Here are some great links that were provided by an activist group to help think strategically about issues involving the Keystone XL Pipeline and other climate disrupting policies and commercial pursuits. Take a look to get some good advice, background on action, and inspiration!
The Virtues of Being Unreasonable on the Tar Sands (Keystone XL Pipeline) by David Roberts of Grist. It begins:
“I know Andy Revkin of The New York Times writes posts like this in part to bait people like me. But like Popeye, I yam what I yam. So consider me baited. Self-proclaimed moderates like to lecture anti-Keystone XL activists that they are “distracting” and “counterproductive,” without spelling out what the hell that means, yet they seem bewildered when that makes the activists in question angry.”
Nonviolent direct action is known by many names. Gandhi called it satyagraha (truth or soul force). Henry Thoreau called it civil disobedience. Activists in North Philadelphia sometimes call it street heat. In the Philippines, democracy activists call it people power.
Underneath all of these definitions are similar themes such as a use of tactics outside of normal institutions (e.g. use of the street or fasting) and a commitment to refraining from violence. But even more core to all of these is that direct action is about power – bringing together people to make a united change.
Capitalism v. the Climate by Naomi Klein at the Nation begins a story about climate deniers with a description of the “Heartland Institute’s Sixth International Conference on Climate Change, the premier gathering for those dedicated to denying the overwhelming scientific consensus that human activity is warming the planet” as follows:
He introduces himself as Richard Rothschild. He tells the crowd that he ran for county commissioner in Maryland’s Carroll County because he had come to the conclusion that policies to combat global warming were actually “an attack on middle-class American capitalism.” His question for the panelists, gathered in a Washington, DC, Marriott Hotel in late June, is this: “To what extent is this entire movement simply a green Trojan horse, whose belly is full with red Marxist socioeconomic doctrine?”
The Case for Fossil Fuel Divestment – Bill Mckibben in Rolling Stone, which starts…
It’s obvious how this should end. You’ve got the richest industry on earth, fossil fuel, up against some college kids, some professors, a few environmentalists, a few brave scientists.
And it’s worse than that. The college students want their universities to divest from fossil fuel – to sell off their stock in Exxon and Shell and the rest in an effort to combat global warming. But those universities, and their boards, have deep ties to the one percent: combined, their endowments are worth $400 billion, and at Harvard, say, the five folks who run the portfolio make as much money as the entire faculty combined.
Oh, and remember – this is supposed to be an apathetic college generation. The veteran leader Ralph Nader, in a speech in Boston last year, said kids today were more passive than any he’d seen in 45 years. “Nothing changes if you don’t have fire in your belly,” he said. “You are a generation without even embers in your belly.”
But here’s my bet: the kids are going to win, and when they do, it’s going to matter. In fact, with Washington blocked, campuses are suddenly a front line in the climate fight – a place to stand up to a status quo that is wrecking the planet. The campaign to demand divestment from fossil fuel stock emerged from nowhere in late fall to suddenly become the largest student movement in decades. Already it’s drawing widespread media attention; already churches and city governments are joining students in the fight. It’s where the action all of a sudden is. Read more.