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Gibson writes: "He may very likely defy tens of thousands of protesters and green light the construction of Keystone XL. And in that case, everyone who came to the Forward on Climate rally must be just as willing to chain themselves to pipeline equipment as they were to travel across the country and march in freezing temperatures and high winds in DC."

View from the stage at the largest climate change rally ever. (photo: Jenna Pope)
View from the stage at the largest climate change rally ever. (photo: Jenna Pope)


Climate Activists Are Just Getting Warmed Up

By Carl Gibson, Reader Supported News

22 February 13

 

hile we were in the midst of a sea of 40,000 to 50,000 people at the largest climate rally in US history, I shouted call-and-response chants with two friends from Maryland, one of whom was riding on my shoulders to get a look at the size of the crowd. When my neck hurt too much to continue, I set my friend down. After asking her about how big the march was, she said, "Dude, this is huge! There's no way Obama can ignore this!"

But the funny thing was Obama actually was ignoring us. While a crowd the size of Perth, Scotland, covered six lanes of DC streets for several long blocks on a frigid and windy February day, getting extensive media coverage all over the world, President Obama was playing golf with a Texas businessman who makes his money in the fossil fuel industry. To put that in perspective, the president left town during a historic rally pressuring him to take action to reject a pipeline, in order to play a game based on egregious wasting of natural resources with someone who does business with Anadarko, an oil/gas/pipeline company.

The 2/17 Forward on Climate rally, which brought together people from almost every state to DC, was organized to make the president act on his talk of addressing climate change by rejecting the Keystone XL pipeline for good. Obama said no to the original pipeline route last year after several well-attended protests in Washington, mostly because he was running for re-election and didn't want to demoralize his base.

Transcanada, the company proposing the 2,000+ mile pipeline that would dredge dirty oil from the Alberta Tar Sands and pipe it through the great plains to be refined in Houston, Texas, to be exported to other countries, wasn't worried. After all, Obama hired a former Transcanada lobbyist to be a senior adviser for his re-election campaign. And he still gave the green light to build the Southern leg of the Keystone XL pipeline in Texas and Oklahoma. While our president extolled the courage of pro-Democracy protesters in Egypt during the foreign policy debate last October, he hasn't even acknowledged the American protesters who have been tazed and pepper-sprayed by police, at the encouragement of Transcanada, while simply trying to nonviolently halt construction of the pipeline. And that kind of civil disobedience will be what will truly win this fight for the preservation of our Earth.

As the march circled back to the Washington Monument, I noticed Ray Lewis, a retired Philadelphia Police Department captain, wearing a police uniform and holding a sign that read "WARNING: MASSIVE CIVIL DISOBEDIENCE IS NEXT." Some may have read that as a warning to Transcanada and the Obama administration, but I read that as a warning to the rally's participants. Obama's deference to the fossil fuel industry has been clear, whether it was his boasting of an all-time high in domestic oil production during his State of the Union address, or in his "all of the above" approach to energy, which mostly involves oil drilling and fracking. He may very likely defy tens of thousands of protesters and green light the construction of Keystone XL. And in that case, everyone who came to the Forward on Climate rally must be just as willing to chain themselves to pipeline equipment as they were to travel across the country and march in freezing temperatures and high winds in DC.

Some may have defined the rally as a plea on bended knee to President Obama, urging him to do the right thing and reject the pipeline. I saw it more as tens of thousands of people announcing their defiance to the White House - we know he'll build the pipeline, and we came to DC to let him and the whole world know that we won't let that happen. And we're willing to risk our freedom to ensure that the pipeline will never get built.



Carl Gibson, 25, is co-founder of US Uncut, a nationwide creative direct-action movement that mobilized tens of thousands of activists against corporate tax avoidance and budget cuts in the months leading up to the Occupy Wall Street movement. Carl and other US Uncut activists are featured in the documentary "We're Not Broke," which premiered at the 2012 Sundance Film Festival. He currently lives in Manchester, New Hampshire. You can contact Carl at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it , and listen to his online radio talk show, Swag The Dog, at blogtalkradio.com/swag-the-dog.

