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!!”