Bill McKibben's Speech at Occupy Wall Street

Uncategorized — the tar sands action team October 9, 2011 at 12:28 am
Today, Tar Sands Action organizer Bill McKibben spoke at Occupy Wall Street in New York City and made the connection between the demonstrations there and the ongoing fight against the Keystone XL pipeline. Below is a video and transcript of the speech. Many thanks to our friends at Treehugger for providing the video.  Here is the text of Bill’s speech:  Today in the New York Times there was a story that made it completely clear why we have to be here. They uncovered the fact that the company building that tar sands pipeline was allowed to choose another company to conduct the environmental impact statement, and the company that they chose was a company was a company that did lots and lots of work for them. So, in other words, the whole thing was rigged top to bottom and that’s why the environmental impact statement said that this pipeline would cause no trouble, unlike the scientists who said if we build this pipeline it’s “game over” for the climate. We can’t let this pipeline get built. On November 6, one year before the election, we’re going to be in DC with a huge circle of people around the White House and they’re going to be carrying signs with quotations from Barack Obama from the 2008 campaign. He said, “It’s time to end the tyranny of oil.” He said, “I will have the most transparent government in history.” We have to go to DC to find out where they have locked that guy up. We have to free Obama, because there is some sort of stunt double there now. So on November 6, I hope we can move, just for a day, Occupy Wall Street down to the White House and get them in the fight against corporate power. The reason that it’s so great that we’re occupying Wall Street is because Wall Street has been occupying the atmosphere. That’s why we can never do anything about global warming. Exxon gets in the way. Goldman Sachs gets in the way. The whole fossil fuel industry gets in the way. The sky does not belong to Exxon. They cannot keep using it as a sewer into which to dump their carbon. If they do, we’ve got no future and nobody else on this planet has a future. I spend a lot of time in countries around the world organizing demonstrations and rallies in solidarity. In the last three years at 350.org, we’ve had 15,000 rallies in every country except North Korea. Everywhere around the world, poor people and black people and brown people and Asian people and young people are standing up. Most of those places, don’t produce that much carbon. They need us to act with them and for them, because the problem is 20 blocks south of here. That’s where the Empire lives and we’ve got to figure out how to tame it and make it work for this planet or not work at all. Thank you guys very much.
  1. CallMeGoldie says:

    Right on, right on!!! Thanks for coming to speak Bill! I’ve been occupying on and off since night one. I’m also one of the 1,253! I am trying to educate as many people as possible about how the Fossil Fuel corporations make money from war, (coal in ammo and bombs, petro for tanks, guns jets, etc) poison our air, water and soil and turn around and sell us pills (petro) cause climate change and are now privatising climate disaster relief…. when all along we could have been using Hemp for fuel, wind and solar for energy….. These corporations have been making TRILLIONS since the industrial revolution. They are the richest, most powerful corporations (and families) on the planet and they DON’T CARE how many people get sick and die, because they profit from it!! Totally insane. We must educate every single one of the occupiers. If anyone wants to join me while on Wall Street, tweet me! @callmegoldie

  2. Mark Skudlarek says:

    I read the article in the NY Times, By ELISABETH ROSENTHAL and DAN FROSCH.

    The process used by the State Department to assess Environmental Impact says it all about the state of the Corporate Nation. All such government processes are documented, and all have acronyms. This one is the GIPP, Greasy Industrial Palm Process. No doubt, the same process was used to approve the construction of environmental hazards within shouting distance of each and every one of Us.

    Is it possible that the “stunt double” was the guy who made the campaign promises?

    I was at the State Department hearing the other day. Saw how TransCanada went to SE DC, and rounded up poor folks from the street. Paid them each $50.00 to wear an orange shirt and clap on cue during the hearing. I spoke with a couple of the folks wearing the orange shirts. I spoke with Ronald, a nice man. He knew absolutely nothing about the pipeline. Ronald was recruited by some Union International guy. I guess this saw-called “union” is some sort of Corporately owned group hired by the Permit Applicant, but I’m not a capitalist, so let’s just call them hired Thugs). Anyway, the Thug that recruited Ronald said that the pipeline would bring jobs to the SE DC area. So Ronald said “Yeah, I could use the $50.00.” When does the final State Department report/recommendation come out?

