Movement Strategy Session Video Chat

Uncategorized — the tar sands action team November 30, 2011 @ 9:22 pm

Terrific talking to everyone tonight! Looking forward to hearing from you soon.

tarsandsaction on Broadcast Live Free


Indigenous Leaders Will Hand Obama Emergency Mother Earth Accord, Say Face To Face No Keystone XL

News — the tar sands action team @ 6:29 pm

2011-11-30-ShutDowntheTarSands.jpgPhoto credit: Shadia Fayne Wood
In the ongoing fight to keep tarsands oil in the ground, no group has been more vocal, more consistent, and more effective than native and indigenous groups on both sides of the border.

When I think back on the year’s campaign — which has at least temporarily halted construction of the pipeline — many of the faces I see in my mind’s eye come from native communities: Melina Laboucan-Massimo in tears describing the death of family and friends from the strange cancers now common across the tarsands territory, or Gitz Crazyboy showing pictures of the wrecked landscape where he grew up. The Indigenous Environmental Network, small and underfunded, was just as key in this fight as the biggest of the Washington green groups.


Something really big is underway

News — the tar sands action team November 29, 2011 @ 3:47 pm


I’ve been on the road the past couple of weeks, meeting up with folks in Colorado and Ohio, and I must say: everywhere I go, I can tell something really big is underway.

Between stopping Keystone in its tracks and the huge things accomplished by Occupy Wall Street, we’re at a turning point for our movement and our planet. People are beginning to understand the bold steps needed to stop the corporate power that is destroying our way of life.

Of course, this amazing work didn’t come out of nowhere — it all got started with a handful of people meeting and making a plan.
We have more than a handful of people at this point, but to build the next phase of this movement, we need to do the same thing.  Now is the time to figure out profound new ways to say yes to a renewable energy future.

Movement strategy sessions are happening in communities coast-to-coast this week to make our own plans for what’s next, but if you can’t make a strategy session, we still want to hear from you. The best way to add your thoughts is to answer the questions here on this page:


Planning What's Next for the Climate Movement

News — the tar sands action team November 28, 2011 @ 7:23 pm

This Wednesday, the Tar Sands Action will be meeting to discuss the future of our movement.

We just won an important victory against Keystone XL, and folks across North America are meeting up this week to discuss how to keep growing the movement to end fossil fuels and stop climate change. After a victory like this we should take time to reflect on our successes over the past few months, and discuss what we can do to continue our momentum.

We’re going to make sure that Keystone XL never gets built, but we can’t stop there – from continuing to fight tar sands development, to stopping fracking, to ending fossil fuel subsidies, we want to collaboratively figure out the best way to grow the movement against fossil fuels and corporate polluters.

Here’s the plan: we’re starting with a live video chat from the organizing team that will lay out a few ideas about what could come next. Then folks from coast-to-coast will meet to discuss their plans and ideas. We’re teaming up with to hold events coast-to-coast.

I was hoping you could be a part of the strategy session near you – we need to hear from everyone who was a part of this hugely successful campaign so that we can figure out what worked, and put our absolute best foot forward for the next step. Can you join a strategy session?

Click here to find an event and RSVP

If you can’t find an event near you, click here to sign up to host – it’s super-simple, and someone from the Tar Sands Action organizing touch will give you a call to make sure you have everything you need.


What's Next for Tar Sands Action

News — the tar sands action team November 18, 2011 @ 4:31 pm


It’s been one week since we got the good news about the President’s decision to send back Keystone XL for re-review, likely killing the project. I hope you took a few days to rest and enjoy the taste of a victory – it’s quite well deserved.

The Tar Sands Action organizing team has had a few meetings to talk about what should come next for us. As organizers, we got involved with this campaign because it is part of the movement to stop climate change – a movement we have all been a part of for years. From that perspective, two things are clear to us:

First: We did something remarkable.
No one expected us to accomplish as much as we did – and we did it with incredible grace, class and power. We have a lot to learn from each other.

Second: This is not a permanent victory. Even if the pipeline is dead (and we think it is), there will be more projects like it – or others just as dangerous – proposed very soon. We should figure out how to use this momentum to keep building the movement.

That’s all we know. It’s up to all of us to figure it out what to do next together. Instead of visiting Obama offices, we will hold a nationwide Movement Strategy Session to figure out what comes next.

Here’s the plan:

On November 30th, we’d like to invite you to host Movement Strategy Session with your local network to talk about about what should come next.

We’ll begin with a live video chat led by the organzing team that will lay out some of the ideas we have about what we could do next. This will outline a few possible campaigns, how they relate to Keystone XL and the tar sands, and what we could do to take action on each.

