Speaking Up: #NoKXL

I suppose the time has come for my first politically oriented post (it had to happen eventually, right?). I’ve held off because I don’t necessarily like broadcasting my views for the Internet to see; I prefer acting to talking in this regard. But the controversy surrounding the potential approval of the Keystone pipeline has fired up my environmentalist sensibilities, and I simply must speak up. As a leader of a campus social-activism group, I conveniently have the capacity to bring such concerns to the forefront of my campus community–which I did. As a student of the environment, an activist, and especially as a Texan, I devoutly hope that President Obama will decline to approve Keystone XL. My concerns include the environmental, of course–let’s preserve our groundwater, shall we? Innumerable Texas communities rely on aquifers to provide drinking water; these sources will be put at risk of contamination by a pipeline that is likely to leak, and the result would certainly be devastating. Texas already faces water shortages. This problem must not be compounded by a threat to the water we do have. Also, the nation’s willingness to throw itself behind a new source of oil only highlights its relative unwillingness to move to renewable energy. We need to expend resources on enhancing our access to sustainable energy sources, not on perpetuating old habits that are not only environmentally threatening, but are also unsustainable. This resource will run out; perhaps not in the short term, but certainly in the long term. I have a host of other concerns with the pipeline–not restricted to environmental fears, either–but these are my main worries.

Are we going to keep naively draining our resources, hurtling down a path of destruction thanks to a lack of foresight? Or are we going to assume responsibility for shifting our habits and improving not just our own nation, but the world? By this time, it is not enough to rely on policymakers to do the work for us. As a people, we must commit to shifting our habits; it’s the only way to successfully foment change. Enough with the complacency.

I voted for a president who promised change I could believe in. I did not think he promised climate change that I could believe in. This moment could define the future of our nation’s stance on the environment; kindly keep your promise, Mr. President, and help us change.

Members of Trinity Progressives and the San Antonio community at a candlelight vigil protesting Keystone XL

Members of Trinity Progressives and the San Antonio community at a candlelight vigil protesting Keystone XL. (photo credit: Anh-Viet Dinh)