These have been an historic few days for the growing movement pushing for climate solutions and a just, clean energy economy. Yesterday, hundreds and hundreds of actions took place around the country. You showed your leadership in a thousand different ways - whether organizing an action, attending a rally, or taking the time to invite your politicians to come out to Step It Up events around the country.
We are still giddy watching the hundreds of photos coming in from coast to coast. Whether it's a photo of high-school students in Berkeley, California holding a banner with the three 1 Sky priorities or a picture from a town meeting with their member of Congress in Maine, we exercised democracy this weekend and it looked amazing. For too long, the debate over global warming has stayed in Washington and remained the territory of energy companies, corporate lobbyists, and other vested interests. You helped bring it out of the halls of Congress and into city parks, streets, and meeting halls in our communities.
And your voice hasn't gone unheard. Over 80 members of Congress took part in yesterday's events. Tomorrow, we're building on that accomplishment.
Right now, I'm blogging from Power Shift 07, surrounded by thousands of students who are taking part in the first ever national youth summit on global warming. There's an incredible feeling here. Preparations are under way for the largest lobby day in global warming in our country's history. The coal and oil companies may have millions of dollars, but we have thousands of students who will be carrying photos from Step It Up actions around the country. Tomorrow, they'll meet with their Representatives, legislative aids, and other movers and shakers on the hill and demand that Congress enact the 1 Sky solutions: cutting carbon 80% by 2050, creating 5 million new green jobs, and declaring a moratorium on new coal fired power plants.
The weekend isn't over yet and we have already accomplished so much thanks to all of your help. You know us though, we're always asking for more . . . so if you've got a little more inspiration and fire after watching the pictures on our slide-show of Step It Up actions, click here to learn how you can play a key role in supporting the students in the Capitol tomorrow. It's going to be a historic day and we want you to be a part of it.
A new day is here, and we have much reason to celebrate.
We couldn't have imagined a better day yesterday -- this is a real movement we're seeing emerge. What a joy seeing hundreds of action photos and reports streaming in on the website -- and more are sure to come it today as well.
If you haven't submitted photos or videos from your action, please do so right away. Click here.
Though a little rest is extremely appealing right now, we're also immensely energized by all the actions that took place yesterday and our experience of sharing the incoming photos with the thousands of students that converged at the University of Maryland for Powershift (www.powershift2007.org). So we're going to be spending today printing out all the photos from your actions and getting them in the hands of the young people at Powershift. And tomorrow they'll be helping us deliver all these photos directly to members of Congress.
Be sure to add your voice of support by calling in. Click here for more details about Monday's call-in.
Thanks to everyone for helping make Nov 3rd such a great success. Stay tuned for more coverage and updates from yesterdays action. You won't believe the energy from the speakers and crowd at the Powershift event last night -- video coming soon.
I'm writing from backstage at Cole Memorial Field House on the campus of the University of Maryland. There are five thousand college kids out in the stands, cheering lustily at one speaker after another--it's an amazing scene, something we couldn't have even imagined a year or two ago.
But the real scene for us is on the computer screen, where we've been watching pictures flash in from StepItUp actions all across the country. From the gale-lashed shores of Cape Cod to the sunny mid-west and the sunnier still California coast, we've been amazed by what you've accomplished. This is too much fun--we can't thank you all enough.
We're about to go on stage and share your successes with the nation. Rest satisfied, folks--you did your job!
There are few places in America more meaningful than the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, D.C. It's message of unity, reconciliation, and courage under the most difficult and challenging of circumstances is as relevant today as any time in our history. As Bill has said, we need a movement as morally urgent and powerful as the Civil Rights Movement to stop global warming and create a just, clean energy economy for all people.
Today, hundreds of people rallied in front of this historic site to launch this new movement. We heard from leaders like Van Jones, who's new organization Green For All is uniting people of all backgrounds behind the message of a clean energy economy strong enough to lead people out of poverty, and Courtney Fryxell, the young woman and extraordinary organizer who pulled the entire event together.
