Harriet is a New Jersey mother of two who is making the trip to Washington D.C. this August to risk arrest to stop the Keystone XL tar sands pipeline. Also a native of Alberta, Canada, she recently returned from a tour of the tar sands mine inspired to take action to defend her children’s future.
She got in touch with the action organizers with this incredible post she wrote for her blog ClimateMama. She has a great story that is worth sharing with anyone on the fence about joining the sit-in this summer.
“New Jersey mother of Two Arrested in Washington DC – Protesting Tar Sands Pipeline!” Question to self, do I want my kids to read this about me, and….do I believe in serendipity? [Serendipity: the phenomenon of finding valuable things not sought for.] A week after I visited the Canadian Tar Sands “to see for myself” what that area is all about, I received emails from several of my friends and colleagues, encouraging me to join them in Washington, DC for a “peaceful protest” against the proposed pipeline that would carry tar sands oil from Alberta, Canada to Texas. This pipeline has been called the fuse to the biggest carbon BOMB in the world. Serendipitous? You tell me!
Do I want my kids to know that I feel so strongly about their future that I am willing to get arrested to protect it? Answer: definitely!
My family thinks of me as the “unlikely environmentalist.” I grew up appreciating the outdoors, yet not particularly conscious of my carbon footprint. In fact until a few years ago I have to say I wasn’t really aware of the size let alone what went into creating my personal carbon footprint! I still travel a lot by airplane, a big addition to my carbon footprint – a point one of my friends loves to keep reminding me of – although I try to buy offsets for my travel, this fact remains… My family is working on making our house more energy efficient, but it still is not as “leak free” as it could be. We are uber recyclers but as I found out during my “plastic free week” with Rodale.com plastic seems to be a ubiquitous part of my life, and one almost impossible to get rid of.
All that being said, I am signed up for a Tar Sands protest at the White House in Washington, DC that has the potential to get the protesters arrested. Do I feel this cause is important enough to take these risks? YES I do. I hope my kids will be proud of me, and that it builds on my legacy and actions to try to raise awareness to the growing reality of climate change that is threatening my children’s future and mine. I want to WAKE UP my neighbors, friends, colleagues and total strangers by showing them that a mom of two ‘tweens thinks that these risks are worth it. After visiting the Tar Sands myself, I realize that stopping production from that end is highly unlikely unless the price of oil somehow plummets.
We have become too complacent, and are living in the age of the “emperor who wore no clothes” – we are too afraid to question the impact of the energy we crave, as the results would be too disturbing. Witnessing first hand the scale of production underway in northern Alberta to meet our current and future fossil fuel demands that sustain our current energy intensive lifestyle, was eye opening to say the least. These massive development projects make the Great Wall of China look like Tom Sawyer’s picket fence! The scale of the Tar Sands mining operations are set to double in the near future if the XL pipeline is approved.
As I see it, our only opportunity to slow down and possibly delay the massive development set to take place in the Tar Sands, until such time that we can ramp up our renewable energy capacity, will be to stop the flow of oil from the Tar Sands to refinery sites. The line in the sand for the US will be this XL Keystone Pipeline expansion. I want to be part of the attempt to stop it. I want to show my kids, that I am trying to do all I can for their future and for mine.