Keystone XL – end game and the future at risk (

By mid-June, President Obama, with the input of John Kerry, will decide whether or not Keystone will be built to connect the oil sands of Alberta with Texas. I will be in Washington DC on February 17th to join 20,000 or more citizens from all over the USA to say “Enough – No to Keystone”. Unknown to people in the Carolinas – because the media is so inept here – actions are taking place around North America, including Texas and the north-western states especially, as well as Maine and across Canada.

Five power brokers who’ll determine the fate of the Keystone XL pipeline and our future.   These are the people who may be holding our future in their hands:  link to all here

President Obama concluded his inaugural speech with a call for citizen action, saying:

“You and I, as citizens, have the obligation to shape the debates of our time -
not only with the votes we cast, but with the voices we lift in defense
of our most ancient values and enduring ideals.”

In other words: “Your job is to push me.”

If you aren’t planning to go to DC yourself, please do write Obama – if the people do not take this opportunity to protest in the strongest terms, the pipeline may go ahead, and that allows the oil sands to be tapped for decades ahead pouring greenhouse gases into the atmosphere well past acceptable levels. Now above 490 ppm, the oil sands alone hold another 200 ppm. That would probably put temperature rise easily above the 2C limit – probably closer to 6C by 2100.

More on Keystone on my web page: See also Canada page.

Solar panels were placed on my roof September 2011. During February, 4 panels will be moved to the other end of the roof to catch more sunlight, and 2 panels added. This will, I hope, boost my output to where I can net meter. This will mean I supply my own power – up to 67% of household use, and Duke will supply the rest. This takes me off NC Green Power’s plan and selling the energy out of state. As Duke’s rates inevitably rise, my savings increase. Eventually, maybe, I can come off the grid altogether, but that may be a few years off yet. Progress.

Clean Air Carolinas 5K run (walk). This takes place again this year at McAlpine Creek Park on May 4th. Details here – you can enter now. Come and join me. As a member of the organising team,we’re expecting the biggest turnout yet in the four years’ event.


Are you one of the 88% who throw their bottle out? Collectively we are dumping 40 million plastic water bottles per day. Stop using plastic water bottles and reduce your carbon footprint. (You’ll also save money.)
A good job of selling. Forty per cent of bottled water starts out as tap water. Companies, like Coca Cola and Pepsi, take the water for free, running it through some filters, pour it into a bottle with a fancy name and then sell it back to us at a price 240 to 10,000 times higher than tap water. Illusion of health Clever marketing has made us believe that bottle water is healthier and much more pure than tap water. But a four year study by the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) found plenty of bacteria and chemicals in bottled water. Since there are currently no regulations in place for bottled water it’s hard to know exactly what you are buying. Check the label of your bottled water. If it is says “from a municipal source” or “from a community water system” it’s plain old tap water (From Green Living)


Alan Burns is the co-chair of the Charlotte Area Green Party and founder of, a source for comprehensive and up-to-date information on the environment and global warming. (

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