Van had it right when he said, "This is a weekend to remember. The kind of weekend that goes down in history." With hundreds of grassroots events around the country and thousands of young people in Washington, we are building a movement that will change our country.
Take a moment to look through the pictures here on this site from Step It Up actions around the country. Think about all those people in the photos - and all the people who took part in the April 14 day of action - and all the many more who couldn't make either day, but stand in solidarity with us. Reflect on the thousands of students who are here in Washington, D.C. this weekend - each person an agent for positive change, each person a leader in his or her own way. And finally, think about what role you can play in this growing movement.
At the Lincoln Memorial today, we connected with a rich history of social change and took one more step towards a bright, sustainable future. To know that thousands of you were there with us in communities across the country made the moment all the more inspiring.
Coal fired power plants are one of the central causes of global warming pollution in this country and around the world. Coal pollutes our environment, devastates communities in Appalachia and beyond, and threatens all of our collective future.
In Madison, WI today hundreds of people rallied with a "No New Coal!" message front and center at their Step It Up event. Maia Donahue reports:
Last night Bill [McKibben] was in town, and spoke at a film festival and got the troops rallied up.
Over 100 people rallied outside of this ugly little eye sore of a
coal plant, conveniently located in the heart of the University campus.
People wrote a whole lot of postcards to the board of regents, the
Chancellor, and the Governor, urging them to take action (this plant is
currently the subject of a lawsuit by the Sierra Club, so some urging
Keep up the fight Madison! And to the hundreds of people around the country struggling to keep new coal fired power plants out of their communities we send our gratitude and solidarity.
The fight isn't over, but today was another important step forward. Over 80 members of Congress participated in our events today and heard the "No New Coal!" message front and center as one of our three 1 Sky priorities. And Congress will continue to hear that message - on Monday, when thousands of students lobby in D.C., and into the future, as this grassroots movement takes out one coal plant after another. It's time for green jobs, not dirty energy - time to put up wind turbines, not coal plants.
It's time for leadership - and you're showing it in ever corner of our nation.
Revolutionary spirit is alive and well in Concord, Massachusetts! Braving a tropical storm, a good crowd of people from around the area turned out to the Old North Bridge in historical Concord to summon the Revolutionary spirit of ages past. As promised, Sen. John Kerry came out to the event to offer his plans for leadership on global warming. An extra special thanks to the Senator for giving his speech in the rain - now that's commitment!
Kris Erkiletian writes:
This was a fantastic event. I got to meet John Kerry for the first time as well as other local activists in the new environmental movement. VERY INSPIRATIONAL. Lets keep it going.
And Ruby Kalinka reports:
I was very impressed with Jim Marzilli's speech. He was very
inspirational and passionate - all the officials were. It was really
great to see people come, even in the rain, and support an Energy
And we thought a tropical storm would slow you down? No way! Although the wind and rain that slammed into the East Coast this morning got us off to a bit of a bumpy start, the day is shaping up incredibly.
It's a beautiful sight to see: hundreds and hundreds of photos streaming in from around the country. There's one from Sugar Land Texas where Rep. Nick Lampson came out to address the crowd. Lake Placid, NY where a huge crowd gathered. A beautiful photo from Oklahoma City full of local politicians coming together with their constituents. Or this photo on the right from the Groton School in Massachusetts - they did a human version of our logo on the school fields!
We are so proud and honored to be a part of this day. In just two months (for many of you only a few weeks - or days) we have put together an incredibly powerful and inspiring call for leadership.
Stay tuned to the blog and the website as more and more action reports come in. We'll have footage from the Lincoln Memorial soon and hope to have photos from New Orleans coming in before too long.
