First-in-the-Nation Lawsuit Seeks Recognition of Rights for the Colorado River

“Contemporary public concern for protecting nature’s ecological equilibrium should lead to the conferral of standing upon environmental objects to sue for their own preservation.” Supreme Court Justice William O. Douglas, Sierra Club v. Morton (1972)


Denver, Colorado–In a first-in-the-nation lawsuit filed in federal court, the Colorado River is asking for judicial recognition of itself as a “person,” with rights of its own to exist and flourish. The lawsuit, filed against the Governor of Colorado, seeks a recognition that the State of Colorado can be held liable for violating those rights held by the River.

The Plaintiff in the lawsuit is the Colorado River itself, with the organization Deep Green Resistance – a national organization committed to protecting the planet through direct action – filing as a “next friend” on behalf of the River. The River and the organization are represented in the lawsuit by Jason Flores Williams, a noted civil rights lawyer and lead attorney in a recent class-action case filed on behalf of Denver’s homeless population.

While this is the first action brought in the United States which seeks such recognition for an ecosystem, such actions and laws are becoming more common in other countries. In 2008, the country of Ecuador adopted the world’s first national constitution which recognized rights for ecosystems and nature; over three dozen U.S. municipalities, including the City of Pittsburgh, have adopted similar laws; and courts in India and Colombia have recently recognized that rivers, glaciers, and other ecosystems may be treated as “persons” under those legal systems.

Serving as an advisor to the lawsuit is the Community Environmental Legal Defense Fund (CELDF), a nonprofit public interest law firm which has previously assisted U.S. municipalities and the Ecuadorian government to codify legally enforceable rights for ecosystems and nature into law.

Attorney Flores-Williams explained that “current environmental law is simply incapable of stopping the widescale environmental destruction that we’re experiencing. We’re bringing this lawsuit to even the odds – corporations today claim rights and powers that routinely overwhelm the efforts of people to protect the environment. Our judicial system recognizes corporations as “persons,” so why shouldn’t it recognize the natural systems upon which we all depend as having rights as well? I believe that future generations will look back at this lawsuit as the first wave of a series of efforts to free nature and our communities from a system of law which currently guarantees their destruction.”

Deanna Meyer, a member of Deep Green Resistance and one of the “next friends” in the lawsuit, affirmed Flores-Williams’ sentiments, declaring that “without the recognition that the Colorado River possesses certain rights of its own, it will always be subject to widescale exploitation without any real consequences. I’m proud to stand with the other “next friends” in this lawsuit to enforce and defend the rights of the Colorado, and we’re calling on groups across the country to do the same to protect the last remaining wild places in this country and beyond.”

The lawsuit seeks recognition by the Court that the Colorado River Ecosystem possesses the rights to exist, flourish, regenerate, and restoration, and to recognize that the State of Colorado may be held liable for violating those rights in a future action. The complaint will be filed in the US District Court of Colorado on Tuesday.


Media inquiries:

Law Office of Jason Flores-Williams



Thomas Linzey, Executive Director, CELDF


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Statement on Guy McPherson

We learned recently that Guy McPherson, with whom DGR has collaborated in the past, has been accused by multiple women of sexually predatory behavior. We have seen screenshots of comments where he calls women vile names (e.g., he calls one woman a “cum-gargling whore”). These accusations have been corroborated from several sources.

At the time we collaborated with Guy McPherson, we had no idea that he was treating women so poorly. Deep Green Resistance has an absolute zero-tolerance policy for abuse and will stand against any predators being allowed access to the movement or anyone who could be harmed. Our hearts go out to his victims.

More here:

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Material Support for Grassroots Long-Term Eco-Feminist Organizing

deep green resistance radical feminismThe Women’s Caucus of Deep Green Resistance is fundraising to provide a stipend to a point person who will head up feminist organizing within and on-behalf of DGR.

