noKXL

I was deeply honored to spend some time this past week at the Reject and Project encampment on the National Mall. For six days, tribes, farmers, and ranchers (known as the Cowboy Indian Alliance) set up a tipi camp on the Mall, raising awareness about the plight to stop the Keystone XL and heal the tar sands. I had a chance to sit down with some youth participants from tribal and farmer backgrounds and listen to their stories--these youth leaders had some of those deepest resolve and commitment to protect land and famies that I've ever met.

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Last weekend, over 1,000 youth leaders converged in DC for XL Dissent - the largest-ever youth sit-in for climate justice. 398 young people were arrested for taking a peaceful & principled stand at the White House, protesting the Keystone XL pipeline. This action just didn't just make waves in DC - it also blew up in big ways on social media.

The Energy Action Coalition team was on-site and jumped in with friends at 350.org and SustainUS to take photos and sling memes - trying to spotlight the diversity of youth leaders who came from around the country (and as it turns out — the world.). Check out some of the deeply inspiring youth activists we met, who shared their stories with us at the pre-action training, as well as some of the inspiring speakers at the rally itself.

Most all of the memes are available on the XL Dissent Facebook Page - where stories of the youth resistance against KXL continues!

375 This meme captures one (of two) huge non-violent direct action trainings that happened the night before the action. This image mash-up totally popped on facebook and revved people up - with over 5,000 shares, and over a third of a million views. Photo and meme by Mary Schellentrager.

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“All years are important, but decisions made in 2014 will have a striking impact for decades to come.” –Andrew Steer, President and CEO of World Resources Institute

While celebrating New Year’s Eve in 2009, as the clock ticked down to a new decade I felt a tinge of apprehension.  The Copenhagen climate talks had just failed, yet the evidence was mounting that climate change was becoming more and more threatening.  As the clock struck midnight and 2009 turned into 2010, I sensed that this was the critical decade.  The next ten years, from 2010 to 2020, would largely define the state of the world for rest of the century.  Scientists have repeatedly warned that unless we peak total global greenhouse gas emissions by 2020, we won't be able to stabilize the climate below 2 degrees C of warming.  Can we peak global greenhouse gas emissions by 2020?  Can we figure out a viable global agreement to collectively act on climate?  Can the US enact meaningful climate policy?  All of these questions loomed large for me in 2009 as I thought about the years ahead.

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Last night, I received this email from my friend Ethan Nuss who is an organizer with the Tar Sands Blockade and spent the day in jail (on his birthday no less) after disrupting a TransCanada executive's presentation at a tar sands conference by locking himself to the projector. Please read his letter and join the Stop Tar Sands Profiteers Week of Action!

Howdy friends,

You might be wondering how I’m sending an email from jail. I’m not, at least not literally; I entrusted a friend to hit the “send” button for me.

You might also be wondering why I’m in jail.

I was arrested today because I interrupted a TransCanada exec’s speech at a tar sands marketing conference. I locked myself to the projector and told a ballroom full of tar sands profiteers that Keystone XL is a toxic investment.

I told them that I would not watch silently as TransCanada bullies the honest, hardworking folks of East Texas in order to pump some of the most toxic stuff on the planet through their front yards. Nor will I be silent as they send those poisons to Houston’s toxic East End where Latino children whom I’ve met suffer abnormally high rates of respiratory illness and are literally dying in the shadow of the refineries.

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