The Daily Kos has reported the arrest of activist Bill McKibben of 350.org at the White House Tar Sands Protest today — Saturday, August 20, 2011. Scheduled protests beginning Saturday run until September 3rd. Protestors speaking out against a plan allowing the Keystone XL pipeline’s run from Alberta to down through Texas are using civil disobedience to raise awareness and gain political attention.

Live reporting from the event was lost and further information remained scattered through posts on Facebook and Twitter. The event is powered by a simmering movement that includes scientists, celebrities, and environmental activists. Jason Box, a climate scientist, is taking part. He has said: “I couldn’t maintain my self-respect if I didn’t go”. He will take part in a three-day block of activism toward the end of the event run. Activists have signed up for scheduled stays at the protest, of which Bill McKibben said: “Our currency for these two weeks is our bodies, our spirit and our creativity.” He admitted a willingness to endure arrest for this cause.

Tar sands refer to a mix of bitumen along with wet sand and clay. Bitumen is also known as asphalt, a thick oily substance that is similar in appearance to tar. Refining bitumen from tar sands and oil shales has many environmental implications. Daniel B. Botkin of the Financial Times Press reports: “Mining the 2 trillion barrels of petroleum from U.S. oil shales would leave behind 9 trillion tons of waste rock—an amount equal to the weight of 24 million Empire State Buildings.”

{Photo: courtesy of 350.org Facebook}

{Sources: Daily Kos, the Financial Times Press and The Guardian}