Arrested for the first time

Arrested for the first time

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Yesterday, I was arrested for the first time in my life!

My hands were cuffed, alongside so many others, at the White House fence, as I joined 47 environmental and progressive leaders — including Bill McKibben of, Mike Brune of the Sierra Club, NASA climatologist Dr. James Hansen, Daryl Hannah, and civil rights leader Julian Bond — in sending a strong message to the Obama administration:

Do not approve the Keystone XL pipeline.

The rally and the actual acts of civil disobedience and arrest were at various times somber, joyous, raucous, inspiring, defiant and spiritual — but most of all they imbued in me a sense of powerful obligation to represent all the people affected by the pipeline.

Sitting at the White House gates I felt as if I was giving voice to the communities in Nebraska and Texas fighting the pipeline at their personal risk. I felt that I was giving voice to the tens of thousands of Friends of the Earth members who have urged the president to deny the pipeline. I felt like I was giving voice to the Friends of the Earth groups around the world that are calling on President Obama and the American people to do more to fight climate chaos. Finally, I felt, in a very profound way, that I was standing up for the future of my son, Zander, who will have to live with the decisions that all of us make today.

Whatever action the president takes will echo far into the future. Either he can move forward on his pledge for climate action and set a strong precedent against dirty fuels, or he can handcuff us to a future grim with the effects of climate chaos.

Mr. President, I, and the 47 protesters who were arrested — as well as the 1,253 arrested in 2011 — felt a moral obligation to risk arrest to send you a message to deny the Keystone XL: now it is time for you to meet your moral obligation and reject the pipeline.

To show your opposition to the KXL pipeline, join us in Washington, D.C. on the National Mall Sunday for the Forward on Climate Rally.  And if you can’t make it to Washington, you can still spread the word.

– Erich Pica, President

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