To join Barbara and thousands of others at the White House November 6th, click here: http://www.tarsandsaction.org/sign-up
I worked very hard to help elect Barack Obama-everything from phone banking, rallies and going door to door, even in the rain.
I believed what he said and thought he could (or would) actually change the direction of our country away from the environmental destruction wrought by heartless and greedy corporations and the endless wars feeding the limitless appetites of the war profiteers.
What a mistake! Obama has backed away from every promise he made. That’s why I was arrested on August 24th at the Tar Sands protests trying to convince him that he must stop the Keystone XL Pipeline.
Continue reading “Barbara in PA: 80 yrs Old, Arrested Once, Back Again Nov. 6th” »
I spent the first 6 decades of my life in Berkeley, and the last 4 years in Montana; in one place city life pulsing with all its urgency, and in the other small town life moving more slowly, with the geese calling overhead. In spite of the huge differences between these two places, the same deep problems are sapping the strength of both urban and rural areas.
Everywhere we are living with the shackles of oil and the endless appetites of that voracious master: wars against innocents, destruction of communities, the beginnings of climate chaos, relentless harm toward the natural world, and barriers to creating the beauty of green energy and a livable future. We don’t have much time left to turn things around. That matches my place in my own lifespan…I may not have much time left either, and I want to use my hands to help shape the clay of the future.
When the invitation to the DC XL Protest arrived at my desk, I spoke aloud, Yes, yes yes! A feeling of clarity settled over me; I’d been waiting for this moment. After years of demonstrations, petitions, letters to legislators, and long meetings, I couldn’t shake the sense that more was needed. I knew the next step was civil disobedience. I joined the tar sands action that morning because it unified people in a single purpose both specific (the pipeline must not be built) and symbolic (we must renounce an oil future). At the next board meeting for our progressive local group Montana Women For, I invited others to join.
We became “The Four Grandmothers From Montana’. A grandmother is a person who has lived long enough to personally watch the chain of life replicate itself in new generations. That gift always comes with its twin: responsibility for the lives we chose to bring into this world.
Continue reading “Joanie from MT: No Turning Back” »
This post was written by Michael G. – to join him and thousands of others at the Nov. 6th Tar Sands Action, click here: http://www.tarsandsaction.org/sign-up
Until the 2008 election, I had been a completely apolitical person. I occasionally took note of the various presidential decisions being made by George W. Bush, but did little else. However, a cool and charismatic junior senator from Illinois changed all of that. He single-handedly made me believe that if people are willing to work to elect a president, they can get a president who will work for them. Unfortunately, while he has acted in the public’s best interest on some issues, he has taken the side of corporate polluters on others. However, the hope remains that if people get educated and become active, they can have a government that works for their society.
I volunteered for Barack Obama in 2008, because I believed that he would do what’s best for the country and the world. But I will not agree to volunteer for someone who acts against the public’s best interest, and I know that, if Obama approves Keystone XL, he would be doing just that.
I still believe, or at least hope, that part of what makes Barack Obama wake up in the mornings is a desire to improve the world. Perhaps, though, that desire sometimes gets suppressed by people and corporations that have negative influences on him.
My work now is making sure that the genuine Obama shines through, and opposes the Keystone XL pipeline.
Continue reading “Bringing the Old Obama Back, with Action” »
This post was written by Phillip Wight, to join him and thousands of other people at the White House November 6th, click here: http://www.tarsandsaction.org/sign-up
In 2008 I worked for President Obama in Cincinnati Ohio as a Canvass Coordinator. Fresh out of college, my idealism and energy ran high. I managed over one hundred paid canvassers who knocked on tens of thousands of doors throughout the fall. After eight years of a Bush presidency marked by environmental devastation, oil-centered energy policy, and oil-driven foreign military action, I was absolutely enthused at the possibility of a progressive president. I remember running door to door until the very last minute the polls were open on election night. No amount of effort was unnecessary when it came to electing Obama. Like so many other staffers, I lived and breathed the 2008 election. The dedication of hundreds of volunteers and inspired workers paid off: Hamilton County (home of Cincinnati) went blue for the first time since 1964 and we successfully unseated a 14-year incumbent Republican congressman. I cried tears of joy on election night. I knew it was a hard road ahead but I finally felt we had an ally in the White House and the nation was on the right track.
