More than 50,000 strong in D.C., standing for millions more across the country! Watch a recording of the Forward on Climate Rally here:
By Evangeline Lilly, actor and activist.
On February 17, I am joining tens of thousands of people on the National Mall in Washington, D.C., along with tens of thousands more in cities and towns across the nation, in what will be the largest climate action in US history.
The Piscataway Tribe has graciously extended a welcome to our First Nation guests from British Columbia, Canada, and to ALL of us. Thank you Chief Billy Tayac and thank you everyone who is descending on Washington, DC, from around the nation for the Forward on Climate Rally!
Welcoming the Forward on Climate Rally
Greetings Chief Abraham, Chief Flurer, Chief Thomas, and the Yinka Dene Alliance,
On behalf of the Piscataway Indian Nation, I welcome you, all indigenous representatives, and all allies to our ancestral homeland on the Potomac River, a place now known as Washington, D.C.
We are grateful for your steadfast courage and perseverance to dismantle this terrible assault on our Mother Earth – the Keystone XL Pipeline. We join you in calling upon President Obama to reject Tar Sands oil and to immediately desist from any further engagement with the Pipeline.
Our ancestors entrusted us with the care of all our relations, keeping the balance of life so that the seventh generation can know this living Earth. These are our Original Instructions. Not man’s law, but Creator’s Law.
May Mother Earth Endure Her Suffering,
Chief Billy Redwing Tayac
Two new blog posts from NRDC:
A Climate Rally at the Right Time, by Frances Beinecke
When I started talking about climate change more than a decade ago, I worried my future grandchildren would someday face rising sea levels and punishing drought. Now it’s clear those dangers won’t wait until a later date. They have arrived already, and they are delivering heartache and suffering right now.
Just the facts: Climate Impacts from the Keystone XL Tar Sands Pipeline, by Daniell Droitsch
A key issue in the debate over the Keystone XL tar sands pipeline is about the impact it would have on climate. The Keystone XL tar sands pipeline is a fundamental element in the oil industry’s plan to triple production of tar sands oil from 2 million barrels per day (bpd) to 6 million bpd by 2030, and in the longer term to hike production to more than 9 million bpd. A backgrounder on the climate impacts from Keystone XL released by the Natural Resources Defense Council details how the U.S. decision on whether to approve the Keystone XL pipeline will have a direct bearing on whether the tar sands industry can attain those goals, with their attendant increases in carbon pollution. Keystone XL would lock the U.S. into a long-term commitment to an energy infrastructure that relies on dirty oil.
Superstorms. Devastating drought. Out-of-control wildfires. Record-breaking temperatures. There’s no doubt about it: climate change has become impossible to ignore. And while it’s encouraging to see more and more Americans join the call for bold action on climate, there’s one issue that we still hear far too little about: the impact of global warming on low-income communities and people of color.
Hurricane Katrina taught us a lesson—and Superstorm Sandy reinforced it. People living in neighborhoods with the fewest resources have a harder time escaping, surviving, and recovering from disasters. And they’re more vulnerable to the extreme weather climate change will bring. For example, African-Americans living in Los Angeles are more than twice as likely to die during a heat wave than other residents of the city. That’s because cities develop “heat islands,” which are created by an abundance of concrete and asphalt. Urban areas prone to the heat-island effect are more densely populated by people of color—and folks living in these areas tend to have limited access to cars and air conditioning.
Meanwhile, communities of color have been suffering the health effects of climate change pollution for far too long. Sixty-eight percent of African Americans live within 30 miles of a coal plant—one of the biggest sources of carbon pollution in America. That might help explain why African American kids have a much higher rate of asthma—one in six, compared with one in ten nationwide.
So when America is faced with a decision, as we are now, about whether to accelerate climate change or to fight it with all we’ve got—it’s much more than an environmental issue. It’s a public health and human rights issue.
That’s why the Keystone XL pipeline is such a major concern. The oil it would carry is the dirtiest on earth—creating three times as much carbon pollution as regular oil. It’s steroids for climate change.
And it gets worse. Mining tar sands oil wipes out huge swaths of forest, destroying the planet’s natural ability to fight global warming. The extraction process kills wildlife and leaves behind pools of poisoned water and sludge. High levels of arsenic, mercury, and lead have been found at Canadian tar sands sites. It’s not surprising then, that the indigenous tribes who live near these operations have spoken out about staggeringly high rates of cancer and illness in their communities.
