Positive emissions: local musicians’ contribution to defeating the largest proposed coal export in U.S. history at Cherry Point, WA

UNCG Author/Contributor (non-UNCG co-authors, if there are any, appear on document)
Julianne Grace Olson (Creator)
The University of North Carolina at Greensboro (UNCG )
Web Site: http://library.uncg.edu/
Robert Bracey

Abstract: When big business puts the bottom line above the environment, musical eco-activists can work to unite and protect the community. On the shores of the Salish Sea in the Pacific Northwest, singer-songwriter Harlan James, the folk band BandZandt, The Lummi Youth Canoe Family and Dana Lyons, drove a movement which created empathy and resilience throughout the region. Through performing participatory songs at public forums, on street corners and in every town along the proposed train route, their formidable presence and persistence invited others to join the movement. The Lummi Nation led the fight, as the export would have wreaked havoc in sacred First Nations’ fishing waters. These local musicians stood in solidarity with the tribe by making music as an act of resistance from the proposal’s onset in 2011 until its defeat in 2016. As the coal export was backed by business conglomerates worth over one trillion dollars in assets, this victory was truly monumental. The defeat of the export marked one of the first times that the U.S. Army Corp of Engineers yielded to First Nation treaty rights. This triumph elicits noteworthy questions. What can be learned about the role of music and musicians in situations of environmental activism? What can be learned about how a group of musicians can create enough solidarity within a community that big business is halted? How can we as musicians, educators, and students, build consistent bridges that take us out of the classrooms and off stages into the community? The local musicians offer one example as to how such questions can be addressed and their contributions at Cherry Point are a testimony to the power of the amalgamated voice.

Additional Information

Language: English
Date: 2019
Ecopop, Eco-rock, Environmental Music Activism, Grassroot Music Movements, Music activists
Ecomusicology $z Washington (State) $z Bellingham
Music $x Political aspects $z Washington (State) $z Bellingham
Environmentalism $z Washington (State) $z Bellingham
Coal shipping terminals $z Washington (State) $z Cherry Point

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