In the last few years, it has blocked the construction of dozens of coal-fired power plants, fought the oil industry to a draw on the Keystone pipeline, convinced a wide swath of American institutions to divest themselves of their fossil fuel stocks, and challenged practices like mountaintop-removal coal mining and fracking for natural gas. It may not be winning the way gay marriage has won, but the movement itself continues to grow quickly, and it’s starting to claim some victories.

That’s not despite its lack of clearly identifiable leaders, I think. It’s because of it.

As Lloyd has noted on TreeHugger before, stopping the Keystone pipeline won’t keep the tar sands in the ground or the carbon they will produce out of the atmosphere. Trans Canada could build a pipeline to the west or continue shipping the oil by rail, but as KC makes clear, to not speak out against this pipeline is to concede defeat. And when the stakes are a ruined atmosphere or a chance at preventing catastrophe, what choice do we have?