President Barack Obama has now delayed approval of the Keystone pipeline project for shipping tar sand oil to US refineries, til after the 2012 US elections, reports Elizabeth McGowan at InsideClimate News, topping a story of revived environmental activism. Activists pressed Obama on his promise to wean the country of its oil addiction, culminating in a ring of thousands that surrounded the White House recently to press the point. Traditional environmental tactics melded with an emerging and optimistic force of teen-agers and 20- and 30-somethings. Advocacy organizations fought the pipeline plan on different levels with their individual strengths. This divide-the-chores-and-conquer approach allowed researchers to delve into nitty-gritty science and safety details, educators to teach via outreach and marchers to put feet on the street. The message to the president, one activist noted, was ‘Please take care of our land and water, and fight climate change.’ Recent statewide voting victories on progressive issues probably also encouraged him. Lessons learned in activism include: be relentless, share credit for successes, less bickering and more cooperation, broaden the membership base and always say thank you, in this case, to the president.
Obama probably hopes this decision will boost his 2012 re-election chances, but even if re-elected, he can’t create change alone. Keeping this activism alive for 2012 will be vital for electing Congressional leaders who will allow the government to act effectively in transitioning to green energy, and addressing climate change.
Update: The Canadian company has volunteered to change its pipeline route to skirt an important aquifer in Nebraska, and Nebraska is considering an independent environmental review to assess new routes that it would approve. See:
By Elizabeth McGowan, InsideClimate News