While the 1,700-mile tar-sands pipeline was the immediate target of the protests, action against climate change and for clean energy was the underlying push, something reflected in an array of signs and banners from coast to coast and in between.
Of the Washington protest, Kossack angelajean wrote a photo-filled diary, "Dad, how many people are there? It looks like a jillion!":
There was the young teenage boy who held a cardboard sign that read, Don't Frack Your Mother and an older woman whose poster board read One Green Grandma for this Fragile Earth. The connections between generations were clear—I saw Baby Boomers and Gen-x-ers, Greatest Generation and Millennials, all braving the cold together. There was some diversity in the crowd though not as much as I've seen at an Obama Rally. Even with the support of the Hip-Hop Caucus, youth of color were disappointingly few. A point was made, however, that the most unusual meeting of the minds was happening—the appearance of a recent alliance, the CIA. Yes, the CIA, the Cowboy and Indian Alliance. The farms and ranches of the midwest and Texas are under threat from this pipeline just as native lands in both Canada and the US are. This movement isn't only crossing traditional boundaries of age but of culture.In fact, Indians—First Nations peoples—have been instrumental in bringing attention to the tar sands and the Keystone XL pipeline from the get-go in both Canada and the United States.
Organizers of the D.C. protest claimed about 35,000 protesters showed up, but Kossack lao hong han made a personal headcount and concluded there were no more than 20,000.
Either figure was considerably less than organizers had hoped for, but it was nonetheless the largest climate change-related rally to date, if you don't count the 100,000 dolphins who gathered in San Diego on Saturday. Hundreds of human San Diegans also joined the nationwide climate-change rallies in their city on Sunday.
Please continue reading below the fold about protests in other cities and to see links to other Keystone XL-related Daily Kos essays.
Nearly 2,000 miles across the country on Sunday, in Kalispell, Montana—as recounted by Kossack Ojibwa in Forward on Climate in Montana—there was perhaps the smallest anti-Keystone XL demonstration of the day, as about a dozen protesters appeared on the sidewalks of the state's most rapidly growing city to make their case to motorists.
A few hundred miles west, as John Crapper reported in Forward on Climate—Seattle, some 350 to 400 people showed up for the local rally, including Seattle Mayor McGinn.
In Illinois, figbash reported in Forward on Climate—Chicago Represents, more than 200 protesters showed up in Grant Park on a very chilly morning. There were also hundreds of protesters in Denver. And in Los Angeles, several hundred people rallied at city hall.
In Texas, about 300 protesters came together in Austin:
Along with public demonstrations, the pipeline's Texan opponents have been taking direct action. For the first time, the Sierra Club is endorsing civil disobedience in the fight against climate change, following the lead of a much smaller environmental direct action group, the Tar Sands Blockade. The Blockade's actions— from tree sitters blocking work crews' paths to activists locking themselves to machinery—have caused construction delays and bought TransCanada unwelcome publicity. "Direct action gets the goods," Tar Sands' Ramsey Sprague says. "We cannot rely on corrupt, inefficient bureaucrats and elected officials to do the right thing."
Kossacks also wrote other diaries related to the protests:
• Today was the day the climate movement came together by Bill McKibben
• Forward on Climate Rallies, Getting off the moral fence by Ginny in CO
• The U.S. is ground zero for climate change by FishOutofWater
A list of diaries about the Keystone XL pipeline published at Daily Kos in the week-long blogathon in run-up to Sunday's rallies can be found here.