Nearly three years later my idealism of 2008 is but a distant memory. I’ve grown disillusioned watching Obama cave in to pressure from big oil and big coal. We’ve all watched cap and trade legislation be sidelined, offshore drilling continue, and clean air standards die at the hands of big business. Mountaintop removal has not been stopped, and Fracking continues unregulated throughout the nation. Obama won’t even fulfill his promise to put Solar panels back on the White House. I often wonder if my time and dedication in 2008 was wasted. Yet rather than despair, we must be driven to action.
Continue reading “President Obama, I Worked Tirelessly For You in 2008; Now It’s Your Turn” »
This post is reposted from the Climate Mama blog. If you’d like to join Harriet and thousands of others in DC on November 6th, click here: http://www.tarsandsaction.org/sign-up
Since getting arrested on August 23rd as part of the Tar Sands Action protesting the building of the Keystone XL pipeline, my life has changed in more ways than I can count. Both practically and figuratively, I feel stronger, more sure of what I am doing and who I am, and part of something “bigger than me.”
I have spoken at environmental rallies, at citizen’s meetings and at community events. I have written blog posts, and posts have been written about me, telling my “arrest” story and the “back story” and “real story” of our addiction to oil and how it not only impacts my children’s health but the air we breath and the future of our planet’s health as well. Interestingly enough I see the clear connections between the line that we “drew in the sand” in Washington around the pipeline and the sustained protests taking place in New York and around the world as part of Occupy Wall Street. Strangers have thanked me for getting arrested, for taking a stand for my children’s future and for their children future as well. People I know and many, many people that I don’t know ask me to tell them my story so they can understand why a mother of 2 from suburban New Jersey would take this bold step, and “step out” of her comfort zone. Why was this pipeline my line in the sand? Continue reading “Harriet the Climate Mama: President Obama, I’m coming to Visit November 6th” »
This post was written by Julie in DC, who was arrested at the first Tar Sands Action in August. To join her and thousands of other people at the White House Nov. 6th, click here: http://www.tarsandsaction.org/sign-up
The reason I got arrested is simple: I decided that I had a moral obligation for my actions to reflect my words (Those words being: We are killing ourselves, our future, our planet with the unrelenting desire for more, bigger, faster). To be clear, this obligation was to myself only. When the opportunity was presented to me to act, i.e. be part of an organized civil disobedience protest, I knew I would never forgive myself if I didn’t join in. Particularly as I live in Washington, D.C. and I was (probably) only giving up a day of my time. I thought of all the people who had come before me and risked their lives to change the system through acts of civil disobedience, and I realized, if I couldn’t give up one day (or even a few) and be a bit uncomfortable and a bit scared, – or maybe even really scared – then my beliefs were meaningless. Women were beaten and jailed so that I could vote. People were killed so that African-Americans (and all Americans, really) could have Civil Rights. How could I not show up for something I believe in? I’m white, middle-class (well – probably not really as I earn so little, but you get my point, I think) – nothing really terrible was going to happen to me even if I did go to jail.
I think I am finally understanding what it means for us to all be connected. I really do believe this and I am getting less embarrassed to admit it publicly. Of course, I used to understand this on a very intellectual level, but I am now beginning to feel it seep into my soul – it is another level of understanding, more powerful. I think in our Western world of facts and intellect, we often disparage what we know by way of the heart and the soul. But I am finally understanding that God (or the Universe or Energy or whatever) is not limited by my lack of imagination. What a relief.
So, I got arrested because my heart told me to. November 6th I have another opportunity to listen to my heart.
Continue reading “Why I got arrested, and why I’ll be back on November 6th” »
Alec Johnson is a Day 1 Tar Sands Action arrestee form Columbus, Ohio. To join him and thousands of others at the Nov. 6th Tar Sands Action, click here: http://www.tarsandsaction.org/sign-up
Although I’ve been an activist for over four decades, what is unfolding this year gives me more hope than I’ve seen for most of my adult life. Given the unprecedented challenges we now face, the crossroads humanity now finds itself at – where nothing short of the fate of our species is at stake – this kind of hope is essential. Yet my lifetime of activism makes very clear that this kind of hope isn’t conjured up by Madison Avenue, media moguls, or well-funded political campaigns. It is made by hand. Indeed, it is made by many hands, and this year I’ve been present again and again to witness the wonder of this movement’s creation: our Occupation Nation.
