Why Bill McKibben's Middle School Science Teacher is Joining the Tar Sands Action in DC

Why I am coming to DC — the tar sands action team August 18, 2011 at 1:16 pm
Fran Ludwig, Bill McKibben’s Middle School science teacher, submitted the following post to her local newspaper in Lexington, Massachusetts explaining why she’s participating in the Tar Sands Action in Washington DC. To join her and hundreds of others at the White House, sign up here.
Fran Ludwig, recently retired K-5 Science Coordinator for the Lexington Public Schools, is going to Washington.  This is a journey with a mission that has consumed her since the first Earth Day in 1970 when she led Lexington High School students in an effort to close down the school incinerator.  This time the goal is to encourage President Obama to veto a project that will have a huge impact on America’s efforts to control climate change.Climate scientist James Hansen calls the proposed Keystone XL pipeline a “climate game changer.”   The pipeline would carry oil out of Canada’s vast tar sands oil fields to Texas, where it will be refined, then burned across the globe, dealing a catastrophic blow to our chance of returning earth to a stable climate.  In addition, huge quantities of water will be fouled,  boreal forest, a major carbon absorber, will be stripped, and drinking water for over 2 million people in the U.S. will be at risk if the pipeline bursts . For more details on the Keystone XL pipeline impact, go to: http://www.nrdc.org/energy/dirtyfuels_tar.asp Fran, along with 2000 other demonstrators in front of the White House, expects to be arrested for civil disobedience as she expresses her frustration with Washington’s inability to address the critical changes in climate that threaten our future.  The Keystone XL demonstration from August 20-September 3 is co-sponsored by Bill McKibben, noted environmentalist and former Lexington resident, and TarSandsAction.org.
Fran was actually Bill’s science teacher at Clarke Middle School many years ago.  She says, “I’m learning more from Bill  and his 350.org group now than he ever learned from me!”  Fran is also a member of the Lexington Global Warming Action Coalition, Lexington Interfaith Environmental Action Group, and the Sacred Heart and St. Brigid Faith and Environment Group.Fran reflects, “I’ve come to believe that many of the environmental problems we now face are moral and spiritual issues as well. Do we have a right to destroy the very systems that sustain us and our grandchildren to satisfy our thirst for energy? Should we not act on the likely scenario that continued use of fossil fuel will have a devastating impact on weather, oceans and all the creatures in the web of life that are so finely attuned to a specific habitat?” She says, “I’m going to Washington and risking arrest because, in spite of the efforts of concerned individuals and communities to live in a more sustainable way, government policy is the only way to achieve the large scale change we need to avert the worst outcome of rampant climate change. And yet many legislators are more interested in getting re-elected and pandering to extremists than taking courageous stands to assure our long term future. The approval of the Keystone XL is exclusively up to President Obama. The president has committed to addressing climate change, and he has made some progress with recent increases in gas mileage requirements for cars and trucks.   The President’s decision on the Keystone Pipeline is an opportunity to head off a huge “carbon bomb.”  I hope to add my presence to thousands of others in Washington (and hundreds of thousands in the U.S. and across the planet) to say: Enough! We need to take a stand against fossil fuel now!!”
  1. Anonymous says:

    Fran, I am with you! At 64, I have never risked arrest, nor have I ever been arrested, but I have been waiting for next week’s opportunity for over a year. A year ago July 7, Henry Waxman wrote http://bit.ly/WaxmanKeystone to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and DOS Keystone XL Project Manager Elizabeth Orlando. My fuse was lit and I urged 1Sky.org to publish http://bit.ly/Move1Sky2Move and I began tweeting with http://bit.ly/KeystoneTweet

    Thank you Bill, for pulling this together. The time is right …

    Here is my LTE which was published August 11th:

    http://www.insidebayarea.com/dailyreviewonline/letterstotheeditor/ci_18661399

    Stop tar sand oil

    Did you hear about the pipeline that will carry Canadian tar sand oil to Texas? People from North Dakota to Texas are up in arms about it, but it won’t affect us in Hayward — or will it?

