Those of us who stood in Lafayette Square yesterday in Washington, DC and then marched around the White House to implore that President Obama reject the Keystone XL Tar Sand Pipeline project validated the concerns of millions of Americans and Canadians on Climate Change. Over 12, 000 souls took time out of their lives to come together to demonstrate that the wholesale capitulation of the public to the fossil fuel industry over our environment and our future is over. This is not a jobs or the environment kind of issue; forgetaboutit: “Jobs vs. our Environment – Wrong characterization of Tar Sands Action”.
Admittedly, this massive rally with a host of world environmental leaders and activists on stopping this project to tear up a portion of the boreal forests in Canada and threaten many ecologies via a pipeline that would divide our country up and end up at the Gulf for refinement—a thoroughly nasty business fraught with all the planetary exploitation and pollution possible—was fun. Yes, it was fun to join with thousands to demand we finally stand up for stewardship of our environment.
However, Dick Gregory, the great activist and one hell of a public speaker, reminded all of us who might forget that there was a reason why we were not laid brutally upon by police violence. It was because of the thousands of courageous protesters who came before us who did endure the dogs and bullets and whips in peaceful demonstrations of the past so we present activists could bring our children and elderly to focus on the message--not suffer the humiliation of belonging to an intolerant police state.
Bill McKibben, Naomi Kline, Dr. James Hansen, Michael Brune, and other great speakers talked about this moment in history, where humanity must stand up for the stewardship of our planet. Debunking the myths surrounding the Keystone XL Tar Sands formed the catalyst for our immense peaceful gathering, but encouraging President Obama to be the president and leader on our environment as he promised in the last election was the hope and spirit that drove us. We expect that the president we voted and hoped for will be on the side of the stewards of this planet—not the disdainful polluters.
Media coverage seemed scant as we walked through the streets of Washington, DC to our destination; note the New York Times could only find room for the event on a blog entry: Thousands Protest Keystone XL Pipeline Project - NYTimes.com Nothing on the front page of the Washington Post because 12, 000 US citizens from all over the country demonstrating to save our planet from Climate Change through the streets to the White House must be small potatoes over there inside the Beltwave. This is tragic because under the present-day scheme of media, where corporate-backed funds replace a century of advertising loss depicts a world where only a marginalized few care about the health of our planet or understand the gravity of Climate Change. This is nonsense. We are the 99%. If we had a functional press you could see that. You can see some great photos and learn all about yesterday’s rally here: Tar Sands Action. Move away from corporate-backed press and occupy the media.
Increasingly though, our dysfunctional media is being occupied by social media and other media models evolving to deal with the insular and vicious political mouthpieces disguised as media and find a new media structure that can reach everyone with all the information we need to be a true Democracy. However, we have yet to find some way to adequately fund the thousands of expert journalists we need to hold power to the public spotlight.
Despite the power of corporations (whose only mission is to give their shareholders a profit , those thousands who attended this rally will radiate their message to the rest of this country, and other countries. Yesterday’s Tar Sands Action offers a glimpse of a world to come where millions of folks who care about our environment come with their cell phones, and cameras, and tablets and use these democratic tools for a new media that is rounding the corner to get in your face.