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 Stepitup2007.org, 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 stepitup2007.org, 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
Stepitup2007.org

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

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