I think you know the basics of the Forward on Climate action already: after the hottest year in American history, tens of thousands of Americans are converging on DC on February 17th for the largest climate rally ever held in the US. Our message is clear: we’re insisting that President Obama reject the Keystone XL tar sands pipeline and demonstrate real leadership on climate change.

That’s all critically important. But it’s not the whole story. Here’s how we got to this point.

I live in New York City, and this October I watched as Superstorm Sandy gave us a tragic sneak preview of climate change. I know I wasn’t alone: over the past year, we’ve all seen the impact of climate change on our coastlines, forests and homes.

But our political leadership hasn’t kept pace with the crisis. In fact, for a while, climate dropped off the political radar entirely. But after a year and a half of unprecedented civil disobedience, historic mass mobilizations, innovative divestment campaigns and dogged local organizing — as well as dramatic extreme weather events — climate is back front and center, and the President is talking like a real leader again.

That’s why it’s so important that we make this the biggest action we’ve ever had: as a movement, we have the opportunity to move the President from words to action on the greatest challenge of our time, starting with the Keystone XL tar sands pipeline. exists because mass action can transform even the most hardened parts of our political life. That’s exactly what happened with Keystone: when we started this fight, all the experts said it was a done deal. But after we sat-in, surrounded the White House, petitioned and called, the deal still isn’t done, and we have a shot to stop the pipeline for good.

February 17th is our chance to continue the work we started to hold the President to his words, and stop this pipeline. I hope you’ll be there with me — and tens of thousands of our friends.

RSVP for the action here:

Every time our movement comes together in a major mobilization we see the ripple effects for months, and even years to come. That’s because they are so powerful: these are moments to show the collective strength of our movement.

All of this is to say: we certainly have a lot of work to do, but we know how it needs to be done, and we’re not backing down. I know that it feels rough to fight something over and over again, like we have with Keystone XL. But I also know that this is a critically important step on the journey, and I hope you’ll be there to walk it with me.