Here in America, the toxic oil carried by the pipeline would end up in Port Arthur, Texas—a predominantly black and Latino neighborhood that is already plagued by pollution-related health problems. The massive number of oil refineries in the area are blamed for the fact that residents there have a 50 percent higher chance of contracting leukemia. And the Keystone pipeline would add millions of barrels of dirty tar sands crude to the toxic mix.
To permit the pipeline would represent a heartbreaking acquiescence to climate change on the part of President Obama and our national leaders. It would be throwing our hands up helplessly in the face of one of the biggest threats our country has ever faced. That’s not the kind of leadership we voted for.
There are certain points in history, like the Civil Rights Movement, when the consequences of inaction are so great that we have to make bold choices. This is one of those times.
Instead of allowing dirty energy projects like Keystone to move forward, we should be redoubling our investments in clean energy and in the kind of infrastructure that will make communities more resilient to the effects of climate change. Doing so not only builds stronger communities, but has the added benefit of creating economic opportunity capable of lifting people out of poverty. These investments create good, healthy jobs—jobs that can’t be shipped overseas. For example, fixing America’s crumbling water infrastructure alone would put roughly 2 million people to work—while helping manage floods and heat waves.
We’re making a mistake if we treat dirty energy projects like the Keystone pipeline as an environmental issue that’s a concern only to folks who have the luxury of worrying about such things. The pipeline—and climate change—pose an enormous threat to the health and safety of our most vulnerable communities. And we have a moral obligation to stand up and fight.
And if we do it right, we can make sure that people of color and low-income Americans have access to the world of opportunity that’s created by smart, innovative response to climate change. We can create a safer, healthier, more prosperous world for all of our children and grandchildren.
A travel update for folks coming to the Forward on Climate Rally from Delaware, New York, New Jersey, and other points north:
I-95 Southbound will be closed just south of Exit 4A to Route 1 Southbound) from 10 p.m. until 10 a.m. The I-95 ramps to Churchman’s Road and SR 1 Southbound will remain open during the closure of I-95 Southbound.
In order to mitigate anticipated backups on I-95 Southbound Exit 4A, traffic is encouraged to exit I-95 at the SR 141 Interchange, travel south to US 13 Southbound, South to SR 273 Westbound, then back to I-95.
You might also consider taking I-78 or I-76 if you have the flexibility. The portion of I-95 that is closed is short, however congestion can be expected at the closure point except late at night. The detour route is a longer detour that should get you off I-95 before the closure point and hopefully avoid the worst of the traffic, making this an extra 20-30 delay. From the closure point to Washington is a little under two hours, so even if you get stuck the freeway will still re-open with enough time to get you to DC for the start of the rally. Closures like this are often re-opened earlier than the time posted to help deal with congestion, so please check live traffic conditions and highway advisory signs before making the decision to detour.
Once you’re in D.C., note that WMATA is performing track work on the subway system and there will be some suburban station closures. Check the WMATA website for details.
Posted by Nathan Empsall, Sierra Club.
Posted by Nathan Empsall, Sierra Club
We are excited to announce that Eve will be performing at the Forward on Climate Rally this Sunday, February 17!
Eve is a Grammy winning, multi-platinum recording artist and a talented actress & fashion designer. She joins inspiring speakers Michael Brune, Bill McKibben, Saik’uz First Nation Chief Jacqueline Thomas, Van Jones, and more - this will be a remarkable day to make history!
NRDC video posted by Nathan Empsall, Sierra Club
President Obama underscored the urgent need to address climate change in his inaugural address last month and John Kerry called climate change a “life-threatening issue” of national security upon his nomination for Secretary of State.
Now, the League is partnering with environmental groups, women’s groups, and social justice groups across the country for the February 17th “Forward on Climate” rally in Washington, DC.
“Forward on Climate” will be the largest rally on climate change in history. The event aims to show the Obama administration that there is strong public support for moving ahead with climate change solutions. Please make plans to attend, if you can. If you cannot attend in person, you can join the conversation via Facebook and Twitter. Also, use the hashtag #ForwardonClimate to follow news and information leading up to and live from the rally.