Then, each local strategy session will hold a discussion about what they think should happen next. Later, on December 5th we’ll all come together for a joint reportback on a nationwide conference call to get a sense of what people want to do nationally.

Can you lead a Movement Strategy Session? Sign up here to lead an event.

We can help you get the word out about events with an email to other Tar Sands Action folks nearby. The organizing team has materials that can help you lead the discussion about planning for the next steps. Folks from the organizing team will also be available that evening to chat and answer any questions you may have as well.

After our conference call, the organizing team – Bill, Daniel, Duncan, Jamie, Joshua, Linda, Matt and Rae – will huddle, talk with our allies, get feedback from folks who couldn’t make it to an event, then come to a decision about our next step before everyone takes a break for the holidays.  Of course, you will be the first to know what comes next.

That’s the plan.

To join the live chat, to to this site at 7 PM Eastern on Nov. 30th and hit play (we’ll send you a reminder too):

To host an event, click here:

Thanks for all you’ve done to bring us to this point. We have a lot left to do together. Let’s talk soon.



Indigenous Environmental Network Continues Fight against Keystone XL

Uncategorized — the tar sands action team @ 3:40 pm

Throughout this struggle, the Tar Sands Action has been grateful for the support from our allies the Indigenous Environmental Network. Next month they will bring their message to the President himself at the White House Tribal Summit. Here is their message, from their Facebook Page: On December 2, 2011 IEN will support half a dozen Tribal Leaders to hand deliver the Mother Earth Accord to President Obama at the White House Tribal Summit. No pipelines now, not in 18 months Not Ever-Shut Down the Tar Sands! Here is a video celebrating this small victory of stalling the project…we still have…


Save the Delaware River from Fracking

News — the tar sands action team November 15, 2011 @ 5:03 pm

This post is from our friend and Tar Sands Action arrestee Josh Fox, who directed the documentary Gasland. Josh is organizing a big action against hydrofracking gas drilling in Trenton, NJ on Nov. 21st that is a crucial next step for our movement. Our fights are deeply linked – gas from hydrofracking is a key ingredient for tar sands oil extraction, and hundreds of fracking activists joined us on Nov. 6th in DC. I’ll be at the action and I hope to see you there. – Duncan

Dear friends,

We’ve come a long way in the fight against the Keystone XL pipeline. Thanks to your commitment to bold action, the President sent the pipeline back for a lengthy and thorough review that will hopefully mean the end of the project.

But we won’t stop here — we’ll fight extreme energy projects wherever they are, whether they’re in Canada, India or right next door in the Delaware River Basin.

You’ve probably heard about hydrofracking (“fracking” for short), which involves pumping chemical sludge deep underground in order to fracture shale and collect natural gas. Fracking is not only one of the most destructive forms of extreme energy development, contaminating drinking water, spewing hazardous air pollution and greenhouse gases, and creating a health crisis; It’s a worldwide scourge that pushes us farther away from the renewable energy future that we need.

On November 21st the Delaware River Basin Commission (DRBC) will vote on a plan that will allow for 20,000 or more fracked gas wells in the Delaware River Basin.
The DRBC has representatives from the governors of New York, New Jersey, Delaware, and Pennsylvania.

The commission will be making their decision at a meeting that will have no public comment period, so I’m helping to organize another big, bold action to make sure our voices are heard in this process – before they frack our water for good. Can you join me in Trenton for a massive action to stop fracking on Nov. 21st?

Click here to learn more and sign up for the action

Here are the details:

What: Rally at the Delaware River Basin Commission
When: November 21, 8 am
Where: Patriots Theater at the War Memorial, 1 Memorial Drive Trenton, N.J.


Solidarity with Occupy Wall Street

News — the tar sands action team @ 10:11 am

It was shocking to see the New York police raid the peaceful and nonviolent headquarters of the Occupy movement in lower Manhattan early this morning. They may imagine that in so doing they’re stamping something out. This is not the case. Just as it boosted the pipeline fight when many of us had to go off to jail, so too will this only add steam to the Occupy movement worldwide.

We stand in solidarity with Occupy Wall Street – their fight is our fight. Bill McKibben is visiting Occupy Vancouver this evening, as part of the ongoing fight against pipelines out of the tarsands; he’ll be bringing our message of solidarity with the whole Occupy movement. As he said when he spoke through the human microphone early in the New York occupation, “since Wall Street has been occupying the atmosphere for many years, it’s entirely necessary that we occupy Wall Street.”

Please visit for more info, and follow @occupywallstNYC on Twitter for latest updates from New York.


