Want to know what a movement looks like? Look no further than the Tar Sands Action which kicked off this weekend.

The powerful start to this two-week action saw more than 150 people stand up and face arrest over the last three days to demand President Obama reject the Keystone XL pipeline.

On Saturday night, protest organizer Bill McKibben sent a message from jail: “The only thing we need in here is more company. We don’t need your sympathy, we need your company.” It’s not too late to join the action, sign up here:

Take a look at some of the awesome photos and video from this weekend below, and check out and #noKXL on twitter for live updates on the action!

Dan Cannon, Hanna Mitchell, Peter Roquemore, Rachel Aitkens and Kate Kroll Sit-In Against Tar Sands and Keystone XL in Front of the White House
Photo Credit: Josh Lopez

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If someone told me three years ago that I was going to intentionally risk arrest at a White House protest, I would have thought they were nuts.

Sure, I considered myself a progressive, and followed politics like some people read the sports section — but I pictured myself more in the jaded partisan hack mold than an activist (the fact that I was 22 with one cycle as a field organizer under my belt didn't really register at the time). Knocking on doors? Sure. Marching in the streets? Not really my style.

Power Shift 2009 (Photo Credit: Shadia Wood)

I can pinpoint the moment that all started to change. It was February 2009, and at my boss' suggestion I volunteered to help with technology at the Power Shift 09 conference. I'm not sure what I was expecting, but even in those days of Hope and Change, the energy of 12,000 young people in one building — united in their vision for a clean energy future — was a sight to behold. It clicked, this is what a movement looks like.

My first brush with the Youth Climate Movement was transformative, but while there were some powerful speeches from the likes of Van Jones and Bill McKibben, those weren't what sold me. The moment that sticks in my mind is hearing a deafening roar from the crowd as I walked up late to the main plenary, and entering the room to see that it wasn't The Roots on stage, it was Ken Salazar. Before that, I wasn't sure there were 12,000 young people in the country that could name the Secretary of the Interior, let alone be that excited to hear what he had to say.

That was a different time. We still believed that the President our generation helped elect would be a champion for the clean energy future our generation demands.

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Game over?

August 11, 2011

Stop the Tar Sands“Essentially game over” for the climate — that’s how NASA scientist James Hansen describes the proposed Keystone XL pipeline, which would funnel highly toxic tar sands oil from Canada all the way to Texas.

Now some good news: we can stop this.

Unlike many other problems facing our country, this one has a single decision maker. President Obama can block Keystone XL. No grand bargains required. He doesn’t have to haggle with the hopelessly divided and bought-off Congress — he, himself, can sign or refuse to sign a letter certifying that the proposed pipeline is ‘in the national interest.’ If he says no, than the pipeline won’t be developed. It’s that simple.

We need to remind President Obama that our generation put him in office, and we are watching.

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