Reader Supported News is the Publication of Origin for this work. Permission to republish is freely granted with credit and a link back to Reader Supported News.

 

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+11 # DPM 2013-02-22 09:59
Well, we might as well get ready, because you know he'll approve it.
 
 
+3 # Ray Kondrasuk 2013-02-22 10:20
Here’s a one-minute FOX News take on the global warming portion of Obama’s SOTU address:

FOX – John Stossel – 10:36CT mark 12 February 2013 (42 seconds on topic of global warming)

Guests: Michael Moynihan of Newsweek/The Daily Beast, syndicated columnist Deroy Murdock

Graphic on screen bottom: Is Obama right that we must stop global warming now?

Stossel: I was struck by what he said about climate change: “We must do more to combat climate change” and
“There is overwhelming judgement of scientists that Hurricane Sandy was caused by climate change?”

Moynihan: This is an amazing sleight of hand. I give him credit for… for being that sort of devious about this. The previous sentence says “Sandy”, the next sentence says “overwhelming evidence”. There is not overwhelming evidence that climate change… ah… caused Hurricane Sandy.

.....jump.....
 
 
+3 # Ray Kondrasuk 2013-02-22 10:21
Stossel: There is no evidence that it caused Hurricane Sandy.

Moynihan: There’s…there’s evidence that maybe the sea level rises has… y’know… made the water… there’s no evidence of the actual hurricane itself and the frequencies of these hurricanes are the result of climate change… it’s just bunk! That… there’s a lot of bunk in this but let’s just pick on this one. That is… is…
y’know… throw it out there… hopefully we can get some federal program to… to solve this… nothing more.

Stossel: There is a lot of evidence that the climate is warming…

Moynihan: Of course. Yes… absolutely…

Murdock: (coyly smiling) But I think… I think climate change might have been responsible for the full moon that was a very large factor in the destruction of Hurricane Sandy. (laughter from audience…)
 
 
+4 # Ray Kondrasuk 2013-02-22 10:22
Obama’s actual words: But for the sake of our children and our future, we must do more to combat climate change. Yes, it’s true that no single event makes a trend. But the fact is, the 12 hottest years on record have all come in the last 15. Heat waves, droughts, wildfires, and floods – all are now more frequent and intense. We can choose to believe that Superstorm Sandy, and the most severe drought in decades, and the worst wildfires some states have ever seen were all just a freak coincidence. Or we can choose to believe in the overwhelming judgment of science – and act before it’s too late.

Read more: http://www.politico.com/story/2013/02/state-of-the-union-2013-president-barack-obamas-speech-transcript-text-87550_Page4.html#ixzz2L4vpbuoC
 
 
+6 # economagic 2013-02-22 11:42
Unfortunately, Carl is most likely right as usual. If the president were to keep his word to the public and the world on this one, instead of the promises he appears to have made to the banksters, Big Fossil, and his advisers from Wall Street and the University of Chicago Economics Department, it would be a first.
 
 
+4 # X Dane 2013-02-22 15:35
economagic.

What is so unfortunate is, that ONLY 17 PERCENT is against the damned pipeline, while the people FOR it is in the SIXTY percentage range. The poor fools think that about 20.000 jobs will be created??

That is grossly exaggerated. The Canadians said that the jobs were highly specialized...m eaning that the Canadians are the ones who will be doing them.
Over all not many jobs will be created....exce pt for the ones when there are breaks on the line and spills.

That happens MORE FREQUENTLY because of all the gritty sand and dirt in the oil.
The people who are FOR the pipeline will probably be dead when the FULL DISASTER strikes....but their children will curse all of us for not doing what we could to minimize all the effects.

