, Tar Sands Blockade, Houston, TX
Crosss posted from Waging Nonviolence
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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.
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.