Something big is happening. It may prove to be a game changer in the fight against climate change. A turning point. Something your grandchildren will read about in history books. And you have an opportunity to help lead it.
I'm talking about the nearly 66,000 people who have pledged to engage in civil disobedience to stop the Keystone XL pipeline from being built. That's the pipeline that would carry tar sands oil, some of the most carbon-intensive fuel on the planet, from Canada to the Gulf of Mexico. In the words of top climatologist James Hansen, if those tar sands are burned it will mean "game over" for the climate.
Those 66,000 people are ready to act to make sure this doesn't happen. Imagine regular people - grandmothers, office workers, homemakers - standing up together across the nation, peacefully but firmly, risking arrest to to save our future. This will be like nothing this country has ever seen. And it has the potential to change not only the mind of the President, but the national conversation on climate change.
This is where you come in. This month people all over the country are being trained to lead these actions. A few days ago trainings were held in San Francisco, Seattle, Chicago and Boston. This weekend trainings are planned for Washington DC, Detroit, Portland, and Los Angeles, and in the coming weeks for New York City, Denver, Phoenix, Albuquerque, Tampa, Miami, St. Louis, Minneapolis, Dallas, Houston, Raleigh, Atlanta, Des Moines, Kansas City, Salt Lake City, Tulsa and Cincinnati. These two-day trainings are free of charge, and they are excellent.
I know this because this past weekend I attended the Chicago training. I went to learn, but also to see whether this was a serious effort at social change, or something else. As a long-time activist and organizer, I can say that this is a serious effort.
The trainers were knowledgeable, experienced and smart. They covered the nuts and bolts of civil disobedience (e.g. action planning, how to interact with the police, jail support) but also a range of other material, from how to effectively facilitate a meeting to conflict management. What's more, they explained the support and coaching that will not only be offered, but regularly provided to people organizing locally, with separate tracks tailored to action leaders, those engaged in media work, and the legal team.
In short, this is a high quality organizing campaign. The coalition of groups running it (led by the fabulous Credo Mobile) is serious about stopping this pipeline. But they need a lot of us to get involved to make it a success.
Ok, so what can you do? The first step is to join the other 66,000 by signing the pledge of resistance. If you would like to attend a training, make sure to check the box indicating that you are interested in planning a local action. You can also directly sign up for a training here.
There are other ways you can help too. For example, if you are a lawyer you can volunteer to provide legal assistance. If you are a member of the clergy, you can help in that capacity. You can donate money. You can volunteer your time to make a local action successful, even if you are not in a position to risk arrest yourself. Just make sure to check the appropriate boxes on the pledge form. Finally, if you live near a scheduled training, you can help by providing people with a place to stay.
This is your chance to make history. To help turn the tide on climate change. Will you take it?