Climate Activists Reach Out To “Occupy” Movement

Submitted by Doug Burke

Common Ground with Occupy Protestors?

As the “Occupy” movement sparked by “Occupy Wall Street” has swept into world consciousness, some climate activists are seeking to find common ground with the occupiers, and some occupiers in return are raising climate issues as part of their protests.

Bill McKibben of made a widely publicized speech at Occupy Wall Street on October 9th calling for people to join in encircling the White House on November 6 in protest of the Keystone XL pipeline, which would bring oil from the Alberta tar sands across the US to Texas, greatly increasing carbon emissions.  (See related GCC article.)   “The reason that it’s so great that we’re occupying Wall Street is because Wall Street has been occupying the atmosphere.  That’s why we can never do anything about global warming. Exxon gets in the way. Goldman Sachs gets in the way,” he said, to an enthusiastic response. Hundreds of other environmentalists joined in.  Actor and activist, Mark Ruffalo, also gave a passionate speech at Occupy Wall Street a few days later linking the issues.

 Where will it lead?

No one knows where the Occupy Wall Street movement will lead, but it seems certain to affect events in our country and around the world.  It is too big and energetic to ignore.  In Oak Park and River Forest, as well as elsewhere, we should be paying attention and deciding what we share, and whether we can connect  with this powerful challenge to the status quo.

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