Melting glaciers, dying species and evacuated homes.
Climate change and environmental consequences have led some to oppose the Keystone XL Pipeline.
Created by the activist organization Credo Action, the Keystone XL Pledge of Resistance encourages people to engage in civil disobedience against Department of State approval for the Keystone XL pipeline.
The Keystone XL is energy company TransCanada's proposed addition to the existing Keystone Pipeline. If built, this oil pipeline will run directly from the tar sands fields in Hardisty, Alberta to Steele City, Neb., where it will meet with another portion of the pipeline that continues to the Gulf coast.
William Plank, sophomore in foreign language at Pellissippi State Community College, signed Credo Action's pledge and agreed to take on a leadership role to try and bring the Knoxville community together for the cause.
"I'm interested because I care about the environment. ... I got this notification (about the pledge) at a time where ... I was getting increasingly frustrated with the Democrats and the American left-wing in general in terms of us getting stuff done," Plank said. "I'm tired of seeing ... people saying good words and not taking action on them."
Plank hosted a meeting at the Birdhouse on Saturday to inform people on how to engage in safe civil disobedience. At a protest rally, specific, pre-designated people would risk arrest while others support these arrestees legally through various roles.
Approximately eight people attended Plank's meeting, including Elizabeth Clanton, a sophomore in environmental science at Pellissippi State. Clanton said this issue is worth the risk of arrest.
"I'm kind of nervous, but at the same time, I feel like it needs to happen, but you know, America, of all countries ... we have the highest [percent] of our population in prison systems, so that's a whole other problem in and of itself," Clanton said. "So it's almost like you're protesting two things at once. It's just seeing how ridiculously easily the government feels that it needs to be involved."
Despite much opposition to the Keystone XL Pipeline, many supporters tout the benefits the pipeline offers the American economy, including added jobs at refineries and decreased dependence on politically unstable countries for oil.
Despite these potential economic boons, Clanton believes the costs of the pipeline outweigh potential benefits.
"Well, the way I see it is, if we don't have a planet to live on then we clearly wouldn't have an economy," Clanton said. "So why should we care about the economy if our environment is such a bigger issue. So, I mean, it's kind of ridiculous to even be worried about it. I guess it is like everyday consequences for everyday person, but in the long run, the big picture, it really doesn't matter at all. It's not significant.
"I'd rather have, you know, functioning ecosystems and like, not mass extinction of every species, including humanity, over worrying about the economy instead of the environment."