I recall just a few weeks ago how I felt a small twinge of hope as Obama spoke of climate change during the State of the Union, presenting his views with a new sense of conviction: “But the debate is settled. Climate change is a fact. And when our children’s children look us in the eye and ask if we did all we could to leave them a safer, more stable world, with new sources of energy, I want us to be able to say yes, we did.” But since then, my feelings of hope have morphed into an immense sense of urgency. Following Obama’s address, the Environmental Impact Assessment for the Keystone Pipeline was released, ignoring climactic implications of the pipeline, extreme weather events have persisted here and abroad, and the fourth warmest January in history came and went.
I am hoping Obama will indeed do everything he can, starting with rejecting the Pipeline. However, as the past several years have shown, promising words, definitive science and even extreme weather are not enough to sway policies our way–which is the reason I will be attending XL Dissent this weekend, and why I hope you will join me. This action matters because we are up against Big Oil and its gobs of money. But as history has shown, there is irrefutable power in people, in our numbers and in the potential that is created when we come together. Though our government may be dragging its feet in making changes, allowing our planet to be ravaged in the process, we cannot do the same. As youth, we must stand up and make our presence so loud that it cannot be ignored.
I believe we need to act to ensure Keystone is rejected of course for the sake of all people, but specifically for those who will unjustly bear the disproportionate burden of Keystone itself and of the climate crisis. I will be rallying this weekend for my fellow humans facing struggles we have essentially generated for them—for the youth of color in cities suffering from asthma, for those in the Global South facing worsening floods and hurricanes though they are minimally responsible for the emissions underlying such events. I will be at XL Dissent, channeling my rage and fear and hope, amongst 500 other inspiring individuals who know in their hearts that our planet and its people cannot handle all that this pipeline will bring. Will you join us?
Abby is a graduate from University of Michigan, class of 2013