Indian American Activists Protest Climate Polluters


The protest at the gates of the Chevron refinery. (Barnali Ghosh photo)

By Indiawest

RICHMOND, Calif:Over two dozen members of Brown and Green: South Asians for Climate Justice marched through the streets here Aug. 3 to the gates of the Chevron refinery, demanding that Chevron stop refining dirty Canadian tar sands oil, and reduce its impact on the climate—a factor in disasters like the 2010 Pakistan flood and the 2013 floods in Uttarakhand, India, said a press release.

The group was working with Summer Heat, a national project to hold the fossil fuel industry accountable for its actions.

Explained Indian American activist Barnali Ghosh, a sustainable designer, “Major climate polluters like Chevron are responsible for sending the planet past a CO2 concentration of 400 ppm, the highest levels found on earth in millions of years. The deadly effects of climate change are becoming visible in the form of flooding in India and Pakistan, cyclones in Bangladesh, extreme heat in Sri Lanka, and more.”

While most participants held a safe and legal rally outside the refinery, others, including labor organizer Sanjay Garla, were arrested for symbolically planting seeds inside the Chevron property, said the release.

Garla, who chose to risk arrest due to a moral obligation in the tradition of Mahatma Gandhi, explained that “the effects of climate change are not felt equally everywhere, but in our own countries, in places like India and Bangladesh, people are living with climate impacts every day. It’s important for South Asians to take action, no matter where we live in the world.”

The event was scheduled to mark the anniversary of the Aug. 6, 2012 explosion and fire at the Richmond Chevron refinery.