The women of Deep Green Resistance are hard at work fighting pipelines, protecting forests, defending prairie dogs and buffalo, creating alternative media, supporting camps like Standing Rock, participating in direct action and street protest, resisting pornography and prostitution, challenging regressive gender fads, founding and running grassroots organizations, and bottom-lining the continued work of DGR.

— How to Support —


These funds would allow one woman to organize, support, and bring together these women to create a stronger and more effective resistance. If you believe in the goals of feminism, and would like to provide support to a grassroots organizer working for radical feminism, please donate and share! Sharing is very helpful, especially if you are able to post regularly or share on your social media, website, mailing list, etc.

We’d like men to be the primary donors to this fundraiser. This is one way that males inside and outside of our organization can stand in solidarity with the women of DGR and the project of feminism.

— Solidarity —

The men in DGR recognize that women often take on the bulk of the support work both within DGR, and in their home lives where they are often the main caregivers of children, men, and the elderly. Women are not paid for this tremendously difficult and necessary work. Women are also paid less for their work within patriarchy while constantly struggling against multiple forms of misogyny.

The women of DGR face all of these challenges as they work to organize as a group, and they deserve our support. In order to show our support for women as they organize separately, we are pledging to collect the funds deemed necessary by the Women’s Caucus to pay a Chairwoman to coordinate their work for one year.

— About the Women’s Caucus —

This is the official description of the Women’s Caucus:

“We are the women in Deep Green Resistance. As women, we all have had different experiences and have different perspectives. We also have common issues and common goals we can agree on that are central to dismantling civilization. Patriarchy is part of the backbone of civilization and the structure of women’s oppression. We in the women’s caucus assert that there is no place for machismo in Deep Green Resistance. If we truly desire to do away with patriarchy, men can no longer partake in displays of masculinity that feed and sustain male supremacy.

We have come together to voice our concerns and expectations. We expect to be asked for our voice on policies within DGR, especially as they pertain to women’s space and DGR’s stance on feminism.”


Posted in Gender, Male Supremacy, Male Violence, Movement Building & Support, Pornography, Prostitution, Rape Culture, Women & Radical Feminism | Tagged , | Leave a comment

Tactical Bugging Out Planning Course at Shxwowhamel First Nation

This is one in a series of courses being hosted by Sakej Ward, a warrior society veteran with a great deal of skill in resistance operations. Details follow:

Tactical Bugging Out Planning Course

Imagine the immediate aftermath of a natural disaster (earthquake, wild fire, tsunami, landslide, volcanic eruption, flood, winter/ice storms, etc) or a man made emergency (economic collapse, nuclear reactor meltdown, chemical release or spill, political and civil unrest, pandemic, grid down, or martial law). The event caused a grid down blackout, segments of the city are wrecked and can’t be traveled. There is no access to banks, ATMs, or money. Water and food are extremely limited because supplies can’t come in for some time. There is little left in your general area because of panic buying leaving stores completely empty. Gas pumps won’t turn on and the highways are blocked making mass evacuation a non-solution. Everyone feels like they are trapped. The city seems to be slowly descending into chaos.

So what do you do? Do you stay put or immediately leave? How do you get out? What do you take with you when you are limited by the weight you can carry? What pieces of equipment are essential and have priority versus which ones have been hyped up and are close to useless? What are the threats and dangers? Do you have the knowledge and skills to evade out of the disaster area?

Course Description

The Tactical Bugging Out workshop is two days of instruction that will introduce the student to potential disasters and emergencies, how to plan to get out of these catastrophic events, how to pack an effective bug out bag, what kind of actions to take during your evasion out of the disaster area, and how to identify needed skills and how to develop a training plan for them.
The classes will be conducted in a classroom environment to discuss the needs, strategies, and tactics of Bugging Out and to focus on the details of planning, selection of a variety of Bug Out items and to facilitate discussion on these theories, models and concepts.
This is a two day course with a minimum of 6 hours of class a day. It cost $200 per person.

