Moving Beyond Dirty Energy

Crosss posted from Waging Nonviolence

By: Kristin Moe & Ethan Nuss

Social movements succeed when ordinary people step outside their comfort zones and embrace their personal bravery. In the interest of preserving our global climate and a habitable future, we are doing just that. After almost four years together, we are spending the summer 1,700 miles apart. But through our separation we’ve been connected by one thing: the Keystone XL tar sands oil pipeline.

One of us, Kristin, is a writer reporting from Alberta, Canada — the mouth of the pipeline, where tar sands oil is extracted — while the other, Ethan, is an activist with Tar Sands Blockade in Texas, where the proposed pipeline would cut through on its way to the Gulf of Mexico.

Here are two letters we’ve written to each other reflecting on experiences working with First Nations peoples in Alberta whose lands and lives are being devastated by tar sands extraction, meeting Texas landowners who will have their property taken from them by eminent domain and the climate movement we hope will bring about the justice that’s sorely lacking.

Dear Ethan,

I’m hurtling up Highway 63 towards tar sands ground zero, a couple days ahead of this Saturday’s Healing Walk. About 1,700 kilometers south, you’re at the other end of the proposed path of the Keystone XL. When I read last week that Obama had approved the final permits for construction of the southern leg of the pipeline, my heart sank. Last summer in D.C., when all 1,252 of us were arrested in front of the White House and after the huge momentum that followed, I thought for a minute that it wouldn’t come to this. But it has.

After two months up here, I have a pretty good sense of the players in this game. I hesitate to say “game,” but let’s face it: there are very clear winners and very clear losers. The winners, obviously, are the multinationals who rake in the big bucks; the biggest, actually, since oil is the most profitable industry… ever. And the losers are the First Nations and other people on whose land is being built a mining operation on such scale it would make you gape in wonder.

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We’ve all seen it before, Wolf Blitzer standing in front of a wall of plasma screens beaming with brightly colored maps of red and blue swing state projections. You can just see the political junkies drooling over every new 538 forecast and freshly crunched polling numbers. It seems our electoral process has been reduced to color coding the country and headlines about breaking fundraising records. Yep, it’s all just maps and money.

But in the end there’s only one red and blue map that actually matters. And its entirely red. Five alarm, stoplight red. I’m talking about the map released yesterday from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Association (NOAA) reporting that July was the hottest month in the US on record, and by that I mean since the beginning of 1895. Red indicates the “Record Warmest” by state and as you can see it was a hot one. (And for all you wonks out there that don’t get your needed thrill from this monotone map there’s plenty of statistical jerky for you to chew on the NOAA website.)

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TransCanada has threatened to begin construction on the dreaded Keystone XL pipeline "within weeks." There's a growing movement of Texas landowners and activists ready to use nonviolent direct action to stop them, and we need your help! Together we can halt this dirty pipeline in its tracks and build the healthy, clean energy future we know is possible.

LIKE and SHARE this video to support this critical campaign. Sign up on the Tar Sands Blockade website to learn more about how to get involved.

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A week ago today on July 28, 2012 Power Shift TV had the pleasure of chatting it up with young activists in Washington, DC for Stop the Frack Attack. Here's a brief introduction of their stories and passion for environmental rights, sustainability and the power of the youth vote.

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