While hundreds of actions are taking place all across the country, over 5,500+ young people are rocking out at Power Shift 07, the first national youth summit on global warming. Our crew will be there with them tonight to culminate this incredible day of action all across the country with a concert and giant Step It Up rally. Take a look at the video below to get a sense of the momentum, energy, and excitement of this growing movement:
Over the past several weeks, the news headlines have been filled with the drought in the Southeast, the wildfires in Southern California, and today, the news is filled with word of Tropical Storm Noel that is about to bombard the Mid-Atlantic and Northeast Coast. No single weather event can be attributed to global warming, but science does tell us to expect increasingly erratic and dramatic weather events as the world warms. And each one of these recent events have been some of the most extreme in their region's history.
As we speak, many Step It Up organizers in the affected areas are going bravely forward with their actions and figuring out last minute alternate plans, amidst forecasts of several inches of rain and 40mph winds. What do these organizers do when globalwarming prevents them from taking action on global warming? They keep acting! Will our politicians follow their leadership and courage in the face of a changing climate? Today we find out....
Wish your fellow Step It Uppers from the Northeast well as they brave the storm today. Our hearts are with you!
What a day we have ahead. All around the country right now, people are getting up and heading out to hundreds and hundreds of rallies in their communities. Some will be small - just a gathering of friends to reaffirm their commitment to each other and our future. Others will be huge - thousands of people will be flowing into Washington Square Park in NYC this afternoon, thousands more are in Washington, D.C. at Power Shift 07 already, and thousands more will take action in Berkeley, CA later on today.
If you're heading out to an event today, remember, this is a joyous occasion. Enjoy the heck out of your gathering on Saturday. Enjoy the community around you. Enjoy being a player in our political system. Enjoy the sense that you're making a real, palpable difference on the biggest issue our planet faces.
It was only 2 months ago that we rolled out the Step It Up 2 website in phases. We had this thought -- "Wouldn't it be cool if we could flood our politicians with invitations and force them to come face to face with their constituents and address global warming?" And with your help and hard work, the idea worked!
Last April 14th there were 1,400 actions calling on Congress to cut carbon 80% by 2050. And now, we have all collectively issued over 14,000 invitations to our leaders. Talk about participatory democracy. This is a great achievement all on it's own, but not only that, we've also successfully convinced over 80 members of Congress to participate in the day of action. Many thanks, everyone. (Now what should we do that will involve the number 140,000? -- hmmm, this might need to go global for this one).
We can't wait to see the beautiful pictures and videos from the hundreds of actions taking place all across the country tomorrow. Good luck to everyone on the East Coast -- be safe in the nasty weather. And everyone who will have politicians joining your event, be sure to get them on the record addressing the 1Sky solutions.
I've just been to Eugene to speak, and it's hard to tell what the town is more excited about: the upcoming Step It Up rally, or this week's football game, which is the college game of the week and will draw the nation's TV cameras to Autzen Stadium tomorrow afternoon. We're agnostic in the gridiron battle between the Ducks and the Sun Devils of Arizona State, but we know what the greatest halftime show in the country will be. It comes from ace organizer Mary Wood, and is a metaphorical tour de force!:
The Biggest Kickoff in Human History*:
Hi football fans! Here in Oregon we’re known not only for our great football team but also for being the Green State. Let’s show the nation that Duck fans are not ducking the issue of global heating!
Fans, climate crisis is the playoff we just can’t lose. Our home turf is on the line. The points against us will be lost lives and shattered prosperity for generations to come.
The clock is running. We've used up all of our time outs. It's third down and we have a lot of yards to go.
The world's climate scientists have had their huddle and they’ve given us a game plan. We have to tackle carbon emissions. In two years we'll need to cap those emissions and be on our own 10-yard line in 2010. Then we'll keep pushing back those emissions over the decades. The goal is to bring down carbon 80% by 2050.
We will need to break right through that defensive line of deniers and delayers. We will need to run interference on the oil companies, and block new coal plants. We'll have to rely on our receivers for some big plays -- I'm talking about solar receivers!
We want touchdowns, not tipping points! We want stadiums filled with football fans, not hurricane refugees. It’s up to us. We can’t punt this one.