Course Summary (Skill sets)

  1. Identify Bug Out scenarios
  2. Identify Bug Out indicators
  3. How to select a Bug Out Location
  4. How to select a Bug Out routes
  5. How to build a Bug Out Bag that specifically meets your survival situational needs
  6. How to establish a Family Reunification Plan
  7. How to establish a Disaster Communication Plan
  8. How to establish a Home Evacuation Plan
  9. How to establish a Get Out of Town (GOT) Plan
  10. How to operate a Bug Out Location
  11. How to select good members for a Bug Out Team

The minimum class size is 10. If there isn’t enough students registered 3 days before the class begins then the course will be rescheduled.

Course cost: $200

Due to limited space students are required to register for the course. A pre-payment of $100 will secure a seat on the course and the remainder of the payment will be due on day one of the course. This will take place on the Shxwowhamel First Nation near the town of Hope, British Columbia.

Contact person: Sakej or Melody at ph# – 604-860-9337 or email – Call or email to register and receive a course packet with additional information

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Let’s Get Free!: We Have The Means, Now Do What’s Necessary

Editors note: in the wake of the Seattle Police Department killing of pregnant black woman Charleena Lyles, we decided to republish an excerpt of this brilliant essay by DGR member Kourtney Andar.


On June 28, 1964, Malcolm X gave a speech at the Founding Rally of the Organization for Afro-American Unity (OAAU) at the Audubon Ballroom in New York. In the speech, he stated what became his most famous quote:

We declare our right on this earth to be a man, to be a human being, to be respected as a human being, to be given the rights of a human being in this society, on this earth, in this day, which we intend to bring into existence by any means necessary.

Interestingly, X was popularizing a line from a play titled Dirty Hands by the French intellectual Jean-Paul Sartre, which debuted in 1948:

I was not the one to invent lies: they were created in a society divided by class and each of us inherited lies when we were born. It is not by refusing to lie that we will abolish lies: it is by eradicating class by any means necessary.

There are some really important ideas presented in both of these quotes. Sartre succinctly summarized the primary struggle for the socially conscious – that society as we know it is divided into classes, and that social change is not achieved merely by refusing to behave like dominant classes, but by ultimately dismantling the power structures upholding this stratification.

X’s spin on this was equally profound. The white power structure of his time enacted brutal and morally reprehensible repression on the masses of black people in the United States, and X was stating the very real yet existential condition: that this repression was a dehumanizing tactic, upheld by violence and enslavement, and that the response to this repression must equal the scope of the problem. Simply put, white supremacism will use any and all means necessary to maintain power, and thus those fighting against it must do the same.

Read the rest of the article on the DGR News Service.

We’re also republishing here an excellent response that Kourtney wrote to a comment on the article:

Frau Katze (@LolKatzen)

Do you “radicals” realize how counterproductive it is to tie the environmental movement to “social justice”? I’m a blogger on a conservative site who can’t convince ANYONE that climate change is real. Why? Because to conservatives, environmentalists all come with extra baggage that NOTHING to do with the environment.

Environmental problems should be looked at from a cool scientific and unemotional viewpoint. As it stands, you’ve lost millions of people who might agree with the straight environmental aspect of things.

Keep the “social justice” separate.

Frau Katze,
If my intention is to be as respectful as possible, I may state that I kinda understand what you’re saying here. However, it’s tough to stay polite in this regard.

Environmentalism is a social justice issue, and if you actually take the time to think about it for more than a few minutes, you’ll see why.

You see, where do oil companies drill? In the backyards of wealthy whites? Negative – we both know where they drill.

Who suffers first and most from the effects of a changing climate, polluted air/water/soil, and depleted natural resources? Wealthy whites? Again, negative. It is the poor, the destitute, the enslaved – we are the ones who suffer. The power plants, the oil refineries, the recycling plants – these are in the backyards of my people, and the indigenous. The indigenous are the ones who suffer when their rivers are dammed and their land is stripped bare and their food sources over hunted to the point of extinction.