I witnessed this in Columbus, Ohio where we have been fighting against the corporate-led assaults on public workers collective bargaining rights. I witnessed it in glorious abundance with 150,000 others jointly marveling in fellowship and dedication in midst of the winter we made warm in Madison, Wisconsin. And I saw it unfold again in Ohio when US Uncut activists confronted corporate Tax Dodgers at Verizon, FedEx and Apple storefronts this spring.
I was hopeful when I arrived in DC August 19th to prepare for the first day of the Tar Sands Action. We of the “Tar Sands 65” had no idea the authorities would foolishly decide to test our movement’s resolve by turning our non-violent arrests into extended incarceration. While the “medieval tour” of DC’s jail system was unpleasant, to say the least, everyone one of us emerged stronger and more determined in our triumph. That our numbers would swell to over 1250 was the most fitting compliment that could be paid to our efforts in the currency we hold most dear: building the ranks of our community of resistance.
Continue reading “Alec from Ohio: How the Tar Sands Action led to Occupation Nation” »
This post was written by Kevin Buckland. To join the Tar Sands Action to stop the Keystone XL pipeline at the White House on November 6th, sign up here: http://www.tarsandsaction.org/sign-up
To Whom it May Concern-
[Please note: This letter about the war will be written in the driest way possible. Many things, such as the silence after a bomb falls, will be ignored. Children's limbs will not be mentioned, nor will death tolls. Rather, we will let these manufactured tragedies sit silent. Please let that silence rest heavily, like the silence of a soldier who returns from a war but will not speak of what he has seen.]
Two weeks ago my mother bought a senior-citizen’s bus ticket to Washington D.C., where she would be arrested for the first time in her life. She was one of more than 1,200 people who participated in the massive civil-disobedience protesting the Keystone XL pipeline. This proposed pipeline would provide a pathway to bring the oil-soaked sands of Alberta – the dirtiest oil on the planet, to refineries in Texas. This is a very long way to hope no screw ever comes loose, or no truck ever digs in the wrong spot; we already know what an oil spill can do to drinking water, or crop land, or people.
Supporters of this pipeline cite our need for independence from foreign oil (though if Canada is no longer foreign, perhaps it would be more advisable to share their public health system). Those who support the pipeline can be seeing using the 10 year anniversary of 9/11 and the invasion of Afghanistan as proof that we should be getting our oil from our friends who have it, rather than trying to make friends with those who have oil.
Continue reading “Open Letter on the Word “Foreign”” »
This post originally appeared at StopExtinction.org, the blog of The Endangered Species Coalition, which supports the Tar Sands Action. To join them November 6th, sign up here: http://www.tarsandsaction.org/sign-up
Many backyard gardens feature a statue of a slight man dressed in rags. His sinewy and outstretched arms form a perfect perch for a bird or two. A rabbit and sometimes even a wolf are often shown sitting at his sandaled feet. The man is Francis of Assisi, the patron saint of animals and ecology, who died 785 years ago this October 3 at age 45.
This weekend many churches throughout world, Protestant as well as Catholic, will celebrate the legacy of St. Francis by opening their doors to bless Fido, Fluffy, and friends. It is a sweet ritual, this blessing of pets from goldfish to pot-bellied pigs. For many, however, this custom begs the question: What is the connection between an itinerant medieval preacher and ascetic and house pets and gardens?
Francis had a vision and spiritual understanding of creation that was radical for its time and in many respects remains so today. A son of the city of Assisi as well as the verdant Umbrian countryside that surrounded it, Francis expressed his deep devotion to the earth and her creatures by preaching about them as part of a larger communion that reflected the goodness, love and power of their Creator. Francis taught his followers that human beings are brothers and sisters not only to each other but to the sun, moon, fire, wind, water and the animals, too.
Continue reading “A 13th Century Saint Meets 21st Century Challenges” »