They came in buses and cars, on planes and trains. They stood in the cold, flags and banners waving, babes in arms. They listened as leaders of indigenous tribes, climate activists and a senator from Rhode Island spoke about the devastation oil and gas companies have already caused in Canada and the U.S. And the obligation President Obama has to protect future generations by rejecting the Keystone XL pipeline.
The Feb. 17, “Forward on Climate” rally attracted between 40,000 – 50,000 people. It generated hundreds of articles and videos – not just in the alternative press, but in the mainstream media. It was, as the Rev. Lennox Yearwood, leader of the Hip Hop Caucus and the MC for event called it, the climate movement’s “lunch counter moment.” Yearwood was referring to that galvanizing moment in 1960 when black people said, “enough.” When they started sitting at “whites only” public lunch counters, enduring all manner of abuse, until they were finally heard, and the Civil Rights Act was born.
Have we all had enough? Did Obama hear us? We’re not sure yet about Obama, but clearly a few state politicians heard us – and they didn’t like what they heard. Lawmakers in Missouri, Mississippi, Michigan and Minnesota have proposed bills calling on Congress to approve the Keystone XL pipeline. The bills are lifted directly from a “model” American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) bill and from TransCanada’s own public relations talking points.
Will enough politicians come to their senses and vote for the future of life? Or will they vote with the natural gas and oil lobbyists? Time will tell. In the meantime, thanks to all of you who marched behind the OCA’s “Cook Organic, not the Planet” banner. Gives a whole new meaning to “lunch counter moment,” doesn’t it?