But we need an umpire and referees on this field. We need rules to this game. Where is our government? Where are the officials? We know where they are. They're still back at the tailgate. They're presiding over the biggest barbeque in the history of Humanity. We need to get them out of their fantasy league, onto the real field, now, before the clock runs out on us!
Fans, there's no spectators in climate crisis. We need all of you on this field. We need quarterbacks, line-backers, tackles, and safeties. We need the greatest offense and defense of all time!
We're handing off the ball now to every one of you. Take that ball and run with it. Don't slow down. Make a pitch to others whenever you see an opening. Bring players in off the sidelines. Above all, keep your eyes on the goal.
We are all part of Team Humanity, in it together, and together we're unbeatable, because we're playing to win the biggest trophy of all - climate security for our families, our children, our communities.
So let’s all get behind the biggest kickoff in human history. Go Ducks! Let’s beat those SUN-Devils!
See what we mean about local press? Check out the great coverage of a Step It Up event in Connecticut that'll be taking place tomorrow. It's a perfect example of why you need to call--today--your local newspaper, AP bureau, TV station, and public radio station. It's the megaphone for your efforts! Click here to find some of the media outlets in your town.
A Teen Takes Up the Fight to Help the Environment
by Melissa Pionzio - The Hartford Courant
Emily Rantoul was concerned about the environment. And after the 15-year-old Portland resident and her family attended a lecture featuring primatologist and environmentalist Jane Goodall, Emily became inspired to raise awareness about global warming on a local level.
"She just really showed that she cared. Just by how she spoke, you could tell she just spent all her days [on] this issue," Emily said of Goodall, who discussed Roots & Shoots, an environmental and humanitarian education program.
With her family's help, Emily formed Riverfront Roots & Shoots, which provides information and events that encourage people in Greater Middletown to think about ways to help the environment.
As part of National Climate Action Day, Roots & Shoots will sponsor a walk across the Arrigoni Bridge Saturday to demand green, affordable, rapid transportation. The walkers call themselves GART, she said.
"Middletown and Portland are very close together, but there are very few buses and they don't come frequently enough to be useful," said Emily. "I take a bus from Middlesex Community College, where I am a student, but it only takes me to the transit station, so I have to walk over the bridge to get home to Portland."
Emily said she sees many lone drivers regularly travel over the bridge every day.
"That is a lot of emissions," she said. "We are really trying to get buses to be green, buses that run on vegetable oil or use solar power and more bus rounds and routes."
Participants in the event, which begins at 11 a.m., are encouraged to meet at either the Middletown Transit Depot or the Portland Police Station and walk across the bridge simultaneously. Legislators such as Rep. James O'Rourke have been invited to the march, which is co-sponsored by Stepitup07.org, a national campaign that calls for leadership on global warming. Other community groups such as Transportation Alternatives Middletown (TAM) and ArtFarm will also take part.
"It sounds like a great project that they have taken on and it is certainly something that TAM would be interested in," said TAM representative Beth Emery. "Our mission is to increase awareness and to increase the likelihood of getting more people to consider getting out of their car and getting alternative transportation. It's not just doing that but working toward creating an environment that makes it easier for people to ride a bike to Middletown or take a bus to a job in East Hampton, which right now is very difficult."
Marcella Trowbridge, artistic director for Art Farm, which is dedicated to creating high quality theater with a commitment to simple living, environmental sustainability and social action, said her group will lead the procession from the Middletown side.
"We will meet in the middle and just hopefully generate some more awareness about National Climate Action Day," said Trowbridge. "But also about this focus on affordable, rapid transit. That is something that could really make a difference and could be really, really helpful."
Bernie Sanders is my hero. He was the first politician to come aboard
at the first demonstration that began the Step It Up movement. And he's
been the greatest champion in the Senate of solutions that take the
science seriously. Here's what he said in the Senate yesterday:
Let me congratulate
Step It Up. You are doing exactly what should be done - leading
a strong grassroots movement that will transform our national energy system.
