Tens of Thousands Rally to Stop Keystone XL Pipeline & Urge Obama to Move "Forward on Climate"
The following is a transcript of a Democracy Now! segment on the massive protests against the Keystone XL tar sands pipeline.
Tens of thousands of people gathered on Washington’s National Mall, Sunday, to urge President Obama to reject the controversial Keystone XL tar sands pipeline. Organizers of the Forward on Climate event described it as the largest climate rally in history. Protesters displayed a mock pipeline with the motto "Separate oil and separate oil and state." The proposed 1700 mile pipeline would deliver tar sands oil from Canada to refineries in Texas. The Reverend Lennox Yearwood compared the rally to Martin Luther King’s 1963 march on Washington for civil-rights. The protest was organized by 350.org, the Sierra Club and the hip hop caucus among others. Speakers included President Obama’s former green jobs adviser Van Jones.
VAN JONES: Well, this is it. This is the last minute in the last quarter of the biggest most important game humanity has ever played. This is it. One thing I know having worked in this town, the simple maxim, if you don’t fight for what you want, you deserve what you get. If you don’t fight for what you want, you deserve what you get. I had the honor of working for this president, and I want to direct my message to him. President Obama, all the good that you have done, all the good you can imagine doing will be wiped out, wiped out by floods, by fires, by superstorms if you fail to act now to deal with this crisis that is a gun pointed at the head of the future. Everything you have done. History will judge you 20 years from now based on one decision alone. That decision is not in the hands of the congress. That decision is not in the hands of any governors. That decision is not in the hands of any mayors or any dogcatchers. The decision is in your hands, Mr. President, your hands. Your hands. The decision to let this pipeline come through America is a most fateful decision you’ll ever make, Mr. President. It would be like jabbing a dirty needle into this country from Canada. It would be like lighting a fuse on a carbon bomb. That is what it would be like doing, Mr. President. And you cannot allow that to happen. If the pipeline goes through, Mr. President, the first thing it runs over will not be farmland. The first thing it runs over will not be small towns. If you let this pipeline go through, Mr. President, the first thing it runs over is the credibility of the President of the United States of America. That is the first thing it runs over.
AMY GOODMAN: President Obama’s former green jobs czar Van Jones. Canadian indigenous leader Chief Jacqueline Thomas of the Saik’uz First Nation traveled from British Columbia to attend Sunday’s rally.
CHEIF JACQUELINE THOMAS: I am a mother of four and a grandmother of one, and I was raised by my own grandmother. She was a traditional medicine woman of my people. I learned early on the value of our environment. She was known as Dr. Sophie Thomas and her words are still with me today. And what she told us was when we take care of the land, the land would take care of us. [Cheers] if we destroy this land, we will destroy ourselves. I am speaking on behalf of the Yinka Dene Alliance from northern British Columbia. And Yinka Dene translates to 'people of the earth'. I am part of the Dene people from the northern reaches of the Northwest Territories, down to my cousins, the Navajo of Arizona. We formed an alliance to stop the Enbridge Northern Gateway project which plans to bring tar sands oil to the coast of British Columbia, which will then be put on tankers to go to the Asian markets.