Although the White House has not yet made any official statement regarding the two-week Tar Sands Action that came to an end in Washington DC yesterday with a total of 1,252 arrests, President Obama’s decision to abandon a new air pollution rule on Friday spoke volumes. He affirmed his willingness to ignore the advice of his own government scientists in favor of business lobbyists—even at the expense of the environment and health of the American people.
How could the Tar Sands Action organizers leave Washington on that note? Sure, they had just completed the largest environmental civil disobedience in decades. But such an admirable feat would be pointless if all the energy that went in to pulling it off were allowed to dissipate. Thankfully, Bill McKibben announced that the movement will continue organizing, with a Phase Two announcement within 48 hours.
“Given yesterday’s baffling cave on ozone standards, the need for a fighting environmental movement has never been more clear,” said Bill McKibben, who spearheaded the protest. “That movement is being born right here in front of the White House and reverberating around the country.”
The only hint that’s being given so far comes with the advice, “Start by circling October 7th on your calendar.” That date would seem to suggest that the Tar Sands Action and this broader “fighting environmental movement” will be joining the occupation of Freedom Plaza in downtown Washington DC. What started as a protest to mark the 10th anniversary of the invasion of Afghanistan and oppose American militarism abroad may be evolving into something far bigger—perhaps this so-called American Autumn some have talked about?