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The Thin Green Line Is People: Documenting Pacific Northwest Fossil Fuel Resistance

The Thin Green Line is People: Documenting Pacific Northwest Fossil Fuel Resistance

This project was forged out of a commitment to preserve the history of the unfolding struggle to keep the Pacific Northwest from being transformed into a toxic fossil fuel transport corridor. Inspired by the Seattle Civil Rights and Labor History Project at the University of Washington, the project seeks to add to the existing—and ever-growing body of research—on the unfolding movement to hold what the Seattle-based Sightline Institute has dubbed “the thin green line.” We hope, in particular, that the website can serve as a resource for educators in high schools and universities, and that these documents can help educate and inspire new generations of “climate warriors.”

Videotaped testimony, transcripts, and minutes of public hearings, city council meetings and public gatherings archived on the site provide critical insights into the range and breadth of concerns that are informing the Pacific Northwest struggle. Among the hundreds of thousands of people who have submitted written comments and testified at public hearings from Bellingham, Washington to the Powder River Basin, are Native elders, city council members, port commissioners, nurses, physicians, oncologists and experts in public health, policy analysts for environmental NGOs, union leaders, firefighters, clergy, poets, writers, professors, teachers, and school children. The testimony provides critical insights into the anticipated impacts of fossil fuels on salmon spawning grounds, treaty-protected fishing rights, human cognition, prenatal development, and a host of other issues. These records—together with videotaped interviews conducted by a community-based research team at Washington State University Vancouver–provide insights into organizing/movement strategies and tactics, and into the motivations and experiences of activists who are integrally involved in fossil fuel resistance in the Pacific Northwest. The hearing testimony preserves the voices of ordinary people stepping up to protect the planet and to try to ensure a future for generations to come. Media coverage is included to help provide relevant context for public hearings and watershed moments in the struggle.

Start up funding for the project—and for a full-length documentary that will include footage of some of the interviews featured on the website—has been provided by the Washington State University Vancouver Diversity Council. To offer comments, suggestions, and contributions of content, including links to relevant public records, etc., email


View more activist interviews here