And I am appalled that so many do not believe in science. Particularly when all the proof of it is literally hitting us every year. How many BILLIONS will it take for the doubters to get it????
 
 
+4 # Regina 2013-02-22 23:06
Science is not a matter of "belief in..." It is a collection of disciplines based on evidence subjected to test and external review. It is characterized by skepticism, not "faith." And consequences occur without appeal to human acceptance -- "Nature" is not a matter of choice. The level of scientific literacy in the U. S. is dismal. Science education in the U. S. is appalling, except for students who major in a scientific field "geeks". The general public, and the people responsible for journalism and other communication, are dangerously devoid of science knowledge. Most politicians are totally ignorant.
 
 
+1 # X Dane 2013-02-23 12:12
Regina.
I obviously used a wrong term,...I think ...because so many say "I don't believe in science"

When highly trained scientist like Dr. James Hansen of NASA points out the dangers of the pipeline and Climate change in general, and we see what is happening in so many areas, you have to be ignorant to not see the danger.

Of course Dr. Hansen is only ONE of MANY scientist, who are pointing out so many causes and examples. These people are highly educated, and I do trust in their findings.

Of course selfish greedy people like the Kochs "BUY" their own "Scientists" who will prostitute themselves and refute the obvious. And unfortunately so many people discount education and facts they don't like.
 
 
-8 # charlemaign 2013-02-22 11:54
And where are the studies that show what the protesters want will have more than a minimal effect if any? True we need to gut carbon emissions but what scientist thinks that it will stop the droughts, ice loss and methane release? You're all sorely mistaken if you think that it will be that easy to solve our problems.
 
 
+6 # Smokey 2013-02-22 12:58
Quoting charlemaign:
And where are the studies that show what the protesters want will have more than a minimal effect if any? True we need to gut carbon emissions but what scientist thinks that it will stop the droughts, ice loss and methane release? You're all sorely mistaken if you think that it will be that easy to solve our problems.



Oops! Charlemaign let the cat out of the bag.... Stopping the Keystone XL pipeline and passing out some efficient lightbulbs will have a tiny effect, at best, on the climate change problem.

I'm reminded of the guy who was fifty pounds overweight who decided to drink diet sodas with his burgers, apple pie, and fries... When his wife started to laugh, Mr. Fatso argued, "Well, I'm doing something, y'know. I'm making sacrifices and I'm cutting back on the calories. Don't be so critical."
 
 
+10 # bmiluski 2013-02-22 13:15
NO ONE thinks that the resolution of this problem is going to be easy. But dear sweet Jesus, we have to start somewhere.
 
 
+7 # Rich Austin 2013-02-22 11:55
Having participated in a number of rallies calling for health care for all, I never saw 40,000, or even 20,000, or 10,000. Global warming is a somewhat recent "cuase" that has attracted plenty of comfortable class "activists", but denial of access to adequate health care, or 2nd rate health care for the indigent, is responsible for 101,000 preventable mortalities every year. In 20 years 2,020,000 sould have succumbed to death by denial here in the U.S. Where were/all the protests? Folks, global warming will not get addressed unless and until we first demonstrate a concern for one another. There are solutions to health care denial and global warming, but we'll need to band together to demand those solutions, and in that order: 1) health care 2) global warming
 
 
-3 # Smokey 2013-02-22 13:06
Quoting Rich Austin:
Having participated in a number of rallies calling for health care for all, I never saw 40,000, or even 20,000, or 10,000. Global warming is a somewhat recent "cuase" that has attracted plenty of comfortable class "activists", but denial of access to adequate health care, or 2nd rate health care for the indigent, is responsible for 101,000 preventable mortalities every year. In 20 years 2,020,000 sould have succumbed to death by denial here in the U.S. Where were/all the protests? Folks, global warming will not get addressed unless and until we first demonstrate a concern for one another. There are solutions to health care denial and global warming, but we'll need to band together to demand those solutions, and in that order: 1) health care 2) global warming



Uh-oh.... More wisdom arrives. Although it's probably not fully appreciated or wanted in this conversation.

