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Well, if all goes according to plan, I’ll be in jail by midday tomorrow. It’s not something I take lightly, or do every day. But it is something that feels right to me, and I wanted to take this moment at the end of the DK blogathon to explain why, as succinctly as I can. It’s the same message I’m giving this evening in the church where we’re all gathering for the final training session for tomorrow’s first wave:

1) This is really really important. Jim Hansen, the world’s most important climatologist, has said that if we burn these tar sands in a big way it will be “essentially game over for the climate.”  That’s worth reading again. The oil companies and the Koch Bros are willing to take a few years of big profits in return for cratering the planet’s climate system.

2) If the pipeline doesn’t get built, that oil will stay in the ground, at least for a while. Alberta’s energy minister says that without Keystone XL the province will be ‘landlocked in bitumen.’ Maybe someday they’ll figure out a new pipeline route to China—but maybe someday the world will come to its sense about global warming. In the meantime, the second-biggest pool of carbon on the planet will still be mostly underground.

3) President Obama, thank God, can stop this one all by himself. The endless debate about how much he’s been hamstrung by Congress doesn’t apply here; the law requires that he, and he alone, sign the necessary certificate that this is in the public interest.  If he vetoes it, the pipeline can’t be built. As. Simple. As. That.

4) So, we’ll be arrested outside the White House. But less in protest of the president, than in support of the Obama who ran for the White House in 2008, and who said the night he clinched the nomination that with his presidency ‘the rise of the oceans would begin to slow and the planet begin to heal.’  I’ll be wearing my Obama ’08 button when I go to jail tomorrow; we want to show him he has the support he needs to do the right thing, in the face of unrelenting pressure from the fossil fuel industry.

I wasn’t sure, when we wrote the letter asking people to come to DC for this protest, if people would respond. But they have. We have more than 1500 people signed up to be arrested over the next two weeks—as it plays out over the next two weeks it will be the most significant civil disobedience protest in the history of the environmental movement.

And it’s not just the environmental movement. Just as progressives of all stripes rallied around the union cause in Wisconsin, so all kinds of people are coming to DC. People from all 50 states have volunteered to be arrested—there are caravans coming from Texas and Nebraska, where landowners are getting angrier all the time. Labor unions are backing the effort, and so are a huge range of faith groups. At the core of the pipeline fight, right from the beginning, have been indigenous groups on both sides of the border—the Indigenous Environmental Network deserves great credit for getting this movement up and going. And for green groups—well, there’s a unanimous understanding that this is the biggest call the president will make on climate change going forward.  We didn’t get a climate bill, and we won’t anytime soon thanks to Congress. But we can get this.

I’m so grateful to PDNC for organizing this blogathon, and of course to Meteor Blades, long the green conscience of the orange satan. It’s not too late to decide you want in on the action—sign up at And spread the word.

Like all good tame middle-class law-abiding souls, the prospect of jail makes me a little nervous. But the prospect of going there with thousands of great Americans makes it seem just fine.

Meteor Blades and PDNC organized this blogathon for August 14-19 before he took a "leave of absence" from Daily Kos last week.  For now, this will be the last of many projects, blogathons, and diary series that the two of them have done over the years on environmental, climate change, human rights, and political issues.

In honor and respect for our dear friend and project partner, this blogathon is dedicated to Meteor Blades by our blogathon team of PDNC, rb137 and JekyllnHyde.

"Stop Tar Sands" Blogathon: How You Can Help

Patriot Daily News Clearinghouse has coordinated this blogathon with Bill McKibben, who is one of the organizers for a civil disobedience action in DC from August 20th to September 3rd to urge President Obama to not give a presidential permit for the proposed tar sands XL pipeline from Alberta down to Texas.  This civil disobedience action is modeled on one that the group Transafrica used outside the Washington Embassy in the 1980s: Nelson Mandela said it played a key role in raising awareness about apartheid.  The plan is for a new group of people each day of the two weeks to trespass on the sidewalk in front of the White House.

This is not a protest of President Obama. As Bill McKibben noted, the protest is designed to show President Obama the "depth of support for turning down this boondoggle" as it will be the "biggest civil disobedience protest in the environmental movement for many many years."

We know what the future will look like with the XL pipeline.

2. Diary Schedule Template

"Stop Tar Sands" Blogathon Calendar: All Times Pacific

  • Sunday, August 14th

10 am: Join the Foes of the Tar Sands Pipeline: Blogathon & DC Civil Disobedience Action by Patriot Daily News Clearinghouse. This is the "mothership" and linked in the front page Feature Box all week.  PDNC will try to update each day with new diary links.
2 pm: Stop Tar Sands: Voices of the Opposition by blue jersey mom.
5 pm: Stop Tar Sands: While I’ll be Risking Arrest at the White House (and Why You Should, Too) by Lawrence MacDonald.

  • Monday, August 15

2 pm: Stop Tar Sands: Stand with Randy by janefleming.

  • Tuesday, August 16

11 am: Stop Tar Sands: Fingers of One Hand, Uniting as a Mighty Fist by JeffM2001.
4 pm: Stop Tar Sands Save Songbirds by FishOutofWater.
5 pm: Stop the Tar Sands: Stand Tall Generation Y by agmaynard.

  • Wednesday, August 17

10 am: Tar Sands Action by Senator Bernie Sanders.
12 pm: Stop Tar Sands: We Don't Need the Keystone XL Pipeline by Ann Mesnikoff.
3 pm:  Stop Tar Sands: Climate Denial is a Paper Tiger by rb137.
5 pm: Obama, “change” doesn’t have to mean “runaway climate change” by JasonBox.

  • Thursday, August 18

11 am: citisven
12 pm: David Daniel
1 pm: Elizabeth Shope
2 pm: Ben Gotschall
3 pm: Davey Rogner
5 pm: boatsie
7 pm: Seneca Doane

  • Friday, August 19

11 am: beach babe in fl

noon: enviro writer

1 pm: Rebecca Tarbotton
2 pm: Aji
4 pm: Renewable Rider
5 pm: Bill McKibben

Please remember to republish these diaries to your DK4 Groups.

Originally posted to Bill McKibben on Fri Aug 19, 2011 at 05:00 PM PDT.

Also republished by J Town, Environmental Foodies, DK GreenRoots, Meatless Advocates Meetup, Three Star Kossacks, Progressive Policy Zone, EcoJustice, and Climate Change News Roundup.

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