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This summer, Bill McKibben (from wrote a powerful piece in Rolling Stone called Global Warming’s Terrifying New Math, and it quickly became one of the most widely shared and widely read articles in the history of Rolling Stone. Organizing Upgrade wanted to encourage everyone to read it because we believe that it clarifies just how serious the climate crisis is and - maybe even more importantly - because Bill McKibben makes a very clear strategic call in this piece: to start direct struggle against the fossil fuel companies as “public enemy number one” instead of trying to win them over to small changes. We believe that organizers in every sectors of the social justice movement in the United States need to take this strategic call very seriously and figure out how to integrate it into their existent work.    So, we encourage you to read the full article with your fellow organizers and to use the following discussion questions to talk about what this “terrifying new math” means for our organizing work.

Many of us have been inspired by the strong organizing by environmentalists and environmental justice forces that succeeded in blocking the construction of the Keystone XL pipeline.

To provide a little background on the Keystone XL campaign: The Keystone XL is a new oil pipeline that was proposed by the Canadian oil and gas company, TransCanada, that would carry tar sands oil from Alberta, Canada to Texas. The extraction of tar sands is massively polluting. Tar sands extraction sites in Canada have devastated the surrounding environment and communities, in particular in Native communities. The potential pipeline would expand that damage; it would add new risks to the ecosystems and communities along the proposed pipeline. According to leading climate scientist, James Hansen, the building of the Keystone XL pipeline and the commitment of the United States to exploiting the rest of the remaining Canadian tar sands would be "game over" for the climate.

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