Saturday was a very creative rally to raise awareness on climate change. There were two important messages:

Yes to Clean Energy and No to the Keystone XL Pipeline.

Organizers of the rally created a 100-foot long model of the Keystone pipeline. They carried it from Alameda Park to the Santa Barbara County Courthouse, through downtown and out to the foot of Stearns Wharf.

Speakers included state Sen. Hannah-Beth Jackson, D-Santa Barbara; Assemblyman Das Williams, D-Santa Barbara; Mayor Helene Schneider; Environmental Defense Center lawyer Linda Krop; and SBCC student president Elie Katzenson.

All called for an increase in funding for sustainable, clean energy sources like solar and wind energy. And for reducing dependence on dirty, unsustainable fossil fuels.

They explained that the important issue with the Keystone pipeline is not the local environmental risk to the places it would pass through, though that is certainly an issue. The main issue: The devastating impact it would have on the global environment by releasing vast amounts of carbon from Canadian shale oil projects.

They also pointed out that the Santa Maria Energy project would be our own local version of Keystone, and said it would extract dirty shale oil and add the equivalent of 17,000 cars to our local roads in terms of the emissions just due to the extraction process.

They asked people to write to President Barack Obama to stop the Keystone pipeline. To attend the county Planning Commission meeting next Wednesday to stop the Santa Maria Energy project.

They asked people to contact their elected officials to support clean, sustainable energy. And to get involved by joining and supporting organizations like that are working to stop climate change through these means.

Click here for more photos from the event.

— Robert Bernstein represents