60 People Risk Arrest at State Department During Keystone XL Protest
Sixty activists risked arrest today outside the State Department building in Washington, DC, during a sit-in and protest over the proposed Keystone XL pipeline. The State Department declined to arrest the protesters who departed chanting “we’ll be back,” promising to return in even greater numbers if the State Department recommends approval of the Keystone XL pipeline. Two hundred people were in attendance at today's event, including protesters who rallied in support of those risking arrest.
The sit-in is the second act of civil disobedience that CREDO, Rainforest Action Network and The Other 98% have organized to maintain pressure on President Obama to keep his promise to fight climate change by rejecting the Keystone XL pipeline.
The protest was held at the State Department in the wake of the announcement that an Inspector General is launching an investigation into Environmental Resources Management (ERM), the contractor that drafted the latest controversial environmental analysis of the Keystone XL pipeline. Recent revelations show that ERM failed to disclose ties with TransCanada, the foreign oil company seeking approval to build the pipeline through American soil, and with the powerful oil lobby, the American Petroleum Institute. In November 2011, President Obama postponed a decision on the pipeline until 2013, in the midst of a delegitimized review process conducted by another oil industry-compromised contractor, Cardno Entrix.
“The State Department has been working to determine what’s in the oil industry’s interest, not what’s in the national interest,” said Becky Bond, CREDO's political director. “The Keystone XL pipeline will accelerate climate change, and President Obama must make good on his climate promises by rejecting it.”
Among the people risking arrest and protesting were grassroots activists who helped elect President Obama in 2008 and 2012, including activists who currently volunteer for Obama’s campaign arm, Organizing for Action (OFA).
"History will not judge us kindly if we put the profits of a foreign oil company before the fight against climate change," said Jim Sandoe, Lancaster County director of OFA, who risked arrest at today’s action. "It's my hope that President Obama will make good on his promise to fight climate change and will reject the Keystone XL pipeline."
"People are taking dignified action today to draw a line in the sand against oil-fueled politics and for a clean energy future for everyone," said Scott Parkin, senior campaigner at Rainforest Action Network. "Its past time for the President to fight for our climate with more than just words and put the Keystone XL pipeline proposal to bed.”
"How many times do the American people need to catch the State Department in bed with Big Oil before John Kerry and the President take action to stop this dirty pipeline?" said John Sellers, executive director of The Other 98%.
More than 70,000 people have signed the Pledge of Resistance to risk arrest in peaceful, dignified civil disobedience, if President Obama’s administration recommends approval of the Keystone XL pipeline. Today’s action is the second civil disobedience action the groups have organized to maintain pressure on the president to keep his promise to fight climate change and reject the Keystone XL pipeline.
Visit EcoWatch’s KEYSTONE XL page for more related news on this topic.
Sweden's reindeer have a problem. In winter, they feed on lichens buried beneath the snow. But the climate crisis is making this difficult. Warmer temperatures mean moisture sometimes falls as rain instead of snow. When the air refreezes, a layer of ice forms between the reindeer and their meal, forcing them to wander further in search of ideal conditions. And sometimes, this means crossing busy roads.
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By Aaron W Hunter
A chance discovery of a beautifully preserved fossil in the desert landscape of Morocco has solved one of the great mysteries of biology and paleontology: how starfish evolved their arms.
The Pompeii of palaeontology. Aaron Hunter, Author provided<h2></h2><p>Although starfish might appear very robust animals, they are typically made up of lots of hard parts attached by ligaments and soft tissue which, upon death, quickly degrade. This means we rely on places like the Fezouata formations to provide snapshots of their evolution.</p><p>The starfish fossil record is patchy, especially at the critical time when many of these animal groups first appeared. Sorting out how each of the various types of ancient starfish relate to each other is like putting a puzzle together when many of the parts are missing.</p><h2>The Oldest Starfish</h2><p><em><a href="https://www.biorxiv.org/content/10.1101/216101v1.full.pdf" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">Cantabrigiaster</a></em> is the most primitive starfish-like animal to be discovered in the fossil record. It was discovered in 2003, but it has taken over 17 years to work out its true significance.</p><p>What makes <em>Cantabrigiaster</em> unique is that it lacks almost all the characteristics we find in brittle stars and starfish.</p><p>Starfish and brittle stars belong to the family Asterozoa. Their ancestors, the Somasteroids were especially fragile - before <em>Cantabrigiaster</em> we only had a handful of specimens. The celebrated Moroccan paleontologist Mohamed <a href="https://doi.org/10.1016/j.palaeo.2016.06.041" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">Ben Moula</a> and his local team was instrumental in discovering <a href="https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S0031018216302334?via%3Dihub" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">these amazing fossils</a> near the town of Zagora, in Morocco.</p><h2>The Breakthrough</h2><p>Our breakthrough moment came when I compared the arms of <em>Cantabrigiaster</em> with those of modern sea lilles, filter feeders with long feathery arms that tend to be attached to the sea floor by a stem or stalk.</p><p>The striking similarity between these modern filter feeders and the ancient starfish led our team from the University of Cambridge and Harvard University to create a new analysis. We applied a biological model to the features of all the current early Asterozoa fossils in existence, along with a sample of their closest relatives.</p>
Cantabrigiaster is the most primitive starfish-like animal to be discovered in the fossil record. Aaron Hunter, Author provided<p>Our results demonstrate <em>Cantabrigiaster</em> is the most primitive of all the Asterozoa, and most likely evolved from ancient animals called crinoids that lived 250 million years before dinosaurs. The five arms of starfish are a relic left over from these ancestors. In the case of <em>Cantabrigiaster</em>, and its starfish descendants, it evolved by flipping upside-down so its arms are face down on the sediment to feed.</p><p>Although we sampled a relatively small numbers of those ancestors, one of the unexpected outcomes was it provided an idea of how they could be related to each other. Paleontologists studying echinoderms are often lost in detail as all the different groups are so radically different from each other, so it is hard to tell which evolved first.</p>
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