Stephen Colbert Interviews Bill McKibben on “Delayed Until Denied” Keystone XL Pipeline

“They are getting the oil out of the oil sands. On the upside, doesn’t that leave us nice clean sand when we are done, which Alberta will need when it is water front property in 50 years?”–Stephen Colbert

Video: Gulf Coasters Sit in at White House to Stop Keystone XL Pipeline

As of today, more than 900 people have been arrested at the White House  as part of the Tar Sands Action demanding that President Obama reject the Keystone XL pipeline and take positive steps to shift the U.S. away from fossil fuels.

(Thanks to Catherine Wang at the Pulitzer Center on Crisis Reporting for this video.)

Cherri Foytlin, who took part in the Tar Sands Action demonstration in Washington, D.C., said she was directly affected by last year’s BP oil spill and came to Washington to “make a bigger voice and to protect our world.” She calls herself an “accidental activist” who got involved with environmental awareness campaigns after the BP spill, which she says continues to degrade the ecosystems of her home state, Louisiana.

It is clear to me now that smaller, regional groups that have been fighting local effects of oil spills and fighting the oil companies are joining together in the Tar Sands Action. A much larger movement is in the making. It’s a movement that is not going away.

As we head into an election season, President Obama will have to engage directly this “line in the sand.” (Listen to NPR’s story on the Tar Sands Action.)

Joe Uehlin, who served on the UN Commission on Global Warming in the 1980s and 1990s, said, “I saw how our international and national mechanisms have failed us,” Uehlin said “We need drastic action to stop putting carbon in the atmosphere.”

‘Christianity is a Lifestyle’

Please keep me in your prayers as I prepare myself for tomorrow’s Tar Sands Action at the White House. It will likely end in a “very civil civil disobedience,” as Bill McKibben says – and arrest. To date, 381 people have been arrested. Monday’s “religious contingent” will likely be the largest group yet. I’m grateful to be able to live my “Christian lifestyle” out loud in this way – to take a small political risk for the gospel.

It seems to me that it is a minority that gets the true and full gospel. We just keep worshiping Jesus and arguing over the right way to do it. The amazing thing is that Jesus never once says “worship me!” He says, “follow me” (e.g., Matthew 4:19).

Christianity is a lifestyle—a way of being in the world that is simple, nonviolent, shared, and loving. However, we made it into a clever “religion,” in order to avoid the lifestyle itself. One could be warlike, greedy, racist, selfish, and vain, and still believe that Jesus is their “personal Lord and Savior.” The world has no time for such silliness anymore. The suffering on Earth is too great.

Adapted from Center for Action and Contemplation: Gospel Call to Compassionate Action (Bias from the Bottom) and Contemplative Prayer

No More Dirty Work! Clean, Green Jobs, not Tar Sands Oil

Dear Beloved Community,

President Barack Obama will decide as early as September whether to light a fuse to the largest carbon bomb in North America. That bomb is the massive tar sands field in Canada’s Alberta province. And the fuse is the 1,700-mile long Keystone XL Pipeline that would transport this dirtiest of petroleum fuels all the way to Texas refineries.

I am writing you now because the Keystone XL Pipeline is a climate and pollution horror beyond description. From August 20th to September 3rd, thousands of Americans – including Bill McKibben, Danny Glover, and NASA’s Dr. James Hansen, and myself – will be at the White House, day after day, demanding Obama reject this tar sands pipeline.

While pro-oil lobbies will undoubtedly tell President Obama that America needs the jobs, there are thousands of Americans who are saying “No more dirty work! Give us clean, green jobs for a healthy planet and healthy families.”

Given the high stakes, many protestors will engage in peaceful civil disobedience, day after day to make their voices heard. Already the attention this event is getting will likely make it the biggest act of civil disobedience in the climate movement’s history.

I’m going to be there, and I hope you will join me – this action, and this issue needs your voice. This action will be going on for two weeks, but you only need to be there for one day – so pick a day between Aug. 20 and Sept. 3 that you can make it to DC, and let the world know just what you think of the tar sands. Click here to sign up.

