Today, Beth, Ann, Grace, Claire and Amelia are in Washington D.C., for what I am calling the “monumental” Women’s March on Washington. They are among many of the people I admire most in the world, standing there together in D.C. – while thousands and thousands more of “us” are uniting in solidarity in cities across America.
Why do we march? Today’s Women’s March on Washington sends the new presidential administration this message (among many others): Women’s rights are human rights.
While I am not there today physically, I am fully with my people in spirit: I stand with them today and always. And for my part, here are my answers:
. I support Read more
This photo was taken on Feb. 9, 2002… 13 years ago, when Amelia was about six months old, and we were enjoying a family dinner at our home on Rocky Creek Road. We were joined by our other local family members, including Great Grandma Theresa Julien, Grandma Ginny Martin, Grandpa Bill Martin, Ann Kiefert, Chuck Bowling, and their kids Grace and Claire. I’m pretty sure this was one of the first dinners in this home, which was brand new at that time.
Although we moved from that home “into town” back in 2008, it was so special to us – holding priceless memories of both Amelia and Riley’s earliest years, and many of our own defining life-choices – that we could never bear to part with it. So, we have rented it out all this time, miraculously, to one family. Last weekend, Read more
Award-winning documentary filmmaker Angela Sun is widely known in the worlds of sports and media. Among the very first Asian-American female hosts to appear on the likes of ESPN, Fox Sports, Tennis Channel and Yahoo! Sports, Angela was the sideline host for Season 4 of “American Ninja Warrior.” Among many exciting career assignments, she has hosted “Yahoo! Sports Minute,” the number one online sports show watched daily by millions, and the LIVE pre-game show for the Los Angeles Dodgers.
Angela also directed and executive produced the independent feature documentary film, “Plastic Paradise: The Great Pacific Garbage Patch” in 2013, chronicling her personal journey of discovery to one of the most remote places on Earth, Midway Atoll. With the goal of revealing the truth about the Great Pacific Garbage Patch, Read more
Today I went looking through my writing archives to find something written on or near this date in the past, and I found a poem written about 24 years and a week ago. It’s not particularly great nor too profound, but it does connect me with an important moment going even further back, to a golden day spent with my grandfather, Urban Lee Ridings. The day was sunny and warm, I remember, and I must have been somewhere around five or so. Grandpa instructed me to go and shake his money tree, and I could still walk you right to the very spot where the young sappling had stood at that time. As I shook, the sound of metal rained around me faintly, and pops occurred in the dirt and grass. Exploring them with my fingers, on my hands and knees, I found coins, and looking up into the dazzling sunlight there was Grandpa’s face beaming, too. We kids really knew he loved us, due to special moments like that one, which I will never forget.
Friends, the public comment period on the Keystone XL Pipeline ends tomorrow on Monday, April 22. Will you please seize this moment to tell President Obama and Secretary of State Kerry to reject Keystone XL (even if you have done so already) by visiting this link and completing the form?
I am extremely grateful to those of you who have given your attention to all efforts aimed at opposing the construction of the Keystone XL Pipeline. Obviously, this is a contentious issue, and since there is BIG money at stake, the truths about environmental impacts are being buried. One of the brazen arguments we have heard time and time again is how safe pipelines are, but did you know that on March 29, 2013, ExxonMobil experienced a pipeline spill in Mayflower, Arkansas, that spewed 85,000 gallons of tar sands crude into the community? Don’t be surprised if you don’t know about it – they have millions of dollars to spend to cover their backs, and they even have the ability to establish a no-fly zone over their environmental catastrophes. Thankfully, in this era, they can’t stop the ugly truth from leaking out, as you can see above. With all this in mind, I felt that the time was right once again to bring this issue to your attention.
We are very proud to be joining 10,000 like-minded friends in Washington, D.C., next Sunday (“President’s Day” in America), to be part of a peaceful demonstration. Why? For me personally, I can say for sure that a key reason is the deep emotional connection that occurred in me when I watched the above ad, and another more famous one named “The Crying Indian”, as a young boy about 42 years ago. “Keep America beautiful,” it requested of me, and on some level, I have been trying to do that ever since. Now more than ever, we are aware that the Earth’s interconnected ecosystems cannot withstand all the pollution we can throw at them, and what impacts one area plays out worldwide. This is just the beginning of an ongoing discussion, as you know, friends. We hope you will join us, in DC or where ever you are, in this common and most imperative cause… to keep the world beautiful.
Originally published in November 2011. After joining in the November 6, 2011, demonstration against the Keystone XL (KXL) Pipeline in Washington, D.C., we have been celebrating good news for the past two days. Courtesy of Professor Harvard Ayers, Ph.D., co-author of “Arctic Gardens: Voices from an Abundant Land,” it’s my pleasure to share the following news about KXL.
