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For five years, the struggle over the Keystone XL tar sands pipeline dominated U.S. and Canadian energy politics. When President Obama finally rejected the project last fall, he was able to start a new chapter with recently elected Prime Minister Trudeau, who seemed eager to move past the toxic politics of his predecessor, Stephen Harper.
But as Trudeau and Obama meet in Washington this week to discuss a joint approach on climate change, new fossil fuel fights, including several Keystone XL-like pipelines, pose challenges for both leaders and threaten to exacerbate tensions between neighbors.
“Keystone XL was just the beginning,” said May Boeve, executive director of 350.org. “This movement is now engaged in major fossil fuel fights on both sides of the border and is ready to oppose any new project that is proposed. Keeping fossil fuels in the ground is the new test for climate leadership and both Trudeau and Obama have more work to do.”
Organizing under the “keep it in the ground” banner, 350.org and other climate groups are engaging in a continental wide fight against the fossil fuel industry, challenging new projects and going after existing production.
High up on the list are a group of other tar sands pipelines that resemble Keystone XL. In Canada, both the Kinder Morgan and Energy East projects are facing tough opposition. In the U.S., local and national groups have targeted a system of Enbridge pipelines proposed across the Midwest.
“If Trudeau is serious about the climate pledges he made in Paris, he needs to freeze tar sands expansion as soon as possible,” said Cam Fenton, Canadian tar sands campaign manager with 350.org. “You can play with the numbers all you want and there’s still no way to match further tar sands production with keeping global warming below 2 degrees, let alone 1.5 degrees. New pipelines fail the climate test, plain and simple.”
Activists are also pushing both leaders to go beyond the Arctic and protect all coastal areas from offshore drilling. President Obama came under fire last year for allowing Shell to explore for oil off the coast of Alaska. He’s now coming under increasing pressure to ban all new drilling in federal waters, including in the Pacific, Atlantic and Gulf of Mexico.
“The Arctic is a spectacular treasure and so are the people, cultures and ecosystems in the Gulf,” said Boeve. “No community should have to live with the risk of a massive oil spill and constant pollution from fossil fuel development, especially low income and communities of color who are on the front lines of climate change. These communities got hit with Katrina, got hit with the BP Oil Spill, but they’re fighting to recover each and every day. Our government shouldn’t keep putting them directly in harm’s way. We say protect the polar bears, but protect the people too.”
A broad coalition of groups in the Gulf are planning a major protest at an auction for offshore drilling permits at the Superdome in New Orleans this March 23. The demonstration will highlight the irony of selling more fossil fuels at a national landmark for climate impacts.
In Canada, Indigenous communities and First Nations have an Aboriginal rights legal regime comprised of inherent and treaty rights embedded in section 35 of the Canadian constitution. This is a considerable power that Prime Minister Trudeau must consider and deal with, according to Clayton Thomas-Muller, Stop It At The Source campaigner with 350.org.
“The Trudeau government ran on the election promise to respect the rights of Indigenous Peoples to say ‘No’ to pipeline projects on their lands, while also committing to implement the UN declaration on the rights of Indigenous Peoples across the board” said Thomas-Muller. “Using Transcanada’s Energy East or Kinder Morgan’s Transmountain tar sands pipelines as the trade off to deliver on these promises shows yet another campaign promise being broken and shows that the influence of oil lobbyist money to Ottawa continues to flow.”
Over the coming months, 350.org and its allies will continue to intensify the fight against the fossil fuel industry on both sides of the border, protesting fossil fuel extraction on public lands in the U.S. and pressuring the Canadian government to stop tar sands at the source.
In May, groups will be coming together under the “Break Free” platform, a worldwide week of action targeting major fossil fuel projects around the world. In the U.S., activists will target new tar sands pipelines in the Midwest, fracking in the Mountain West, "bomb trains" carrying fracked oil and gas in New York, refinery pollution north of Seattle, offshore drilling in an action in Washington, DC and dangerous oil and gas drilling in Los Angeles. In Canada, activists are preparing to protest tar sands development while calling for clean energy solutions for communities who were on the front lines of pollution and climate change.
“In Paris, world leaders made a promise to move the world beyond fossil fuels,” said Boeve. “We intend to hold them to it and do everything we can to accelerate that transition. This problem is ultimately a race against the clock. Luckily, this movement is beginning to really hit its stride.”
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Cabin fever is often associated with being cooped up on a rainy weekend or stuck inside during a winter blizzard.