If you would like to participate with the “Religious Contingent” affinity group on AUGUST 29, then sign up at the Tar Sands Action site AND ALSO send an email to Tim Kumfer ([email protected]).

If built, the Keystone XL Pipeline would lock America into a future of planet-warming energy dependency. Indeed, Dr. Hansen – America’s top climate scientist – has said that full exploitation of Canada’s tar sands would be “game over” for efforts to solve climate change.

In 2009, Catholic Bishop Luc Bouchard of Alberta, Canada, wrote in a prophetic pastoral letter warning of the moral danger of this pipeline.

“When there is uncertainty as to whether a development project seriously endangers the environment, a pre-cautionary principle utilizing prudence and caution should guide the decision making process which itself must be administratively transparent. Therefore, massive projects that clearly endanger the environment must be approached in a deliberate, open, and consultative manner.”

President Obama alone – without input from Congress – has the power to approve or reject the Keystone XL Pipeline.

He will decide as soon as September whether to honor his campaign pledge to create a clean-energy economy, or to lock us in as a nation that cooks and distills filthy tar sands for much of our energy. Building this pipeline will be an economic and moral setback for clean-energy sources of all types. This is a line in the sand. The tar sands!

Here’s the link to sign up again: http://www.tarsandsaction.org/sign-up. Let me know if you have any questions, thoughts or concerns – I hope you’ll join us. This is just too important to stay home.

Peace and All Good,
Rose

Will The White House Go Solar … Again?

Balcony solar water heaters in Zhejiang, China

Karen Lattea over at Sojourners has got a nice post on whatever happened to those White House solar panels that Jimmy Carter installed in the 1970s. They didn’t sit well with subsequent oil-baron presidents and were removed. But … things are looking sunny again!

In 1979, then-President Jimmy Carter announced the installation of solar panels on the White House roof. Today, a group of students from Unity College in Unity, Maine, accompanied by 350.org founder and environmentalist Bill McKibben, will ask President Obama to re-install the panels on the roof of his home.

The story of how the solar panels got from the White House to Maine was covered yesterday morning on Democracy Now! as the student delegation passed through New York on its way to Washington, D.C. Democracy Now!, broadcast on WPFW every morning in the D.C. metro area, is the always-informative, often-disturbing, independent- and grassroots-focused news and interview program hosted by Amy Goodman. Yesterday, Goodman and co-host Juan Gonzalez covered a story that provided both a reminder of the importance of symbolic activism and insight into how the next generation of activists is being born.

Read Karen’s whole post here.

Terry Tempest Williams at Capitol Coal Plant

climate-action-march-2-in-dcterrytwcropsmallwebI’ve enjoyed Utah-based essayist Terry Tempest Williams since I read her 1991 book “The Clan of One-Breasted Women” (“I belong to a Clan of One-Breasted Women. My mother, my grandmothers, and six aunts have all had mastectomies. Seven are dead. The two who survive have just completed rounds of chemotherapy and radiation.”) about her family’s experience living as Downwinders from the Nevada Desert Nuclear Test Site.

A few weeks ago, at the Artists for Climate Action event in downtown D.C., I heard her speak. She highlighted some work she’d been doing with creative writing students in collecting oral histories from coal-mining communities in Wyoming. It turned into “an unprecedented experiment in the art of listening,” as Alexandra Fuller described it in her New York Times OpEd piece. You can read the students’ Weather Reports and see photos they took during their community listening project.

Terry’s newest book, Finding Beauty in a Broken World, is a study of the art of mosaics, which she then applies to examining ecological mosaics in Bryce Canyon and the to the broken land of Rwanda attempting the art of putting what’s broken back together again in a shape that is beautiful.

I saw her at the Chesapeake Climate Action Network demonstration on Monday to close down or convert to solar the Capitol Hill Power plant (which runs on 49 percent coal supplied by Peabody Energy). There was a great line up of Kentucky essayist Wendell Berry, Methodist environmental leader Bill McKibben, head of NASA scientist James Hansen, country music star Kathy Mattea, and Terry Tempest Williams all under the banner “Save Our Mountains.” It was a beautiful sight to see.