My arrest at theTar Sands Protest

This was one adventurous day. There was the earthquake. Where were you when it occurred? I was just outside the Park Police holding cell after being released from police custody. I joined in today, very unexpectedly, with about 60 others to be arrested for “failure to obey a lawful order”. We stood in three long lines in front of the White House singing and chanting our protest of the Tar Sands oil pipeline that would extend from northern Canada, down through the heartland of the West, and directly through Yellowstone National Park, to Texas. This will be a dirty, toxic pipeline. Just the extraction of the oil in Canada will produce four times the amount of CO2 that extraction normally causes. And as one who has had extensive experience with oil pipeline leaks, I know how leaks occur and that the oil companies will do what they need to do to keep the oil coming and not “ ‘fess up” to or repair the leaks. Twenty years ago we were involved in the Tank Farm leak in Fairfax that contaminated our neighborhood and most specifically our block. We have intimate knowledge of how Texaco had been letting this continue for years until it was accidentally discovered. We know the danger to surrounding groundwater, to children’s health and grown-ups as well and to surrounding wildlife.
So, my husband Jack and I, along with Karen Menichelli (who’d been arrested the day before), Kathleen Stearman, Joe Cohen and Hannah Moore went to the White House today to support Lawrence MacDonald in his arrest. I didn’t plan to be arrested. I was too scared to do so. But the night before I’d begun to question and regret my decision. I saw video of some of the brave people from the day before (like our Karen). I admired Lawrence for his brave decision. As co-chairs of TRS’ Green Team we were usually in sync in our ideas about climate change. Lawrence had decided, as he ably explained on this site last week, the Jewish and moral decision it was for him. Once at the White House, I heard Karen tell me about how her arrest went. It didn’t sound too bad. There were some bad moments but Karen’s general term for how it had been for her was “fabulous!”. My regret grew. Where was I when it came to really showing my commitment to this specific cause and the whole climate change arena? Sure I’d worked for 4-5 years as a chair of the Green Team to try and make an impact, but more is being asked of us now to step up and really demonstrate the desperateness of the deepening climate change. What kind of world will we be passing down from generation to generation (l’ dor v’ dor)? I was becoming more and more despairing. I had to make a clear stand. Ten minutes before the group lined up for civil disobedience I wondered aloud if it were too late for me to join in. I had missed the training the night before. Karen said, maybe not. And that musing led to a quick prep from the organized leaders, filling out needed forms and there I was on the front lines. Literally. It was a life-changing decision and action, I believe. I’m ready for more if the need again rises. We have to take care of this Mother Earth. My faith requires it.

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