    The proposed pipeline is called Keystone XL. If built, it will be “game over” for the environment. Tar sand oil is very carbon-intensive, and burning it has as much negative impact on our environment as burning coal for electricity.

    Tar sand oil requires heating water to remove oil from the tar sand, so the carbon-dioxide emissions are greater than burning conventional oil that is produced from oil wells. And, excavating thousands of acres of land to mine the tar sand decimates the forests, lakes and streams. That is also devastating to humans as well as other living things in too many ways to list here.

    Only President Barack Obama can stop the Keystone XL pipeline. Help send the message that heavy tar sand oil must be left in the ground, and that the outdated technology of burning it needs to be replaced by clean carbon-free energy technology.

    Join the demonstration in Washington D.C. Aug. 20-Sept. 3, if possible. Please visit http://www.tarsandsaction.org/ .

    Doug Grandt
    Hayward

  2. LIZ says:

    FOR PEOPLE SUCH AS EVE AND DOCHEBAR{ SORRY IF MISSPELLED} YOU ARE NOT SMART ENOUGH TO TELL US WHAT IS TRULY GOING ON IN THE WORLD. THE RALLY IS A SAMPLE OF SUPPORT. LOOK THE UP THE WORD SAMPLE ,MIGHT HELP YOU. WE CAN’T CHANGE THE WORLD BUT WE CAN STAND TOGETHER AND MAKE THOSE WHO CAN, ACCOUNTABLE.
    FURTHERMORE YOUR OPINIONS AND COMMENTS MEAN NOTHING TO ME . I HAVE COMPASSION TOWARD ALL , YOU INCLUDED WHETHER YOU WANT IT OR NOT. I WILL STAND FOR WHAT I BELIEVE IS RIGHT,FOR ME AND FUTURE GENERATIONS INCLUDING YOU AND YOURS.
    HENCE IF YOU OR OTHERS REPLY ,I WILL NOT WASTE MY TIME AND ENERGY TOWARD NEGATIVITY. GOOD LUCK TO YOU.

  3. RShamel says:

    Congratulations, Fran! You can be proud of your teaching accomplishments, and of the example you are setting for others to follow, as you join this historic White House protest.

    It’s too bad that President Obama, who should be our “Educator-in-Chief,” can’t take an hour to give an Oval Office “State of the Climate” address on prime-time TV, to inform mis-informed Americans of the reality, importance and urgency of our need to deal with AGW.

    We’ll be heading to Washington to join the protest on August 30th. In the meantime, call out our chant to the president: “Hey, Obama, lead the nation; give us climate education!”

    • Anonymous says:

      Roger that! I made some 8.5″x8.5″ laminated signs to wear around my neck and it turns out they make a cool chant similar to your rhythmic 2-liner: I can’t wait to hear yours on one of the videos we’ll be creating from a soundbite here, soundbite there, here a sound, there a bite, everywhere a soundbite ;-D

      How d’ya like this:

      “Yes, Barack, you can say ‘no!’ Say ‘no’ to tar sand oil!”
      “Hey, Obama, lead the nation; give us climate education!”
      “Yes, Barack, you can say ‘no!’ Say ‘no’ to tar sand oil!”
      “Hey, Obama, lead the nation; give us climate education!”
      “Yes, Barack, you can say ‘no!’ Say ‘no’ to tar sand oil!”
      “Hey, Obama, lead the nation; give us climate education!”

      Here, grab these and get ‘em laminated for $2 at FedEx …

  4. RShamel says:

    Congratulations, Fran! You can be proud of your teaching accomplishments, and of the example you are setting for others to follow, as you join this historic White House protest.

    It’s too bad that President Obama, who should be our “Educator-in-Chief,” can’t take an hour to give an Oval Office “State of the Climate” address on prime-time TV, to inform mis-informed Americans of the reality, importance and urgency of our need to deal with AGW.

    We’ll be heading to Washington to join the protest on August 30th. In the meantime, call out our chant to the president: “Hey, Obama, lead the nation; give us climate education!”