In reality, though, it can actually occur anytime you feel isolated or disconnected from the outside world.
What is cabin fever?<p>In popular expressions, cabin fever is used to explain feeling bored or listless because you've been stuck inside for a few hours or days. But that's not the reality of the symptoms.</p><p>Instead, cabin fever is a series of negative emotions and distressing sensations people may face if they're isolated or feeling cut off from the world.</p><p>These feelings of isolation and loneliness are more likely in times of <a href="https://www.healthline.com/health-news/yes-covid-19-cases-are-rising-why-you-still-need-to-practice-social-distancing" target="_blank">social distancing</a>, self-quarantining during a <a href="https://www.healthline.com/health/what-is-a-pandemic" target="_blank">pandemic</a>, or sheltering in place because of severe weather.</p><p>Indeed, cabin fever can lead to a series of symptoms that can be difficult to manage without proper coping techniques.</p><p>Cabin fever isn't a recognized psychological disorder, but that doesn't mean the feelings aren't real. The distress is very real. It can make fulfilling the requirements of everyday life difficult.</p>
What are the symptoms?<p>Symptoms of cabin fever go far beyond feeling bored or "stuck" at home. They're rooted in an intense feeling of isolation and may include:</p><ul><li>restlessness</li><li>decreased motivation</li><li><a href="https://www.healthline.com/health/irritability" target="_blank">irritability</a></li><li>hopelessness</li><li><a href="https://www.healthline.com/health/unable-to-concentrate" target="_blank">difficulty concentrating</a></li><li><a href="https://www.healthline.com/health/irregular-sleep-wake-syndrome" target="_blank">irregular sleep patterns</a>, including sleepiness or sleeplessness</li><li>difficulty waking up</li><li><a href="https://www.healthline.com/health/lethargy" target="_blank">lethargy</a></li><li>distrust of people around you</li><li>lack of patience</li><li>persistent <a href="https://www.healthline.com/health/depression/depression-vs-sadness" target="_blank">sadness or depression<br></a></li></ul>
What can help you cope with cabin fever?<p>Because cabin fever isn't a recognized psychological condition, there's no standard "treatment." However, mental health professionals do recognize that the symptoms are very real.</p><p>The coping mechanism that works best for you will have a lot to do with your personal situation and the reason you're secluded in the first place.</p><p>Finding meaningful ways to engage your brain and occupy your time can help alleviate the distress and irritability that cabin fever brings.</p><p>The following ideas are a good place to start.</p>
When to get help<p>Cabin fever is often a fleeting feeling. You may feel irritable or frustrated for a few hours, but having a virtual chat with a friend or finding a task to distract your mind may help erase the frustrations you felt earlier.</p><p>Sometimes, however, the feelings may grow stronger, and no coping mechanisms may be able to successfully help you eliminate your feelings of isolation, sadness, or depression.</p><p>What's more, if your time indoors is prolonged by outside forces, like weather or extended shelter-in-place orders from your local government, feelings of <a href="https://www.healthline.com/health/anxiety" target="_blank">anxiety</a> and fear are valid.</p><p>In fact, anxiety may be at the root of some cabin fever symptoms. This may make symptoms worse.</p><p>If you feel that your symptoms are getting worse, consider reaching out to a mental health professional who can help you understand what you're experiencing. Together, you can identify ways to overcome the feelings and anxiety.</p><p>Of course, if you're in isolation or practicing social distancing, you'll need to look for alternative means for seeing a mental health expert.</p><p>Telehealth options may be available to connect you with your therapist if you already have one. If you don't, reach out to your doctor for recommendations about mental health specialists who can connect with you online.</p><p>If you don't want to talk to a therapist, <a href="https://www.healthline.com/health/depression/top-iphone-android-apps" target="_blank">smartphone apps for depression</a> may provide a complementary option for addressing your cabin fever symptoms.</p>
The bottom line<p>Isolation isn't a natural state for many people. We are, for the most part, social animals. We enjoy each other's company. That's what can make staying at home for extended periods of time difficult.</p><p>However, whether you're sheltering at home to avoid dangerous weather conditions or heeding the guidelines to help minimize the spread of a disease, staying at home is often an important thing we must do for ourselves and our communities.</p><p>If and when it's necessary, finding ways to engage your brain and occupy your time may help bat back cabin fever and the feelings of isolation and restlessness that often accompany it.</p>
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