Earlier today, the Senate Environment and Public Works Subcommittee on Private Sector and Consumer Solutions
to Global Warming and Wildlife Protection approved legislation, often called the Lieberman-Warner bill, crafted to address global warming. I opposed this bill for a variety of reasons. The most fundamental is, that based on the scientific evidence, it would not reduce greenhouse gases emissions enough to stop catastrophic changes in the Earth’s climate. This committee action is the first step of many in a long process in Congress.
Although the legislation is a step in the right direction, it simply does not go far enough to do what scientists tell us must be done to stop global warming. If we are not extremely bold and aggressive, this planet faces dire consequences in the years to come.
During negotiations over the past two weeks, I worked with Senator Frank Lautenberg (D-NJ) to strengthen the bill and he should be applauded for his diligent efforts. We did have some success, including the adoption of my amendment that would require automobile manufacturers to improve fuel efficiency. To be eligible for a pool of new funds to produce more fuel efficient cars, auto makers would have to manufacture vehicles that average at least 35 miles per gallon.
Unfortunately, other critical amendments that I authored, and which were supported by all of the major national environmental organizations, were voted down. Incredibly, the bill guarantees whopping sums over a forty year period for coal ($324 billion) and car makers ($232 billion). Yet, an amendment I offered to guarantee substantive resources for solar, wind and other renewable energy sources was turned down. A majority of the members of the committee also blocked an amendment that would
require any new coal-fired power plant to reduce its carbon emissions by 85 percent, an approach which has tremendous support at the state and local levels. The committee also voted down an amendment to make polluters pay for carbon emissions starting in 2026 instead of 2036.
The committee also failed to set a goal of reducing emissions of heat trapping gases by 2050 by 80 percent – the amount scientists say must be achieved if we are to reverse global warming. Sadly, the bill only calls for at most a 63 percent reduction by 2050.
I am proud that we pushed to improve the bill and that it is stronger today than when it was unveiled two weeks ago. Never the less, we have a lot of work to do. I look forward to working with the grassroots to improve the bill so it can meet the global warming challenge.
The American people truly are ahead of Congress in understanding that we need bold action for our planet. The voices of the people need to be heard from one end of the country to the other. I hope that grassroots activists do all that they can to demand that Congress pass a final bill that will really do the job.
Thank you for all that you are doing.
**Opinions expressed in the Step It Up 2007 blog are the opinions of the authors themselves, and do not reflect an official position of Step It Up 2007**
Hey organizers, as you are busily finishing up the final nuts ands bolts for your action tomorrow, check out this SNEAK PREVIEW of what the action report-back tool will look like:
The website is going to transform tomorrow allowing you to view and submit
action reports, and this tool is what you should look for in order to include your
action report, photos, and video on the website. Almost there...
We can just feel the buzz of activity around the country tonight. With only two days left until the big day, we've been fielding calls from coast to coast from organizers, media, and members of Congress. Everyone is looking forward to the big day.
Here in our office, we can hardly tear ourselves away from our computers. From one corner of the room, May yells "We just got another action in New Hampshire!" The phone rings, and Lauren takes a call from California about the actions in San Francisco. We'll be on the phone soon with half our organizing team who are in Washington, D.C. to get the latest update from Power Shift 2007, the first national youth summit on global warming that will be starting tomorrow with over 5,500 youth planning on attending.
And as you can see in the picture, we're also putting the final touches on a banner of our own. It will be hung at our culminating event in Washington, D.C. on Saturday night when Power Shift and Step It Up will come together at a major rally and concert to celebrate our accomplishments and help launch the new 1 Sky campaign (check out their new website to learn more). Pictures of Step It Up rallies around the country will be displayed as students do an action of their own. In our minds, nothing could be more suited to the day’s call for leadership than having thousands of students, our current and future leaders, coming together in the nation’s Capitol.
