Here in Minnesota the day started out with blustery late fall skies threatening rain (or snow) at any moment. On the Sunday of the opening weekend for deer hunting, the chances of anyone showing up for a rally against a pipeline carrying toxic tar sands seemed fairly unlikely. Yet, with only one weeks notice over 100 Minnesotans hit the streets and marched, in song, as we made our way from the People’s Plaza, home to OccupyMN, to Mill Ruins Park and the Mississippi River. The sense of unity and purpose upon arrival at the park was heightened as folks joined Scott Travis, a local singer, in singing “This Little Light of Mine” with versus changed to climate and hope-related prose.
The view from the cement overlook on the banks of the Mississippi across to the coal plant and the Stone Arch Bridge brought back memories of last year’s 10-10-10 Global Day of Action where hundreds of bicyclists, the majority youth, came streaming across the bridge after connecting Saint Paul and Minneapolis in the work to build the climate movement around the world. That Sunday, like this Sunday, was a point in history to be remembered as millions of people around the world called for bold action on climate change. Today, over 10,000 people were circling the White House in Washington DC, over 100 Minnesotans and thousands all around the world gather in solidarity to tell President Obama that “YES you can stop the Keystone XL Pipeline” and yes, we need him to take bold action on climate change.
The sun began to peek through the thinning clouds as climate activist, Sarah Risser, Environmental Policy Analyst and Naturalist, began the rally – diving into the environmental and social implications of the Keystone XL Pipeline. Her story weaved between her experience being arrested in Washington D.C. last August and the background of tar sands oil. Maureen Hackett, former candidate for US Congress, continued with a compelling story of the consequences of oil spills as she saw and continues to witness in the Gulf Coast – there is no such thing as “clean up” to these tragedies. To bring us back to why we show up on days like today was LINK TEXT Louis Alemayehu, internationally acclaimed Activist and Poet, speaking to the hearts of every human through words of reverence for our planet and ourselves.
Our purpose today was to affirm President Obama in his commitment to end the “tyranny of oil” and that we, as human beings and as neighbors on this planet, believe that we have the responsibility to move from a nation based on dirty energy to one powered by clean energy. Words such as solar-voltaic, revolution, courage, whales, anger, water, urgent, grandchildren, LOVE, community, and bikes offered reference to what this group of Minnesotans value, what we feel and what we need to do.
As folks trickle back to their Sunday afternoon activities, the river continues to flow and the sun shines bright through the small wisps of white clouds. Something happened today, and it will happen again and again as people wake up to the reality that the threat of “game over” for the planet is not over and that we must find in ourselves the hope and willingness to show up.
Kate Faye, MN350 Coordinator