Tag Archives: 350.org

Highlights of the Largest Climate Rally in History

The folks at 350.org have put together the story of the February 17 demonstration in photos, video clips, and tweets. It’s very inspiring. You can breeze through it, or take your time, watching the clips and listening to short selections from impassioned speakers like the Hip Hop Caucus’s Rev Yearwood, Chief Jackie Thomas (speaking for Canada’s indigenous groups that oppose the Keystone Pipeline), Van Jones from Rebuild the Dream, and the Sierra Club’s Michael Brune. Is this made using a program called Story–does anyone know? It’s very user-friendly, whatever was used.

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The Climate Movement Gets a Boost from 50,000 Protestors in D.C.

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That’s 350.org‘s estimate of how many people attended the Forward on Climate rally in DC on Feb. 17 . The Sierra Club, another core organizer, says there were at least 40,000. Either way, that’s a large number to brave the cold weather to demonstrate, and it’s a sign of how committed people are to stopping the Keystone Pipeline. A million more showed their support for the action online, and polls show that a majority of Americans are eager for real leadership on climate change. President Obama was the focus, because he will make the crucial decision on Keystone very soon, and many in Washington lofted signs reminding him that his legacy will be defined by his actions on the climate, beginning with this all-important decision. (See previous posts on why tar sands oil must be left in the ground and the pipeline must be stopped here and here.)

What you can do to be a climate hawk*

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Read a novel that brings the reality of climate change home in beautiful prose with believable characters–Barbara Kingsolver’s Flight Behavior–and recommend it to friends.

 

Sign the open letter to President Obama urging him to to fight climate change by executive action, first rejecting the Keystone pipeline and doing what he can by executive action to neutralize the power of the fossil-fuel companies. As the letter says, he is the key leader right now, and his legacy depends on what he does in his second term. It was drafted by Credo and 350.org.

*A climate hawk knows that climate change is real and supports action to combat it. See the Urban Dictionary definition here.

3 Groups Plan Presidents Day Action to Stop the Keystone Pipeline

The Sierra Club, 350.org, and the Hip-Hop Caucus have joined together to call for a huge action on Presidents Day weekend. The plan is to form a massive human pipeline in the streets. The goal: to stop President Obama from approving the Keystone pipeline that would bring dirty, hard to extract, unneeded oil from the tar sands of Alberta Canada, through the U.S. heartland, to Gulf refineries and ultimate export. That’s right–not only would it create only temporary jobs for US workers, as the builder admits, it won’t help the U.S. move toward energy independence. (For my May 2012 post explaining why the oil should be left in the ground, click here.)  As someone suggested, if Canada is so determined to extract the oil, why don’t they build the pipeline west toward their own refineries? The reason is that Canadians have stopped it; they don’t want the pollution and spills that will inevitably occur. So why should we allow it to pass through our country with no benefit to us?

Here’s the email from these three groups (I belong to the first two, and I’m going to join the Hip-Hop Caucus if they’ll have me). It includes a link where you can sign up to participate

The last time we stood up against Keystone XL, thousands of us surrounded the White House – and it worked. Right when every political and energy “expert” said the tar sands pipeline was a done deal, we beat the odds and convinced President Obama to take a year to study it.

Now that year is over, and Mother Nature has filed her public comments: the hottest year in American history, a horrible ongoing drought, and superstorm Sandy. And still Big Oil is pushing as hard as ever for their pet project, looking for even more private profit at public expense.

There is also good news: Together, we’ve proven time and time again that grassroots voices can speak louder than Big Oil’s dollars. So this Presidents Day, the Sierra Club, 350.org, and other environmental groups are working with our partners across the progressive community to organize the biggest climate demonstration yet.

Our goal for Presidents Day is to form a massive human pipeline through Washington, and then transform it into a giant symbol of the renewable energy future we need – and are ready to build, starting right away.

You can make this a Presidents Day that the president can’t ignore and won’t forget – sign up to join the rally, bring your friends, and stop the climate-killing Keystone XL pipeline.

We’ll have more details soon about the rally and how you can make your voice heard, but for now, start making travel plans and circle Presidents Day weekend on your calendar. Together, we can show the president that the year’s delay didn’t lull us to sleep. Instead, we’re more fired up than ever, and determined to help him do the right thing.

