In World History class my fellow peers and I have been actively engaged with a topic of herculean controversy that has even pondered President Obama on what should be done. We have dived into the research and collaboration of the Keystone Xl Pipeline and all the intuitiveness that is carried with it. Most people applied beginning questions such as “What even is the KeyStone pipeline?” and “How does this affect me?”. Over the course of the lesson we began to learn that the pipeline was a proposed idea for an independent refined oil source that would run through the United States from Canada. Everyone was tasked to understand the viewpoints of people who were pro pipeline and people who were against it. It gave us a chance to step into someone else’ shoes and think differently. This change of thought better supported growth in our minds and helped our ability to see multiple theorems and possibilities. Some standpoints included how the pipeline could do nothing but benefit us due to its extreme safety and economical abutment. Others argued that the pipeline would be dangerous to the environment and could cause feuds with other countries. The students of the history class were involved in much research and many activities. Our last and final project was to create monologues that represented different arguments and people who are somehow connected to the pipeline. The project itself was fun, manageable and gave the class an opportunity to matriculate a subject unique to us.5
Key Facts about the Keystone Pipeline
Key Facts about the Keystone Pipeline
- The Alberta Tar Sands oil development is garnering attention again as pro-energy forces on both sides of the U.S.-Canadian border increase pressure on the U.S. Government to approve TransCanada’s Keystone XL pipeline.
- Keystone XL is an export pipeline. According to the presentations to investors, Gulf Coast refiners plan to refine the cheap Canadian crude supplied by the pipeline into diesel and other products for export to Europe and Latin America.
- Reducing demand for oil is the best way to improve our energy security. U.S. demand for oil has been declining since 2007. New fuel-efficiency standards mean that this trend will continue once the economy gets back on track.
- “Its a given that the crime activity increases and hospitals are getting more use, and housing is so expensive. Sure, there are jobs, but you can’t find anywhere to live.” - Assiniboine and Sioux Rural Water Supply Commissioner Bill Whitehead
- “The Keystone XL pipeline is not in the national interest. This pipeline, which is proposed to carry Canadian tar sands oil to the Gulf Coast, is for the purpose of generating profit for a private company, it is for a private use. It will generate very few jobs, and the oil is destined for export markets.” - Northern Plains Resource Council
(Outgoing ring of telephone. Rings then goes to voicemail. Man waits for voicemail to be over then he leaves his message. Sighs continually before speaking.)
“Hey Maria, it’s uhm your husband Tom...you’re probably not home right now or you’d answer the phone. This is my uhm fifth time I’ve called you. Maybe you got a new number or something. Maybe I just have the wrong one. Ha-ha eh its been so long since I’ve been home I don’t even remember our number. Well I mean your number now so..I tried asking your mother but she won’t have anything to do with me. She says I'm no good for you but I know she’s wrong. I know I am plenty good for you. Good for us. Look I miss you Maria, I miss our son. That’s all I do anymore is think of the two of you. I just wanna come home and have things be like they were before. I have my shit together, I do I SWEAR I DO! REALLY! I even went to one of those head doctors, shrinks I think they call them. He said that I’ve improved tremendously since the uhm..accident. I just really wanna go home and be with you and our boy. Just please...hear me out. It was all because of that dreaded pipeline I swear to you it...”
(Hangs up phone, presses head against telephone box, and starts to sob while banging his fist against the wall)
(Calls again later. After a few rings someone picks up on the other line. Tom doesn't hesitate to answer.)
“Hey bab-Maria. I mean uhm Maria. Yes Maria. Can we talk now I just really-..no I did not get the divorce papers yet. Yea well because-...but-..yes but..Can we just talk about this please? YES! THANK YOU! Thank you so much… I uhm you know I have been sober for two weeks straight now. No I’m not lying-yes I know thats why I stopped! I don’t want our Kevin to be exposed to that kind of stuff either. I can come home now, I’ve stopped really-Now just wait one minute he is my son too!! Of course he is OUR Kevin, HE IS OUR CHILD FOR GOD’S SAKE!!! No no I’m sorry don’t hang up on me please. I didn’t mean to yell. There’s nothing wrong with me honest! It just all changed on that morning….It wasn’t my fault.. I woke up that day and went to guard the pipeline from protesters. It was getting harder and harder to do. While those damn Americans took their good old time deciding whether or not to allow our pipeline across their country more and more riots had been breaking out everywhere. Meanwhile we are up here freezing our asses off with a potential source of refined oil that we can’t possibly use until we have their pathetic consent!-Yes I know you’ve heard the story plenty of times but not this one just listen please. Those damn full of manure tree huggers were having a huge protest right next to the pipeline. They were jumping up and down on the thing and smashing bottles against it. I honestly hate them all, making my job harder. My badge did nothing. The right and just presence of a state trooper phased them none. Well everything was happening so fast-I uhm I know you have work just please listen a little more-....there was a man there. He seemed like the big guy, the damn leader of those hippie liberals...eh-he uhm he uhm had an axe. Everyone was cheering him on as he delivered a vicious harangue and pretty soon things got even more out of control. He went to start hacking away at the pipeline. I don’t know what he was thinking-he couldn’t possibly damage all 329 miles of it in Canada but I-I-...when the bullet penetrated his body everyone went silent. It was one of the most horrific things I’ve ever witnessed...I’ve ever committed. All I could think about as his limp body hit the ground was who this man was. I later found out that he had a family. Wife, kids, a brother...I didn't want to leave our family after that but I was scared!-..I got to thinking and maybe them tree huggers-I mean people..maybe they have a point. I never cared about the environment and shit like that. I only cared about protecting the community but I’m starting to realize that protecting the community involves protecting where the community lies. The Americans are right. They should proceed with caution for such a matter. Maybe I’ll go on to write my own speech and dance around a tree like those hippies-uh those people that care ‘bout where we live. I don’t wanna drink through my nights anymore, I wanna be with you and Kevin. Just please give me that last chance I’ll even-what? You really have to go now?..Uhm tell Kevin his father says hi..I love you-”
(Phone hangs up on other line. Tom starts to sob)
I didn’t mean it...I-I regret.. everything.
