Some great things have happened since that freezing day last February when I marched to the Forward on Climate rally in Washington, D.C., with 50,000 of my closest friends. Looking back, it did feel like the start of something big. From the stage, the sight of that sea of faces on the National Mall was unforgettable. For the first time, activists from all kinds of backgrounds were standing together to say that we are not just activists fighting a single pipeline, or waging isolated efforts to combat fracking, coal, and dirty fuels; we are one climate movement, we are determined and hopeful, and we will act to solve the climate crisis.
With one voice, we challenged the president, the Congress, and our fellow Americans to stop waiting, stop listening to deniers and special interests, and start working on solutions.
President Obama may not have been in town that day, but he heard our message. Just a few months later, he delivered the first national address on climate policy in U.S. history, put his Keystone XL decision squarely into a climate context, and promised to use his executive authority to act.
Yesterday, he delivered on part of that promise, with new limits for the nation's single largest source of carbon pollution: coal-fired power plants. That's an important step forward on climate, and the president deserves credit for seeing it through.
Our momentum is building. Today Americans are taking to the streets again (this time in more than 200 cities) to Draw the Line against the Keystone XL pipeline and dirty tar sands. And again, we have reason to be both determined and hopeful. We're hopeful because, in California, Colorado, Michigan, Iowa, South Dakota, and places all across the country, solar and wind are being installed at rates cheaper than new coal or new gas. Why build out fossil fuels when clean energy helps stabilize our planet, is cheaper, and puts more people to work?
Why are we determined? Because the verdict is already in: Keystone XL would be a climate disaster. The pipeline is the lynchpin of the oil industry's plans to extract and burn the dirtiest source of oil on the planet. Every year, it would create carbon pollution equivalent to 37.7 million cars (or 51 coal-fired power plants). If we are serious about addressing climate disruption, Keystone XL cannot be built.
At the Draw the Line events, the Sierra Club, 350.org, and our many other partners around the nation will demonstrate the urgency of rejecting this tar sands pipeline in favor of clean-energy solutions. Join us! You can find the Draw the Line events nearest to you here.
Can't make it to an event today? Then send your message directly to the Obama administration.
The worst time to stop fighting is when you're starting to win.