Blue Slushies and Tar Sands
What does a melted slushie have to do with tar sands?
What a great question, I’m so glad you asked!
This blue slushie has been in my freezer for 5 years now. I bought it in my kid’s cafeteria and snuck it out of the school for the filming of the Two Angry Moms documentary. One of my most favorite parts of the movie is when fellow Better School Food board member, Geri Brewster exclaimed, “ewwww! Its’ blue!” For so many reasons, Windex Blue is not a color that belongs in food.
The frozen slushie has remained in the back of my freezer as a fun memento of my work with school food advocacy. I’ve blogged many times on the Better School Food blog about this slushie, its part of every presentation I’ve given.
I found it to be an ironic coincidence that the day I left for Washington DC to protest the Keystone XL Pipeline, I found it melting and dripping all over the back wall of my freezer. A tornado and a hurricane caused lengthy power outages at the Rubin Rodeo twice in one week. Perhaps this liquid slushie is a sign from Mother Earth to step it up to another level.
The world has changed. I no longer feel compelled to fight the battle of junk in a school cafeteria, I’ve been pulled in a new direction: the bigger picture.
My efforts with school food led me to learn about the food system in our country. Our industrial food system relies heavily on fossil fuels. For every 1 calorie of food, the system burns 10 calories of fossil fuels. After years of extraction from the earth, readily available sources of gas and oil are depleted. As a result, corporations are now hydro-fracking for natural gas and digging up ancient forests in Canada to get at the tar sands. These practices contaminate local water and put dangerous chemicals into communities.
As all of these carbon sources are burned, the CO2 level in the atmosphere has caused the earth to warm enough that we are now experiencing the first stages of man made climate change. By the way, 97% of scientists believe man made climate change is real, so I’m not making a fringe statement here.
That man made climate change has resulted in freak storms, stronger hurricanes, floods and droughts. The tornado and tropical storm that hit my neighborhood this past week are part of this new Eaarth we are living one. A warmer planet that soaks up more moisture resulting in more violent storms.
As a result of this global weirding and two power outages in under a week, I had no choice but to empty my freezer of all remaining items. Despite two loads of dry ice and many many frozen ice packs, I had lost the battle to keep my food cold!
I said goodbye to my melted blue slushie, and said hello to a deeper determination to make a safer and healthier world for my kids.
One the day after I tossed my blue slushie, I was arrested in front of the White House for an act of civil disobedience. In the last week, over 700 people from across the country have have been arrested too.
The Keystone XL pipeline, whose permit is on President Obama’s desk today, is a national issue. If allowed to happen, this pipeline will bring dirty tar sands from Alberta Canada to Texas. It will damage the wildlife habitat from Canada to the Gulf Coast, put our nation’s largest aquifer at risk of contamination, and undermine our clean energy future. According to noted NASA climate scientist James Hansen, if we let this pipeline move forward, it’s game over for our climate.
Tar sands oil is a particularly reckless dirty form of energy dwarfing crude oil in terms of its damage to our climate. Allowing this tar sands pipeline to go forward paves the way for even more dirty energy to pollute our future by creating the first international market for tar sands oil.
I can no longer fight to remove the blue slushies out of our country’s school cafeterias, I must instead take action to wake up our President. The one who promised us a clean energy future.
For more details of my arrest, stay tuned!