UPDATE 8/27: Arrests are up to 381 as of today, the 27th of August. The civil disobedience has been temporarily suspended for the weekend in the interests of safety during this current State of Emergency. The pipeline controversy has made top news, however, with a recent state department update approving the project. (The project still requires the approval of the administration and President Obama to go forward.)
In Alberta, Canada, tar sands have wrecked huge parts of the country, devastating the landscape and disrupting the ways of life of scores of indigenous communities. Tar sands, or oil sands, are a type of unconventional oil deposit that previous to recent history have not been considered a part of the world’s oil supply. From the protestors’ website, extracting oil from tar sands is one of the most environmentally damaging actions being taken today, and with a proposed pipeline from Alberta to Texas, environmentalists and concerned citizens have declared they have had enough.
Bill McKibben (Schumann Distinguished Scholar at Middlebury and professor of mine) and a group of over 2,000 citizens have committed themselves to taking dramatic action against this proposed pipeline, saying that without pressure on the administration, the biggest carbon bomb in the world will go off.
From August 20th- September 3rd, activists and citizens alike will be participating in a wave of civil disobedience, protesting in front of the White House. Well under way, by day three more than 150 protestors have been arrested, including McKibben, Gus Speth, and more. Check out McKibben’s statement from jail (it interestingly rings strongly of the American civil rights movement.) The action has received support from actor Mark Ruffalo, Thom Yorke of Radiohead, two major American transport worker unions, and many more.