Historic Tar-Sands Action at Obama’s Door
an article by Amy Goodman, Truthdig (abridged)
For the first time in its 120-year history, the
Sierra Club engaged in civil disobedience, the day
after President Barack Obama gave his 2013 State
of the Union address. The group joined scores of
others protesting the proposed Keystone XL
pipeline, which awaits a permitting decision from
the Obama administration. The president made
significant pledges to address the growing threat
of climate change in his speech. But it will take
more than words to save the planet from human-
induced climate disruption, and a growing, diverse
movement is directing its focus on the White House
to demand meaningful action.
click on photo to enlarge
The Keystone XL pipeline is especially
controversial because it will allow the
exploitation of Canadian tar sands, considered the
dirtiest oil source on the planet. One of the
leading voices raising alarm about climate change,
James Hansen, the director of the NASA Goddard
Institute for Space Studies, wrote of the tar
sands in The New York Times last year, “If Canada
proceeds, and we do nothing, it will be game over
for the climate.” New research by nonprofit Oil
Change International indicates that the potential
tar-sands impact will be even worse than earlier
believed. Because the proposed pipeline crosses
the border between the U.S. and Canada, its owner,
TransCanada Corp., must receive permission from
the U.S. State Department.
Among those arrested outside the White House was
Julian Bond, former chair of the NAACP. Bond said,
“The threat to our planet’s climate is both grave
and urgent. ... I am proud today to stand before
my fellow citizens and declare, ‘I am willing to
go to jail to stop this wrong.’ The environmental
crisis we face today demands nothing less.” . . .
In his State of the Union address, Obama gave hope
to those concerned with global warming, saying,
“For the sake of our children and our future, we
must do more to combat climate change. ... We can
choose to believe that Superstorm Sandy, and the
most severe drought in decades, and the worst
wildfires some states have ever seen were all just
a freak coincidence. Or we can choose to believe
in the overwhelming judgment of science—and act
before it’s too late.”
This Presidents Day weekend will see what is
expected to be the largest climate-change protest
in history, called Forward on Climate. One hundred
thirty-five organizations are participating,
including the Sierra Club, the Indigenous
Environmental Network and 350.org. The Sierra Club
is one of the world’s largest and most powerful
environmental organizations. Its decision to
participate in civil disobedience signals a major
escalation in the movement to stem climate change,
reviving the words of the Sierra Club’s first
president, John Muir, who wrote in 1892, “Hoping
that we will be able to do something for wildness
and make the mountains glad.” . . .
Question(s) related to this article:
Despite the vested interests of companies and governments, Can we make progress toward sustainable development?
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Latest reader comment:
[responding to CPNN article The film 'Demain', a manifesto?
Yes initiatives from the grassroots are important and necessary which will have a direct impact on the present and the future. But there are governments like India which are conscious of over exploitation of the earth’s resources and are taking suitable policy measures and also taking legal action against the exploiters.
We must emphasize public transportation and reduce our dependence on individual cars even though the auto industry will not like this.
Otherwise it is not demain but aujourdhui — the problems are there for us to see.