The salutations “In solidarity” and “With Joy and Resolve” are often read by folks like us. That is because they are truly important words within a movement. We must stand together in solidarity working as a cohesive unit, with a cohesive message, always reaching out to new allies. We must also look into the future with hope and joy because negativity often takes us down a road where little resolve lies. It is actually insane how much these two simple phrases have meant in just the past few days.
Wednesday night a crowd of us stood outside the Canadian Consulate in the Midtown Manhattan, as well as many other locations across the country, to remember why we have been fighting this fight- to save what is left of the Boreal Forest and work to stem the tide of climate change. Some of us have been fighting it for years, some of us for several months now, and it was time that we step back and remember why. The destruction that tar sands oil production has caused to the amazing Boreal Forest as well as its contribution to irreversible climate change is devastating. That is why we did what we did Wednesday night. We stood in solidarity with folks across the nation observing moments of silence, listening to inspiring stories, singing songs, but most importantly reconnecting to exactly what we are working towards, not against. Yes, the GOP is often seen as our “enemy” but, let us not forget what we are fighting for, rather than who we are fighting with. I had the chance to sit back and listen to recording of rare birds who only live within the Boreal forests. Others had the opportunity to speak about the reasons why they are getting active on the issue. But it was clear, everyone there was supportive of everyone else. It was truly inspiring.
Something else happened Wednesday night. Senate Majority Leader, Harry Reid announced that a vote would be made on an amendment that would make or break the Keystone XL Pipeline within the week, but most likely the next day. That vote happened at around 4:00 on Thursday. As I sat in a coffee shop in Brooklyn, I switched my streaming from “Watch the Throne” to “C-Span Live” knowing that the vote could be coming any moment. It was the most exciting thing to listen to, much to my surprise. My nerves would jump anytime a “Yea” was announced and I would calm slightly each time I heard a “Ney” from a Senate member. Then it was over. The vote, needing 60 “yeas” to be approved was rejected with 56 “yeas” to 42 “neys”. TOUCHDOWN!!!!! My arms went up, and everyone around me looked at me questionably. I did not care one bit. Something that has been battled down by so many folks (800,000 in less than 24 hours) was over with. Right then and there. So the “joy” of “With joy and Resolve” was freaking overwhelming! It was past joy. I was like a little kid on their birthday knowing cake and presents are just around the corner.
Shortly thereafter came the resolve of which I still feel. This was not an ultimate win. Certainly a success, but this struggle is far from over. And there are many, many more battles to be had. TransCanada will try again, tar sands oil is still being produced, coal is still being mined and burned, and fracking is literally blowing up all over the place, maybe even here in NY. However, we have the power to shift away from these fossil fuels. Although Big Oil and Gas, along with King Coal have thrown exponential amounts of money into keeping control, we have one thing they don’t- actually we have a hell of a lot more than one of them- we have people! These people we have are filled with solidarity, joy, and resolve. The people we have are unstoppable, but only when we work together.
So I will end on this note: Yes, today was an amazing day where many of our elected officials actually acted on behalf of their constituents, and we must be resolved to use this momentum to build our offense. We still have a far way to go, but I could not be any happier than to travel this (victory)road with all of you.
In Solidarity with Joy and Resolve,
New York, NY
The Green Umbrella: NY Youth for a Just and Sustainable Future