Funeral for Our Future – Massachusetts tar Sands Blockade
On Monday, March 11, over 100 people representing a coalition of students, members of the Massachusetts Methodist clergy, mothers fighting for their children, and concerned community members marched into the Westborough, MA office of TransCanada Corporation and held a funeral mourning the loss of our future at the hands of the Keystone XL Pipeline. The pipeline will transport the tar sands that climate scientists say will lock us into irreversible global warming.
Of those 100 protesters, 25 of us locked themselves together with handcuffs and were arrested in an act of civil disobedience. Carrying a coffin emblazoned with the words “Our Future,” we held flowers and sang an elegy as we marched in procession.
Our action comes a week after a week after the US State Department released a widely criticized Draft Environmental Impact Statement for Keystone XL. While admitting that rejecting the pipeline would have little effect on jobs, the document minimizes claims about the pipeline’s impact on climate change and on communities who would be at risk for devastating pipeline spills like the 2010 Kalamazoo spill, from which the affected communities are still recovering. The impact assessment also makes the assumption that the Alberta tar sands will be developed regardless of whether Keystone XL goes forward—an assumption that we stand with indigenous communities, whose treaties the Canadian government is violating by allowing development of the tar sands, in rejecting.
We did not act in isolation on this day, but as part of an escalating global movement to fight for a stable future, a livable planet, and for justice for affected frontline communities.
In January, eight students locked and glued themselves together in an act of civil disobedience at this same office. Nationwide, the pipeline has already prompted civil disobedience outside the White House, direct blockades of construction from Texas to Oklahoma, and the largest climate rally in US history. Indigenous communities with theIdle No More movement have been resisting tar sands extraction in Alberta, Canada. Today’s action also kicks off a week of solidarity actions being called for by our allies at theTar Sands Blockade — during the week of March 16th-24th, protesters from across the country will target the offices of TransCanada and its investors.
“If the tar sands are extracted and burned, it will wipe out my future and the future of my entire generation,” said Will Pearl, a Tufts University freshman arrested in our action. “If President Obama will not reject the Keystone XL pipeline, we will stop it ourselves. We will rise up and resist—from the backwoods of Texas, to corporate offices in Massachusetts, to the steps of the White House.”