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BPFer Dharma Talk On DC Climate Change Rally (Audio)

BPFer Taigen Dan Leighton of Chicago kindly shared with us his dharma talk reporting back from the Forward On Climate Change rally last week.  Have a listen!  Lots of useful information, including in the Q&A discussion at the end.  (Sorry, we don’t have a transcript for this one…)

From Dan himself:

This was a rally opposing development of the Keystone XL pipeline, which has been described by NASA scientist and leading climatologist James Hansen as “game-over” for climate change.  

Close to 50,000 people attended from all over the country to urge President Obama to block this pipeline.  I decided to participate and took a 12 hour overnight bus ride Saturday evening to get there, and a 12 hour overnight bus ride back to Chicago Sunday night, organized by the Sierra Club, because this seems to me the key moral issue of this time.  The future of our species, if not a habitable planet, is at stake. 

A crucial point about the Keystone XL pipeline issue specifically is that the decision does not depend on congress, or the Supreme Court, but solely on President Obama and Secretary of State Kerry.  As a leading scholar of Fossil Fuel has said, “Presidential decisions often turn out to be far less significant than imagined, but every now and then what a president decides actually determines how the world turns. Such is the case with the Keystone XL pipeline, which, if built, is slated to bring some of the “dirtiest,” carbon-rich oil on the planet from Alberta, Canada, to refineries on the U.S. Gulf Coast. It could determine the fate of the Canadian tar-sands industry and, with it, the future well-being of the planet.” 

It is crucial for all future generations that we pressure our government and policy makers to adopt a sane energy policy that addresses the climate change happening around the world, and shifts rapidly from fossil fuel to sustainable energy sources. We still have time to lessen the suffering now arising from climate and environmental damage.

As [] founder Bill McKibben has carefully documented, the business plan of the fossil fuel industry will certainly release far, far more carbon into the atmosphere in the next several decades than will sustain human life.  He has likened this industry to the Tobacco industry, and now along with the Sierra Club is organizing to stop the Keystone XL pipeline; and also to encourage universities and other institutions to follow the successful example of divestment from South Africa, and stop investments in the fossil fuel industry, and eliminate all such investments over five years.

My talk below includes much more detail about Sunday’s demonstration.

President Obama will face great pressure from the extremely wealthy fossil fuel industry, but if you want to support and encourage President Obama to stop the Keystone Pipeline, please call The White House comment line at 202-456-1111;  submit comments at;  or write: The White House, 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue NW, Washington, DC 20500.

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