The Thorn In The Birch
Green blades of grass bristled my hooves as I pranced through the open field. The white, fluffy stuff that falls from the blue dome above covered the field in patches. My brown fur sheathed me from the cold while my horns of masculine dominance showed justly. Right hoof, left hoof, right hoof, left hoof. Moving was instinct. I was looking for my kith. Right hoof, left hoof. Look for kith. Right hoof, Left hoof. My kindred must be around somewhere. The field with the white, fluffy stuff was only a short breadth from where my kindred lie in home valley. A quick whisk through the tall beings that supplied nutrients was all that was needed to reach the lowland. I bobbed and weaved through the gracious beings with meshy, green camouflage and hopped over the lifeless grey spheres that strived on the ground. Quickly I bustled into the valley only to find it empty of my family. SNIFF SNIFF. I smelled for them. SNIFF SNIFF. No scent was picked up. SNIFF SNIFF. My only thought was that they went to quench thirst at the path filled with moving clear liquid. As I was about to right hoof, left hoof it out of the valley I noticed a strange monolith, grey in color, that reigned sideways through my home. All around it was pulled up grass and destroyed shelters created from branches. My home that I had lived in for my entire escence of time was gone. The monolith was not there aforetime ago but it certainly was relevant with the stranger stuff that was going on. I first saw them when the silver circle bequeathed the blue dome two times before today. Weird looking creatures with peach, mushy fur that stretched across their whole bodies. They galloped on twos instead of fours and had long tendril like things coming out of their arms. They emitted foreign sounds while creating abstract gestures. They held in their tendrils long strips with symbols on them in which they placed on the ground. After picking them back up they inscribed more symbols on a square board. When they left I thought no more of it but now after seeing this substructure in the valley I was almost certain it had to do with them. Suddenly the monolith shook and started oozing out a black honey that had a horrible stench. Singing creatures that soared in the sky got stuck in it as they landed. As it spread, the tall nutrient bearing beings cloaked in green fumed up in red and emitted intolerable heat. I turned, dashed away immediately and in an instant was taken hold by aptitude. I barely noticed the other creatures rush by me in blurs as the rest of the forest was overwhelmed more by that heated, red element. The furry creatures that dig holes in the ground blew up in red. The flying beings fell from the blue dome as black ghosts puffed in the air. Soon I was out of the chaos and stood alone in an empty clearing. Alone. With no great alpha to guide my journey in the forest. Alone. With no kindred to buckle antlers against. Alone. With no mate to even dare attempt continuing legacy. Alone. With nothing but a grey monolith whose purpose in the forest I surely hoped was greater than the lives of my cousins that called such forest home first.
(Walking through the hallway towards her husband’s office and immediately calling for him for plans for the night.)
“Barack...Barack. Are you in there I need to ask you something about tonight? Hello there gentlemen how are you doing today? Thats good I’m doing fine. Is the president in there? Thank you. (Opens the door of the office.) Barack...Barack. Are you in here? Hmm... He might be in the bathroom or he’s just not here. Barack can you hear me? Are you hiding from me, I want to talk about dinner tonight...you know with the kids. Its the first in a month we get to have dinner as a whole unit.”
(Cell phone rings..)
“Hello? Oh Barack hi... umm Where are you? Your where? Atlanta! What the hell are you doing down there? Barack you know were suppose to be having dinner with the kids even my parents are coming over. Oh your sorry that I told you this plenty of times Barack c’mon...umm like really I had this all planned out. You better be back on time. Ok FINE!!!... Love you too, see you soon.
