Marching on the White House to Protest Keystone XL

[Back in September](, the writer and climate activist Bill McKibben joined with other leaders in the environmental community in a call for ideas on direct actions the climate movement could take to jostle Americans into caring about climate change. Now [he's inviting like-minded people]( to come to Washington in mid-August for a protest against the Keystone XL pipeline, which will bring tar sands oil from Canada to Texas oil refineries. McKibben explains:

> "*[T]he Keystone Pipeline would also be a fifteen hundred mile fuse to the biggest carbon bomb on the continent, a way to make it easier and faster to trigger the final overheating of our planet, the one place to which we are all indigenous.*

> How much carbon lies in the recoverable tar sands of Alberta? A recent calculation from some of our foremost scientists puts the figure at about 200 parts per million…As the climatologist Jim Hansen (one of the signatories to this letter) explained, if we have any chance of getting back to a stable climate “the principal requirement is that coal emissions must be phased out by 2030 and unconventional fossil fuels, such as tar sands, must be left in the ground.”

Protests in Washington haven't had much of an impact in recent years, but it does sound like this one will strike a different note. It won't be a one-day party: McKibben says he and the other organizers plan on continuing the protest for "several weeks, till the administration understands we won't go away." He asks people to dress "as if for a business meeting." He also warns anyone look for a "smash up" to stay away.

Yesterday, [I was cranky]( about Al Gore's newest piece on climate change, and I suggested that there must be something else he could do. And actually, I think one of the more powerful things he could do at this point would be to join this protest. Imagine Al Gore marching on -- getting arrested in front of -- the White House where he once served and once hoped to sit in as president. I think that image could have an impact. Half of the country did once vote for him, after all.