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Climate Crisis Pushes Sierra Club to End Civil Disobedience Ban

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After 120 years of advocating on behalf of nature, one of the the nation's largest and oldest environmental organizations-The Sierra Club-has at last decided to end its refusal to participate in acts of civil disobedience.

In a letter to the group's membership, which numbers over one million, executive director of Sierra Club, Michael Brune, announced: "For 120 years, we have remained committed to using every 'lawful means' to achieve our objectives. Now, for the first time in our history, we are prepared to go further."

What spawned the decision? As Brune explained-and recognizing that many will comment "what took you so long?"-the change in direction was spurred by recognizing "the possibility that the United States might surrender any hope of stabilizing our planet's climate."

Specifically, Brune said, "the Sierra Club will officially participate in an act of peaceful civil resistance" at the White House next month on President's Day weekend.

Brune continued:

 We are watching a global crisis unfold before our eyes, and to stand aside and let it happen -- even though we know how to stop it -- would be unconscionable. As the president said on Monday, "to do so would betray our children and future generations."  It couldn't be simpler: Either we leave at least two-thirds of the known fossil fuel reserves in the ground, or we destroy our planet as we know it. That's our choice, if you can call it that.

 The Sierra Club has refused to stand by. We've worked hard and brought all of our traditional tactics of lobbying, electoral work, litigation, grassroots organizing, and public education to bear on this crisis. And we have had great success -- stopping more than 170 coal plants from being built, securing the retirement of another 129 existing plants, and helping grow a clean energy economy. But time is running out, and there is so much more to do. The stakes are enormous. At this point, we can't afford to lose a single major battle. That's why the Sierra Club's Board of Directors has for the first time endorsed an act of peaceful civil disobedience.

That protest, organized by Sierra Club and the climate justice organization 350.org, hopes to see thousands of Americans heading to Washington to create "the largest climate rally in history." The aim will to be to urge President Obama and other political leaders to cancel plans for the Keystone XL tar sands pipeline and spawn meaningful climate action.


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