    Obama was elected President. He appointed Clinton Sec of State. The State Dept says, in their response to the NY Times report, and I paraphrase, the State Dept has complete ownership of the contents of the Recommendation forwarded to Obama. If that State Department Report does not declare the XL Pipeline Environmental Survey to be Corrupted and Invalid, then The Elected President should immediately dismiss Clinton from office.

    But I fear the System is working as designed, and that neither Clinton, nor Obama will hit that OFF button.

    That, I suppose is a thing We must do. Let’s find that OFF button.

    • Cheryl says:

      Let us deserve the right to be called “homo sapiens” and not the
      “species that poisoned itself and all creation.” No KXL
      pipeline!

      • Let us also be sure to give credit where credit is due.

        If Obama signs the Presidential Permit for this pipeline — as most of us on the ground suspect he will, based upon his prior performance with the Environment — we cannot in good conscience reward him in 2012 for yet one more in a long string of broken promises, all while he claims to be a guardian of our Environment.

        I cannot support Obama in continuing his half-hearted commitment to protecting the planet as he has been doing — until January 2017. At least a Republican is easier to control, and doesn’t take my campaign money from my checking account just to further his own political career.

        I shall play no part in that lie anymore.

        I’m spent, I’m done, and have sadly arrived to a final “moment of clarity” — Barack Obama is an enemy to Environmentalism.

    • Margot Kidder says:

      They paid the orange shirted union guys one hundred dollars in Montana, and the checks were cut by the Montana chapter of Laborer’s International Union, which is a very good group of solid union guys and women who have been conned into doing TransCanada’s dirty work for them. They signed a contract, a year ago September, based on the lie that the pipeline will bring 13,000 to 20,000 jobs to the US. Even though on Trans Canada’s application they stated they needed a work force of only 3,500 to 4,200 men, 10 to 15% of which would be hired locally for temporary work. The State Department knows this is a lie because on THEIR website they say the pipeline will create 6,000 jobs.

  3. Jay S says:

    He said, “It’s time to end the tyranny of oil.” He said, “I will have the most transparent government in history.” We have to free Obama, because there is some sort of stunt double there now.

    So you believed what Obama said before the elections. Obviously gullible folks like you will keep getting duped by double-faced politicians and the country will slowly but surely go to hell.

    • Mark Skudlarek says:

      Don’t be too sure that Bill, or anyone else, actually believed the promises. I sometimes wonder why we even bother to try to push political buttons when the process is so corrupt. But I don’t know the full plan, am quite sure that much of it is ad lib, and am thankful for the work that Bill has done.

      We’re on the same side, and we must be united, or the country will stay in hell.

  4. Goldie, the corruption goes beyond the corporations. It has crept right into the Environmental movement as well, and infects new-comers into thinking that Politics are more important than being the guardians of our planet. Environment first — ALWAYS!

    For those who don’t know, Friends of the Earth was founded in 1969 in the United States after it split with the Sierra Club, based on the Sierra Club’s reluctance to challenge the construction of nuclear power plants.

    And yet, as it has done since contributing their part of $5.6 million from environmental groups to Barack Obama’s campaign in 2008, Friends of the Earth has turned a blind eye to its roots by embracing Barack Obama and his sick endorsement of expanding Nuclear Power in the United States.

    Greenpeace, too, have said that they are in the fight against new Nuclear Power plants, yet they have been pretending Obama is their friend and defender of the environment … up until September when they FINALLY called him out on his Ozone Policy:

    Greenpeace commercial (www.youtube.com/watch?v=gI2Uo1U_Al4):

    “In 2008, I was filled with hope. I knocked on hundreds of doors, and made thousands of phone calls. Obama, you promised change and I believed you.” (Captions: We all thought Obama would be a healthy change. But instead of protecting public health, he’s been protecting corporate polluters).