The tendency that causes men to rape at minimum a third of all women, and film it for the sadistic entertainment of woman-haters; the tendency that causes whites to lynch and burn and beat and kill people of color in the streets and grant the perpetrators paid leave and pensions; the tendency that causes corporations to pollute every river in the U.S. and blow up mountaintops and enslave African children in diamond mines; these tendencies are all the same, and have the same root – the iron heel of civilization crushing the necks of human and non-human communities the world over.

Maybe your “conservative” values are shielding you from common sense. But I will not mince words, and I have zero patience for such dismissal. Our planet is dying; my people are being systematically killed or incarcerated; men are at veritable war with women; and there is an ongoing genocide against indigenous cultures. These are all products of civilization, the brutal arrangement of power that has the planet on the brink of sheer and utter destruction.

You would benefit from doing your homework, because this class grades in life and death.

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Advanced Tactical Direct Action Training [DGR Oregon]

Over Earth Day weekend, the Oregon chapter of Deep Green Resistance is hosting an advanced direct action training outside Eugene, OR. Recognizing that our tactics are failing and things are getting worse, this training will focus on escalation and creative, advanced tactics to increase our effectiveness.

This training is aimed at activists who are tired of ineffective actions. Topics will include soft and hard blockades, hit and run tactics, police interactions, legal repercussions, operational security, terrain advantages, escalation, and more.

The recommended donation registration fee will be waived for front-line activists.

Lodging is still being finalized, but camping and/or a shared house may be available. Food will be provided, and most dietary restrictions can be accommodated. Anyone who wants to attend this training can apply using the registration form below.

Friday will include only a short, optional evening program.

Any questions? Email We will contact you as details for the training are finalized.


(Priority will be given to front line activists, marginalized communities, and women)

When: April 21, 2017 @ 5:00 pm – April 23, 2017 @ 4:00 pm
Where: Rural land near Eugene, OR – Location will be provided to approved applicants
Cost: $50 (sliding scale, pay what you can)
Contact: 206-395-6251,
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Welcome to the Fight

Welcome to the fight - resisting TrumpTo all the new activists getting involved in resistance to Donald Trump administration: welcome to the fight.

This fight has been going on for generations. For hundreds and thousands of years in fact. Empire, xenophobia, racism, and misogyny are long traditions—but so is resistance to them at any cost and by all means.

We are only one community of people at one point in this struggle with a shared vision of how to achieve victories over the system that is killing the planet.

Here are some resources for new activists committed to true revolutionary change, not just reform.

50 Ways to Prepare for Revolution

Deep Green Resistance – Read the book online for free

Feminist Solidarity Guidelines

People of Color Solidarity Guidelines

Indigenous Solidarity Guidelines

“Protest is when I say this does not please me. Resistance is when I ensure what does not please me occurs no more.”

– Ulrike Meinhof


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Puget Sound Orca Whales Are Being Driven to Extinction

Without Major Interventions, the Orca’s Days Are Numbered

By Dahr Jamail | Truthout

November 30, 2016

No one is certain of the total number of orcas (otherwise known as “killer whales”) that exist in the wild. However, estimates are now around 100,000, and populations are dwindling. In Washington State’s Puget Sound and San Juan Islands, the once-large population of orcas has declined to around 80 whales, and the Puget Sound orcas are on the US government’s endangered species list.

Why are the orcas disappearing? A variety of factors are in play: Loss of food supply (such as salmon), warming waters, habitat loss, pollution, Naval sonar and war gaming, and ocean acidification are some of the many factors now constellating to make life much more challenging for these iconic whales.

Some reports warn that it could already be too late to save wild orcas.

Experts Truthout spoke with on the matter warned that, without significant intervention to address these and other issues, the orcas’ days may well be numbered.

Read the full article on Truthout

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Standing Against the Coming Climate Nightmare

Trump’s election has sabotaged any prospect of reigning in the global warming crisis

by Max Wilbert / Deep Green Resistance

On Tuesday night, the American people decided to elect Donald J. Trump, a billionaire business mogul and reality TV star who has been accused of raping or otherwise sexually assaulting twenty-three women, who has called for banning immigration to the United States, and who has built a campaign on virulent racism.

