Future Hope column, October 27, 2011
By Ted Glick
November 6 at the White House is a big day and an important place. That afternoon, one year before the 2012 elections, thousands of people from around the country will be doing something that has never been done before. We will be surrounding the White House, a mile or more in circumference, in a Circle of Hope.
We will call upon President Obama to reject the dirty-oil, Keystone XL pipeline Big Oil wants built across the middle of the USA, from the Canadian tar sands in Alberta province to the Texas Gulf Coast refineries (http://tarsandaction.org).
We will be doing this carrying banners and signs with some of then-candidate Obama’s words during his 2008 Presidential campaign. Words like:
“We can be the generation that finally frees America from the tyranny of oil.”
“The next generation will not be held hostage to energy sources from the last century. We are not going to move backwards. We are going to move forward.”
“We understand the gravity of the climate threat. We are determined to act. And we will meet our responsibility to future generations.”
“The threat from climate change is serious, it is urgent, and it is growing.”
Many thousands of climate, environmental and environmental justice activists will be there on November 6. What about activists from the broader progressive movement?
I know that there will be some from the Occupy movement, which is very important. As a primarily young people’s movement, it is young people, as well as low-income, Indigenous and other people of color, who will be most impacted as our earth gets hotter and hotter.
Beyond that I wonder. And I wonder based on seven years of attempting to spread the word about the urgency of the climate crisis and the need for more people to speak up and take action on it NOW.
There is no question but that there is much more consciousness about this issue among progressives and among the US American people than was true back then. In large part this is because of the droughts, rain and wind storms, flooding, tornadoes and other extreme weather events that we have been experiencing. Anyone who is not in climate denial and is willing to deal with reality knows on some level that our climate has been disrupted. And it is being disrupted in the ways predicted years ago by scientists who have been studying the climate for a long time, more rapidly and extensively, however, than they had expected.
The climate issue has to become an issue that the 99% take up as their own. People are going to continue to work on the other issues that they see as most important, but all of us, all of us who want to preserve the earth as a viable home for us and other life forms must also prioritize slowing, stopping and reversing global heating.
And the White House on November 6 is an absolutely essential way to do so. James Hansen, this nation’s leading climate scientist, has said that if the tar sands are fully exploited, it is “game over” for any hope of avoiding worldwide climate catastrophe.
We can win this battle! Ever since the late August/early September actions at the White House where over 1250 people were arrested, the no-pipeline movement has been growing and getting stronger. Just this week, at two events where Obama was speaking, no-pipeline activists were able to put this issue directly to him. At almost every place where Obama has spoken around the country over the last month and a half, he has been met with visible protests on this issue. This is on top of editorials against the pipeline from the New York Times, LA Times and other newspapers and a wide variety of other positive developments (check out http://tarsandsaction.org for more info).
Let’s win one for our wounded Mother Earth and its people. Let’s have a massive turnout on November 6th. Let’s keep building the momentum of our Autumn Awakening. All out to the White House on November 6th!
Ted Glick is the National Policy Director of the Chesapeake Climate Action Network. Past writings and other information can be found at http://www.tedglick.com.