Rallies Do Create Change: FAQ On Keystone XL

By Sunday, February 10, 2013 5 0

My grandmothers were not allowed to vote. I mean, here, in the United States, not until 1920. Our government became Rally opposing Keystone XLpersuaded 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-needewind turbine; 28% growth in 2012; 75,000 jobsd 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

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  • Tess Giles Marshall
    February 13, 2013

    Thank you for highlighting this – vitally important.

    • Alison Wiley
      February 13, 2013

      Tess, thanks for that, and especially for posting the link to this piece on your Facebook page. To be honest, I’ve been walking around feeling quite depressed that so few of the people I know — educated, smart people — seem willing to even let climate change into their conversations. You’ve given me the encouragement that I needed; bless you.

  • Colleen
    February 11, 2013

    Thank you! Building a school, community center and garden in Ethiopia is indeed a labor of love, but I think all good causes are — whether they’re about fighting *for* something (opportunities for education and better health for the poor) or *against* something (a project that will harm our planet’s atmosphere). Speaking of love, we at The Community Project: Ethiopia, have just launched our “Love the World” fundraising campaign, which will run the month of February. http://communityproject.org

  • Colleen
    February 10, 2013

    I just signed the climate change letter to Obama, and shared the link on my Facebook page. Thanks for including it in your post. I agree that there are plenty of other ways to create energy jobs by simply *choosing* to develop the cleaner kinds! I believe in the power of demonstrations (they’ve accomplished a lot) but also I think consistently demonstrating one’s own values (whether around energy use, awareness of injustices, etc.) to others is equally, if not more, impactful. In the end, rallies are the end-product of like-minded folks coming together to make a stand for change. If word-of-mouth (and blogs, and other ways of sharing info) hadn’t happened already to some degree — there would be no rally. Of course, demonstrations accelerate change on a much-needed higher level (like a full-blown fire), but the embers and the sparks needed to get it going start with individuals –like you–walking the walk and sharing the news.

    • Alison
      February 10, 2013

      Wow. Thank you, Colleen, for your kind words and especially for your actions. I admire your own leadership of the Community Project for Ethiopia, with more than half of your fundraising goal for the new school already accomplished.