TORONTO (February 22nd, 2013) - Canadian activists joined the ’largest climate rally in US history’ this President’s Day long weekend, increasing numbers to upwards of 40,000 people in Washington DC who reminded President Obama to keep his word on protecting future generations from climate change. Rally goers condemned the Keystone XL Pipeline project as a ‘ticking carbon bomb’ which would aid in Canada’s agenda of extensive tar sand expansion of the ‘dirtiest oil on Earth’.
This was the biggest climate change rally in US history. By our count, 50,000 people gathered by the Washington Monument and then marched past the White House, demanding that President Obama block the Keystone XL pipeline and move forward toward climate.
There were many high points: Van Jones declaring that Keystone is the only presidential decision anyone will care about in 20 years; billionaire investor Tom Steyer laying out why it's a bad investment; Chief Jackie Thomas explaining the toll that the tar sands are taking on her neighbors, and promising that they would never allow a tar sands pipeline west to the Pacific.
Movements aren’t about leaders (though without Michael Brune of the Sierra Club, or Rev. Lennox Yearwood of the Hip Hop Caucus, this day would not have come off). Movements are about people — about all of us who put aside the things we have to do because we understand that the future is at stake. To see so many people make this a priority on a day when it would have been much easier (and warmer) to stay inside says a lot.
We are making plans to put the momentum of this historic day to use, and you'll hear about them very soon -- but for now, I just want to say thank you to everyone who came to DC, everyone who gathered in the solidarity rallies around the country, and everyone who sent their good wishes and prayers.