My grandmothers were not allowed to vote. I mean, here, in the United States, not until 1920. Our government became persuaded to give women the vote largely through demonstrations and rallies. I’m deeply grateful to those persistent demonstrators. They gave me equality, freedom and a much higher quality of life (this blog promotes high quality of life for all).
Next Sunday, February 17th, tens of thousands of citizens will demonstrate in Washington D.C., urging the Obama administration to fight climate change by not approving Keystone XL. I’m supporting them.
What is Keystone XL and why does it matter?
Keystone XL is a proposed pipeline from Canada to the U.S. that would access the tar sands of Alberta, Canada. When tar sands are strip-mined, they yield a very crude form of oil. It takes enormous amounts of energy to refine that oil. Both the refining process and the burning of the end product accelerate climate change.
How can a demonstration like a climate rally make any difference?
Last year, Keystone XL was considered a done deal. But there was a huge protest against it. The Obama administration then put Keystone on hold. Climate rallies can make a difference, the same way that rallies in the early 1900′s helped my grandmothers (and their daughters and granddaughters) gain the vote .
But wouldn’t the Keystone XL pipeline create much-needed jobs?
Yes, in the same way that wind energy development created 75,000 jobs in 2012. Any energy project creates much-needed jobs. The type of energy project makes a huge difference to the climate. Renewable energy projects like wind and solar are climate-neutral. Fossil fuel projects accelerate climate change. Tar sands projects are the worst of the worst.
What can I do to help?
Co-sign the open letter to President Obama asking him to take bold action on climate change. I’ve done it; it takes 20 seconds. 67,251 other people have done it at this writing. No, make that 67,262 (I just refreshed the page).
Call the White House citizen opinion line: (202) 456-1111. It takes about 30-60 seconds; I’ve done it many times. You just tell the courteous person who answers the phone what you think. They make note of your opinion and ask you your zipcode. I suggest stating that you want the Obama administration to reject the Keystone XL pipeline.
Share this FAQ piece you’ve just read with a friend or colleague to raise awareness about Keystone XL and the fact that concerned citizens like us can stop it.
Remember that our own energy conservation habits are also crucial. See my posts on dealing with cold and our energy bills ; how to spend less money on gas; Bike. Walk. Joy and the light-hearted When Cars Are Like Condoms (Or, Why I Love Transit).
Have you ever been part of a rally or demonstration? How did it feel and what was it like? Comments here.
photo courtesy of wilderutopia; graphic courtesy of 350.org