The Common Good

November 6: More Than Just the Climate Movement?

BEEEEEEThis Sunday (11/6), is precisely one year from the 2012 General Election where the next U.S. President will be elected, and to mark the date, thousands of people from across the country plan to gather at the White House.

But we're not gathering to celebrate, have a sit-in, or even march in protest. Instead, we plan to surround the White House -- literally -- in a Circle of Hope that could be as large as a mile or more in circumference.

From our Circle of Hope we will call upon President Obama to reject the dirty-oil, Keystone XL pipeline Big Oil wants to build from the Canadian tar sands in the Alberta province 6,000 miles south -- straight through the American Heartland -- to the oil refineries along the Gulf Coast of Texas.

We also plan to carry banners and signs with some of then-Senator Obama's words during his 2008 presidential campaign. Words that included:

  • "We can be the generation that finally frees America from the tyranny of oil."
  • "The next generation will not be held hostage to energy sources from the last century. We are not going to move backwards. We are going to move forward."
  • "We understand the gravity of the climate threat. We are determined to act. And we will meet our responsibility to future generations."
  • "The threat from climate change is serious, it is urgent, and it is growing."

Many thousands of climate, environmental, and environmental justice activists will be there on Sunday.

What about activists from the broader progressive movement?

I know that there will be some from the Occupy movement, which is very important. As primarily a young people's movement, it is young people -- as well as low-income, Indigenous, and other people of color -- who will be most affected as our planet grows hotter and hotter.

Beyond that I wonder ... I wonder based on seven years of attempting to spread the word about the urgency of the climate crisis and the need for more people to speak up and take action on it NOW.

There's no question that there is significantly greater consciousness about this issue among progressives and among the American public in general now than in 2004, thanks in large part to the droughts, rain and wind storms, flooding, tornadoes, earth quakes, tsunamis, and other extreme weather events that we have endured in recent years.

Anyone who is not in climate denial and willing to deal with reality knows that our climate has been disrupted. And it has been disrupted (and continues to be) in ways scientists predicted years ago -- if even more rapidly and extensively than they had anticipated.

Climate change must become an issue that the 99 percent takes up as its own. People will continue to work on the other issues that they see as most important, but all of us -- all of us who want to preserve the earth as a viable home for us and other life forms -- must also prioritize slowing, stopping, and reversing global heating.

And Sunday at the White House is an absolutely essential time and place to do so.

James Hansen, the nation's leading climate scientist, has said that if the tar sands are fully exploited, it is "game over" for any hope of avoiding worldwide climate catastrophe.

But we can win this battle!

Since the late-August/early-September actions at the White House, where more than 1,250 people were arrested, the no-pipeline movement has been growing and getting stronger. Just this week, at two events where Obama was speaking, no-pipeline activists were able to put this issue directly to him.

At almost every place where Obama has spoken around the country over the last month and a half, he has been met with visible protests on this issue, in addition to editorials against the pipeline from the New York Times, LA Times, and other newspapers along with a variety of other positive developments.

Let's win one for our wounded Mother Earth and her people.

Let's have a massive turnout on Sunday at the White House.

And let's keep building the momentum of our Autumn Awakening.

See you Sunday!

This post originally appeared on Grist.org.

Ted Glick is the National Policy Director of the Chesapeake Climate Action Network. Past writings and other information can be found at TedGlick.com.

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