Eco-Politics Back on the Ranch

YES! Magazine

It’s been a surprise story for the national media. During hearings held by the State Department this week, some of the loudest opposition to the proposed Keystone XL oil pipeline, which will move tar-sands oil from Alberta to Texas refineries, is coming from Nebraska, a deep-red state whose citizens are often isolated from and a bit suspicious of federal politics.

We’ve become used to a political narrative that says conservatives aren’t interested in environmental issues—and certainly aren’t likely to join hands with greenies or raise Cain to fight the oil industry. But sometimes there’s a realpolitik in Nebraska that transcends conventional political ideologies—it’s about land and the practicalities of living on it. [Read more.]

Asking for What Obama Promised

YES! Magazine

Over the past two days, I watched more than 200 people get arrested in protests that are attempting to push back against the oil industry’s influence on a key decision that President Obama is about to make. In total, there have been more than 700 arrests since the demonstrations began. In their signs and speeches, the protesters draw self-consciously on King’s legacy of civil disobedience, but many are not seasoned activists. Most of the people I met at the White House gates were core supporters of Obama in 2008. They put their weight and energy into Obama’s campaign, knocking on doors to deliver him a landslide. Three years later, they are angry and frustrated with the president. [Read more.]