Wednesday, November 16, 2011
Key to Justice
A couple of months ago I commented on the rallies in Washington protesting the building of the Keystone pipeline connecting Alberta oil sands with Texas refineries. When I was in Colorado for my course in late August this was all the talk amongst my American ministry colleagues. Of course this was an eco-faith conference so it shouldn't have been surprising that they were paying close attention.
At the time I wrote the Occupy Movement had not begun, let alone captured the widespread attention of the media. I asked whether there was value in these anti-Keystone rallies and the reaction was mixed. There was some suggestion that the efforts were well-meaning but futile. Well, it turns out that there was weight to the protests. Keystone hasn't been shut down by any means, but it has been delayed. The people of Nebraska have been assured that at the very least it will be re-routed around the huge Oglala Aquifer, an essential underground water source.
Does this mean that Americans will consume any less fossil fuels? Maybe not. Will the oil companies just sell to China instead? Could be. Still, there are times when public protests for righteous causes stand in the face of the powerful and effect change. While Occupy encampments continue to be dismantled throughout the world there has been a tremendous amount of attention and governments don't deny the importance of freedom of speech. We can't say yet what effect this grassroots movement has brought about.
I'll ask again about your thoughts on these public demonstrations and calls for change. Worthwhile or whimsical?