Is the Fight Against Keystone XL Hurting the Environmental Movement?

The fight to block approval of the Keystone XL pipeline has galvanized support like few recent controversies. But is there a danger in focusing so much attention on one decision when there are innumerable threats to the climate across North America?

October 25, 2013, 12:00 PM PDT

By Jonathan Nettler @nettsj


"Much of the United States climate movement right now is structured like an archway, with all of its blocks resting on a keystone – President Obama’s decision on the Keystone XL pipeline," write climate activists Arielle Klagsbrun, David Osborn, Kirby Spangler and Maryam Adrangi. "This is a dangerous place to be. Once Barack Obama makes his decision on the pipeline, be it approval or rejection, the keystone will disappear. Without this piece, we could see the weight of the arch tumble down, potentially losing throngs of newly inspired climate activists." 

"The Keystone XL and Northern Gateway fights have engaged hundreds of thousands of people, with many embracing direct action and civil disobedience tactics for the first time. This escalation and level of engagement is inspiring. But the absolutist 'game over' language chances to lose many of them," they warn. "We need those using the 'game over' rhetoric to lay out the climate crisis’ root causes – because just as one project is not the end of humanity, stopping one project will not stop runaway climate change."

Tuesday, October 8, 2013 in Earth Island Journal

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