Today more than 1,200 youths from across the country marched to the White House from Georgetown University—where President Obama laid out his “climate test”—to protest the Keystone XL pipeline. Once at the White House, 400 youths were arrested while participating in a nonviolent civil disobedience sit-in. This protest was the largest youth act of civil disobedience at the White House in a generation.
As the fight over the Keystone XL tar sands pipeline seems be accelerating towards a final decision, protestors have turned up the heat on President Obama to reject the project as this major, youth-led protest, XL Dissent, took over the White House.
“As the fight to stop KXL enters its final stages, it’s truly inspiring to see young people at the forefront,” said Bill McKibben, founder of 350.org. “This pipeline is scheduled to last 40 years—right through the prime of their lives. President Obama needs to look them in the face.”
The young people represented more than 50 colleges and universities taking action in solidarity with groups on the frontlines of dirty energy expansion and climate impacts, such as First Nations and refining communities, ranchers and farmers along the route, and those fighting tar sands expansion in Michigan and beyond.
“The construction of Keystone XL will be ‘game over’ on the climate front, as climatologist Jim Hansen has stated,” said Conor Kennedy on the XL Dissent website. “Most of us understand that we have reached the tipping point. The question now is whether we continue down the path toward cataclysm, or make a bold break towards a brighter future.”
“These people who are willing to put themselves on the line are real heroes because our leaders do not understand the importance of this,” said James Hansen yesterday about XL Dissent while speaking at the University of Oregon’s Environmental Law Conference. “For them to rule that there’s no environmental impact is pure scientific garbage.”