Today my kiddo and I attended Seattle’s Draw The Line event with about 2000 of my fellow western Washingtonians. Today’s event was one of more than 200 events in 47 states across the nation to protest the proposed Keystone XL pipeline and show support for a path towards clean energy and away from energy intensive fossil fuels (events included a barn-raising in Nebraska directly on the planned path of the pipeline- check out the great photos at 350.org).
For my daughter, it was a beautiful day at Myrtle Edwards park, complete with beachcombing, rock climbing, and stopping coal trains.
Well, ok, a fake coal train. But she got to jump in and playact with the most incredible children’s group I had never heard of: Plant for the Planet, a global, child-driven organization that seeks to combat climate change through reforestation, environmental justice, and supporting climate change policy development. Think kids can’t make a difference? Just check out the first few minutes of today’s speeches, where some of the children involved with this group spoke so passionately and so articulately about how climate change is threatening their futures, and how they will not stand by and leave it up to us adults screwing it up, that they gave me great hope for our future if it is in the hands of kids like these.
Several other speakers today gave moving and impassioned talks about the criticality of this issue. Chief Reuben George, of the Tsleil-Waututh First Nation, spoke courageously and beautifully about his partnership with several first nation tribes to protest tar sands development and export across their tribal lands. Seattle’s Mayor McGinn spoke about Seattle’s steps towards curbing their climate emissions, including the steps he took starting last year to divest the city from fossil fuel investments. Mayor McGinn summed up the criticality of this issue very well, in a quote I hope I captured accurately,
We are the first generation that can clearly see the effects of climate change, and the last generation that can do something about it.
And of course, we had Bill. Bill McKibben has, through his work with 350.org, and his relentless efforts to shine a light on climate change, become the true figurehead of this movement. And a great one. I love Bill, because he incessantly speaks truth to power with great heart and courage. He is also a humble man- you clearly hear his commitment and his passion, with confidence but without ego. He gets how incredibly hard and important his road is, and I thank him from the bottom of my heart for his work and the work of the dedicated folks that made this event and ones like it possible all over the country today.