He received more than 60 million votes.

There is a lot to process. Those conversations, about the growing tide of white supremacy, about Trump’s pending sexual assault cases, about the fact that Hillary Clinton won the popular vote, about the left’s failure to engage with the white community on issues of race, and about the gerrymandering and voter disenfranchisement that characterizes the American system, are already taking place.

I want to focus here on one specific issue: global warming. As I’m writing this, I’m sitting in the sun outside my home. It’s November, and temperatures are more than 20 degrees above the typical average here. This year, 2016, is predicted to be the hottest year on record, beating out last year, which beat out the previous year, which beat out the previous year, each of the last five setting a new mark.

Records are being smashed aside like bowling pins. We are in the midst of a global catastrophe, and it is even worse than previously thought. On the day after the election, news broke that the climate is more sensitive to global warming than most calculations had suspected.

The study in question predicted nearly double the warming that the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) had previously expected. The new data predicts between 9 and 14 °F warming by 2100, enough to potentially lead to the extinction of the human species and flip the Earth into a completely new regime more similar to Venus than Earth. Michael Mann, one of the most well-known climate scientists in the world, says these findings and the changing political situation may mean “game over for the climate.”

Into this mess strides Donald Trump, who has said that if elected, he would “immediately approve” the Keystone XL pipeline, roll back environmental regulations, further subsidize the fossil fuel industry, and back out of the Paris climate agreement. Coal and oil stocks, as well as shares of equipment companies and railroads, jumped in price after news of his victory hit.

max-stop-pipelinesRight now, thousands of native people and allies are gathering on the cold plains of North Dakota in an attempt to stop the Dakota Access Pipeline. Under President Obama, such popular movements had a chance—a small chance, but a chance—of success. Under Trump, there won’t be so much leniency, and the road to victory will be much harder.

History is clear; social movements have generally flourished under slightly more progressive administrations, and waned under right wing leadership. What does this mean for our strategy?

I would like to have a peaceful transition to a sane and sustainable world, but it seems increasingly impossible. The American people have shown themselves to be a reactionary force, clinging to their privilege as if it can shield them against the arrows that originate in American foreign policy. Immigrants come here because their lands have been destroyed for American capitalism, and groups like ISIS have emerged from a slurry of war, oil, racism, and fundamentalism.

Perhaps, then, we need a different type of change. When it comes to protecting the planet, stopping pipelines needs to be one of our first priorities. And like other Earth-destroying machinery, pipelines are very vulnerable. They stretch on for miles with no guards, no fences, and no protection.

Recently, a number of activists, including some who I know, were able to approach and shut down all five pipelines that carry tar sands oil into the United States in a coordinated act of non-violent civil disobedience. Their action was brave, but its long-term efficacy depends on whether courts will agree with them that their action was necessary and create a precedent to normalize actions of this type. With another Antonin Scalia on the way to the Supreme Court, a positive outcome is in doubt.

max-small-scale-sabotageCoordinated action of another type could be more effective in protecting the planet. In plain language, I speak of sabotage. Individuals or networks of people conducting coordinated, small-scale sabotage over a widespread area could cripple the fossil fuel system with a minimum of expense, technical expertise, personnel, and risk. It is simple to disappear into the night, and with proper security culture the possibility of capture is remote. We’ve seen how vulnerable this network is; anyone could do this.

It isn’t idle speculation that such attacks would have a substantial impact. Its actually been done before, most notably in Nigeria, where indigenous people in the Niger River Delta have risen against polluting oil companies many times over the past several decades. Most recently, attacks on oil pipelines earlier this year shut down some 40 percent of Nigeria’s oil processing. Months later, the oil industry still hasn’t recovered.

