More than 200 people, including approximately 100 Tulane students, participated in Draw the Second Line to raise awareness about climate change and the construction of the Keystone Pipeline, a planned transportation system for crude oil that will extend from Canada to Texas, on Saturday in downtown New Orleans.
Green Club provided most of the funding for the band and acquired the police and parade permits. They also partnered with 350NOLA, a local subsidiary of the nationwide grassroots movement 350, which calls attention to issues concerning the environment such as climate change and the controversy surrounding the Keystone Pipeline.
Nick Stracco, Green Club member and Divest Tulane president, said he thinks this event is unique among the nationwide Draw the Line events.
“[More than] two hundred actions are going on today,” Stracco said. “We organized the New Orleans day of action. We figured we would call this event Draw the Second Line because we love to dance, and we love the music in this city.”
Draw the Second Line is the third annual and largest sustainability second line held in New Orleans by Tulane Green Club. Participants in Draw the Second Line followed a traditional brass band through downtown New Orleans in an attempt to send a message to Washington to halt construction on the Keystone Pipeline.
350NOLA member Alicia Cooke said she foresees vast negative environmental impacts if construction of the pipeline continues, including increasing the nation’s carbon footprint.
“What we don’t like about this pipeline is that it transports tar sands, which is the dirtiest form of fossil fuel,” Cooke said. “It takes up to three times more energy to process it and is three times more carbon intensive than conventional oil.”
Green Club President Anne Bevis became involved in climate change initiatives during high school after Hurricane Katrina.
“[Hurricane Katrina] was the most traumatic and profound moment of my life, and that is why I am here to fight,” Bevis said. “Warmer waters cause bigger, stronger hurricanes, so we are here to defend New Orleans.”
Stracco said Green Club found it important to participate in the Draw the Second Line because of New Orleans’ critical relationship to climate change and rising sea levels.
“350.org is really excited that New Orleans is joining the climate justice fight,” Stracco said. “Louisiana has some of the worse sea level rise projections in the entire world. We are on the front lines of climate change, and we need to stand up for these cultures that live here, because all of these people will be displaced by sea level rise. We are not going to go down without a fight.”
Green Club member Rebecca Flournoy said the issue was important to her and the New Orleans and Tulane communities.
“We live in New Orleans,” Flournoy said. “[Climate change] is a big deal. It affects our everyday lives. [Participating in Draw the Second Line] shows that Tulane is a part of New Orleans and that we are being active in the community, showing what we are passionate about.”
College Democrats member Michael Hawke supported the Green Club’s efforts at the event. He saw Draw the Second Line as a fun and unique way to promote climate awareness.
“The leaders [of College Democrats] are very supportive of the Green Club,” Hawke said. “I think [Draw the Second Line] is a fantastic idea to raise awareness about climate change. It is a serious issue, but you can have fun getting people to understand more about it.”
Bevis said she did not expect the event to be such a success because of the weather conditions.
“It was a rainy day and we were really concerned the numbers would be weak,” Bevis said. “It was pouring that morning. We were concerned that we wouldn’t have a turnout, but the turnout was huge. We were very excited. The biggest thing is that we are getting the word out there. We are absolutely making a difference.”