If you’ve checked Facebook in the past week or so you probably know that the Keystone XL Pipeline bill failed in the Senate, despite aggressive attempts by Mary Landrieu (D-LA) to ensure its passing. But what does this mean for the United States? Does it mean we won’t have all those promised jobs? Will it lead us to living in caves because of a lack of energy? Are we more vulnerable to ebola, AIDS, asthma, and heart disease? No. It just means we’ve shown that the environmental movement is actually going somewhat forward now.
In reality, KXL will probably never be built because it “just doesn’t make economic sense anymore.” So all the celebrations we’ve seen over the past little while, of which none have been maximally publicized, are really just a small victory. So small in fact, that people are laughing about the whole thing. I mean, I’m for the fight against this thing. It’s been grueling and I even risked arrest myself to prevent its building back in March, but the supposed “victory” doesn’t really mean all that much, in the long-run.
Let me explain it as I see it playing out: Once congress is dominated by climate-denying republicans in the coming months, another bill will be put up for approval. Congress will most likely vote to approve that bill because oil and gas companies are funnelling money into their mouths like a malfunctioning arcade ticket machine. After that, President Obama will sit and talk with a lot of energy company representatives who will offer him huge benefits if he approves KXL—they’ll do everything they can to get him to budge. He might, but probably won’t. Then the whole process will start all over again. This will go on forever, more or less.
Related: UK’s Chief Scientist Compares Fracking to Thalidomide and Asbestos
Meanwhile, fracking will continue in the Marcellus and other gas shalefields across the United States, offshore drilling will continue off our coasts, Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) facilities will be erected along with “natural gas”-fired power plants, we’ll march closer and closer to 2 degrees celsius and climate chaos, and people will continue to hide their heads in the sand.
I don’t mean to sound cynical. In fact, I’m hopeful that soon the economists and investors are going to see that this isn’t a profitable investment., but we already had the Rockefellers (who are basically pure oil) divest from fossil fuels and that didn’t seem to convince enough people. Of course, when you’ve got so much campaign money in your pockets that it’s falling onto the ground, it’s kinda hard to admit you’re wrong.
But anyway, what I’m saying is that we need to see this victory as a first step toward a greener future. And not one of those greenwashed industry advertisement greener futures with paid actors, a cute dog, a sprinkler, slow motion, and a deep voice promoting ‘energy independence.’ I mean a real green future with energy alternatives that aren’t harming people disproportionately and accelerating manmade climate change. We’ll see cheaper solar panels, effective non animal-killing wind turbines, tidal power that actually harnesses the power of the ocean in full, and a bunch of other stuff that we don’t even understand in a conceptual form yet.
Related: Toxic Fracking Waste Water Injected into Clean Water Aquifers in Drought-Stricken California
While all that is happening, we really need to ramp up our efforts. We need creative action and creative protests; we need people of all shapes, sizes, colors, dimensions, and genders, to step up and say “this is my future and I want it back”. Now that people don’t see the environmental movement as a joke anymore, we need to grow our numbers, and now is the time. We need to show people that no matter what their skills are, they have a place in this movement. I never thought I’d be here by the fire, writing articles, but one day I got an email and sent one back and here I am writing news and trying to make it interesting so y’all don’t singe your eyes out with burning wood splinters. There are plenty of green job websites that cater to your needs, so find something and get involved. I’m done with all the #NOKXL on my Facebook Newsfeed. Let’s see some more action. Let’s push a little more.
TL;DR: Pour some out for the Keystone XL Pipeline bill, take a shot for yourself, eat a healthy salad or one of those vegan burgers things, and get back into organizing against climate change because it’s coming fast.
Lead image via occupyriverwest; all other images by the author