DC at Night

DC at Night

Sunday, February 17, 2013

People Power for Safer Power

Power to the people to find safer energy for a safer future
Poisoned water
Poisoned air
We get sick
And they don't care
                        --- 2013 Environmental chant

Mother Nature won't get fooled again
With slogans, signs, speeches, and songs, thousands and thousands (organizers estimated the crowd at between 30,000 and 50,000) environmentally-conscious activists of all ages rallied in D.C. today, calling for President Obama to put a permanent halt to the controversial Keystone XL pipeline and take more actions to stem global warming and climate change.

In addition to urging the president to act, the Forward on Climate rally, organized by 350.Org, the Sierra Club, and the Hip Hop Caucus, was also staged to show the depth of support for stronger environmental  protection.

The rally, being called the largest of its type ever in environmental history, was compared to Martin Luther King's historic Civil Rights march in DC 50 years ago during which Dr. King delivered his incomparable "I Have a Dream" speech. "They were fighting for equality; we are fighting for existence," Rev. Lennox Yearwood told the cheering, sign-waving crowd.

A pipeline of protest
Several speakers referred to President Obama's encouraging remarks on environmental concerns made during his recent State of the Union address. But there were also warnings if Obama doesn't act to halt the pipeline. "This pipeline, if it goes through - the first thing it runs over is the credibility of the president of the United States," said Van Jones, who worked for Obama as a "green jobs czar."

As proposed and supported by oil companies and the government of Canada, the Keystone XL pipeline would transport synthetic crude oil and tar sands from Alberta, Canada, through several U.S. states before terminating in Port Arthur, Texas.

Obama denied a permit application for the project last year, asking for further study. The president did not specifically mention Keystone XL in his address last week, but he did say "we must do more to combat climate change."
What does Democracy look like? This is What Democracy Looks like: Activist chant
Stop was the word
During a march around Washington and past the White House, the activists made their pipeline stand perfectly clear. "Hey hey, ho ho. The Keystone pipeline has got to go," they shouted. That chant mixed with others such as "Hey Obama, we don't need no climate drama" and large-group renditions of Woody Guthrie's "This Land Is Your Land" to form a soundtrack for the marchers, who clutched their signs tightly to avoid having them lifted to the sky by the brisk winds.

In front of the White House, the chants changed to "Mr.Obama, come on out, we've got things to talk about" and "Hey Michelle, tell your man, stop the dirty pipeline plan." While the marchers included people of all ages, much of the focus was on families and the future. Grandparents, who might have attended Civil Rights or Vietnam War protests in the 1960's, now walked the DC streets with their children and grandchildren. Many of the young marchers represented colleges, universities, and churches from around the country. There was also a strong presence from the Occupy Wall Street and Occupy Atlanta groups.
Tales, Tidbits, and Tips
To see videos and other articles about today's rally, just click here.

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