(Starts walking away and hears a folder full of papers hitting the ground softly, and turns around.) Hmm....What's this? Is this.....(gasp of silence). What’s going on here? Is this one of Barack’s plan? The Keystone Pipeline. I’ve never heard of this. (Starts reading the proposal) The Keystone pipeline is ....(gasp)Oh No I have to call Barack. (Dials the phone and goes to voicemail) BARACK!!! You have a lot of explaining to do when you get home later today. I know you're probably doing a speech right now like you always do every time you visit a state but, its about this Keystone Pipeline thing..umm What's this all about? We need to talk in private later tonight. Bye. (hangs up phone.) (Reads more of the proposal) The keystone pipeline is suppose to be in service by 2015. It suppose to run 329 miles through Canada and 858 miles in the U.S. This will create 20,000 jobs to help people. $585 million in taxes!! Ok this is not right...right for our environment. Ohh Barack(pause) I can’t wait to yell at you. Why would you agree to this. Thats a shit load of oil being pumped for that amount of miles. This can hurt the people. This...this....this can hurt the whole environment. (She throws the paper runs out the room).
(Kenny is walking with his boss. The phone rings and Kenny picks up the phone and hears bad news about his brother Louis, while walking near area )
“Hello? Oh hi mom. What’s going on? And why you sound like you're about to burst into tears. Wait What!!!! What the fuck you mean Louis is dead. Stop playing a joke on me mom this isn’t funny. ARE YOU BEING SERIOUS RIGHT NOW. no no No No NO NO NOOOO!!!!! How did he get killed ?!! Pipeline? What Damn pipeline theres plenty of pipelines throughout Canada. The Keystone pipeline. That new pipeline that is “suppose” to help us canadians. Wait he was shot. By who? A cop?! Why was he even shot. Mom I got to go...No I’ll call you later.”
(He hangs up the phone and starts screaming) “AHHHHHHHH NOOO WHY? WHY? WHY? WHY? WHY? WHAT DID HE EVER DO WRONG. (Kenny’s Boss ask what's wrong) What’s wrong with me? Oh umm let me put it this way. MY BROTHER WAS SHOT AND NOW HE IS DEAD! Don’t tell me calm down! Im sick and tired of all the negativity that gets put on. You know what I’m done. I QUIT MY JOB! Now get out of here before I take out all my anger on you.”
(Kenny’s Boss runs away. Kenny then kicks down a trash can and pulls out his phone and hits the record button on his camera) “Listen up Canada and people in the U.S and listen up real good. Ask yourself this. Is the Keystone Pipeline affecting our environment? Well let me tell you a little story. Moments ago I don’t know when..umm My brother has been shot to death for purposely “attacking” the pipeline. Now I’m not sure if you love the pipeline or you hate the pipeline, but if you’re a person who hates it, I agree with you (Pointing his finger to the camera). I can already see of what’s happening. People starting riots, holding up signs that say stop the keystone pipeline. Now I’m a shy guy, but now its time to stand up and raise our voices to protect our land and our freedom. Us Canadians and quite frankly Americans don’t want to have higher taxes. This is all just for oil. Are you kidding me? Now let me ask you this. What if all of the oil oozed out, what do you think would happen to our land? What would happen to the wild creatures that live on our land and protect their own kindred. As of right now I’m going to be a protester to support my brother who didn’t deserve to die over this dang pipeline. Obama or anyone specific working on this pipeline is watching at this moment...we're going to take this pipeline down. You don’t know who you're messing with. (Hits the stop button on his phone)
A Toppling Democracy
(Governor of Nebraska walks into office and sits at desk. After reading a report from one of his officials, he sighs and pulls out his personal voice recorder in which he uses to journal is thoughts. He leans back in his desk, turns on recorder, and starts speaking)
“It has been two years since the Keystone Pipeline has been introduced into our pinnacle of society...yet my campaign to creating a better economy has gone nowhere but south. I consented to the pipeline due to the benefits that it could bring to our country. Only a few on our side of the border stand with me to seeing those benefits. To seeing true reason. The need for independence in energy renewal for this country is at an all time high. We must reduce the conflicts for oil in other countries and start coming to tangible solutions for energy resources with actual allies of us. Not lead our own country men into war when there is something we can all agree on that causes no violence. I was subtle, strong as a wall but still subtle. I have tried not to take the more radical approach but I think the call for radicalness is upon us. If even the President can not come to a conclusion soon then who can? I believe I am that person. I am quite aware of what the duties as the Governor of Nebraska are and what kind of social respect comes with such but these are hard times and hard times come with even harder reprimandations. I believe it is time for diplomatic immunity. I don’t see myself as a bad man but one who wants to see his country and countrymen thrive to their potential. Because of this I am warranting the arrest of any protester that dares raise a single finger against the Keystone Pipeline in the borders of Nebraska. I want those traitors to our country to be locked away in a cell far underground. I want them to feel pain, I want them in my grasps- uhm hi baby girl…-no Daddy can’t play right now. Because Daddy has work to do...NO DON’T TOUCH THAT SWEETY- No-
(Voice recorder ends suddenly as little girl grabs it and turns it off accidentally)