Rich Austin gets it right. Obamacare will do far more good, for health and safety, than stopping the Keystone XL pipeline. However, even the Occupy movement, in its best days, gave Obama little support when he was trying to build a decent health care system. (The Republicans are still trying to smash Obamacare. This fight isn't over.)

The limousine liberals want to save the polar bears. It's not clear that they want to save Americans who need adequate health care.
 
 
+11 # bmiluski 2013-02-22 13:17
My dear, unless we take care of global warming, it won't matter what sort of health care we will have because we won't be around to use it.
 
 
0 # NOMINAE 2013-02-23 22:07
Quoting Rich Austin:
Having participated in a number of rallies calling for health care for all, I never saw 40,000, or even 20,000, or 10,000. Global warming is a somewhat recent "cuase" that has attracted plenty of comfortable class "activists"....


There's kind of "judgement call" involved here. While I enthusiasticall y applaud both your cause and your work, present day problems are starting to "stack up" on one another.

Global Climate Change is not "new", nor is it the province of flippant and vapid "hipsters". All of the people you try to help will be GONE if nothing is done about Global Climate Change (GCC), as well as need for food.

Snipers and deniers have ONE thing right. Little efforts will NOT solve this problem. GCC is NOT "coming". It is *HERE*. We have at LEAST 30 years of it already BEHIND us, replete with pandemic species extinctions and physical changes to the planet, the atmosphere, and the oceans.

If we stopped carbon emissions TODAY, we would STILL have at least 25 MORE years of drought, wildfires, floods, monster snow storms and hurricanes to face before our behavioral changes could REGISTER against the damage already done.

This is not an "either / or" choice. You are more than encouraged to do what YOU DO, and I hope you will recognize the wisdom of allowing those trying to keep a *planet* of any survivable kind UNDER the poor (and the rest of us), to be your ALLIES, rather than being your "competitors for attention" !
 
 
+9 # Helen 2013-02-22 12:07
Before tying him or herself to the pipeline, I suggest that every retiree (and anyone else who has the time) should become a real pest at the grassroots level. Contact your senators and representatives , repeatedly, urging them to support the Sanders/Boxer legislation proposed on Feb. 14. Get your intelligent friends to do the same. Join the Citiznes Climate Lobby (www.citizensclimatelobby.org) and sign the petition at www.signon/sign/tax-carbon-now. Democracy works only when WE work, and we are all in this together.:
 
 
-15 # Joeconserve 2013-02-22 12:07
I suggest that those wishing to chain themselves to a pipe in opposition to the Keystone Pipeline request a section of pipe off to the side of the actual proposed path; close enough to be seen.
That way with all of them in one place the needs of the American people can be realized without interruption. They could hire a choir director so that the resulting chants could be entertaining as well.
 
 
+1 # seeuingoa 2013-02-22 12:15
We hoped for change and were promised
change in 2008. Instead we got

Indefinite detention,
drones, kill list,
fracking,
arctic drilling,
Violation of 1st Amendment.

In 2012 we still hoped for change and
were still promised change. Instead we get more of the same.

The only one who has known all the way
that there would be no change is Obama.

In a very few years time when we have
an unbearable society with corporate
fascism, total surveillance and no
freedom, I can imagine progressive guys
like Chris Hedges, Naomi Wolff,
Matt Taibbi, Michael Moore, and others, as political refugees to settle down
in Europe and form an exile US government
on behalf of the American people.
 
 
-15 # brycenuc 2013-02-22 12:30
The fatuity of the climate-change hysteria is on full display with opposition to the pipeeline. The pipeline itself releases no CO2 and the CO2 will not be released until the refined oil is burned. The CO2 release to the atmosphere will be the same no matter where the oil is ultimately refined, which it will be. Unfortunately, this is only one minor aspect of the gross fatuity of the climate change fraud.
 
