Around noon, as the organizers of the Nov. 6 encirclement of the White House to stop the tar sands pipeline were setting up, someone said, “the flag is flying over the White House, that means President Obama is home.” But a U.S. Park Police officer standing next to me said, “it’s not true, sorry to disappoint, but he’s not home.”
But lo and behold, at 5:15 p.m., as the light was rapidly fading and a beautiful three-quarter moon appeared in the sky over Lafayette Park, when Bill McKibben was wrapping up, speaking about the wonder and power of the day’s event and this movement, a motorcade appeared at the top of Lafayette Park. Someone said, “It’s President Obama,” and Bill proceeded to lead the thousands of people in a chant of, “Yes We Can Stop the Pipeline” as hundreds streamed towards the cars with their flashing red lights. If, indeed, it was Obama, there's no way he didn’t hear us.
This was just one of the amazing things that happened today.
There was the turnout, ten thousand plus people attended the rally.
There was the virtually unprecedented discipline and organization of the 2 p.m. rally which ended just before 3 p.m. despite 17 speakers, including Gloria Reuben, Bill McKibben, Michael Brune, Congressman Steve Cohen, Mark Ruffalo, James Hansen, Naomi Klein, Courtney Hight, Rev. Jim Wallis, Jody Williams, Nebraskan Bruce Boettcher, Larry Schwieger, Roger Touissant, Heather Mizeur, Tom Poor Bear, John Adams and Rev. Lennox Yearwood.
The encirclement worked. And there were probably enough people that if there was the time and resources to do so there could have been two-deep or even three-deep all the way around the White House. Instead, some places had a single line of people, others five-deep. There was a powerful spirit of hope and determination that was palpable as I walked the circle doing a numbers count.
There were large numbers of youth in attendance, perhaps half of the total being under 30 years old. Students came on buses from as far away as Missouri and Florida.
There was the 100 yards-or-so-long “pipeline” which was carried by hundreds up and down Pennsylvania Ave., chanting as they marched.
There were the connections made by many of the speakers at the rally, between the no pipeline movement and the movements against fracking, deepwater oil drilling and mountaintop removal.
Actor Marc Ruffalo gave his two-minute speech without using the electronic mike. He called out “mic check,” thousands repeated it, and he spoke in the Occupy mode effectively and powerfully.
This rally was in no way a culminating event. Just the opposite. At a pre-rally event Saturday, Nov. 5, attended by hundreds of people, the planning for actions and visits over the next few weeks to Obama for America reelection campaign offices was underway. A large demonstration is being organized at the national Obama reelection office on Nov. 16 in Chicago, Illinois at noon.
Bill McKibben was clearly impressed by what took place today and for the first time since he and the other organizers publicly initiated this movement more than four months ago, he said, as he closed the post-encirclement second rally, “we can win this fight.” Yes, si se puede, yes we can stop the Keystone XL pipeline. Yes, we can transform U.S. energy policy and create a new world.
Nov. 6 at the White House is the latest sign that a powerful, loving and hopeful new beginning is here and sinking deeper roots among the people of the U.S.
To view photos from the Nov. 6 event and other Keystone XL events, click here.
For more information, click here.
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EcoWatch Daily Newsletter
By Naomi Larsson
For centuries, the delicate silver dove has been a symbol of love and fidelity.
Biodiversity and Habitat Loss<p>Their near extinction is a symbol of the <a href="https://www.dw.com/en/global-biodiversity-outlook-targets-extinction-summit-new-york-pledge/a-54932895" target="_blank">biodiversity crisis</a> in the UK, largely driven by habitat destruction. Britain is now one of the countries with the most <a href="https://www.wwf.org.uk/future-of-UK-nature#:~:text=The%20UK%20is%20one%20of,than%20half%20are%20in%20decline" target="_blank">depleted nature</a> in the world according to the World Wildlife Fund. Half its plant and animal species are in decline and more than <a href="https://www.rspb.org.uk/about-the-rspb/about-us/media-centre/press-releases/let-nature-sing-wales/#:~:text=a%20natural%20tragedy.-,Over%2040%20million%20birds%20have%20vanished%20from%20UK%20skies%20in,unaware%20of%20the%20impending%20danger" target="_blank">40 million birds</a> have vanished in just half a century.</p><p>"[Turtle doves] are the canary in the [coal] mine because there are all these other species before it and after it," said Tree. "It's an umbrella for all the other species that are heading that way."</p><p>Turtle doves migrate south through Europe to sub-Saharan Africa between July and September, ending up in dry woodland and farmland areas of countries like Mali and Senegal for winter. </p><p>Droughts in West Africa and the Sahel region are believed to have contributed to the fall in turtle dove species recorded in northern Europe, with low rainfall reducing supplies of the seeds and insects the birds rely on for energy for the long journey home.</p>
Conservation and Farming<p><a href="https://www.operationturtledove.org/" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">Operation Turtle Dove,</a> a partnership project of charities including the Essex Wildlife trust, works with landowners and farmers to actively build turtle dove habitat.</p><p>Outten works with <a href="https://www.ebws.org.uk/birdsites/blue-house-farm-ewt-north-fambridge" target="_blank">Blue House Farm</a>, a 660-acre nature reserve in the UK county of Essex, where they have replicated weedy fallow plots. </p><p>"We work on it every year to make sure it's in the condition it needs to be with plants such as clovers and black medic," Outten said. "These plants are native to the landscape and produce the seed the birds feed on." </p><p>The birds eat a wide range of seeds from various plants that would have been abundant 50 or 100 years ago, added Guy Anderson, program manager for species recovery with The Royal Society for the Protection of Birds (RSPB). </p><p>"But it's simply true that with the gradual process of <a href="https://www.dw.com/en/farming-without-pesticides-how-can-we-make-agriculture-greener/a-52216796" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">intensifying our agricultural production</a>, the availability of those seeds has dropped and dropped," said Anderson.</p><p>Part of the project includes supplementary feeding — providing sources of food in the form of seed or grain. Under the Countryside Stewardship Scheme in England, farmers can receive financial support to create a turtle dove habitat. </p><p>Though they haven't recorded an increase in doves across the sites in the four years of working on the project, Outten said they are seeing improvements in how landowners and farmers manage habitat for the birds. </p>
A Turtle Dove Haven<p>The 3,500-acre Knepp Estate in West Sussex is another project taking a different approach and one of the few places where turtle dove numbers are increasing.</p><p>Isabella Tree and her husband Charlie Burrell converted their intensively farmed land into a rewilding project almost 20 years ago. They have let the land return to nature.</p><p>Just one year after they'd finished <a href="https://www.dw.com/en/uks-most-talented-architects-are-not-human/a-35952128" target="_blank">rewilding</a> the southern part of their property, they heard turtle doves for the first time. It's now a breeding hotspot for the birds with an estimated 19 pairs. Knepp is also home to <a href="https://www.rewildingbritain.org.uk/rewilding/rewilding-projects/knepp-estate" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">2% of the UK's population</a> of nightingales. </p><p>Tree is critical of supplementary feeding schemes that, in her view, are short term. She questions the chances of turtle doves getting to feed on scattered seeds before other mammals eat them first.</p>
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By Jessica Corbett
Green groups applauded Sen. Jeff Merkley on Wednesday for introducing a pioneering pair of bills that aim to "protect the long-term health and well-being of the American people and their economy from the catastrophic effects of climate chaos" by preventing banks and international financial institutions from financing fossil fuels.