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Sierra Club to engage in civil disobedience for first time in 120 years, over climate change!

The San Francisco-based Sierra Club will engage in civil disobedience, for the first time, over the controversial Keystone Pipeline, in Washington, D.C. on February 17. The event is predicted to be “the largest climate rally in history.”

With Nebraska Gov. Dave Heineman approving the pipeline’s route through his state Tuesday, Sierra Club President Michael Brune hopped onto Facebook to announce that the San Francisco-headquartered Club is “for the first time in our 120-year history….be engaging in peaceful civil disobedience to help stop the dirty and destructive Keystone XL tar sands pipeline. We’re all in!” <emphasis mine>

Now, Club officials point out that the Feb. 17 rally is separate from the act of civil disobedience, which they are not releasing information about.

A major donor to the Democratic Party and major Obama donor, Susie Tompkins Buell said a year ago that she would hold off giving more money to the President until he showed more “leadership” on climate change issues.

Brune said on his blog that the Club is “following in the hallowed footsteps of Thoreau, who first articulated the principles of civil disobedience 44 years before John Muir founded the Sierra Club.” According to SFGate.com:

We hasten to note that the Club is so genteel that they had to get BOARD APPROVAL last week to engage in civil disobedience. Oy. And it’s a one-time hall pass to be civilly disobedient. Here’s Brune on his blog:

“Some of you might wonder what took us so long. Others might wonder whether John Muir is sitting up in his grave. In fact, John Muir had both a deep appreciation for Thoreau and a powerful sense of right and wrong. And it’s the issue of right versus wrong that has brought the Sierra Club to this unprecedented decision.”

Board president Allison Chin said: “The recent decision made by the Board of Directors is not one we take lightly. As a nation, we are beginning to achieve significant success in the fight against climate disruption. But allowing the production, transport, export and burning of the dirtiest oil on Earth now would be a giant leap backwards in that progress. The Board is answering the urgency of this threat with our decision to engage, for one time, in civil disobedience.”

Climate change is such a pressing issue, one that will impact my own children’s generation, that I understand the Club’s extraordinary decision.

-Bill at

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