No more tar sands? Easy as 1-2-3

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“ONE: We are the people.”

“TWO: We are un-i-ted.”

“THREE: We will not let you build this pipeline.”

Of all the chants that rang through the streets of downtown St. Paul during Saturday’s Tar Sands Resistance March, that’s the only one still ringing through my head. It was a beautiful day for a march. Five thousand people, from all over the Midwest, sang and chanted their way from the Mississippi River to the State Capitol lawn.

Okay, get the rhythm: da DA da DA da… da DA da DA da


“ONE: We are the people.”

This was the most diverse gathering of protesters and activists I’d ever been in. Native Americans organized the event and led the march with sacred ritual and dance. Landowners affected by pipeline projects came from northern Minnesota, from Nebraska, Wisconsin and Michigan. The faith community had the best flags and banners. There were “Raging Grannies” from Grand Rapids and infants in strollers. Rev Greenwood from the Hip Hop Caucus emceed the stage event alongside Kandi Mossett of the Indigenous Environmental Movement. It’s pretty easy to claim that “We are the people” when it looks like everyone is there. Watch Indigenous Environmental Network’s video from the march here.


“TWO: We are un-i-ted.”

The message was pretty clear. No more pipelines. No new pipelines. Not here in the water-rich Midwest. This wasn’t tepid bargaining language. No one was demanding “Balance water quality impacts and economic development…NOW!”


“THREE: We will not let you build this pipe – line.”

If you could ever measure the level of people power, your meter would have been at 110% on Saturday. For a few hours, at least five thousand people knew in their hearts that, driven by their collective will, they will stop corporations like Enbridge and TransCanada from carrying any more tar sands or fracked oil across the Midwest. That’s the energy that packs public hearings, that inspires people to lie down in front of bulldozers, that shifts the vote toward candidates who support clean water over dirty power.

So it’s one, two, three, and go. Let’s keep that energy, the diversity and the unity, the clarity of purpose.

At the Minnesota Environmental Partnership, we are working to inform landowners along the Minnesota pipeline routes and help them to get involved. We’ll keep working to protect Lake Superior from impacts of crude oil shipping. We’ll keep working on that united voice for the Great Outdoors of Minnesota.

That chant might just keep ringing until the work is done.

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