Dear President Obama:
Next year, I will turn 18 years old, and I will be able to vote for the first time. My family and I have been your supporters from the very beginning, and for the past couple years, I’ve been excited about getting the chance to vote for you in the 2012 election. But I am afraid you are about to make a decision that will force me to alter that enthusiasm.
After the final hearing today, you will decide whether or not to allow the Keystone XL Pipeline. And if you let it pass, if you allow this horrific, destructive pipeline to be built, I will consider it a betrayal against my entire generation, a generation that will be forced to grow up living with the consequences of your decisions, one that includes your own daughters.
Tar sands provide the dirtiest energy yet discovered. Collection and separation of the oil from these sands can result in as much as five times the carbon emissions of conventional oil production methods. This completely messes up the balance of our atmosphere and threatens the right my generation has to a healthy and thriving planet.
Dr. James Hansen, one of the world’s top climate scientists has said that allowing this pipeline will, by itself, seal our planet’s fate. It will be, in Dr. Hansen’s words, “game over for the climate.”
I simply cannot understand how you could possibly consider allowing this pipeline. Don’t you care about your children? How are you able to look into the eyes of Sasha and Malia knowing that your short-term political gains are more valuable than their survival? How could you betray your own children like that?
Last May, I filed a lawsuit against the heads of all the federal agencies in your cabinet. I sued your government for allowing money and power to be more valuable than our survival. Last week, we filed a Preliminary Injunction to ask the courts to step in and force you to prioritize emission reduction programs for the simple reason that my generation is in imminent danger. Unless change comes quickly, we will be forced to grow up in a planet drastically different than the one that was passed on by your generation. A planet where hurricanes as big as Katrina are normal; floods, droughts, and wildfires kill millions of people every year; where sea levels rise because of extreme ice melt and cities are swallowed; a planet where hundreds of millions of people are turned into refugees; and an environment where species that we have come to know and love become extinct right before our eyes.
This future is unacceptable. But if you allow this pipeline, it’s sending me and my generation a signal that our future is not as important as Valero Oil’s profits. Please, Mr. President, stand up for something bigger than political interests. Show us courage. BE that “change” you promised three years ago and begin to make decisions with the survival of your children in mind. I don’t know what I will do in my first voting experience if you approve this pipeline. Please don’t make me wonder.
Founder, iMatter Movement