The League is thrilled that climate change is finally getting the attention it deserves. We have taken a number of steps in past months to address the issue. The work of League members and environmental advocates across the country resulted in nearly 3,000grassroots letters sent to the White House in support of action to combat climate change. The League also launched a successful print ad campaign in the Honolulu Star Advertiser to encourage the President to take action. The League firmly believes that it’s time for the U.S. to take the lead on climate change. If President Obama and his administration do not move forward with standards to reduce carbon emissions from new and existing power plants, the world we live in will not be around for our children to enjoy.
By Carleen Pickard, Global Exchange
Chances are that if you are reading this, you will know how I feel about the Tar Sands in Alberta, Canada. This oil extraction method is intensive and causes irrevocable damage to the environment. The area is a catastrophic scar on the Earth. Land has been destroyed forever. Water has been permanently poisoned. First Nations communities struggle downstream to maintain a healthy and traditional lifestyle. Laborers are shipped in from Eastern Canada and Somalia to work intensive schedules.Crime drug and alcohol addiction has soared on the streets of Ft. McMurray. I’ve seen it, it’s a mess.
Communities across Canada and the U.S. have fought to keep pipelines used to transport the stuff off their land and out to sea because pipelines leak, they just do; because communities know that the short term jobs that it takes to build a pipeline are just that –short term, (while the effects are long term); and because companies like TransCanada don’t care about local impact or people like me and you.
The fate of the Keystone XL pipeline is still on the table (it’s been a roller coaster ride to date). If approved it will crack open the Tar Sands in unimaginable ways. It will increase extraction from the Tar Sands by 700,000 barrels a day and send it down to the Gulf of Mexico for processing and export. 350.org Bill McKibben has repeatedly called Keystone XL the fuse to the largest ‘carbon bomb’ we’ll ever know.
So, I’m taking action, with literally tens of thousands of others, to send an immediate message to President Obama and Secretary of State John Kerry (who says he wants to make an announcement on Keystone XL ‘in the near term‘). This rally on February 17 is a first step to ensuring the President makes real strides in his second term on climate change.
Oh right, and the Tar Sands contribute to climate change, something big. Stopping Keystone XL is the first real stride the President can take.
On February 17, actions will take place across the country to move this country Forward on Climate. I am proud we are supporting the efforts inWashington D.C. and San Francisco. Momentum is huge – there are scientists, movie stars,Canadians, Canadian scientists and Canadian music stars supporting the efforts, thousands of people like you are coming to D.C. and the potential for thousands of others to take action online.
1) Watch this! Specialty Studios is offering the award-winning film WHITE WATER, BLACK GOLD free online for viewing and sharing by anyone through February 18.
2) Spread the word on Facebook and Twitter: Here are some social media messages you can use to help promote the climate rally action on Facebook and Twitter. Please share with your followers! (Or simply click the “Like” and “Retweet” buttons on the top right of this post.
3) Join the Thunderclap:
350.org is using a new online tool to amplify our voices on Twitter and Facebook. It’s called Thunderclap — because together, that’s how loud we can be. They’re hoping to get 10,000 people on board — click here to join: 350.org/thunderclap.
4) Submit Your Photos
There will be a giant screen at the rally, showing photos and messages of support from across the country — to get your message on the screen, take a photo showing your support for the action, or of a part of your community that you want protected from climate change, then email it to email@example.com, with your location in the subject line. (Or, you can post your photo to Twitter or Instagram with the hashtag #ForwardOnClimate).
Folks at 350.org will pick out the best ones to put on the screen for tens of thousands of people to see, just outside the White House.
5) Share Your Sign
Finally, the 350.org web team put together this nifty sharable sign-maker that you can use to make a custom sign declaring your support for the action. They’re beautiful, and easy to share on your social networks. Check it out: sign.350.org.
Don’t forget to “like” and “retweet” this post to spread the word about the largest ever U.S. climate rally. Buttons are on the top right.
By Allison Fisher, Public Citizen. Cross-posted from Daily Kos.
When corporate power can trump a crisis that has already taken lives, affected millions of Americans and cost billions of dollars in economic losses and infrastructure and property damage, it is time for citizens to act collectively.
When industry interests have more influence than a sweeping breadth of experts and leaders from around the globe – the climate science community, our leading public health experts, our military leaders, heads of state from all over the world and renowned religious leaders – who have called on the United States to take domestic action and provide international leadership on climate change, it is time for citizens to act collectively.
When we as a country stop rising to the challenges of our time because our elected officials fear backlash from corporate donors, it is time for citizens to act collectively.