“A landmark decision was made yesterday by Mr. Obama — HE PUT OFF ANY DECISION ON THE KEYSTONE XL TAR SANDS PIPELINE FOR 12-18 MONTHS, probably killing this horrible project for ever. The incredible forces lobbying him to approve it LOST!!! There had been huge threats from the boosters of this project. But in the end, our President came through for common sense and for the average person. Mainly, the questionable environmental study — by a company closely attached to TransCanada, the project pipeline company — commissioned by the State Department was the reason for this decision. Questions about Climate Change potential as well as inevitable spills of this pipe-corroding, toxic tar sands oil were two of the major considerations. Does this great victory have larger implications for concerns with the environment, climate, etc.? Yes!! No matter how much money they plow into lobbying for a terrible idea, there can be sanity in the end. Cooler heads prevailed.”
Professor Ayers also shared a request from The Sierra Club asking us all to send a thank you message to President Obama for putting the brakes on the Keystone XL oil pipeline. Here’s where to find the template for sending that message if you share our appreciation: http://bit.ly/ThankBO
Keystone XL Pipeline Demonstration on November 6, 2011.
Photos of Tom Weis, president of Climate Crisis Solutions, on his journey to raise awareness of opposition to TransCanada’s Keystone XL pipeline project. Beginning Oct. 13, 2011, Weis rode his rocket trike from the Canadian border at Montana to Port Arthur, Texas, along the proposed path of the pipeline extension.
The following letter from Tom Weis is being republished with the author’s permission.
Date: Wed, 21 Dec 2011 07:50:42 -0700
Dear Friends & Colleagues,
2,150 miles later, the Keystone XL Tour of Resistance formally concludes today at the end of the line in Texas. What more appropriate place to end the “Ride for Renewables: No Tar Sands Oil On American Soil!” than in the fence line community of West Port Arthur, in the shadow of some of the world’s largest oil refineries raining toxic emissions down on one of America’s poorest communities? Enough is enough!
Despite the numerous premature declarations of victory, and the recent pathetic display of political gamesmanship in Washington, DC, things have only gotten more dire out here on the front lines, where people would be most directly impacted by the Keystone XL tar sands nightmare. For more on this, check out my recent op-ed in the Huffington Post.
In solidarity with all the courageous farmers, ranchers, rural families, indigenous leaders and fence line residents I’ve been so honored to meet during my 10-week trek along the proposed pipeline route, I URGE ALL AMERICANS TO RELENTLESSLY CHALLENGE PRESIDENT OBAMA ON KEYSTONE XL ON THE CAMPAIGN TRAIL – particularly in key swing states – until he denies this un-American pipeline. Alternatively, PRESIDENT OBAMA NEEDS TO LAY OUT A GREEN ENERGY PLAN FOR AMERICA that will revive our ailing economy and put millions of unemployed Americans back to work.
The “Ride for Renewables: No Tar Sands Oil On American Soil!” may be ending, but the fight to defeat Keystone XL and ecocidal tar sands mining has just begun. Read more
Having recently learned about Canada’s tar-sand mining operations, I have found them to be a monumental man-made disaster. In Alberta, the depth and impact of this immoral business grows daily, expanding exponentially, with devastating consequences for the earth and its inhabitants; just some of us now, but eventually, everyone. Right now, the Keystone XL (KXL) pipeline venture is on a fast-track to approval in America, promising to bring crude from Canada’s oil sands to refineries on the Gulf of Mexico coast of Texas – at high risk to our air, water and other precious natural resources. Many people are unaware of this story, which boils down to greed versus responsibility. Unfortunately, the blame for “allowing this to happen” touches us all.
It’s very easy to think this issue is not too important, but right now, lobbyists are pushing KXL through very easily. Their backers are set to win, and get richer and richer, at what expense to our environment? Fueled on by unlimited demand for oil and more oil, all those influences ensure oil companies continue turning massive profits every year at the expense of our environment; after all, those corporations are only doing what our laws and actions allow them to do.
It seems clear that only people can protect nature, and although we might reasonably expect our leaders to do so, if we don’t raise our voices in concern, they really cannot stand up and fight. Sadly, I feel that the damaging effects of the planet-altering tar-sand operations occurring inside Canada’s Boreal Forest speak for themselves. Of course, to those making money in that business, negative environmental impacts are trivial compared to tantalizing “jobs” and so-called “energy independence.” Many accept those claims without thinking and seem ready to defend KXL to its bitter end. Respectfully, we invite everyone to stop this madness and help us pursue new sustainable energy solutions. We should not risk trashing America’s natural resources!
Next, please go to tarsandsaction.org to learn the latest about the catastrophic environmental armageddon underway in Canada by oil companies, the misleading claims coming from those companies, powerful lobbyists in America and even some of our most respected leaders… and the irreversible toxic assault set to escalate against America’s natural resources if we don’t stand together now to stop it. Those behind this site are also organizing a demonstration in Washington D.C. on Nov. 6, so this is an excellent time for you to weigh in and help us advance this critical cause in your own ways. Please act soon, as the President may issue his final order granting or denying the KXL pipeline as early as November 1, so we have no time to lose.
Thank you very much for your attention, your peaceful, thoughtful action and leadership, and any constructive feedback you wish to share.