Maybe it was the earthquake or the impending hurricane, but activism is in the air around the United States. Around the country, protestors are making sure their voices are heard by politicians.
In Washington, D.C., protestors are in the first week of a planned, large-scale act of civil disobedience outside the White House. The event aims to persuade President Barack Obama and the administration to block construction of a giant pipeline from the tar sands of Alberta to the Gulf of Mexico. The protest began on Aug. 20, when some 2,000 activists from 50 states gathered to launch the campaign. Thus far hundreds have been arrested, including Bill McKibben, Daryl Hannah and Margot Kidder — some spending as many as three days in jail before release.
Not to be outdone, protesters on the West Coast have launched their own large-scale campaign, this one centered on California's use of the pesticide methyl iodide. Hundreds of people have bombarded California Gov. Jerry Brown’s Facebook and Twitter pages to persuade the governor to ban the use of the pesticide. Methyl iodide has been linked to cancers, kidney problems, thyroid disease, miscarriages, and other health problems. Its use was approved in 2010 by then-Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, but since his election, Brown has promised to take a "fresh look" at its use and a possible ban.
Californians want to be heard. In the last few days, more than 800 people have facebooked or tweeted the governor with messages urging him to take immediate action on banning methly iodide. The online campaign followed a staged mock fumigation on the steps of the Capitol in Sacramento, Calif.