Keeping It In The Ground?

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“Keep it in the ground” activists protesting the Bayou Bridge Pipeline on February 17, 2018 near Belle Rose, Louisiana. Travis Lux/WWNO

Under the current circumstances in the USA (you know what we mean) it is not straightforward to consider optimism obvious. But stranger things have happened. Thanks to National Public Radio (USA) for reminding us that when times get tough, the tough tough it out on behalf of us all:

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Activist Cherri Foytlin vows to physically block construction of the Bayou Bridge Pipeline in Louisiana.
Travis Lux/WWNO

The United States oil business is booming and the country could soon be the largest crude oil producer in the world. Despite this record-breaking production, climate change activists campaigning to move away from fossil fuels say they are making progress.

Here’s the idea underpinning the ‘keep it in the ground‘ movement: to address climate change, activists say known reserves of fossil fuels will have to be left untouched instead of burned. In the meantime, they want countries to transition to renewable forms of energy such as solar and wind.

For oil, activists figure that if they can stop pipelines and other infrastructure from being built, it’s more likely crude will be left in the ground because there won’t be a way to transport it to where it can be sold.

One tactic used to block pipeline construction is protests like those against the Bayou Bridge Pipeline in Louisiana.

Last month organizer Cherri Foytlin led cheers of “L’eau est la vie”—”water is life” in French—near Belle Rose, Louisiana.

Environmental groups sued to stop construction of the pipeline, but if building continues, Foytlin says she’s prepared to physically block it.

“We’re poor people. We don’t have a lot of money like they do. All I have is this old body… So I’ll use this old body now to do what I have to do to stop it,” she says.

Protesters say President Trump’s pro-fossil fuel agenda makes their job harder, but he also motivates the base. A day after Trump failed to mention climate change in his State of the Union speech, Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders fired up a crowd of activists at George Washington University by mentioning Trump and his cabinet appointees who lead the administration’s energy and environment policies.

“What we are about is telling Donald Trump and the Koch Brothers and all of these other people that their days are numbered—fossil fuel’s days are numbered. We are going to transform our energy system,” said Sanders as the crowd cheered.

Activists with groups like 350.org are petitioning cities to become “fossil free,” and they’re encouraging institutions—especially colleges—to withdraw investments in oil companies.

But people in the fossil fuel business don’t sound impressed.

“Keep it in the ground—as a movement—has been a failure,” says Texans for Natural Gas spokesman Steve Everley…

Read the whole story here.

 

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