THE MEMORY is as clear as day in Rabbi Arthur Waskow's mind.
It was sometime in 2010, and he was at a beach, watching his young granddaughter frolic with seagulls along the edge of the Atlantic Ocean.
His mind drifted to the Deepwater Horizon oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico, and he wondered what kind of world his granddaughter would inherit, what kind of environmental disasters she'd witness.
Waskow said that haunting thought inspired him to be a part of a multifaith crowd that gathered in Center City yesterday to protest the dangers of trains that carry crude oil through Philadelphia.
The activists, members of the Protect Philadelphia Coalition, chanted and sang in front of the headquarters for Philadelphia Energy Solutions, at 17th and Market streets, and then marched to City Hall.
Many carried photos of a Daily News cover story from December that detailed the company's plan to ship about 5 million barrels of crude oil every month through the heart of Center City, along the Schuylkill.
The shipments began at roughly the same time as a horrific incident in a small town in Quebec, where 47 people were killed when a train carrying 35,000 barrels of crude oil crashed.
Philadelphia Energy Solutions, which operates the former Sunoco refinery in South Philly, has said it would be almost impossible for a large-scale accident like the one in Quebec to happen here, in part because the local trains run on isolated tracks no faster than 30 mph.
In January, a CSX train carrying crude oil and sand derailed on the Schuylkill Arsenal Bridge, above I-76, but no one was injured.
"We're here to speak for life, and say, 'Stop these death trains carrying dangerous fossil fuels throughout neighborhoods in Philadelphia,' " said Rabbi Julie Greenberg, of Congregation Leyv Ha-Ir (Heart of the City).
"We're trying to reject the death trains and protect the earth, and protect climate stability so that we can continue to have life on Earth."