Monday, August 22, 2011

Day 200.

Today is the third day of two weeks of non-violent direct action taking place at the White House, protesting the approval of TransCanada's Keystone XL Pipeline, a 2000 mile long pipeline that would start in the tar sands of Alberta, Canada, extend through six states in the US, and end in the Gulf of Mexico. I've seen estimated costs of $7 - 13 billion. TransCanada claims that it would create tens of thousands of jobs. All to pump some oil that has been extracted through an extremely dirty and carbon-intensive process (using fossil fuels to extract more fossil fuels! brilliant!), out of indigenous lands, through the middle of more indigenous lands, (hey, did anybody think about consulting the indigenous folks whose sacred lands we're fucking up? just a quick thought), going through an aquifer that hydrates 30% of the US's farmlands, risking spills, death, health hazards, and crop catastrophe, just to wind up in Texas and fuel some more SUVs.

America, I shake my head at you.

I've been checking out photos and videos of the action. The protesters are determined, fierce. They've been arrested, over 150 of them at this point. Though they look like a small bunch against the enormity of the White House, there are more and more of them showing up every day. They are fighting for our planet, and for us. They are there because climate change is real, and it's happening right now, and it affects the birds and the bees and the food, and the air, and the water, and thus the people, too. They are there because SOMEBODY has to do SOMETHING. For crying out loud, when will we stop doing things this way? They are putting their bodies on the line, to demand that we start doing things a different way.

They are also, bless their sweet souls, white. Because you'd sort of have to be, wouldn't you? To have enough resources in the form of money and time to fly to DC, then spend a few days sitting and chanting and holding signs, before getting arrested and posting bail, and getting out to then blog about it. I mean, don't get me wrong. There's a little bit of color sprinkled in there. And don't get me wrong on this, either: I am proud of them, and grateful to them, and I think you should be, too. How many people do you know who have extra resources lying around and use them to fight for humans and the planet? (Well, if you're reading this, you probably know quite a few. But you know what I mean.)

I'm stuck at the same place again. What would it look like if the climate movement in this country was more inclusive, more accessible, and more intersectional? I'm not writing this because I have some sort of answer. I guess I want to know, what do you think it would take for the climate movement to integrate further with the rest of the progressive/radical/left movement in this country? What would it take for there to be more visible brown faces and queer bodies and poor folks and disabled folks in the fight for climate justice? And what would it take for climate activists to participate meaningfully in the struggles of people outside of the specific context of climate change? How would a white climate activist with relative privilege indicate their allyship with, let's say, folks working on dismantling the Prison Industrial Complex? How can we better support each others' voices, stories, and struggles, right where they intersect? And how can we see to it that more of these intersections happen at all?

Tell me your ideas. Or tell them to each other. Or at least think about it. We're running out of time.

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