Washington’s Biggest Climate Rally so far – February 17, 2013, “It’s Time To Cut Carbon” – start with stopping Fracking and Tar Oil – but do not forget to decrease reliance on oil in general and stop imports of oil.
This was the biggest climate change rally in US history. By the organizers’ count, 50,000 people gathered by the Washington Monument and then marched past the White House.
Leaders of the rally said they wanted to press Obama to follow up on the strong rhetoric in his inaugural address about the need to slow climate change. The official posters at the rally borrowed Obama’s campaign slogan “forward.” Some read: “Mr. President, Forward — on Climate.” The organizers were from www.ForwardOnClimate.org a close relative of www.350.org
The temperature in Washington was well below freezing – nevertheless busloads of people arrived from all over the country. There was a mix of young and old – all people with an image of a carbon poor world. I arrived from Manhattan with Bus West-Side #2 and upon arrival picked a sign that said – “CLIMATE ACTION: IT’S OUR OBLIGATION” –
on the other side it said: “IT’S TIME TO CUT CARBON.” Many of the participants were more creative and brought their home made posters with them.
If you wish – it was a festival with a cause. People came because they were enchanted with President Obama having uttered in his State of the Union speech the magic words – EXECUTIVE ORDER and wanted to show him and Congress that the 99% are behind him and want to lead him in leading the Nation.
THE GENERAL IDEA IS THUS ACTIONS NEEDED BECAUSE OF CLIMATE CHANGE and one must stop doing business as usual – inventing new ways to supply fossil carbon fuels – that is the way FOSSIL FUEL FOOLS think. The positive way is to bring in the wind and the sun and whatever means can be found to create a non-carbon society,
For practical reasons, to achieve the above, it is imperative therefore to STOP TAR OIL and SHALE GAS. This because these are methods that continue business as usual and postpone the needed real change.
The problem with this rally has become thus that a large part of the rally was highjacked by the groups that came to fight the Keystone “KXL Pipeline” and the Shale-Fracking activities. CLIMATE was thus forgotten in the process and looking at the written media on-line I realized that all what they saw in it was just the opposition to these two technologies and did not cover the much larger aspect of the rally. I just cannot cope with the lack of mentioning all those wind-mills that were spinning on the Mall next to the Washington Monument.
All right – WE CAME OUT FOR MOTHER EARTH and were against the Mother-frackers as one home made poster declared. We were there against the 1% that makes money out of creating misery for the 100%. Posters kept saying that we were the 99% and a New York contingent of Occupy Wall Street folks called for Occupy the Pipelines. By God – they were right demanding that President Obama block the Keystone XL pipeline and move forward toward climate action! They marched behind a long banner that read, “Occupy Wall Street, Stop Keystone.” Some dressed as grim reapers, including one carrying a paper scythe with the words “tar sands.
The claim that natural gas is helping to cut back on US greenhouse gas emissions is questioned by some environmentalists. Greenpeace says no proper analysis has been done on gas leakage from fracking sites. In particular, there is a fear that methane – which is a far more dangerous greenhouse gas than carbon dioxide – may be escaping from wells and adding to the warming of the atmosphere. Campaigners claim that there have been more than 1,000 cases of groundwater contamination in the US because of fracking and have urged a moratorium on underground drilling. Signs were telling Governor Cuomo that it will be remembered at re-election time in 2015 if he allows fracking in new York State.
It was a great idea to have the rally on a day that Washington was closed because of the Presidential Weekend and the President himself, and his family, enjoying good weather in Florida. After all – it was better to avoid any unneeded confrontation that some hot-head could have provoked. The rally at the Washington Monument and the walk in front of the White House were only for the media and future pressure on Congress thanks to this show of numbers.
Was it a success in these terms? I do not know – the TV channels did not show the activity and the on-line media focused only on the pipeline and the fracking topics. So far I did not see the Climate Change issue, the Security issue, or the clear call for Cutting Carbon Emissions in these media avenues.
