Today 800,000 messages opposing the Keystone XL Pipeline were delivered to the Senate. Environmental groups across the nation launched a campaign to collect half a million messages to Congress in 24 hours. They accomplished this goal in only 6 hours, and were able to raise 800,000 messages in the allotted 24 hour time frame. This campaign is maybe the most concerted effort of environmental advocacy this millennia. I am proud to say my message is in one of the boxes pictured below! I normally would not send such a message, feeling my voice did not matter, so why did I send one this time?
For one, I am well informed about this issue. Feeling shamefully unaware of environmental issues in the news, I decided to research the Keystone XL Pipeline. Knowing more about the issue made me more motived to follow it in the news. Being more aware also made me more likely to take action.
One way I stayed informed was through the multimedia campaign 350.org put on. 350.org posted regularly on Facebook (I am a fan), I received emails from 350.org (I am on their mailing list), and I saw Bill McKibben on the Colbert Report last night, where he discussed 350.org’s mission. I normally would be leery of such a campaign, being skeptical of technology and media in general, but it was effective in getting the message out, and it motivated me to take action. I am beginning to come around to the idea of technology as a way to spread “the good word.” As I have posted before, the media can be very biased, making it hard to receive balanced information. Sources on the internet, such as websites, blogs, and Facebook help to disseminate information that may not be found in the mainstream media.
The biggest reason of all as to why I wrote my message to Congress is I know that protests help stop President Obama from approving the pipeline last month. It seemed the pipeline was a done deal back in August before the protests started. This made me feel that dissenting voices can in fact make a difference, at least on this issue. Canadian protestors are doing a good job on their end as well to oppose the building of this pipeline. The public can in fact influence government, as was demonstrated by the Keystone XL protests.
There have been marches, sit ins and protests against the pipeline, and thousands of people have been arrested participating. I know that writing a message is a very small step to take, but I do feel empowered having done so. Maybe it will lead to more overt actions on my part to protect the environment.