It all began with a public letter (co-written by political figures, farmers, environmental activists, Indigenous leaders, and scientists) urging what is being described as the largest act of civil disobedience for the climate ever launched in North America. The mission is big: to stop the development of the Keystone XL Pipeline project before it begins.
The proposed pipeline is to be 1500 miles long, transporting oil from Alberta, Canada’s tarsands to Texas refineries. The resistance to it comes from multiple directions. Some concerns include: the likelihood of a spill, and the devastation that would result from one; the continuing disruption of ways of life in Indigenous communities that have been an ongoing and contentious part of tar sands development; the fact that the completion of this pipeline would move us farther from the possibility of a stable climate (making implausible to stabilize climate and avoid disastrous global impacts); and the increasing role of corporate interests and practices in national and international politics.
With major political and economic powers in favour of the pipeline, resisting its development is a huge proposition – requiring a great deal of support if it is to be effective. Thus, the initial letter invited citizens from both sides of the border to participate in what is referred to as ‘Tar Sands Action‘, a two week long sit-in outside the White House.
Described as a collective act of ‘civil disobedience‘, Tar Sands Action is an ongoing, organized, and peaceful sit-in outside the White House in Washington, DC for two weeks leading up to September 3, the expected decision date for the project. The intention is not to oppose the Obama administration, but rather to appeal to the campaign promises with which Obama originally ran for office. The decision around the Keystone XL Pipeline has been described by some as Obama’s defining moment.
Only three days in, and with over 2000 people expected to participate, only time will tell whether this is an effective approach to change on this level. Regardless, the initiative has already served to raise the public awareness on this issue and engage a great many citizens in both action and conversation.
If you would like to get involved, or follow the progress, visit http://www.tarsandsaction.org/ for more information.
From blog: International Rivers by adminbt on 2011-08-29 10:02:16