To many people, this plan will sound insane. Modern life is dependent upon oil in so many ways. But when oil is killing the planet and those in power will not respond to rational argumentation or peaceful protest, and when sixty million people are willing to vote a climate-denying sexual abuser into office, what options are we left with? It is time for serious escalation.

Max Wilbert is a writer, activist, and organizer with the group Deep Green Resistance. He lives on occupied Kalapuya Territory in Oregon.

This article was originally published on the Deep Green Resistance News Service.

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Charges Dropped in August Coal Train Blockade Case!

charges dropped for coal train blockaders

Yesterday, Deep Green Resistance members Kyle Lee and Dave Hyde had their charges dropped in Whatcom County District Court.

They were originally charged with trespassing, resisting arrest, and obstructing a train in connection with a 12-hour coal train blockade that took place on August 27th. The blockade was an attempt to directly interfere with and halt the extraction, transportation, and burning of coal, and utilized knowledge of the land, terrain, and other tactical advantages to be as effective as possible.

Last week, another Deep Green Resistance member, Spencer Morgan, who was charged in  Bellingham municipal court, also had his charges dropped.

To learn more about the action, view the video below and read the original press release:

The case is closed… but not over

In both cases, the charges were dropped “without prejudice,” which means that the case could be refiled by the State of Washington or Federal prosecutors within the next several years. Prosecutors referred the cases to higher courts in the hopes they will pick them up.

“According to what we heard in court, BNSF was uncooperative with the prosecutors because they didn’t want to reveal details of what the train was carrying,” said Lee after the ruling. “We think this is because they are covering something up about their coal exports.”

Coal is among the dirtiest fuels on the planet, and is the largest single contributor to global warming which threatens life on the planet. Scientists warn that the climate is approaching multiple “tipping points” that, if surpassed, threaten to make climate change self-sustaining despite any efforts to reduce emissions in the future.

Powder River Basin coal

The coal in the train that was stopped in Bellingham in August is believed to be from the Powder River Basin, a complex of mines in Montana and Wyoming that supplies nearly half of all the coal mined in the United States. The Powder River Basin is traditional Cheyenne and Arapaho land.

Members of the Northern Cheyenne nation stand over a totem pole crafted by Lummi master carver Jewell James as part of a protest against Powder River Basin coal extraction. Photo by Paul K Anderson.

Members of the Northern Cheyenne nation stand over a totem pole crafted by Lummi master carver and lifelong land protector Jewell James as part of a multi-nation protest against Powder River Basin coal extraction and fossil fuels in general. Photo by Paul K Anderson.

Sign the letter demanding that BNSF cease and desist transporting coal

Whatcom County coal resistance

Whatcom County has long been a thorn in the foot of fossil fuel companies. Earlier this year, the Army Corp of Engineers denied a permit to construct a massive coal export terminal just outside of Bellingham after years of opposition from the community.

The permit denial referenced the treaty fishing rights of the Lummi nation, which has inhabited the area since time immemorial. Many Lummi people still fish and gather shellfish and other food from the land. The Lummi led the fight against the Cherry Point terminal, and the Bellingham community packed the house at every public meeting related to the project.

Lummi tribal leaders burn a check and reject coal exports

In 2012, the Lummi Nation formally announced their opposition to the proposed Cherry Point coal export terminal by burning a symbolic check, stating that no amount of money could buy their support.

Following this example, the Bellingham community has been largely supportive of the blockade that took place in August. Many community members, including families with children, climbed into kayaks and other small boats and visited the protestors on the Chuckanut Bay rail trestle in August. Spencer and Kyle were interviewed on local radio soon after the action, and a spokesperson was interviewed on an Idaho-based climate radio program shortly thereafter.

In regards to the charges dropped against the three activists, the fight is not over. It’s possible that the opposition is gathering resources for a broader case.

“This is just a small, possibly temporary victory,” said Lee. “The movement needs to escalate until the global system of fossil fuels is dismantled.”

For now, the three activists will remain free.

Join the Deep Green Resistance email list to stay up to date on the latest  news from the forefront of the environmental movement

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