 
+8 # bmiluski 2013-02-22 13:20
Your statement
"the CO2 will not be released until the refined oil is burned."
Says it all about your lack of comprehension of the consequences of indiscriminate release of CO2 into the atmosphere.
 
 
-6 # Smokey 2013-02-22 13:21
Quoting brycenuc:
The fatuity of the climate-change hysteria is on full display with opposition to the pipeeline. The pipeline itself releases no CO2 and the CO2 will not be released until the refined oil is burned. The CO2 release to the atmosphere will be the same no matter where the oil is ultimately refined, which it will be. Unfortunately, this is only one minor aspect of the gross fatuity of the climate change fraud.


Whoa! More nuggests of insight from another Cassandra. (That gal had a lot of wisdom but it didn't do her much good in ancient Greece.)

Call it "bait and switch." Lots of folks are concerned about recent droughts, heat waves, power failures, hurricanes, etc. And it's possible, of course, that these problems are associated with climate change. It's possible, also, that climate change is manmade and that it can be "managed" by reducing fossil fuel consumption.

At this point, the charlatans get on the stage. "Stop the Keystone XL pipeline and we'll solve the climate change problem!" is their cry.

Obama is concerned about the climate change problem but he's too smart to buy the charlatan nonsense.

Stay with your golf game, Mr. President. If you want to respond to climate change in the right way, talk with the guy who's carrying your golf clubs. He works for a living and he probably has some wisdom to share.
 
 
+2 # cordleycoit 2013-02-22 13:17
When the man's already spent the pay off what can Obama do give the finger to his base he has no need for us now.
 
 
+1 # Widoff 2013-02-22 13:52
It amazes me that the left cannot learn to distinguish potential allies from the center left like our President and the true enemies of progress on the right. It seems that the President angers the far left more than the yahoos on the right. Moderation and rationality are not the enemy, folks. Personal attacks on the President are a distraction. It's the issues and facts that really matter! Sometimes I think the left would prefer a President Romney! It amazes me!
 
 
+1 # brianf 2013-02-23 10:58
It does seem like that sometimes, but it's not true. The left would be attacking Romney just as fiercely if he approved the pipeline. Would they put so much energy into a protest? Probably not, because they would be 100% sure it would not be effective, instead of 80% sure.

When it comes to climate change, the difference between Obama and McCain/Romney is that Obama is probably delaying the cataclysm by a few years. Anything is better than nothing, so we fought hard to get him elected. But with Obama's policies there is no doubt we will lose the fight against global warming. So it is right to criticize him and criticize him strongly.

Obama is likely to be the last president who could have prevented global warming from going out of control, but unless he changes dramatically, he will fail miserably. That will be his legacy. Nobody will remember anything else he did or didn't do.
 
 
0 # NOMINAE 2013-02-23 22:24
Quoting Widoff:
It amazes me that the left cannot learn to distinguish potential allies from the center left like our President and the true enemies of progress on the right. It seems that the President angers the far left more than the yahoos on the right. Moderation and rationality are not the enemy, folks. Personal attacks on the President are a distraction. It's the issues and facts that really matter! Sometimes I think the left would prefer a President Romney! It amazes me!


It is the DUTY of a well-informed citizenry to constructively criticize the people they have hired to represent them. This includes the President.

"Shut up - he's MY guy" is a quote more appropriately heard coming from the tree houses of children.

For my money, the Left doesn't complain ENOUGH !

They deservedly SLAYED "W" for all of his extralegal shenanigans, but when Obama does the SAME THING, and even WORSE, all you hear from the Left is CRICKETS !

This is both hypocrisy and cowardice. If you believe your man is NOT evil, then there is all the MORE reason to hold his feet to the fire.

Or, to paraphrase the way FDR put it to the people - it is your job to MAKE ME do well.
 

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