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Hopes and Expectations for Forward On Climate Rally?

BPFers in Washington (state) are gearing up to join what’s being billed as the largest climate rally in US history: arguably a challenge to the empire-building lie that climate change is a back-burner issue that will somehow sort itself out.  There are probably more of you out there planning whip up a protest sign on February 17th, or even participating in some of the organizing where you live.  (Sounds like there’s going to be a big gathering in Washington, DC, plus lots of local actions in other cities.)

If you’ve been involved or interested in the rally, what can you tell the rest of us about your hopes and expectations for the day?

How do you see it fitting in to the larger struggles to address ecological destruction generally, and the Keystone XL Pipeline specifically?

Ven. Bhikkhu Bodhi (in burgundy) has been participating in ongoing D.C. events with the Interfaith Moral Action on Climate (IMAC), a group also involved in the Feb. 17 rally.

Thanks for sharing your thoughts; we’ll see you next week for more fresh perspectives from Buddhist and spiritual activists on the Lies That Build Empire.

Comments (2)

  • Marianna Tubman

    I’m on the outreach committee for the San Francisco rally. Ayya Santussika of Karuna Buddhist Vihara is planning to attend the Washington DC rally. I am hoping that with 20,000 plus expected in DC, 1500+ in San Francisco, 7000 in Colorado, and many other places, we can get some visibility and give PRes. Obama the backing he needs to move forward on this issue. But we need to make it clear that developing fossil fuels everywhere at the expense of destroying water supplies and clean air and glaciers is NOT the way to be energy independent.
    I think we have a better chance of visibility this year after all the hot AND cold climate disasters in the US this past year, people are seeing that it affects us NOW, deniers look a bit more ridiculous
    I like working with 350.org because they focus on taking action and looking for positive things that anyone can do, as opposed to planning on either government action or high-tech “fixes”.

  • Zach

    I will be getting on a chartered bus with 350.org from South Jersey for the rally tomorrow because I believe that this is a particularly significant time for this kind of action to make a big difference. It is the beginning of President Obama’s 2nd term, and climate change is already arguably one of his 3 main legislative priorities, although so far it seems to be a distant 3rd behind immigration and gun control. The public is also beginning to finally see the dangers of climate change first hand in the immediate aftermath of record droughts and Superstorm Sandy.

    A Harvard scholar recently wrote a paper analyzing the failure to pass a cap & trade bill in 2009-10, and put the blame squarely on environmental groups for failing to mobilize a broad, actively engaged, grassroots constituency pushing for it. While I do not agree with all of her conclusions, she is not wrong that conservative groups such as the Tea Party have been much more adept at creating this kind of movement, with a disproportionate influence in the halls of congress (or, in some cases, the illusion of this kind of movement through big-money astroturfing). Green groups did a stellar job at breaking the automatic veto of big business and pushing some real power players in Congress in ’09-’10, but put too much emphasis on polls showing broad public support over creating a climate core-constituency pushing for change.

    This is our chance to create that missing piece and show it to Obama and Congress, and thereby push climate change up on the chain of priorities, closer to where it deserves (and must) be. Although we cannot hope for a breakthrough in passing a comprehensive climate & clean energy bill while a still hyper-partisan, extremist Republican party controls the House, there is still much that can be done, not the least of which is rejecting Keystone XL. And we need to show the growing power of this movement, so that the next time there is a legislative opening for the kind of laws that are up to the immense challenge we face, we will be ready.

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