On Wednesday March 5th, just three days after the historic youth-led action at the White House where 372 were arrested, Boston area climate justice activists met President Obama outside a $5,000 and up (way up) fundraising dinner.
We gathered with XLDissent students, 350MA, Better Future Project, Mothers Out Front, Students for a Just and Stable Future, and a few other campus climate justice groups.
Our message to the President was clear as we chanted: “One, we are the people. Two, we are united. Three, we will not you build this pipeline.”Another telling cry: “Hey, Barack, you’ve talked the talk now walk the walk.”
The President’s rhetoric on climate–like his rhetoric on jobs, health care, war and peace, and civil liberties–has been inconsistent with his administration’s policies. On the climate front, his “all-of-the-above” energy (non-)strategy continues to dampen my generation’s future prospects; for front-line communities and the poorest around the globe, Obama’s cowardliness in the face of the fossil fuel juggernaut represents a morally bankrupt and outright hostile position.
Rejecting Keystone, itself only one arrow in the juggernaut’s deadly quiver, would signal the President is ready to match his rhetoric with action. For real leadership, the President should also ensure the EPA’s forthcoming proposed regulations of existing power plants (“New Source Performance Standards”) are stringent enough to pave the way for an end to deadly coal in this country; of course, former coal workers will need a just transition, and the President needs to make sure that happens.
Such is the leadership we need ahead of the 2015 Conference of Parties climate meeting in Paris where a binding and equitable global deal is an absolute must. Climate justice activists will continue to follow the President everywhere we can as lives are literally on the line, and the hour is late.
Will you lead, Mr. President?
Bobby Wengronowitz, @bobbywego
XL Dissent arrestee 186
Co-founder Boston College Fossil Free
Ph.D. student in sociology at Boston College