Thursday, February 15, 2007

Step It Up 2007 for Climate Stabilization

Antioch's Environmental Advocacy and Organizing Program students in this Spring's Advocacy Clinic are working hard on a group organizing project--mobilizing a series of local events in Keene as part of the April 14th national day of climate action coordinated by Step It Up 2007. This nation-wide effort to demonstrate the desire of concerned citizens for Congress to act now to cut carbon pollution emissions 80% 2050 has been initiated by Bill McKibben. Below is Bill's personal invitation to join Step It Up 2007. This is a great opportunity for local people, students, and activists to practice citizenship skills in a real life setting--and make a clear statement to Congress to move on climate stabilization now. We'll let you know how it goes in Keene.

From Bill McKibben:

Dear Friend—

I’m writing to ask your help. I know you’ve already made changes in your own life to deal with climate change; I’m guessing that, like me, you feel a little helpless about the scale of the problem. Some of us who are eager to do something more are organizing a day of demonstrations for April 14. We’re calling ourselves, and we need you to be a vital part—to organize a rally in your neck of the woods. If everyone pitches in, we’ll have by far the largest action yet in this nation about global warming—large enough that Washington will notice and start to act.

It’s going to be an unusual day. People will be rallying in many of America’s most iconic places: on the levees in New Orleans, on top of the melting ice sheets on Mt. Hood and in Glacier National Park, even underwater on the endangered coral reefs off Key West and Hawaii. But we need hundreds of rallies outside churches, and in city parks, and in rural fields. It’s not a huge task—assemble as many folks as possible, hoist a banner, take a picture. We’ll link pictures of the protests together electronically via the web—before the day is out, we’ll have a cascade of images to show both local and national media that Americans don’t consider this a secondary issue. That instead they want serious action now.

We’re not an organization—we’re, in essence, a few people sending out invitations to a party. A potluck. This is going to be a homemade day of action. So go to our website at, and say ‘here’s where I live—I want to help organize.’ We’ll coordinate the responses, introducing you to others from your area, and give you everything you need to be a leader, from banners to press releases. You don’t have to have ever done anything like this—you’re not organizing a March on Washington, just a gathering of scores or hundreds in your town or neighborhood. We need creativity, good humor, commitment. If you are active in a campus group or a church or a local environmental group or a garden society or a bike club—or if you just saw Al Gore’s move and want to do something—then we need you now.

And by now, we mean now. The best science tells us we have ten years to fundamentally transform our economy and lead the world in the same direction or else, in the words of NASA’s Jim Hansen, we will face a “totally different planet.” We’re calling for 80 percent carbon cuts by 2050, which would be a good first step to warding off that future. But the exact numbers are less important than the underlying message to Washington: get serious. The recent elections have given us an opening, and polling shows most Americans know there’s a problem. But the forces of inertia and business-as-usual are still in control, and only our voices, united and loud, joyful and determined, can change that reality.

Please join us.

Bill McKibben

P.S.—It would be a great help too if you could forward this plea to anyone you think might embrace it.

Monday, February 12, 2007

An Online Climate Policy Game

In emails to me, academic colleagues Timmons Roberts and Robert Brulle have recently touted the new online European Union Climate Policy Game. It looks very promising as a personal and classroom tool for exploring various alternatives in climate action policy. It is not for the faint of heart, however. Both Timmons and Bob "were pretty quickly voted out of office" for their climate policies. Can you do better at making meaningful changes in climate policy without courting a political backlash? As Bob Brulle notes, "It looks like an interesting program to use in a classroom situation" and it could stir up some engaging discussions and reflection on the choices ahead among climate change activists.

Saturday, February 03, 2007

EAOP Launches "Make Your Vote Count" Radio Show

What are you going to do with your vote in November 2008? Are you going to sit the election out? Are you going to take time to learn about the presidential candidates and make an informed decision? Are you going to roll up your sleeves and actively campaign for the candidate you decide is best for this country?

Well, Antioch University New England’s Environmental Advocacy and Organizing Program is proud to launch a special new series of occasional reports on WKNH Keene, 91.3 FM, called “Make Your Vote Count.” In this series, we will take a close look at several of the Presidential hopefuls coming through New Hampshire looking for our votes, our dollars, and our volunteer time. The first installment of the “Make Your Vote Count” series was broadcast live this Saturday afternoon. In this inaugural show, the EAOP offered an in-depth look at the political perspective of six-term Congressman Dennis Kucinich, who is now making his second run for the Democratic Party’s nomination for President.

The show included a taped speech by the Congressman at Jesse Jackson’s Wall Street Project Conference held in New York on January 8, 2007; a commentary from Rahul Mahajan from the Pacifica Radio Network that questions whether political progressives should support Kucinich’s campaign; and a live twenty-minute conversation with Congressman Kucinich about why he thinks his candidacy is the best hope for what he calls the “New American Majority." We then ended the show with a short interview with local Kucinich supporter Bill Beardslee about why he plans to work hard for his candidate this year.

We hope to edit these locally-produced programs in the future and make them available nationally as podcasts on the EAOP's website, as well as uploads to the Pacifica Radio Network's Audioport distribution service for its over 100 affiliates across the country.