40,000 Strong at the Biggest Climate Rally the U.S. Has Ever Seen

Yesterday, Feb 17th, the largest climate protest in U.S. history descended upon Washington, D.C.  An estimated 40,000 people gathered at Washington Monument and marched on the White House, demanding that President Obama shut down the Keystone XL and stay true to his promises to truly act on climate change.  Celebrities present included actresses Rosario Dawson and Evangeline Lilly; Rosario is pictured below addressing the crowd.

Actress Dawson addresses the crowd during a rally against the Keystone XL pipeline in Washington

This event came just days after a group of bi-partisan U.S. Senators gave a push for Obama to approve the $5.3 billion pipeline.  The reasoning that the pipeline will ‘create jobs’ continues to be put forth, despite the mounting evidence that the Senators stand to gain immensely from Big Oil campaign contributions.  Not to mention that just as many –if not more— jobs could be created in the green energy sector, as alternatives are researched, improved and implemented across the country.  If ‘energy security’ is in fact a concern, then it seems fairly obvious that the energy sources we rely on should be renewable and thus actually sustainable in the long term.

Demonstrators carry a replica of a pipeline during a march against the Keystone XL pipeline in Washington

Obama’s former green jobs adviser, Van Jones, explained that if Obama approves the Keystone XL just weeks after pledging to act on climate change, it will completely overshadow whatever other actions he might take to reduce emissions.

“There is nothing else you can do if you let that pipeline go through. It doesn’t matter what you do on smog rules and automobile rules – you’ve already given the whole game way,” said Jones, who is president of Rebuild the Dream, a non-government organization.

A young demonstrator holds a sign during a rally in solidarity with the Washington D.C. protest against the Keystone XL pipeline and for environmental action in Edmonton

Protesters were bussed in from 30 US states and Canadian provinces.  They held huge placards saying “Don’t be fossil fools” and “It’s time to cut carbon”, and marched chanting “Keystone pipeline? Shut it down.”  Protesters included environmental activists, indigenous groups from both the US and Canada, concerned citizens, celebrities, supporters of Obama who want him to honour his position, and a large number of landowners from along the pipeline route –many from Texas.

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“Obama holds in his hand a pen and the power to deliver on his promise of hope for our children,” said Michael Brune, the director of the Sierra Club. “Today we are asking him to use that pen to reject the Keystone XL tar sands pipeline, and ensure that this dirty, dangerous, export pipeline will never be built.”

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“For 25 years our government has basically ignored the climate crisis: now people in large numbers are finally demanding they get to work,” said McKibben, founder of the environmental group 350.org.Keystone protest 2

This is a very exciting time for environmentally and socially concerned citizens.  The fossil fuel industry has held our governments in the palms of their hands for far, far too long.  It’s time to reclaim our government and reclaim our future.  Our leaders should not only be responsible to us over Big Oil, but they should be held responsible for creating a clean, healthy and sustainable living and working environment for us all.  If climate scientists around the world have informed us of the dangers and the folly of trying to continue such a dirty energy deal, it is our government’s duty as elected leaders to set the conditions for the maximization of our collective health and safety.  Enough is enough –we demand a clean energy future, now.

Demonstrators march past the White House during a rally against the Keystone XL pipeline in Washington

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5 Comments on “40,000 Strong at the Biggest Climate Rally the U.S. Has Ever Seen”

  1. Christine February 18, 2013 at 6:08 pm #

    Reblogged this on 350 or bust and commented:
    Yesterday the biggest climate rally in U.S. history took place in Washington D.C. (not that you would know it from the front pages of the mainstream media, they are too busy propping up the current system). Over 40,000 people marched on the White House. Utopian Dreaming has done an excellent job of covering yesterday’s events, so I’m reblogging their coverage – hopefully you will follow the link below to utopiandreaming.com and check out more of its thought-provoking (and occasionally delicious) writing.

  2. andhastings February 19, 2013 at 3:30 pm #

    I hate that I had to literally “Search” for news coverage of this on CNN and MSNBC. It was buried beneath countless articles about the latest celebrity gossip and sports news on the front page. What the hell is happening?

    • utopiandreaming February 19, 2013 at 3:43 pm #

      US media is all corporate-sponsored… ‘free-market’ capitalism is happening. Obscuring facts for profit, one day at a time.

  3. jpgreenword February 19, 2013 at 11:30 pm #

    Imagine what 5.3 billion dollars in clean energy could do. Use it to pay for a feed-in tariff that will encourage investment into wind and solar and see how many tax dollars you get in return.
    Thank you for the great post. Consider me a new reader 🙂

    • utopiandreaming February 20, 2013 at 12:41 am #

      Precisely. Invest in the future we want to see, not the inadequate status quo.
      Thanks for visiting, very glad you found it interesting!

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