In St. Pete, Greenpeace activists launch 'Summer of Resistance'

Among activists hungry to make change, the plan is to pressure local and state leaders on a variety of issues, from healthcare to better protections for the Florida Panther before it's too late.

click to enlarge In St. Pete, Greenpeace activists launch 'Summer of Resistance'
Terrence Smith

Via a live web cast shown at watch parties across the country, Greenpeace officially launched its 'Summer of Resistance' campaign on Sunday, including locally at an event the environmental nonprofit's St. Pete chapter put on.

In part an effort to highlight potentially disastrous implications of the Trump administration's policies, the organization describes its plans as “a chance to come together to learn the skills of creative communication, peaceful protest, and nonviolent direct action necessary to step up our resistance, and to put those skills to work in our communities.”

Through these efforts, Greenpeace seeks to bring together emerging and veteran activists nationwide to use their skills to protest the issues facing their specific part of the country. In Florida, that could mean pressuring reluctant leaders to, say, act on climate change — or at least acknowledge it. 

There was a similar mix among the Greenpeace veterans and those making first contact among the twenty or so gathered at a meeting space at the site of CASA Community Thrift Shop, all brought together by their concerns for the direction the planet is heading. After watching the webcast, in which Greenpeace laid out methods of developing resistance along with strategies to ensure its effectiveness, those in attendance spoke on the issues that worried them the most.

The obvious specter of Trump was a major factor, but so was ensuring effective health care for all, preventing the privatization of the water supply and the necessity of renewable energy and its attainment, which Greenpeace has championed in recent months by encouraging divestment from banks that fund the fossil fuel industry. Also mentioned were goals such as expanding the habitat range of the Florida Panther, opposing the Sabal Trail Pipeline and fracking and pushing for more solar energy initiatives.

Those gathered were broken up into groups based on which issues they were most passionate about and the first steps began in this summer of resistance. Goals were discussed, actions were brainstormed and tasks were delegated. Strangers began to get comfortable around each other as they discussed their shared goals and the excitement for the potential of what could be accomplished was building.

While the watch party ended without a planned action, the framework for several movements to develop across the summer was in place.

Now, their work begins.

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