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Big Steps Forward for US Climate Movement

For related articles and more information, please visit OCA's Environment and Climate Resource Center page and our Politics and Democracy page.

There are two major events being organized by the US climate movement over the next month.

The first and most immediately significant event is what is being described (accurately) as the biggest climate demonstration in US history, taking place February 17th in Washington, D.C. Tens of thousands of people have already signed up indicating their intention to take part, and momentum is building.

This action was called by the Sierra Club soon after the November elections. The official call to action that went out in December came from them, and the Hip Hop Caucus. Since that time close to 100 organizations have endorsed it, mostly environmental and climate groups but also including the League of Women Voters, MoveOn, the Nebraska Farmers Union, Physicians for Social Responsibility, Public Citizen and United for Peace and Justice.

The demonstration is happening on President's Day weekend, on purpose. The major target is President Obama. He is being called upon to give real content to his inaugural call for action on climate, to lead practically on this urgent issue, and, most specifically, to permanently reject the tar sands Keystone XL pipeline.

The tar sands, without question, has become a "line in the sand" for enviros, climate activists and most progressives in the US and Canada, and we are having a real impact.

There is the broadly-based, effective and escalating actions of Indigenous and others groups in Canada and the just-won't-give-up organizing of Bold Nebraska. There's the harassing activities of Tar Sands Blockade in Texas and organizing in New England against another potential tar sands pipeline proposed for that area. There is the on-going work of various national enviro and climate groups. And finally, with the replacement at the State Department of Hillary Clinton by former U.S. Senate climate champion John Kerry, big shots at TransCanada and within the oil and gas industry and the conservative Canadian government cannot be feeling so good these days.
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