Organizers are calling today's protest in Washington, D.C., "the largest climate action in U.S. history".
One of the groups involved in the Forward on Climate Rally, 350.org, has urged people to show their support by posting the graphic above on their Facebook account and sign the following letter to President Barack Obama.
I urge you to take strong, decisive action on climate change and reject the Keystone XL pipeline. I stand with the tens of thousands of people gathered in Washington, DC for the Forward on Climate rally. This is the largest climate protest in the history of the United States, and thousands are gathered across the country at solidarity rallies in two dozen cities. A majority of Americans now believe in climate change and think something needs to be done to solve this crisis. Now is the time to act, and we need you to lead. Reject Keystone XL. Move us forward on climate. Your legacy depends on it.
The Natural Resources Defence Council, Waterkeeper Alliance, and Sierra Club are among those involved.
In a commentary on the Nation of Change site, NRDC's Robert Kennedy Jr. drew links between the Keystone XL pipeline and issues of concern in Canada. Here's part of what he wrote:
In Canada, communities such as the Athabasca Chipewyan First Nation and the Beaver Lake Cree are fighting to protect their health, waters and lands from the leaking dams of toxic waste and the destruction of strip-mining for tar sands. In British Columbia, more than 100 First Nations have taken a strong stand against tar sands pipelines crossing their land and waters. In Nebraska, ranchers such as Randy Thompson—who was arrested with me at a White House protest this week—are saying no to the Keystone XL tar sands pipeline. Water and climate walk hand in hand with threats as big as the dirty energy path of tar sands. A dirty energy future means trading our water for tar sands, and that is not a choice any of us want to make.
It takes two tons of tar sands—strip-mined or drilled from the forest floor—to produce a single barrel of tar sands bitumen, a low-grade, high-sulfur crude oil that must be extensively refined to be turned into fuel. Producing bitumen generates three times the carbon pollution of producing conventional North American crude oil. And the additional refining required to turn this crude into fuel only makes matters worse. Tar sands producers have already destroyed an area the size of Chicago creating an industrial wasteland of toxic sludge dams in the heart of Canada’s boreal forest, one of the last truly wild places on Earth and the traditional territory of Aboriginal communities who have lived on these lands for thousands of years. If it continues, the total sacrifice area will be as large as the state of Florida.