Florida A&M University
(BLACK PR WIRE/FAMU-TALLAHASSEE) "" On Sunday, February 17, over 30,000 concerned Americans filled the National Mall in D.C. in protest to call on President Obama to reject Keystone XL tar sands pipeline expansion by TransCanada. This is a system to transport crude oil from Canada to the Gulf Coast of Texas, crossing six American states. If constructed, the pipeline could pollute our water resources and cause serious health risk.
"Tar sand oil is polluted. Its entire life cycle it comes out of the ground in Canada and is a thick tar, it's not an oil. It undergoes many chemical processes to turn into a thick oil. It takes four barrels of water to make one barrel of oil. It's taking away people's water, this will causes serious health risk and diseases," said Sasha Shyduroff, organizing manager for the Sierra Student Coalition.
According to the Sierra Club, the Keystone XL pipeline will undermine U.S. objectives to fight against climate change.
"I think it will undermine our efforts, climate scientist Dr. James Hansen said that it will be like a climate bomb, as long as we are using dirty oil from tar sands we are going against efforts to progress to a cleaner climate," said Shyduroff. "We want stopping Keystone XL to be Obama's first milestone in combating climate change."
Before TransCanada can begin building the pipeline, they must get permission from President Obama. The Forward on Climate Change was projected to be the largest climate rally in history.
In the past few years, America has been hit hard by the dramatic affects of climate change. Drought, wildfires and super storm Sandy are issues that the American people have had to deal with due to the increasing issue of global warming.
Grassroots environmental organizations from all over America organized students to be in D.C. to take action.
"Over 150 organizations have partnered with the Sierra Club for this action and the Southern Energy Network is one of the partners," said Jacqueline Ayala, Florida organizer for the Southern Energy Network. "We are helping coordinate young people and students within our network to travel to D.C. We will have over 100 people from Florida, which is awesome," said Ayala.
If approved, the pipeline will disenfranchise many minorities, as the pipeline will run through many communities populated by indigenous people, African Americans and Latinos. "This rally is relevant for minorities because we are already overwhelmingly impacted by the health hazards of environmental pollution in our communities," said Ursula Ible, a Green For All College Ambassador, "It is so important to educate yourself and be engaged in the issues that affect you and your community. This rally is an example of how to get involved in making a difference towards the changes that you want to see," said Ible.