In two days, more than 100 students, largely from Eckerd College but with several from USF-St Pete, will be packing into vans and driving to Washington, D.C., where we will join the largest climate change rally in history, on Sunday, Feb. 17, to push for the rejection of the Keystone XL Pipeline.
About three weeks ago, renowned environmental activist (and Eckerd College Class of 2013 Commencent Speaker) Bill McKibben Skyped a whole room of Eckerdians to get us fired up to stop the pipeline. Organized by competent and trained student activists, a team of passionate students coalesced, and after conducting a great deal of strategizing, fundraising, and advertising, we have now become organized, legion, and ready to make our voices heard.
In a few days, we will join this big and beautiful gathering and collectively appeal to our president to stop a pipeline that would increase the amount of carbon in the air by over 100 parts per million, past the current level of 392 and the safe point of 350, so that we can mitigate the climate storm that is already under way and start the long, tough, essential, endlessly gratifying work of healing our planet.
President Barack Obama has wavered on the pipeline before, largely because of past pressure from activists. In fact, two years ago, an even larger group of Eckerd students mobilized for another, smaller protest in the nation's capitol. The current mobilization, with lower but still impressive numbers, was done with much less notice and in shorter time.
With Obama's environmental advocacy in his inaugural address, we feel optimistic that with our passion and our numbers we will be able to make a difference and create enough momentum so that this term will be a turning point in national policy on the climate; additionally, we go with the knowledge that our success would inaugurate the rejuvenation of citizen activism in this country.
Last evening, some 80 to 90 members of the final group met for the first time. In fading daylight, we took over the patio in front of the Eckerd Pub and sat at its round tables while we reviewed the fundamentals of our trip and signed up for housing and vans.
In two days we will will depart for what we believe to be the most important citizen action in years. We are hopeful, happy, and anxious. And we will be keeping in touch.
- David Trujillo
This update corrects the increase of carbon parts per million the Keystone XL pipeline is expected to produce.