the coal train transformation scene.

More than 30 kids and teens of all ages came out to The Powerhouse in Fremont, home of the Solstice Parade, on a rainy Sunday to make art for the iMatter March coming April 20th. The workshop buzzed with activity and creativity. Moms and dads, artists and kids, all jumping into action with genuine smiles and determination to make this march meaningful and beautiful!

The artists were busily working away on scenic panels, building the cars for a coal train, slopping paper mache on for animal masks, stuffing salmon puppets, and cutting out skull masks. There was plenty to do for everyone with a crew of happy, skilled artists from GMOP juggling all the energy and guiding us as we got into our smocks and got down to business! What a blast.

If you think you missed all the fun, think again. Come join us next Sunday April 14th. Drop-in anytime between 11am – 4pm.We’ll be finishing the train, puppets and masks, and talking with Backbone Campaign organizers about how to make this rally and march effective youth activism! For our kids, and for our planet, come on down! We’ll have snacks to share or you can bring your own personal favorites to munch and add to the party.

RSVP encouraged, but not required, just so we can figure about how many artists to expect on Sunday.

When saving the planet for future generations gets downright fun.

Q: How long has it been since you made a paper mache animal mask for an Earth Day march? A: Too long. Next we paint them!
Q: How long has it been since you made a paper mache animal mask for a big march? A: Too long. Next week we paint them!