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Nurses and environmental activists from across the U.S. are joining hands this week to step up the message that there is still time to stop the Keystone XL Pipeline before it stops all of us.

Join us for a march across the Golden Bate Bridge in San Francisco Thursday, June 20, beginning with a noon rally at Battery East, near the Golden Gate Bridge Pavilion at Fort Point adjacent to the Bridge.  

It’s an event that that will feature a land, sea and air protest that matches a triad of reasons to oppose the Keystone project – for health, economic, and, of course, environmental imperatives.

With massive pressure from the political and economic powerhouse fossil fuel industry mounting on the Obama administration to green light KXL, the movement opposing the pipeline is also growing. Instead of a green light, they say, let’s have a green economy, as well as a safer environment and a healthier planet. Our planet, our health, nurses say.

#ForwardOnClimate - SF

Endorsers and participating organizations include, Sierra Club, Friends of the Earth, CREDO, Greenpeace, UNITE HERE! Local 2850, Food and Water Watch, Asian Pacific Environmental Network, California League of Conservation Voters,, Sierra Club SF Bay Chapter, Equal Health Network, Center for Biological Diversity, Keystone XL Action Council, Citizens Climate Lobby, Global Exchange, Bay Localize, Movement Generation and other environment and public health advocates.
#ForwardOnClimate - SF

For nurses, opposition to KXL starts with the health of our patients, our communities, and our families.

Climate change is a clear and present danger to public health.  Carbon emissions are a major factor in intensifying climate change. Hazardous air pollutants emitted directly from coal-fired power plants have been linked to damage to the eyes and skin, impairment of neurological function and ability to learn, and pulmonary and cardiovascular disease. The EPA has determined that exposure to  particulate matter is a cause of heart attacks, breathing problems and long term respiratory illness including asthma, and reproductive, developmental, and cancer outcomes.

Higher air temperatures themselves can increase bacteria-related food poisoning, such as salmonella, and animal-borne diseases such as West Nile virus. Ground level ozone contaminants can damage lung tissue, reduce lung function, and increase respiratory ailments. Pakistani pediatricians recently  said they are already witnessing a rise in vector-borne diseases including diarrhea, cholera, gastroenteritis, typhoid, and hepatitis due to environmental factors and the effects of climate change.

KXL would exacerbate this health emergency in a number of ways, prompting health concerns from the extraction, transport and refining of tar sands oil.

First, extraction of tar sands oil is far more difficult than conventional oil drilling. The massive amount of water needed to separate the extracted product, bitumen, from sand, oil and silt, is contaminated with toxic substances that when dumped infects clean water supplies.  Communities living downstream from contaminated water has gone have seen spikes in rates of rare cancers, renal failure, lupus, and hyperthyroidism.  In one small community of just 1,200 residents, 100 have already died from cancer.

Second, leaks from the transmission of the heavy, corrosive tar sands, over America’s agricultural heartland over water aquifers, and rivers pose a major danger as evidenced recently by a major tar sands spill in Arkansas. Two months later, residents are still complaining of health problems and concerns about poisonous impacts on wildlife and the environment, reports the Natural Resources Defense Council.  The rupture of a tar sands oil pipeline in Michigan in 2010 similarly caused widespread respiratory ailments and other health problems in communities adjacent to the spill.

Third, refining tar sands oil is dirtier than refining conventional oil and results in higher emissions of toxic sulfur dioxide and nitrous oxide. Pollutants from tar sands refineries are directly linked to heart and lung disease, asthma, cancer and other serious health risks, as well as emissions of sulfur dioxide and nitrous oxide which contribute to acid rain.

While the portrait of labor and environmentalists being at odds on KXL is a popular meme in some media corners, there are a growing number of unionists who are speaking out such as the Canadian union which represents thousands who actually work in the country’s tar sands operations.

Summing up their views succinctly, David Coles, president of the Communications, Energy and Paperworkers Union of Canada (CEP), said, “The Keystone XL is not good for the economy, it's not good for the environment, it violates all kinds of First Nations rights.”

Yes, despite the illusory promises of thousands of jobs, the reality of long term employment falls far short. Indeed, spending on renewal clean energy sources creates more than three times as many jobs as the same spending on fossil fuel production, says Robert Pollin, co-director of the Political Economic Research Institute at the University of Massachusetts Amherst.

#ForwardOnClimate - SF

Lastly, the somber reality of climate change by itself should inspire all of us to speak out against KXL.

NASA scientist James Hansen, a pioneer in climate research, has called the Keystone pipeline “the biggest carbon bomb on the planet.”  

Warming has already led to the loss of one-third of Arctic summer ice.  Formerly rare super storms, like Hurricanes Katrina and Sandy and a recent Oklahoma storm called the “worst tornado in U.S. history,” have become far more common, as have major droughts and heat waves have produced devastating effects on food production and have caused tens of thousands of deaths.

Hansen says development of KXL could mean “game over” on climate change. But it’s not to late for all of us to act.


Do you oppose the Keystone XL Pipeline?

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Comment Preferences

  •  Thanks so much for the heads-up (11+ / 0-)

    Wish I could make it but I'll be in San Jose for Netroots Nation on Thursday. Will be there in spirit!