  5. Anonymous says:

    Roger, the images did not upload to the REPLY … Let’s try again …

  6. LORI says:

    Yeah Fran! Lori Deliso

  7. CarolinaIna says:

    The impact of the individual. Thank you, Ms. Ludwig….

  8. CarolinaIna says:

    The impact of the individual. Thank you, Ms. Ludwig….

  9. Tlamey1 says:

    Never been prouder of my big sister! Right makes might!

    Let’s get our nation to be first in green, alternative energy development and supply. Otherwise, we will be buying our future’s energy from those nations who are smart enough to see the incredible opportunity for economic growth that alternative sources offer. The question is what will power our cars, homes, and industries twenty years from now. We must replace oil which in finite with limit less sources. If we can do that, we will have made an adaptive change that opens the door to a whole new era for mankind.

    It is time for “big oil” to invest profits in these new sources of energy! All of us will be better for it.

  10. Judith says:

    It is really unfortunate you didn’t have Fran Ludwig as a teacher. She sounds like a truly caring person whom I’m sure has influenced and encouraged many of her students through her years of service to Lexington schools.

  11. William Winder says:

    “First they ignore you, then they laugh at you, then they fight you, then you win.” (Ghandi)

  12. TR Ludwig says:

    Dushabobra- do you have any information to support your position? Fran has been studying this issue for over 40 years. I am sure she would be glad to debate this on the facts.

  13. Moran says:

    People survived before oil and we will survive after it. For a brief history of the last 300 years of fossil fuels in 300 seconds watch: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cJ-J91SwP8w

  14. Conorclerkin says:

    People Lessons 101: You will never change someone’s opinion by calling them retarded.
    Also, the facts that you state are indeed true to a certain extent, but not for all people. This is a huge point – only a relatively small fraction of the global population is degrading he environment for the whole human race, and other living organisms for that matter. Just because we are used to the wrong road, and perhaps even been brn on it, does not mean that it is too late to stop and turn around in the right direction.

  15. Christine Edgeworth says:

    Nice choice of words, Eve. Also, you said it yourself “NO ONE would survive very long without oil or products containing oil.” THERE YOU GO! Oil will not be around forever, so why not suck it up, grow a pair, and support these people that are trying to convince our government to act in our greater good. We are not saying that we should stop using oil all at once, because like you said, no one would survive very long. But leaning heavily on these oil companies and expanding their power is moving in the wrong direction. Green jobs and green energy is what we are trying to encourage. You should try it too.

    And remember the BP’s oil spill in the golf? Before the spill they had been quoted saying that they had the technology to handle a spill 10 times the size of the one last summer, yet for 3 months straight, a total of 5 million gallons of crude oil poured into the ocean. THINK! Don’t be so narrow-minded. DO you really support companies like this? How do you know that TransCanada isn’t completely underestimating the risks just like BP did? It’s not worth it. (Source: http://crisisjones.wordpress.com/2011/07/18/study-dangers-of-proposed-xl-pipeline-understated/)

  16. TR Ludwig says:

    Eve- you a missing the point completely. No one is debating that we are dependant on oil. That is very clear. The purpose of this action is to raise awareness that if we continue on this path that we as a race will extinguish ourselves. By the way, Fran has been to Alberta, and I know she thinks it is tremendous country. Let’s keep it that way.

  17. TR Ludwig says:

    Eve- you a missing the point completely. No one is debating that we are dependant on oil. That is very clear. The purpose of this action is to raise awareness that if we continue on this path that we as a race will extinguish ourselves. By the way, Fran has been to Alberta, and I know she thinks it is tremendous country. Let’s keep it that way.

  18. Conorclerkin says:

    Furthermore, I apologise for the two spelling mistakes in my previous comment. I hope this demonstrates that even ‘environmentalists’ can admit when they are wrong sometimes……and when their keyboards are shabby.

  19. Conorclerkin says:

    Furthermore, I apologise for the two spelling mistakes in my previous comment. I hope this demonstrates that even ‘environmentalists’ can admit when they are wrong sometimes……and when their keyboards are shabby.

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