This picture says it all about why I am driving to Nebraska in the rain today, with the threat of snow tomorrow. The duck in the picture is one of the unfortunate animals caught in the Pegasus Pipeline oil spill in Mayflower, Arkansas recently. I’m sure the duck’s eyes are watering because of the oil, but it really does look like it’s crying.
Like a lot of folks, I’ve been following the news about the Keystone XL Pipeline, and I was concerned when I read that President Obama might actually sign documents to approve it. The more I heard about the pipeline and the way that people’s land is being appropriated for this project, the more I learned about what so-called dilbit really is (diluted bitumen), and the more I read about the possibly damaging effects that the pipeline will have on the land in the next fifty years, the more strongly I felt that I needed to take some action. I even considered attending a training for people who want to mount a blockade, but, after all, I’m not really a blockade type, and I don’t think I’d like to be arrested for civil disobedience because of the daily medications I have to take on a specific schedule. If I were healthier, I think I might have volunteered.
When I heard about the town-hall style meeting that the U.S. State Department scheduled in Grand Island, Nebraska, for people to give testimony, I knew that this would be the perfect way for me to take action. I’m not much of a speaker, so I have written out my testimony and will present it to the meeting organizers when I arrive. I could have emailed my comments through any number of organizations that are collecting comments against the pipeline, but I felt it was important to be there in person.
The duck coated in oil tugs at the heartstrings, and I admit that my decision to attend the meeting is an emotional one. What I have discovered, though, is that when our actions are based on intentions fueled by emotion, they become very powerful. My physical attendance at this meeting sends a message. I care enough to drive hundreds of miles to attend a meeting in the middle of the prairie in inclement weather, and I represent many people who don’t have the time or the resources to attend.
Once I and others have made our statements, we will see what the Obama Administration does with our comments. If the Obama Administration is as concerned about climate changes as they said they were during the 2012 election campaign, and if they are really looking for clean sources of energy, they will oppose the pipeline. If the pipeline is approved, I will accept the outcome until and unless I can find another way to take action.