Dylan Fitzwater (19) is a first year at Hampshire College. He is studying social movements, philosophy, and political theory. He is committed to the fight against all tar sands pipelines, not just due to their tremendous role in the destruction of the climate, but also as integral sites of resistance to the intertwined systems of colonial, racial, and capitalist oppression. He believes that Transcanada is not just an institution which has placed its own profit above the future of the earth, it is also an active agent in the long history of the colonization of North American indigenous peoples, the perpetuation of environmental racism, and the dispossession and exploitation of the lands and lives of working people. From rural east Texas, to the lands of the of the Wet’suwet’en, to his current home in Massachusetts, Dylan remains committed to all forms of resistance to Transcanada, its destructive pipelines, and the systems of oppressions which they perpetuate and embody.
Eli Gerzon (29, Arlington, MA) is self-educated and has traveled and lived in over 20 countries. He started his own tour company called Worldschool Travel Tours and has written and spoken widely about education. His dream has been that free, responsible exploration of this wonderful world will eventually lead to people creating real changes for the better. But it is now clear to him that direct action is needed immediately, or else climate change will spiral out of control and destroy the world he loves. The growing climate movement gives him hope and motivates him to devote everything he has to this struggle.
Peter Malagodi, 38, is the voice of the band Melodeego, a teacher, a husband and a father of three. He cares deeply about the future of the planet for his children and for others growing up. Because of this, he believes the TransCanada Pipeline’s potential massive CO2 emissions along with it’s likely spillage must be stopped! He is inspired and determined to spread the movements message through song and activism.
Becca Rast (22) is a Senior at Brown University studying Environmental Studies and hails from Lancaster County Pennsylvania. Growing up in the Mennonite community she grounds herself in a responsibility to pursue social, economic and ecological justice with the people around her. The Keystone XL will not only lock ourselves into a future with even more severe climate impacts, but will cause immense destruction in the the coming years to communities along the route. She is proud to stand with the thousands of others who have taken action to stop the Keystone XL pipeline.
My great-great-grandchildren ask me in dreams
“What did you do while the planet was plundered?
What did you do when the Earth was unraveling?
Surely you did something when the seasons started failing,
as the mammals, reptiles, birds were all dying.
Did you fill the streets with protest when democracy was stolen?
What did you do once you knew?
Mark, 27, is the guitarist for the band, Melodeego. The band long ago decided to dedicate its music and actions to the movement for environmental justice, but it’s through no obligation to his band that he’s here today. Mark grew up in North Texas, a stone’s throw from where part of the Keystone XL pipeline has already been built. He’s watched, comfortably from his heated living room, as people time and time again stood up to defend his home. Now, he’s done watching. Now he, too, is stepping up to do what he can to defend his home, his friends, and his family.
Rachel Soule (23) is a recent graduate of Brandeis University. She studied Language & Linguistics and Environmental Studies. In a perfect world, Rachel would spend all her time working with children, learning all the languages known to man, and meeting new people all over the globe. But she knows the severity of the climate crisis, and she knows how much people of power in her own country have to do with causing it. Everyone she’s ever met, regardless of their language, nationality, or life story, may see the changing climate multiply their fears, threaten their safety, and imperil their loved ones. And so she fights in whatever way she can.
The more I study agriculture, the more I am affirmed that this planet was not built just for us. To keep it a beautiful green, blue and white planet we must cooperate with our environment. In NYC, many of my friends and family have been affected by Hurricane Sandy. It is the working class and poor who have to pay the real consequences for the atrocities perpetrated by a wealthy minority. If we leave it up to the government and the wealthy elite to fight for what we believe in, we won’t have a future. The only way to get people motivated to fight back is to lead by example. I hope others who are scared and unsure will take direct action like I and so many other have.
Lisa Young (24) holds a B.S. in Chemistry from Boise State University (Boise, Idaho) and recently moved to Massachusetts to pursue graduate studies in Environmental Policy. After learning about the indisputable scientific evidence for anthropogenic climate change and its devastating impacts on the environment, economy, and public health, Lisa was determined to use her education to help link good science with good policy decisions to halt the combustion of fossil fuels and implement innovative clean energy solutions. But it quickly became clear to her that policy is primarily shaped by money–not by science–and that the masses would need to lead the fight against the fossil fuel industry for a just and sustainable future. Lisa continues to be inspired by the vision and will of this global people-powered movement and the strength of that community right here in Massachusetts.