Spinal Column - October 2022

Protecting What We Love - Backbone Update October 2022

In our last Spinal Column newsletter, we were awaiting the Final Report from Governor Inslee and Senator Murray, on the necessity of breaching of the four dams on the Lower Snake River. 

It finally came out and concluded that yes, breaching is necessary to stop extinction, but the services those dams provide need to be replaced first. They anticipate in their report that will take 10 years - many more years than we have! Team Backbone is working to push up that timeline considerably.

(We know from the Nez Perce Tribal Fisheries Report that salmon and steelhead will be quasi-extinct by 2025, unless the Lower Snake dams are breached before then.)

Backbone's Solutionary Rail project spent a lot of the Spring and Summer doing research into how we can do a rapid "mode shift" from barging grain on the River to shipping it by rail. Our analysis characterizes the current system in SE Washington and evaluates possible improvements.

This last weekend, an Op-Ed in the Spokane Spokesman Review was published by Bill Moyer, Can Trains Save Salmon?

Last month, we presented our findings at the recent Washington State Legislative Rail Caucus in Eastern Washington.

Now we are pushing on our Governor to include specific line items in his Transportation Budget that improve rail capacity for farmers and communities. 

  • Learn more and take action at: SolutionaryRail.org/lsrbarge2rail

  • To amplify the urgency for an accelerated timeline and solutions that uplift communities while meeting farmers' needs, we are building a campaign with media-genic actions, Letters to the Editor, outreach to legislators and policymakers.  Join us and help stop the extinction of Snake River fish and Southern Resident orca who depend on chinook salmon from the Snake River system for the bulk of their diet.

  • And if you'd like to get tooled up for bannering, light projection or using the LED illuminated banners (now that it's getting darker so much earlier), let us know!

While we are passionate about saving salmon and orca by breaching the Lower Snake River dams, we also facilitate creative actions on a slew of other important issues.  Some highlights are below. (Click the photos for more info about the actions!)

Tax The Ultra Rich - projection on CNN this week

Friends in Pennsylvania asked us to do a projection outside the Fetterman vs Oz debate this week, Tax The Ultra Rich. (Sign the Tax the Ultra Rich Now petition HERE)  Phil aimed the spotlight to appear in the background of the CNN broadcasts, so millions of viewers got the message about multi-millionaires and billionaires paying their fair share.  Way to go, Phil!

"Bans Off Our Bodies" - Reproductive Rights projections across the US

Backbone provided GOBOs to projectionists in our Solidarity Brigade Network, folks with spotlights in over 60 cities across the country, to say no to government intrusion on our bodies.  

Wisconsin Nurses Strike

Backbone showed up in Madison, Wisconson for nurses there, who've been trying to get their union back since 2014. (Governor Walker had signed a bill into law in 2011, Act 10, that eliminated the ability for public employees to collectively bargain.)

Because negotiations had not been fruitful, the nurses voted to do a 72-hour strike, September 12-14.

Organizers asked Backbone to provide props for the strike, including large LED signage, a custom made printed banner and other activities such as speech bubbles and nighttime projection. The weekend before the strike, the Union reps and the hospital administration met at Governor Evers home and came to an agreement to avert the strike - at least for now. The props for the strike support were transformed into a celebration rally! #UnionsForAll

Actions for Climate

Steven in NC has used the Declare a Climate Emergency Banner at multiple actions, standing up to Duke Energy's dirty energy plans. Jeff in Olympia then used the banner at the State Capitol, and now it's heading back to the DC area to support students in solidarity with those at COP27.  Thanks to many Backbone friends, we were able to help send CSO Jacob Johns to COP27 in Egypt, as he helps negotiate for a future that puts humans and the planet before profits, in addressing the climate emergency.

Solidarity with Railroad Workers: Call tomorrow night

Stand in solidarity with Railroad Workers in their struggle! On TUESDAY (11/01) at 5PM Pacific/ 8 PM Eastern, RSVP to hear Railroad Workers United members speak about their struggle, the situation on the rails, and how you can get involved in efforts to support them. The success of this campaign is of urgent importance, and solidarity must be built.
We are proud to have co-sponsored this event and encourage all of our members to attend this meeting and to please share on Facebook and Twitter.

And MORE: Film Events

Locally, we've been collaborating on Fix-It Repair Cafes, online workshops, and film screenings. 

About the film:

Dark Money analyzes the influence of corporate money on government officials and elections. It describes how the 2010 ruling of Citizens United v. FEC Supreme Court, a vital supreme court decision regarding finance laws, has impacted corporate interests in the political scene of Butte, Montana, and is now a rising source of national concern. As Montana’s former attorney general, Steve Bullock, tries to stop the supreme court rule and the spread of dark money from being applied in the state, the people of Montana find themselves at the forefront of the fight. 

Join us!

Contact Backbone HQ ([email protected]) if you'd like to get tooled up for creative actions or you want to get involved in our Trains Can Save Salmon campaign.

And if you can contribute to keeping this work going, we could really use your support.  Donors who contribute a small amount each month are part of our Lumbar Club - you can sign up here securely, or by calling Amy, 206-495-1969.  To make a 1-time contribution, click here.  All donations are tax-deductible and we promise to use them to fight for a progressive future. 








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