A few weeks ago I ventured out into a snowstorm to attend a demonstration concerning the Keystone XL Pipeline. The State Department had just issued its environmental report which said the pipeline would have a negligible effect on climate change, and now the ball’s in President Obama’s court to decide whether to approve the pipeline’s construction.
Contrary to the State Department’s report downplaying the environmental consequences, the pipeline has been described by some environmentalists as the “line in the sand” in terms of our energy policy because the greenhouse gasses that would result from refining and burning the tar sands oil “would tip the scales toward dire climate change”. Climate scientist James Hanson has gone as far as saying if the pipeline moves forward and the tar sands extraction continues, the “game’s over” in our efforts to avoid runaway global warming.
Those of us who braved the cold and the snow that day to express our concern about the pipeline huddled next to the Federal Building in Center City Philadelphia listening to a handful of speakers talk about the implications of the pipeline and about the pledge that thousands of people across the country are signing, committing themselves to civil disobedience should the pipeline be approved. The organizers then said they would lead us in a training in which we would role play getting arrested. Some of them would play the role of police and the rest of us would come forward in groups, simulating a blockade of the Federal Building doors, and be “arrested.”Continue Reading