On Sunday morning, 398 pairs of hands thrust through the White House fence and bound themselves with white plastic zip-ties to the iron bars in… Continue Reading »
It was a sight I’d never expected, and one I didn’t figure on seeing again — until late last year, when stories of flaming, even exploding trains seemed to suddenly fill the news. What changed to make such a seemingly safe transportation method so dramatically hazardous?
We consider ourselves to be strongly supportive of environmental causes. We believe climate change to be one of the most important issues facing our generation and would gladly participate in advocacy efforts to change the current course of U.S. policy (or lack thereof). However, we do not view the Keystone XL pipeline as the right battle for the cause. After months of protests led by Bill McKibben and his environmentalist followers, thousands of civil disobedience arrests, and mountains of apocalyptic rhetoric, President Obama decided to delay the request for the pipeline that would bring tar sands oil down from Canada and hand a victory to environmentalists. We don’t see it as a victory worth winning.
When I was little, I really wanted to go to Prudhoe Bay, on Alaska’s northern shoreline. Not because I wanted to see pristine coastline or frolicking wildlife, but because I wanted to see the place that could destroy all that.
In 2007, I wrote my first “Seeing Green” piece while stranded in Princeton’s student center (I went to the public rival-down-the-road, Rutgers) as my boyfriend coached swim practice. The column, “Oil for Breakfast,” detailed the myriad invisible ways fossil fuels support our daily lives — fueling the machine to fix the nitrogen to fertilize the corn to feed the pig to make the sausage, for example.
Last week, my grandmother forwarded me an e-mail with that stunning punchline. Here’s how the logic flowed: the United States has tremendous oil and gas reserves in the Bakken Formation, beneath the rangelands of Montana and South Dakota. Although these reserves could ensure our energy independence, no one has heard of them, and they’re not being tapped. Why? Because OPEC, fearing loss of its terrorism-funding revenue, is paying environmental watchdog groups to block development.
I haven’t had a TV in my life for the past few years. So, when I finally caught video clips from Cairo last week, I was astounded. Still images, no matter how provocative, miss so many dimensions of the conflict: the shouts and chants, the simmering resentment and dogged commitment, the flying stones and sounds of gunfire that turned a relatively peaceful protest violent.