Humboldt County resident Pete “Pickles” Nichols, national director of the Waterkeeper Alliance, today joins Sierra Club leader Michael Brune, climate writer Bill McKibben, Robert Kennedy Jr, actress Daryl Hannah and a star-studded list of others in a direct action at the White House on the day after President Obama’s State of the Union address.
The group locks down outside the White House at 8:30 a.m. our time.
Today’s event, which is aimed at stopping the trans-North America Keystone pipeline and the development of oil fields on the Canadian tar sands, marks the first protest under the Sierra Club’s new turn toward civil disobedience on climate change issues.
[Full disclosure: Pickles no longer sucks at poker as much as he once did, mostly due to his foolproof strategy of never showing up to play.]
More on the protest here. Statement from the participants in the action follows.
Why: 2012 was the hottest year on record, half the country is in severe drought, and Superstorm Sandy just flooded the greatest city in the world–New York. A global crisis unfolds before our eyes and immediate action is required. President Obama has the executive authority to make a significant and immediate impact on carbon pollution, and he can begin by saying no to Big Oil by rejecting the Keystone XL tar sands pipeline.
Civil disobedience is the response of ordinary people to extraordinary injustices. Americans have righted the wrongs of our society – slavery, child labor, suffrage, segregation, and inequality for gays and immigrant workers – with creative nonviolent resistance. Climate change threatens the health and security of all Americans, and action proportional to the problem is required–now.
The full list of participants, along with photos and bios, is available at tarsandsaction.org.
The participants risking arrest have released the following letter to explain their collective action.
“We’re here today to show the depth of our resolve that President Obama take immediate, decisive action against climate change—to show that if the president leads, the vast majority of Americans will rally behind him. We’re not here today to protest the president, we are here to encourage and support him. We lived through horrors of Superstorm Sandy, the Midwest drought, wildfires, and the hottest year on record: we know in our bones that the time has come to do more than we have, and all that we can.
“The president can’t work miracles by himself. An obstructionist Congress stands in the way of progress and innovation. But President Obama has the executive authority and the mandate from the American people to stand up to the fossil fuel industry, and to reject the Keystone XL tar sands pipeline right now.
“And we’re here to show something else—that the movement for a clean energy revolution is a broad and powerful one. In 2011 we were moved by the 1,253 Americans who went jail to protest Keystone in the biggest civil disobedience action in many years in this country. Today we are 50 people at the White House representing millions of Americans in every state, in every community. Today we risk arrest because a global crisis unfolds before our eyes. We have the solutions to this climate crisis. We have a moral obligation to stand stand for immediate, bold action to solve climate disruption. We can do it, and we will.”