The news coming out of Nebraska

Uncategorized — the tar sands action team November 14, 2011 @ 7:41 pm

We’re watching the news coming out of Nebraska closely this evening. It looks like TransCanada is agreeing to a re-route around the Sand Hills and a new Environmental Impact Statement prepared by the state of Nebraska. We’re going to be waiting on clarification from the White House on what this means for the federal process, but our understanding at the moment is that this decision does nothing to replace the need for the State Department to conduct a supplemental Environmental Impact Statement on the re-route, as well as a new national interest determination process that takes into account climate change and a variety of other concerns.

Here’s a reaction from Bill McKibben:

“We’re awfully happy that the Ogalalla Aquifer is going to be safe, and the Sand Hills, and that only leaves the entire atmosphere of the planet to worry about. We’re expecting White House clarification tomorrow on the process, and what we expect to hear from them is: whatever happens with the State Department Environmental Impact Statement, there is going to be a full consideration of climate and public health issues surrounding tar sands oil before any presidential permit is granted.”


Big news: We won. You won.

News — the tar sands action team November 10, 2011 @ 4:23 pm

Um, we won. You won.

Not completely. The president didn’t outright reject the pipeline permit. My particular fantasy–that he would invite the 1253 people arrested on his doorstep in August inside the gates for a victory picnic by the vegetable garden–didn’t materialize.

But a few minutes ago the president sent the pipeline back to the State Department for a thorough re-review, which most analysts are saying will effectively kill the project. The president explicitly noted climate change, along with the pipeline route, as one of the factors that a new review would need to assess. There’s no way, with an honest review, that a pipeline that helps speed the tapping of the world’s second-largest pool of carbon can pass environmental muster.

And he has made clear that the environmental assessment won’t be carried out by cronies of the pipeline company–that it will be an expert and independent assessment. We will watch that process like hawks, making sure that it doesn’t succumb to more cronyism. Perhaps this effort will go some tiny way towards cleaning up the Washington culture of corporate dominance that came so dramatically to light here in emails and lobbyist disclosure forms.

It’s important to understand how unlikely this victory is. Six months ago, almost no one outside the pipeline route even knew about Keystone. One month ago, a secret poll of “energy insiders” by the National Journal found that “virtually all” expected easy approval of the pipeline by year’s end.  As late as last week the CBC reported that Transcanada was moving huge quantities of pipe across the border and seizing land by eminent domain, certain that its permit would be granted. A done deal has come spectacularly undone.

The American people spoke loudly about climate change and the president responded. There have been few even partial victories about global warming in recent years so that makes this an important day.

The president deserves thanks for making this call–it’s not easy in the face of the fossil fuel industry and its endless reserves of cash. The deepest thanks, however, go to you: to our indigenous peoples who began the fight, to the folks in Nebraska who rallied so fiercely, to the scientists who explained the stakes, to the environmental groups who joined with passionate common purpose, to the campuses that lit up with activity, to the faith leaders that raised a moral cry, to the labor leaders who recognized where our economic future lies, to the Occupy movement that helped galvanize revulsion at insider dealing, and most of all to the people in every state and province who built the movement that made this decision inevitable.

Our fight, of course, is barely begun. Some in our movement will say that this decision is just politics as usual: that the president wants us off the streets – and off his front lawn – until after the election, at which point the administration can approve the pipeline, alienating its supporters without electoral consequence. The president should know that If this pipeline proposal somehow reemerges from the review process we will use every tool at our disposal to keep it from ever being built; if there’s a lesson of the last few months, both in our work and in the Occupy encampments around the world, it’s that sometimes we have to put our bodies on the line.

We need to let the president and oil companies know that we’re ready to take action should they try to push this pipeline through in a couple of years. There’s a pledge to take nonviolent action against the pipeline up on our site, and I’ll be keeping your names an emails safely stored away so that you’ll be the first to know about anything we need to do down the road. You can sign the pledge here:

In the meantime, since federal action will be in abeyance for a long stretch, we need to figure out how best to support our Canadian brothers and sisters, who are effectively battling against proposed pipelines west from the tar sands to the Pacific. And we need to broaden our work to take on all the forms of ‘extreme energy’ now coming to the fore: mountaintop removal coal mining, deepsea oil drilling, fracking for gas and oil. We’ll keep sending you updates from; you keep letting us know what we need to do next.

Last week, scientists announced that the planet had poured a record amount of co2 into the atmosphere last year; that’s a sign of how desperate our battle is. But we take courage from today’s White House announcement; it gives us some clues about how to fight going forward.

And I simply can’t say thank you enough. I know, because of my own weariness, how hard so many of you have worked. It was good work, done in the right spirit, and it has secured an unlikely victory. You are the cause of that victory; you upended enormous odds.

I’m going to bed tired tonight. But I’ll get up in the morning ready for the next battle, more confident because I know you’re part of this fight too.

Bill McKibben, for


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