There were many high points: Van Jones declaring that Keystone is the only presidential decision anyone will care about in 20 years; billionaire investment fund manager in California Tom Steyer, a major fundraiser for Obama, laying out why it’s a bad investment; Chief Jackie Thomas explaining the toll that the tar sands are taking on her neighbors, and promising that they would never allow a tar sands pipeline west to the Pacific. Speakers against the Keystone pipeline included further Bill McKibben, a Middlebury College professor who has led the fight to stop the pipeline; two leaders of First Nation tribes in Canada. “If this pipeline goes through, your government will help in the raping and pillaging of the land of my ancestors,” said Chrystal Lameman, a member of the Beaver Lake Cree Nation in Canada. “Then [the companies] promise to give back what was never theirs in the first place.”
“Mr. President, we have heard what you’ve said on climate; we have loved a lot of what you’ve said on climate,” said Michael Brune, executive director of the Sierra Club. “Our question is: What will you do?”
Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse (D-R.I.) told members of the crowd that they could help encourage Obama. “We are going to have the president’s back and he is going to have our back,” Whitehouse said, adding that “We are going to look at our grandchildren and say ‘Yes, we did.’ ”
The Washington Post reported:
The group rallied on a slice of the Mall just north of the Washington Monument before heading down Constitution Avenue, up 17th Street and past the White House chanting slogans such as “We are unstoppable, another world is possible” and “Hey, hey, ho, ho, Keystone pipeline’s got to go.”
Said Steyer: “I get the argument for the Keystone. The argument is that it is business as usual because we use fossil fuels. But the time for business as usual has passed.”
Senator Sheldon Whitehouse said that “if the president and Secretary Kerry choose to approve the pipeline and proceed, there will be a massive credibility gap between that and what he said in the inauguration, especially if this is the first deed out of the box. That will be a problem for him.”
The president wasn’t home, however. He was in Florida playing golf with Tiger Woods and Jim Crane, a Houston businessman who owns the Houston Astros as well as the residential compound where Obama is spending the holiday weekend.
But the demonstrators tried to send him a message nonetheless, carrying signs opposing not only the proposed pipeline from Canada to Texas, but also opposing hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, and coal plants. “Windmills, not oil spills,” one placard said. Another said, “Fossil fuels? Fossil fools.” And another: “Read my lips: no new carbons.”
People were distributing leaflets. The Sierra Club for instance wants to prepare a letter to President Obama as per www.sierraclub,org/climatelegacy
PRESIDENT OBAMA’s CLIMATE AND CLEAN ENERGY LEGACY.
President Obama, now is your time to lead in the fight agaubst climate disruption. The science is real, the damage to our planet and our economy is real, and – particularly after a year of extreme weather including droughts, wildfires and Hurricane sAndy – the effects on American families and their pocketbooks are very, very real. WE can turn the corner on climatedisruption, but only if America acts now. We call on you to use the Office of the Presodent to:
– Make climate disruption a key pillar of your second Administration, take bold action and stand up for climate science.
– Connect the dots so Americans understand how carbon emissions have led to a climate on steroids, which can trigger more climate related disasters. disruption.
– Speak often about the issue to the American people and the world and encourage all lawmakers – from Heads of State, to Congress, to local cities and towns – to support meaningful administrative action on climate disruption.
Another leaflet looks at the Trans-Pacific Partnership TPP and sees in it Polluters’ Powergrab – because under free trade agreements you can not pursue polluters from outside the country under the country law. The Pollution creator will be able to sue non compliance and loss of business if certain imports are forbidden. That clearly reminded us of our experience with a US company acting out of Canada ibn an effort to force the US to pay compensation for laws that demanded un-leaded gasoline.
Another, from an alumnus of MIT, talks about the Gandean example of suffering, jail, and non-violent resistance for a cause – and expected effects from Climate Change can be such a cause.
Another passed around the link to www.FrackingExposed,com