Revolution #243, August 21, 2011

Be in D.C. at the Tar Sands Protests August 20 to September 3!

The ecosystems of our planet are being compromised and destroyed. The burning of fossil fuels and destruction of forests is warming the earth and transforming the climate. 2010 was the warmest year on record. Melting polar ice caps, more intense storms, killing heat waves and droughts in some regions, more intense flooding in others—these are the "new normal." Even more catastrophic changes loom if this situation is not reversed soon.

As the danger escalates and threatens the future of vast numbers of species, even humanity itself, the U.S. is considering moves to increase its use of the dirtiest source of oil on earth. This fall, President Obama will decide on whether to allow the building of a new pipeline from the tar sands in Alberta, Canada to refineries in Texas. The Keystone XL pipeline could double the amount of tar sands oil flowing to the U.S.

A very important call for mass civil disobedience at the White House from August 20 to September 3 to stop this pipeline from being built has been issued by activist author Bill McKibben, climatologist James Hansen, author Naomi Klein, actor Danny Glover, and other prominent figures. This resistance is extremely timely given the urgency of the environmental crisis. The action is being called potentially the largest civil disobedience action ever to stop climate change.

If you care about the future of our earth and its people, if you are torn apart by this system's destruction of nature and of human beings, if you desire a radically different society where humans are not the destroyers, but the planet's caretakers, you need to be in D.C. August 20 to September 3! Help spread word of this action. At the action itself and to its lead-up, take out Revolution newspaper's special issue #199 ( on the environmental emergency as part of building a movement for revolution, which is the only thing that can prevent environmental disaster.

The invitation for the action (see says of the Keystone XL pipeline, "To call this project a horror is serious understatement. The tar sands have wrecked huge parts of Alberta, disrupting ways of life in indigenous communities." The pipeline companies claim their "state of the art" technologies would result in a leak only every seven years, but already the first Keystone pipeline and its pumping stations have leaked a dozen times in the past year. Besides the real dangers of destructive spills damaging the environment, the invitation says, the Keystone pipeline would be a "fifteen hundred mile fuse to the biggest carbon bomb on the continent, a way to make it easier and faster to trigger the final overheating of our planet, the one place to which we are all indigenous."

Climatologist Jim Hansen has said that to have any chance of stabilizing the climate, "the principal requirement is that coal emissions must be phased out by 2030 and unconventional fossil fuels, such as tar sands, must be left in the ground ... if the tar sands are thrown into the mix it is essentially game over."

Extraction of tar sands oil, according to Tar Sands author Andrew Nikiforuk, is now the "world's largest energy project, the world's largest construction project and the world's largest capital project." As the burning of fossil fuels threatens the very future of the environment, the U.S. and other major capitalist powers are stepping up their exploitation and burning of even dirtier and harder to reach sources of fossil fuels. They are rushing back to deep water drilling in the Gulf of Mexico and expanding drilling in Alaska, smacking their lips over the potential for exploitation of new reserves as their way of life melts the arctic, poisoning lands and people through fracking for natural gas across the U.S., and increasing exploitation of tar sands oil. (High-volume hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, uses high-pressure injection of water, sand, and chemicals to release trapped natural gas from deep in the earth. Fracking is responsible for damage to the environment and peoples' health.) Canada now has surpassed Saudi Arabia as the largest exporter of oil to the U.S. Tar sands oil produces three times as much greenhouse gas as conventional oil. Tar sands production is vastly destructive, using immense amounts of water, fouling huge areas with toxic tailing ponds, spoiling ecosystems and water sources in Alberta.

The U.S. considers the burning of tar sands oil a matter of "national security" since Canada is considered a stable and reliable imperialist partner, no matter the cost to the earth and people. This pipeline must be stopped. Resistance must be connected and stepped up to the whole way this system is destroying the environment on every front, and as an important part of building a movement for revolution.

Come to D.C., Stop the Keystone XL pipeline!

The Capitalist System Is Not a Fit Caretaker of the Planet! Stand up for Earth's Living Ecosystems!

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