    Ecology is the new Economy

    by citisven on Tue Jun 18, 2013 at 06:02:28 PM PDT

  •  The only thing keeping me away is (8+ / 0-)

    NN13, I truly wish I could attend this.

    I'll be speaking to my congregation at my Synagogue about my personal connection to Climate Change, which for me, you have eloquently laid out, as a human health issue.

    "Life is not about waiting for the storm to pass... it is about learning to dance in the rain." ~ Vivanne Grenne

    by remembrance on Tue Jun 18, 2013 at 07:01:58 PM PDT

  •  I will be there, but I have a question: (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Glen The Plumber, citisven

    What is the purpose of these types of rallies, protest marches?

    This is a question I've been asking myself for years.  I've attended many protests through the years; some of them huge, like the one in San Francisco protesting the war in Iraq.

    What I see is that there is a lot of preparation for the day of the protest, and then when the day comes, it is usually ignored or under-reported by the media, and once people go home, nothing changes.

    When we are out there marching, holding signs, chanting, who are we trying to reach, to influence?

    Not the government, nor business interests, right?  You know how it goes... Big Oil/Corporate Interests own the politicians, and together they make up what is essentially a corrupt Oligarchy.  So they could care less if 10 people or 50,000 get together for a one-day march.

    Not the public, driving by, since there hasn't been a relentless effort by activists organizations to engage in a well-coordinate, non-stop counter-propaganda campaign.

    I don't want to discourage anybody.  I'm just interested in having this discussion with somebody involved in organizing these types of actions.

    •  well, speaking from my recent experience (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Words In Action, ludlow, Ray Pensador

      of organizing a "Bike the Math" ride to Chevron shareholder meeting, what we got out of it was our photo on top of a news article that was generally biased towards Chevron. Also, a bunch of people who had never done anything like it who were inspired to do more. Plus lots of fun and a big racket at Chevron's front door. Sure, it didn't shut down Chevron, but it gave notice that there are people who are willing to come out and speak out. I don't want to weigh one against the other, but to me being out there felt more powerful than blogging. Ultimately, we need it all, every little act to chip away at the powers that be.


      Ecology is the new Economy

      by citisven on Tue Jun 18, 2013 at 11:38:32 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  also going to NN13...but... (9+ / 0-)

    shared on 350 Silicon Valley Facebook page...great stuff..!!

    We are not broke, we are being robbed.

    by Glen The Plumber on Tue Jun 18, 2013 at 07:53:51 PM PDT

  •  Tar sands sludge = elixir of death for our planet (7+ / 0-)

    Climate change increases the formation of lung damaging smog. It burns our lungs and airways, causing them to become inflamed, reddened and swollen. As nurses, we see many patients with breathing problems.  

    If you've ever cared for a kid with asthma or an adult with bronchitis who's gasping for breath, you don't forget the look of panic on those faces; the gasping, wheezing signs of extreme air hunger and a body as it's weakening. As a nurse you see a life slipping away; a chest wall heaving against all odds as the throat tightens and you hear the high pitched wheezing noises as every muscle tries to force the desperately needed air in and out of those damaged lungs.

    The sound of death when the noises and those efforts  suddenly stop. The sounds of mourning and unanswered prayers. If you could take action to prevent the tragedy and relieve suffering you would; and you don't have to be a nurse to save a life.

    By working together, locally and globally, true progress can be made in standing up to those who damage our environment, cause harm to others, and violate fundamental human rights to clean air, pure water, and wholesome food.

    Nurses won't remain silent against Keystone XL, fracking, and global warming.  We won't remain silent in the face of preventable human tragedies. We won't remain silent in the face of corporations whose operations harm our environment and violate our human rights. We won't back down.

    With all the talk of global warming, preservation and conservation, it’s time we begin to conserve and restore the planet’s most valuable resource of all: the health of human beings.  Join nurses and other good government groups in protest to stop Keystone XL, fracking, and the use of fossil fuels. The future is in renewable, clean energy. The technology exists; our politicians just lack the political will to support it.  

  •  I oppose KXL and support (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    The Robin Hood tax.

    Add the median effective tax rate, healthcare costs (20%?), education costs, and other things guaranteed in Denmark & Sweden, we pay MORE for LESS. Somebody's gotta pay the billionaires. They don't grow on trees. ☮ ♥ ☺

    by Words In Action on Wed Jun 19, 2013 at 12:40:25 AM PDT

  •  This is how people truly develop and use their (0+ / 0-)

    Citizen muscles. Elections are nice but limited in corrupt systems.

    Add the median effective tax rate, healthcare costs (20%?), education costs, and other things guaranteed in Denmark & Sweden, we pay MORE for LESS. Somebody's gotta pay the billionaires. They don't grow on trees. ☮ ♥ ☺

    by Words In Action on Wed Jun 19, 2013 at 12:45:16 AM PDT

  •  Hurray for the Nurses! (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    renzo capetti

    I am proud to be a member of a group that fights for what is best for patients from all angles. You GO! Nurses!Leading the way to a cleaner, saner future.

    One Nation, One Health Plan. Doctor and Nurse Recommended Single Payer Health Care for All!

    by ludlow on Wed Jun 19, 2013 at 04:18:55 AM PDT

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