    “You say you want to create jobs, but I need you to do your job, too.” (Captions: Now, he’s stopped the EPA’s plan to reduce ozone pollution … which could have saved 12,000 American lives a year … and ease the burden for 24 million Asthma sufferers).

    “Tell President Obama that we all deserve clean air. It’s not too late to hope.”

    In a long-overdue moment of clarity, I now see Obama for what he is (or has now become) — yet one more corrupt politician who will say anything for my Money and my Vote.

    I refuse to play this charade anymore. Despite the shuck, jive and warm smile, we must realize Obama is as much the enemy as any oil company executive … and it’s high-time we treat him as such.

    I will not work on Obama’s campaign like I did last time, nor will I give him one red cent to his campaign. I will give my time and money to local and international Environmental causes of my choosing, not to some pseudo-Environmental president who offers me excuses when I remind him of his campaign promises. I will vote for a vocal Green candidate who will represent me — even if he or she loses, because I refuse to throw away time and money to Obama who says one thing, yet does quite another.

    I refuse to be a ‘useful idiot’ in the 2012 election — four years has been quite enough, thank you.

    Even though it’s taken time for them to come around, thank goodness we have Greenpeace, who has come full circle back to putting the Environment FIRST.

    Greenpeace Core Value #4: Greenpeace has no permanent friends or foes.

    “In exposing threats to the environment and finding solutions we have no permanent allies or adversaries. If your government or company is willing to change we will work with you to achieve your aims. Dither, backtrack or turn around and we will be back. What matters isn’t words, but actions, and, as far as we’re concerned, there’s only one standard in this: The environment has to benefit.”

  5. Mark Skudlarek says:

    Bill,

    I don’t agree with everything you say, but then again, I sometimes don’t agree with everything I said yesterday.

    Thanks for your leadership and courage!

  6. K Boerobom says:

    At these apartments I rent in Wisconsin, there was a person who worked on a pipeline
    coming through Wisconsin. He has been gone for over a year now. Do you think this could be the same one? t33

  7. Jennifer Ripley says:

    need linky

  8. Margot Kidder says:

    Yup. And all anyone has to do to find this hideous stuff out is to go to the websites of the criminals in question. Cardno Entrix (an Australian company that now has an American arm headquartered in Houston; Trans Canada Pipeline Co; and the official website of the State Department. Or you can subscribe to “Downstream Today”, a website for the petroleum industry.

    Just make sure that if you send a message to the State Department that it doesn’t first go to Cardno Entrix for them to delete or edit. If you google something like “leave a message for the State Department re Keystone XL” chances are you will get something that says it is a State Department site, and sure looks like an official State Department site, but has in tiny letters at the bottom, “maintained by Cardno Entrix”. Pretty damn gross all around.

    Come to Washington on November 6. We NEED each other, desperately.

    Margot Kidder

  9. Margot Kidder says:

    This is a reply to an earlier comment about poor people in DC being paid 50 dollars to wear the LIU orange shirts:

    They paid the orange shirted union guys one hundred dollars in Montana, and the checks were cut by the Montana chapter of Laborer’s International Union, which is a very good group of solid union guys and women who have been conned into doing TransCanada’s dirty work for them. They signed a contract, a year ago September, based on the lie that the pipeline will bring 13,000 to 20,000 jobs to the US. Even though on Trans Canada’s application they stated they needed a work force of only 3,500 to 4,200 men, 10 to 15% of which would be hired locally for temporary work.

    The 1,700 mile long pipeline will be divided into 17 sections, and the approximately 420 to 610 jobs will be shared over those 17 sections. You do the math.

    The State Department knows the 13,00 to 20,000 number is a lie, because on THEIR website they say the pipeline will create 6,000 jobs.

    Not only is the environment getting shafted – so are the union workers and laborers.

    Margot Kidder

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