Thursday, February 14, 2013

Heavy Oil


The Sierra Club was founded in 1892 and is the oldest grassroots environmental organization in the United States.  Founded by John Muir, the mission the Sierra Club is to "do something for wildness and make the mountains glad."  the Sierra Club has a reputation for being accessible to people from all points of view and walks of life and are typically considered mainstream in their methodology, preferring education, resource sharing, and lobbying over protest or contention.  The club was essential to the formation of the National Parks Service, the inclusion of the Grand Teton area as a National Park, the addition of over 45,000 acres of wilderness to the Olympics National Park, and the creation of the Environmental Protection Agency.

This week, for the first time in its 120 year history, The Sierra Club participated in a direct action protest involving civil disobedience   48 prominent environmentalists, including the executive director of the Sierra Club were arrested after blocking the main gate of the White House in an effort to draw attention to their concerns regarding the Keystone XL tar sands oil pipeline.  Proposed pipeline would transport oil from the tar pits of Canada to the Gulf Coast of the United States.   

This is not a typical pipeline debate.  This is not about habitat destruction or road-less areas or even the push away from fossil fuels.  This is a simple mass balance problem. Tar sand oil produces significantly higher emissions of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases than other forms of crude oil.  The proposed pipeline would create a dependence on this dirty kind of oil that would be the equivalent of adding over 6 million cars to the road.  In an era of fuel economy and climate change such a step, taken largely to protect national security interests and our own, obviously outdated way of life clearly runs counter to our long term well-being.

It speaks volumes that after over a century an organization that has worked so hard to mainstream itself and distance itself from the radical left in order to gain widespread support and credibility has chosen to use such bold tactics.  These are not hippies or tree huggers, these are business people, political thinkers, policy makers, and scientists; and they know that once the pipeline is built, we will use it.

We have a unique opportunity to fix an environmental problem before we create it.  Do something.

To email President Barack Obama:

Like what you are reading?  Then support the Kickstarter for my book Girl Gone Wild- On Being a Woman in the Wilderness.  Thanks!

"Come to the woods, for here is rest. There is no repose like that of the green deep woods. Here grow the wallflower and the violet. The squirrel will come and sit upon your knee, the logcock will wake you in the morning. Sleep in forgetfulness of all ill. Of all the upness accessible to mortals, there is no upness comparable to the mountains." 
John of the Mountains: The Unpublished Journals of John Muir, (1938), page 235.


The Sierra Clubs Website:

Photo of John Muir and Theodore Roosevelt riding in Yosemite 1903:

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