Tar Sands Blockade and John 15

As President Obama winds down two American war fronts in Iraq and Afghanistan, what will he do about the war at home? Watch this 50-minute video to better understand the nonviolent war being waged by Americans in Texas and Oklahoma against a foreign company which has hired a private army to protect its corporate interests.

From a Christian perspective, the moral war against the Keystone XL pipeline and bitumen tar mining has already been won, as our evangelicals brethren would say, in “the Lordship of Jesus Christ.” The Tar Sands Blockade and the nonviolent war being waged to defend God’s land and people is what the real “new evangelism” looks like: chaining oneself to corporate bulldozers, living in tree sits for months on end to protect the forest, living in a concrete pipe to shut down the construction zone, walking through burn zones to protect property lines, being dragged away by “off-duty police” hired as private security.

Isn’t this what Jesus talked about when he said, “There is no greater love than this: that a person would lay down his life for the sake of his friends” (John 15:13)? I think it is.

Here’s more about the film and filmmaker:

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TransCanada: ‘Sorry for the Disruption. We’ll be Playing Gentle Music and Getting Bolt Cutters’


In the category of “You Can’t Make This Stuff Up,” anti-Keystone XL hero Ramsey Sprague chained himself to the sound equipment at a pipeline industry conference in Texas this week. He interrupted the speech of TransCanada’s manager of quality and compliance, Tom Hamilton.

Sprague used his bully pulpit to explain the colossal dangers represented by opening up the tar sands and transporting nontraditional bitumen crude to refineries and the world market. When security guards asked him for the keys to his chain lock, he said he didn’t have them.

This situation prompted the exchange that should go down in history (and thanks, once again, to Democracy Now! for covering it):

Official: “Ladies and gentlemen, I’d just like to say I apologize for this disruption. We’ll be playing some gentle music and be getting some bolt cutters, and we will resume as soon as we can. Unfortunately, we can’t remove the speaker without shutting down the whole system. But we will be resuming as soon as possible. Thank you so much, and again we apologize for this.”

Ramsey Sprague: “I really apologize that TransCanada is a terrible actor stealing land from my friends in order to facilitate a toxic tar sands pipeline that is full of holes!”

Come to the National Mall on Feb. 17 to rally for presidential leadership on climate change and against the Keystone XL pipeline.

Read more about Ramsey’s work here.

Feb. 17 (It’s a Sunday. It’s a Holiday. It’s the Largest Climate Change Event in U.S. History.)

In the fall of 2011, during two weeks of public demonstrations at the White House in Washington, D.C., 1,252 Americans ended up in jail, the largest and most sustained protest of its kind in decades. They had one purpose: that President Obama reject the Keystone XL pipeline. (See #NOKXL)

Why? Not because they hate oil companies. Not because they don’t want people to have good construction jobs. For one reason only: It will push us off the climate change cliff, from which there is no manageable or inexpensive way back.

During 2012 the fight to stop the Keystone XL went local. Everywhere along its route in both Canada and the U.S., citizens have been praying, blockading, chaining themselves to earth-moving equipment, sitting in trees, fasting. In other words, doing everything they can think of along the route to stop the pipeline. (See Tar Sands Blockade.)

Now it’s 2013. Hurricane Sandy provided a tipping point in the American conscience on just how disruptive climate change is going to be. It’s not just a climate disruption; it’s a climate eruption.

Now is the time to come back to Washington, D.C.

There will be at least 15,000 people on the National Mall on February 17, 2013, to demand that the President take clear and effective leadership to address climate change and start by nixing the Keystone pipeline project. If we take him at his word from his second inaugural address, then he’s willing … if there is enough public pressure.

I invite you to turn that 15,000 into 15,000 + 1. Find out more.

[If you still have questions about whether the Keystone XL pipeline is a worthy target or if opening up bitumen tar reserves in Alberta is any different than any other kind of oil drilling, the read the most recent article from Scientific American “How Much Will Tar Sands Oil Add to Global Warming?”. It’ll set you straight and answer all your questions in detail.]