Recognizing that peaceful and lawful means to achieve its objectives to fight climate change are not working, the Sierra Club has in desperation decided to escalate its activism and organize civil disobedience. It issued a press release approving civil disobedience — breaking the law — to try to stop the Keystone pipeline.
Recognizing the imminent danger posed by climate disruption, including record heat waves, drought, wildfires and the devastation of superstorm Sandy, the Sierra Club board of directors has suspended a long-standing Club policy to allow, for one time, the organization to lead a group of environmental activists, civil rights leaders, visionaries, scientists, and other high-profile individuals in a peaceful protest to dirty and dangerous tar sands. The action will be by invitation only and is being co-sponsored by 350.org.
“For civil disobedience to be justified, something must be so wrong that it compels the strongest defensible protest,” said Michael Brune, Sierra Club Executive Director. “We are watching a global crisis unfold before our eyes, and to stand aside and let it happen — even though we know how to stop it — would be unconscionable. As the president said in his inaugural address, ‘to do so would betray our children and future generations.’”
Alison Chin, President of the Sierra Club Board of Directors, describes the board’s decision in this video, saying it was because “climate change is the urgent, potentially catastrophic menace we all know it to be…”
Michael Brune’s full statement was published in Huffington Post:
As President Obama eloquently said during his inaugural address, “You and I, as citizens, have the obligation to shape the debates of our time, not only with the votes we cast, but the voices we lift in defense of our most ancient values and enduring ideas.”… We are watching a global crisis unfold before our eyes, and to stand aside and let it happen – even though we know how to stop it — would be unconscionable. As the president said on Monday, “to do so would betray our children and future generations.”
It couldn’t be simpler: Either we leave at least two-thirds of the known fossil fuel reserves in the ground, or we destroy our planet as we know it. That’s our choice, if you can call it that.
The Sierra Club has refused to stand by. We’ve worked hard and brought all of our traditional tactics of lobbying, electoral work, litigation, grassroots organizing, and public education to bear on this crisis. And we have had great success — stopping more than 170 coal plants from being built, securing the retirement of another 129 existing plants, and helping grow a clean energy economy. But time is running out, and there is so much more to do. The stakes are enormous. At this point, we can’t afford to lose a single major battle…
In doing so, we’re issuing a challenge to President Obama, who spoke stirringly in his inaugural address about how America must lead the world on the transition to clean energy. Welcome as those words were, we need the president to match them with strong action and use the first 100 days of his second term to begin building a bold and lasting legacy of clean energy and climate stability. That means rejecting the dangerous tar sands pipeline that would transport some of the dirtiest oil on the planet, and other reckless fossil fuel projects from Northwest coal exports to Arctic drilling. It means following through on his pledge to double down again on clean energy, and cut carbon pollution from smokestacks across the country. And, perhaps most of all, it means standing up to the fossil fuel corporations that would drive us over the climate cliff without so much as a backward glance…
According to Dissident Voice, as the moratorium on shale gas drilling is set to expire at the end of February, activists are organizing in force and vowing civil disobedience. “We will do what Americans have done in our history to create change,” Reverend Billy Talen told protestors at a “power prayer.” “We are willing to go to jail. We are willing to fly through your windows. We are the Earth.”