Last night 10 climate activists, support team members, and videographers spent the night in jail across four US states after five of them shut down all the tar sands pipelines crossing the Canada-U.S. border.
The action was, in the words of the activists, “to avert climate cataclysm” and to support the on-going protests against the North Dakota Access Pipeline.
In an act of solidarity to the First Nations trying to stop the highly controversial pipeline, they shut down Enbridge’s line 4 and 67 in Leonard, Minnesota; TransCanada’s Keystone pipeline in Walhalla, North Dakota; Spectra Energy’s Express pipeline in Coal Banks Landing, Montana; and Kinder-Morgan’s Trans-Mountain pipeline in Anacortes, Washington.
One of the activists, 59 year old Ken Ward, who shut down the Kinder Morgan Trans-Mountain Pipeline in Anacortes, WA said his actions were “to avert climate catastrophe and stand with the Standing Rock Water Protectors. We must stop the fossil fuel industry in its tracks.”
Another, Michael Foster said: “I grew up in Texas just across the road from the Gulf oil refineries. I am here to generate action that wakes people up.”
Another Annette Klapstein, a 64 year old grandmother from Bainbridge Island, Washington added: “I have signed hundreds of petitions, testified at dozens of hearings, met with most of my political representatives at every level, to very little avail.”
She continued: “I have come to believe that our current economic and political system is a death sentence to life on earth, and that I must do everything in my power to replace these systems with cooperative, just, equitable and love-centered ways of living together. This is my act of love.”
The five activists also wrote a direct letter to President Obama, which said in part: “Last month in an interview with the New York Times you described the latest climate science as ‘terrifying.’”
They added: “We’re all very aware of the immense power of fossil fuel interests, whose wealth, like a black hole, warps political life, and the challenge of trying to communicate a problem which nearly a third of the nation suspects is overblown or a hoax is daunting.”
“It’s tough for concerned citizens like us to know exactly how much time is left because we have to do our own math, based on latest climate science data, to figure it out.”
Quoting OCI’s recent Sky’s Limit report they plead for urgent action: “We need only to act with thought for generations to come, respect the earth which nourishes us, cherish wild things and wild places, and value people over things, happiness over wealth, and other people over one’s self.”
The letter continues: “We have tried every avenue by which engaged citizens might advance such concerns – in this case, ecological – in public policy, and nothing has worked. There is no plausible means or mechanism by which the extraction and burning of coal and tar sands oil from existing mines and fields can be halted on the timeline now required by any ordinary, legal means.”
“The only option available to us is to engage in climate direct action, which is why we are acting today to shut down the five pipelines used to transport tar sands oil from Alberta, CA into the US. We stand together with indigenous peoples and Canadians who oppose tar sands exploitation there.”
They asked Obama to continue to shut down the tar sands, begin closure of all coal and tar sands extraction and begin a rapid energy transition.
The activists are all members of the group Climate Direct Action, which provided live updates on its Facebook page, and in Twitter, using the hashtag #shutitdown.