See you in February,

Allison Chin, Sierra Club President
Michael Brune, Sierra Club Executive Director
Bill McKibben, 350.org co-founder
May Boeve, 350.org Executive Director
Rev. Lennox Yearwood, Hip-Hop Caucus President
Liz Havstad, Director of Civic Engagement and Strategic Growth for the Hip- Hop Caucus

Why the “Do the Math” Tour Just Might Work

Bill McKibben kicked off the 22-city tour the day after Obama was re-elected; it’s getting a lot of attention because he’s leading a frontal assault on the fossil-fuel corporations, the most profitable industry in the history of the world, urging a global stock-divestment scheme similar to the one that brought down the apartheid regime in South Africa. (I’ll be posting about it regularly.) For an account of the stirring kickoff lecture, read this in Yes!McKibben Spearheads Plans to Hit Dirty Energy Where It Hurts.

For the nuts and bolts of how the lecture tour encourages grass-roots action in the cities it visits, see the Huffington Post article by Matthew Fleischer of TakePart on McKibben’s talk at UCLA.

[O]rganizers are turning what would otherwise be a lecture circuit into a political machine. Before rolling into town, Do the Math smartly organizes with local environmental groups. Prior to McKibben’s lecture, these groups are allowed to take the stage and talk about local initiatives that need fighting. Contact information is gathered to keep the audience updated on those efforts. Instead of simply listening to McKibben, as they perhaps intended, the audience has suddenly become part of their local environmental movement.

Despite the sensational headline,”‘Do The Math’ Tour Points to 2028 as the Year of Catastrophic Climate Change,” Fleischer says that McKibben is actually quite optimistic about our ability to forestall catastrophe:

Between renewable energy and more efficient engineering, the technology already exists to stave off catastrophic global warming. Though its application is lagging in the United States, it is being employed on a mass scale in other countries. In socially-stratified China, with its billion-plus population and tremendous wealth inequalities, 25 percent of the country still manages to use solar arrays to heat its water. Germany—Europe’s economic powerhouse—in less than a decade, has managed to get upwards of half of its energy from sustainable sources.

The problem is getting the political will to force the oil companies to accept lower profits from leaving reserves in the ground, unexploited.  Fleischer writes, “McKibben says the key to realizing that goal is to battle the lifeblood of the fossil fuel industry—its bottom line.” Thus the push for divestment.

“Weighing the Prospects of the Keystone XL Pipeline” on NPR

You may have heard this story on Morning Edition Monday; if so, you heard the expert say Obama will probably approve the pipeline, but many activists are trying to make sure he doesn’t. The story is very conservative, giving the viewpoint primarily of the oil companies who want to extract the tar sands oil and ship it to Texas refineries; so much for NPR’s liberal bias. It doesn’t give the many good reasons this hard-to-extract oil must stay in the ground, nor note that the oil is destined for Asia, not for the U.S. And it won’t lower gas prices at the pump, either. For all these reasons to be opposed to the pipeline, go to the story at NPR’s website and read the comments at the bottom. There are dozens, nearly all opposed to building the pipeline, and giving the reasons. Neal Jones, an early poster, summed it up this way: “It doesn’t bring jobs, it doesn’t bring oil security, it will increase gas price, and is more polluting than the traditional ‘sweet’ crude from Nigeria, the North Sea and Permian Basin.”

You can also go to two of my posts from last summer on why the tar sands oil must stay in the ground. If you’re convinced, and I hope you are, please go to the 350.org site and take the pledge to stop the pipeline.

Sandy brings the reality of climate change home

Hurricane Sandy and its $50 billion price tag and the election of President Obama made the pre-election criticism about the silence of both Romney and Obama on one of the most important issues of our time, perhaps the most challenging, seemingly irrelevant. But it’s worth looking at why the two candidates avoided the issue. On October 25 the Times offered a detailed explanation, which might be summed up as, “In times of economic dire straits, calling for action that will inevitably result in higher energy prices is political suicide.” The Times explained:

Any serious effort to address climate change will require a transformation of the nation’s system for producing and consuming energy and will, at least in the medium term, mean higher prices for fuel and electricity. Powerful incumbent industries — coal, oil, utilities — are threatened by such changes and have mounted a well-financed long-term campaign to sow doubt about climate change. The Koch brothers and others in the oil industry have underwritten advertising campaigns and grass-roots efforts to support like-minded candidates.

Now that Obama has won and many of the Kochs’ “like-minded candidates” lost (though not enough in the House and in many state races) and never has to win re-election again, he can and must campaign to win our support for this transformation of our energy system. The predictions are simply too dire to ignore, and it’s almost too late to prevent the warming by getting carbon out of the atmosphere and keeping most fossil fuels in the ground. It will be expensive–but much more expensive not to act now. (Soon, a post on cost-benefit analysis that proves we cannot postpone action any longer.) The good news: several grass-roots movements are underway to put pressure on the administration and Congress to begin the change; upcoming posts will summarize them and guide you to the sites where you can join the actions (e.g., 350.org’s Do the Math campaign) and be inspired by wonderful coverage of the movement (Grist, Think Progress, Yes!).