Quantcast
Environmental News for a Healthier Planet and Life

Help Support EcoWatch

Why the Millennial Generation Sees Keystone XL as More Than Just a Pipeline

Energy

The Keystone XL pipeline proposal has hit a Nebraska stop sign, but it has deeper problems than right-of-way issues across the U.S. After all, the controversial proposal for transporting Canada's tar sands was never just about the pipeline. Just ask the thousand students who rallied in front of the White House recently, who were willing to be arrested to make their point. 

Below, is a slideshow of the March 2 action:

[blackoutgallery id="323997"]

Frustrated and angry over a lack of political action on climate change, the millennial generation is not tolerating an ineffectual Congress or President. The 18-34 year old group are 74 million strong in the U.S. and when the worst happens, they will suffer the most from climate change. With little representation in Congress—where the average age is 60—they look to civil disobedience as a strategy to create the political will to address this threat.

The fight over Keystone XL is really about a generational shift in the energy paradigm and how the U.S. will survive the twenty-first century. It concerns the wealth and jobs that the fossil fuels industry creates—how it has weaved itself into daily lives of Americans and pulled us into a formidable dependency. With growing apprehension, however, concerned citizens are sensing that the carbon-intensive lifestyle may be lethal to future generations and to survive, it is incumbent to accelerate efforts to develop other energy sources.

From Washington, D.C. and Nebraska courts, this conflict now swings to Canada, where the Alberta government owns 81 percent of its tar sands and has a long list of investment partners. Besides multinational corporations, one of its biggest sources of investment capital for mining is China, the planet's largest producer of greenhouse gases. Alberta looks to collect $1.2 trillion in royalties from its oil sands over the next 35 years, but has attracted attention because of the massive pollution resulting from the mining and burning of bitumen tar.

Canada also faces a disenfranchised youth, who feel their voices and futures have been diminished by the enormous profits bitumen tar sands portend. They are joined by First Nations aboriginal tribes who share the same political paucity and frustration. Despite the economic benefits of bitumen tar mining on their lands, First Nations point irreversible health and cultural damage. It is a critical decision for First Nations to continue its relationship with Canadian oil interests.

The world's climate scientists essentially agree that if left unchecked, carbon dioxide will worsen extreme weather, raise sea levels and create mass extinctions from an array of environmental changes. Many acknowledge that climate deniers are fed propagated ignorance by fossil fuel strategists as part of a misinformation campaign. It creates a polarized electorate, leaving the issue to develop worst case scenarios before action is taken.

In moderation, fossil fuel usage might not have posed a serious threat, but the world has moved well past that threshold. Burning of fossil fuels produces around 33.4 billion metric tons of carbon dioxide (CO2) per year and world energy needs are expected to rise by about a third over the next 20 years. CO2 has reached proportions in our atmosphere not seen for 15 million years and many scientists warn it may already be too late to mitigate damages.

As Keystone XL falters and tar sands mining continues to provoke protests, our nation is compelled to end political bickering and accede millennials a more powerful voice on climate legislation. President Obama must grasp the significance of this moment, deny the Keystone permit and tell the world his decision has nothing to do with the pipeline and everything to do with leadership.

--------

YOU ALSO MIGHT LIKE

100+ Scientists and Economists Urge President Obama and Secretary Kerry to Reject Keystone XL

Cowboy Indian Alliance Announces Week Long Keystone XL Protest in DC

MSNBC's Ed Schultz: 'I Was Wrong,' Don't Build the Keystone XL Pipeline

--------

EcoWatch Daily Newsletter

The results from Moderna's Phase 1 coronavirus vaccine show it is safe and effective so far. Jakub Porzycki / NurPhoto via Getty Images

Results from the Phase 1 trial of Cambridge, Massachusetts biotech firm Moderna's coronavirus vaccine show it is safe and produces an immune response.

Read More Show Less

More than 1,000 people were told to evacuate their homes when a wildfire ignited in the foothills west of Denver Monday, Colorado Public Radio reported.

Read More Show Less

Accessibility to quality health care has dropped for millions of Americans who lost their health insurance due to unemployment. mixetto / E+ / Getty Images

Accessibility to quality health care has dropped for millions of Americans who lost their health insurance due to unemployment. New research has found that 5.4 million Americans were dropped from their insurance between February and May of this year. In that three-month stretch more Americans lost their coverage than have lost coverage in any entire year, according to The New York Times.

Read More Show Less
Heat waves are most dangerous for older people and those with health problems. Global Jet / Flickr / CC by 2.0

On hot days in New York City, residents swelter when they're outside and in their homes. The heat is not just uncomfortable. It can be fatal.

Read More Show Less
Nearly 250 U.S. oil and gas companies are expected to file for bankruptcy by the end of next year. Joshua Doubek / Wikimedia Commons / CC by 3.0

Fracking companies are going bankrupt at a rapid pace, often with taxpayer-funded bonuses for executives, leaving harm for communities, taxpayers, and workers, the New York Time reports.

Read More Show Less
Trump introduces EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler during an event to announce changes to the National Environmental Policy Act, in the Roosevelt Room of the White House on Jan. 9, 2020 in Washington, DC. The changes would make it easier for federal agencies to approve infrastructure projects without considering climate change. Drew Angerer / Getty Images

A report scheduled for release later Tuesday by Congress' non-partisan Government Accountability Office (GAO) finds that the Trump administration undervalues the costs of the climate crisis in order to push deregulation and rollbacks of environmental protections, according to The New York Times.

Read More Show Less

Trending

The American Federation of Teachers (AFT), National Education Association (NEA), and AASA, The School Superintendents Association, voiced support for safe reopening measures. www.vperemen.com / Wikimedia Commons / CC-BY-SA

By Kristen Fischer

It's going to be back-to-school time soon, but will children go into the classrooms?

The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) thinks so, but only as long as safety measures are in place.

Read More Show Less