After two weeks of tars sands pipeline protests, what’s next?

  • Published on September 5th, 2011

President Obama, YES YOU CAN stop the Keystone XL pipelineBy Bill McKibben

I’m typing this under a tree in the rain in Lafayette Square Park, across from the White House.

In front of me a big spirited rally is unfolding – musicians, some kind of amazing aerial art project that I don’t completely understand yet but am certain will be beautiful.

Behind me, 243 people are sitting patiently in the rain, waiting to be arrested – they’ve started hauling away the women as I speak, one by one, hands cuffed behind their backs, heads held very very hight.

That’s the biggest day of this action yet, and it brings the total number of arrested to, unofficially, 1,252.  Which is apparently the largest civil disobedience action of any kind this century.

Brave people have accomplished two things very clearly:

1—made the tar sands pipeline the focal point of environmentalists around the country, the biggest flashpoint we’ve had in decades

2—put the president on the spot. Everyone is well aware now that he, and he alone, can make this call.

That doesn’t mean, unfortunately, that we’ve won. We’ve changed the odds – but as the president’s baffling and heartless decision on ozone regulations yesterday made clear, the odds are still in big oil’s favor.

Which means, on to phase 2. Extensive details will follow within 48 hours—suffice it to say, no rest for the weary, we have an extensive battle plan for the next six weeks. We need you more than we ever did, to capitalize on the momentum we’ve built together.

The most helpful thing you could do right now is tell everyone you know – everyone on your email list–to go to and sign up to be getting the email items. This is a somewhat homemade movement we’ve built from scratch, and we’re going to need everyone’s help to seize the momentum we’ve built. There’s anger here after yesterday’s sad decision on ozone, but there’s more hope and determination – if we’re ever going to make a stand, now’s the time.

Oh, and one more thing, about which more later. We are not going to do the president the favor of simply attacking him. Instead, with quiet determination, we’re going to hold this campaign to the standards of the last one. To me, the Obama campaign was always more important than the candidate. We have some ways, we hope, of trying to hold him to the standard he rallied us around 3 years ago. As I said, more to follow at – and I’ll do my best to keep updating people here as well.

Thanks to all who have helped so far. I wish we could give you a rest, but the next six weeks will be crucial.

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What you can do: 

More on the Keystone XL action and the Tar Sands:

(Image by Erick Boustead via 350.0rg)

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