The president has a superpower he uses only when he absolutely has to. He just had to.

It's time to dance, but keep your street shoes handy.

A lot of people have been working very hard for this moment.


The POTUS put his foot down and gave a big NO to Keystone XL.

Specifically, he vetoed legislation that would build a 1,179-mile pipeline to move 800,000 barrels per day of heavy petroleum from the tar sands of Alberta to ports and refineries on the Gulf Coast. (That would be the green line on the map.)


The president says he used the veto because of lack of "consideration of issues that could bear on our national interest — including our security, safety, and environment."

Congresswoman Nancy Pelosi put it this way:

Um, what? You're dang right this is about our communities' security and safety! It's about the future of the planet!

If these two statements sound like kind of lukewarm opposition to the pipeline, you're right. Yeah.

The president hasn't really made his final position clear; he's said only that he refuses to be rushed into a decision.

In the past, he's given environmentalists serious whiplash with mixed messages, like when he said "NO drilling in Alaska" and at just about the same time said, "Drill, baby, drill — on the Atlantic Coast."

People fighting for and against the pipeline really see Keystone XL as symbolic: Build it and you are staying the course with fossil fuels.

You know, ignoring climate change and polluting oceans, land, and rivers with spilled oil: the usual stuff.

But with a veto, people are hoping the president is making a decision to reject the "big oil" status quo and seriously commit to alternative energy realities.



In Scotland in 2014, renewables like wind power overtook nuclear, coal, and gas as the main source of energy supply. Yay, Scotland!

Bottom line:

If you agree we ought to be turning away from fossil fuels, this is good news!

Go ahead, dance!

But also, share this post. Tell other people we gotta keep up the pressure. We don't need Keystone XL!

The whole world's security and safety depend on us choosing a new, climate-friendly way forward.

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When Iowa Valley Junior-Senior High School principal Janet Behrens observed her students in the cafeteria, she was dismayed to see that they spent more time looking down at their phones than they did looking at and interacting with each other. So last year, she implemented a new policy that's having a big impact.

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Disney has come under fire for problematic portrayals of non-white and non-western cultures in many of its older movies. They aren't the only one, of course, but since their movies are an iconic part of most American kids' childhoods, Disney's messaging holds a lot of power.

Fortunately, that power can be used for good, and Disney can serve as an example to other companies if they learn from their mistakes, account for their misdeeds, and do the right thing going forward. Without getting too many hopes up, it appears that the entertainment giant may have actually done just that with the new Frozen II film.

According to NOW Toronto, the producers of Frozen II have entered into a contract with the Sámi people—the Indigenous people of the Scandinavian regions—to ensure that they portray the culture with respect.

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Though there was not a direct portrayal of the Sámi in the first Frozen movie, the choral chant that opens the film was inspired by an ancient Sámi vocal tradition. In addition, the clothing worn by Kristoff closely resembled what a Sámi reindeer herder would wear. The inclusion of these elements of Sámi culture with no context or acknowledgement sparked conversations about cultural appropriation and erasure on social media.

Frozen II features Indigenous culture much more directly, and even addressed the issue of Indigenous erasure. Filmmakers Jennifer Lee and Chris Buck, along with producer Peter Del Vecho, consulted with experts on how to do that respectfully—the experts, of course, being the Sámi people themselves.

Sámi leaders met with Disney producer Peter Del Vecho in September 2019.Sámediggi Sametinget/Flickr

The Sámi parliaments of Norway, Sweden and Finland, and the non-governmental Saami Council reached out to the filmmakers when they found out their culture would be highlighted in the film. They formed a Sámi expert advisory group, called Verddet, to assist filmmakers in with how to accurately and respectfully portray Sámi culture, history, and society.

In a contract signed by Walt Disney Animation Studios and Sámi leaders, the Sámi stated their position that "their collective and individual culture, including aesthetic elements, music, language, stories, histories, and other traditional cultural expressions are property that belong to the Sámi," and "that to adequately respect the rights that the Sámi have to and in their culture, it is necessary to ensure sensitivity, allow for free, prior, and informed consent, and ensure that adequate benefit sharing is employed."

RELATED: This aboriginal Australian used kindness and tea to trump the racism he overheard.

Disney agreed to work with the advisory group, to produce a version of Frozen II in one Sámi language, as well as to "pursue cross-learning opportunities" and "arrange for contributions back to the Sámi society."

Anne Lájla Utsi, managing director at the International Sámi Film Institute, was part of the Verddet advisory group. She told NOW, "This is a good example of how a big, international company like Disney acknowledges the fact that we own our own culture and stories. It hasn't happened before."

"Disney's team really wanted to make it right," said Utsi. "They didn't want to make any mistakes or hurt anybody. We felt that they took it seriously. And the film shows that. We in Verddet are truly proud of this collaboration."

Sounds like you've done well this time, Disney. Let's hope such cultural sensitivity and collaboration continues, and that other filmmakers and production companies will follow suit.

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