Sunday, September 21, 2014

Bookapalooza and oil roll through midwest

We won't be in New York for the great People's Climate March today. We're in Springfield Illinois where Rebecca is talking about torture at a Unitarian Universalist church.

But it was sure heartening to hear last night that some people were pulling together a local gathering in support of the New York demonstration. There's a movement building when people decide they must have their local manifestation of a faraway protest.

As we roll about the midwest, it has been easy to notice what else is rolling across the fields and through the towns at the same time: great mile long and more strings of oil tankers. Tank car like these, some originally built to hold corn syrup rather than inflammable tar sands oil products from Canada, are everywhere. The one pictured was passing through a densely populated part of Chicago adjacent to Chinatown the day before yesterday.

More and more frequently, the oil trains derail, spill or even blow up. Graphic via this excellent Heather Smith article from Grist.

Forward thinking cities and citizens want to contain this glut of oil products, not only to reduce our contribution to climate devastating carbon pollution, but also to reduce risk of local catastrophe. For example, from Seattle:

"We know they can explode. We've seen the tragedy in Canada. We know they can derail. That happened two months ago in our own city," said Councilmember Mike O'Brien, whose committee scheduled a special meeting Tuesday night to discuss the report. "We have to treat this as a real threat."

Derailments of oil trains have caused explosions in North Dakota, Virginia, Alabama, Oklahoma and Quebec, where 47 people were killed when a runaway train exploded in the city of Lac-Megantic in July 2013.

No wonder evidence of a popular drive to control and restrict the oil tranfers is also popping up, with its stark demands.
This is how movements build.
UPDATE: Here's that little Springfield crowd expressing their solidarity with the People's Climate March in front of one of their omnipresent statues of Abraham Lincoln.

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