They came by the tens of thousands – to the nation’s capitol. Their demand was “Save Our Planet.” It was a protest to demand immediate and urgent action to reverse the course of climate change; to change the path of dependency on fossil fuels which is slowly but surely leading to destruction and decline of what has become a fragile environment.
It was a bitterly cold and windy day but that didn’t stop people from marching around the White House to tell the President to be true to his words and reject the ominous and hazardous Keystone XL pipeline.
Brooklyn For Peace members and friends boarded a bus early Sunday morning. They were joining thousands of others headed to the nation’s capitol with a simple demand: Save our planet. This was a momentous protest, perhaps the largest in the history of the environmental movement. Motivated by recent climate catastrophes, millions have begun to realize that the time for action to preserve the future is right now.The focus of the day’s protest was the President and his impending decision to proceed or reject the hazardously-conceived Keystone XL pipeline which would bring dirty tar sands oil from Canada to Texas. The possibilities of real damage to the environment are great but if the pipeline is approved it will be a triumph of profits and greed over the needs of people. A ruptured pipeline (certainly not unheard of) could spill polluting and poisonous oil over vast areas, damaging farms, waterways and creating havoc with people’s health and well-being.
Despite biting cold, the protesters came to state their case. The march numbered in the tens of thousands and there were huge numbers of young people which was an uplifting and inspiring sight. They demonstrated a passionate concern for their own well-being and future but also for their planet as a whole. The Brooklyn For Peace bus, organized by BFP’s Climate Action committee, was one of a half-dozen or so Brooklyn buses and even more from throughout the metropolitan area. As part of the committee’s special contribution to the demonstration, their signs and a special flyer made the important connection between climate change and militarism and wars. Dependency on oil and gas fossil fuels drives this country to seek out and control dwindling reserves. Thus, pointed out the BFP flyer, are we engaged in endless wars to military assert our “right” to those resources.
It was a memorable and exhilarating day that led us all to believe that change is possible and will come if enough of us raise our voices and push our elected leaders harder than the forces of big money who are pushing in the other direction.