On February 13th, the day after Obama’s State of the Union address was silent on the Keystone XL issue, protestors were arrested outside of the White House, including James E. Hansen, Bill McKibben, environmental lawyer Robert F. Kennedy Jr., and Michael Brune, the executive director of the Sierra Club of the U.S. The Sierra Club, for the first time in its 120 year history, endorsed a policy of peaceful civil disobedience: see the January 23 press release at:http://content.sierraclub.org/press-releases/2013/01/sierra-club-engage-civil-disobedience-first-time-organizations-history or the Director’s Blog, “From Walden to the White House”: http://sierraclub.typepad.com/michaelbrune/2013/01/civil-disobedience.html.
The Canadian Executive Board meeting of January 31 issued this statement: “…..Since the history of inaction on climate change in Canada is similar to the record in the United States, Sierra Club Canada is undertaking an internal dialogue to reassess its rules concerning civil disobedience in future campaigns and will make a decision at the appropriate time.” In a survey of Sierra Club supporters on Jan. 31, over 94% responded that they agree or strongly agree with the statement: “Non-violent civil disobedience in campaigns for environmental protection can be a legitimate and acceptable tactic in a democratic society”, and 88% agree or strongly agree that “Sierra Club Canada should seriously consider participating in non-violent civil disobedience actions”. The Executive Board statement is at: http://www.sierraclub.ca/en/media/release/sierra-club-canada-statement-civil-disobedience; results of the survey are at: http://www.sierraclub.ca/sites/sierraclub.ca/files/surveyresults01312013_0.pdf.
The Forward on Climate Rally on February 17th, a project of 350.org, Sierra Club, and 120 other organizations, was billed as “the largest climate change rally in U.S. history”, in Washington, D.C. See: http://forwardonclimate.tumblr.com/ for details. The goal of the rally is to demand that President Obama reject the proposed Keystone XL pipeline, finalize carbon pollution standards for power plants, and promote energy efficiency and clean energy.