Posted by Emily Singer
On Feb. 17, 20 Skidmore students joined 40,000 people at the largest climate rally to date in Washington D.C. The rally aimed to demonstrate support for President Obama's potential rejection of the Keystone XL Pipeline. The event was organized by the Sierra Club, an organization that speaks out about climate change, 350.org, an organization focused on positive investments in green energy and alternatives to oil, and Hip Hop Caucus, an organization also dedicated towards creating a greener future.
These organizations came together to sway the President and other White House officials to speak up against further investments that would cause greater dependence on oil and other harmful sources of energy. Many speakers attended the rally including Bill McKibbin, the founder of 350.org and author of Eaarth, and Michael Brune, the director of the Sierra Club. The MC of the speakers was Reverend Yearwood of the Hip Hop Caucus. Celebrities, like Rosario Doscent, also attended the rally to show their support in preventing further damage to the environment and to encourage politicians to implement policies that would further the expansion of renewable energy.
Participants in the rally marched from the Washington Monument to the White House and back. On the walk, people held double-sided posters, one side with black to represent oil and one side blue to represent solar panels, and flashed the different sides when approaching the White House. The signs were meant to express the idea that the government should be investing money in oil alternatives, rather than fracking and the extraction of other nonrenewable resources.
A diverse crowd attended the event. People of different races, religious views, age, and socioeconomic class were present to show their support to ban fracking, Several Native American leaders from Canada and the U.S. spoke about the negative effects of fracking and oil pipelines on their land. The rally influenced politicians to delay their decision on whether or not to pursue drilling for oil and gas for about a week. Further information on the effects of the event has yet to be revealed.
The rally took place all day Sunday, keeping the Skidmore students busy. They returned to campus at 1:30 a.m., exhausted but abuzz with energy after participating in the movement towards a cleaner, greener future.