BOSTON — Two youth climate activists today disrupted President Obama's speech at Faneuil Hall in Boston, calling on him to take on climate change by rejecting the Keystone XL tar sands pipeline.
The activists, Sophie Robinson and Shea Riester, both of Boston, told the president, "Mr. President, Reject Keystone XL! Stop Climate Change! For our generation, Stop the pipeline!”
Rumors continue to circulate that the State Department is nearing completion of its environmental impact statement on the pipeline. The draft EIS erroneously concluded that the pipeline would have no impact on the climate, but independent analysis, including from the EPA, shows that the pipeline would meet the President’s test of having a “significant” effect on the climate.
The fight over the pipeline has become a test for President Obama’s commitment to dealing with the climate crisis and has helped to spark an international movement against the expansion of the tar sands industry.
In June, 145 former Obama staffers sent a letter to Obama, calling on him to reject Keystone XL. (1) and over 75,000 people have committed to peaceful, non violent civil disobedience to stop the pipeline from being built. (2) Activists are now working in their communities to share with the neighbors information on the climate impacts of the pipeline, preparing for another incomplete or wrong EIS.
Bios of the youth activists follow.
Sophie Robinson graduated from Williams College in 2011 with a degree in psychology and environmental science. Her upbringing on a southern NH organic berry farm left her with a passion for sustainable agriculture, which she pursued in her studies. After she graduated, she started to learn more about climate change and the impact it is already having on the world. She became so scared for her future and the future of her children that she decided to stop pursuing teaching and instead focus on building a non-violent social movement. She is so dedicated that she is willing to put her own safety on the line to stop burning fossil fuels.
Shea Riester is a recent graduate of Brandeis University. He decided to engage in non-violent civil disobedience because he will no longer stand by idly as corporations recklessly extract and burn carbon with full knowledge of the consequences, and politicians, paid off by record fossil fuel profits, do nothing to stop full blown climate catastrophe. Shea understands that the construction of the KXL pipeline, infrastructure that locks us in to immense carbon pollution, is a threat to his own future and all life on earth, and is determined to stop it.