If you're an organizer or planning on attending an event, now is a great time to make some signs, banners, and materials of your own. It's easy! Just grab some paint or markers, canvas or paper, and get to work. Feel free to express yourself. Which of the three 1 Sky solutions resonates most with you? What's the one thing your voting to protect in next years election? What's the one message you want your leaders to hear?
On November 3rd, we'll have pictures from around the country of rallies big and small, loud and joyous, colorful and extravagant. And with your help, Congress will hear our message: now is not the time for empty rhetoric or back-peddling - it's time for climate leaders!
When Al Gore talks, we listen--and we hope everyone else will too. This
year's Nobel Laureate sent out a special plea earlier today to everyone
on the AlGore.com and Live Earth email lists, which is a lotta lotta
people, reminding them to get to their local rally. And he asked us to
send along a personal thanks to everyone who's participating. Maybe we
should think of it as a giant send-off party for his trip to Oslo!
Let's keep the momentum building - 2 days left until our National Day of Action!
One of the most incredible things to see is the Step It Up events that continue to be registered even in the last days before November 3rd. It goes to show that even great events can be put together in very little time. Just two days ago, we had a new event show up on the site, with quite an incredible back story.
The event is organized by 11 year old Madeleine MacGillivray who is on the path to starting her own non-profit organization SUPERHEROES NEEDED.
Here's a bit of their description of their organizaiton: Superheroes Needed is a new kid founded, kid-powered creative grassroots mission targeting the # 1 environmental challenge – Global Warming. Kids take immediate action to fight global warming, get help where it is most urgently needed, teach big kids about global warming, and activate the next generation of global environmentalists - the green generation – generation g! We take on evil planet destroyers like big oil companies and make changes as kids with the voice we already have, by making smart choices in what we buy, and how we act every day at home, school and in our communities. In 5-10 years, these kids will be voters, and after that, leaders. Superheroes Needed is targeted primarily towards 8-14 year old students who are comfortable with technology—text messaging, podcasting, blogging, surfing the web. Beyond just affecting change on the national scale, these superheroes are taking it international, to help drought-plagued communities in Africa who are already being affected by global warming. To support their cause, visit their website to purchase one of the necklaces they make, the profits of which go to building latrines and water pumps in Africa.
Wow! These kids really get it. This Saturday, Superheroes Needed will be “stepping it up” in the East Village of New York to answer the question “Who’s a Leader” by calling out our leaders exactly one year before the 2008 Presidential election to fight global warming! There will be some celeb guests in attendance to wish the young superheroes well, including Kate Erbe of Law & Order, Ambassador Kick Kennedy, Actress/Environmental Activist Q'orianka Kilcher, and more. Check out their event description to find out more: http://events.stepitup2007.org/november/events/show/2760. Thanks for Stepping it Up, Superheroes!
I know we are beginning to repeat ourselves, but it is hard to put "phones are ringing off the hook" in any other way. There really is no way around it. There is so much excitement here in our office, and it is just a tiny fraction of global warming action going on around the country.
You all are furiously painting banners, calling Senators, and emailing media contacts across the country as you all prepare the awesome events we've been hearing so much about.
Our friends at Powershift 2007, the largest youth conference on global warming ever, are frantically preparing for the arrival of 5,500 youth in College Park, MD.
And the halls of Congress are abuzz with debate about what bold climate policy needs to look like.
As we all prepare for an overwhelmingly exciting weekend, it's always important to remember why we are working so hard to pull all this together. Check out the green finger video again, and think about everything--and everyone-- that we are working so hard to provide a future for.
Wow--the pace sure has picked up! The phone is still ringing off the hook, and we're getting ready to move our headquarters down to Washington, D.C., for a few days to participate in an awesome rally at Powershift. We're hearing from organizers who are getting great local media coverage, and we're even doing some interviews ourselves!
Meanwhile, we're still hearing about great actions. Today we wanted to write about our friend Phil Thornhill over in London. Phil is the National Coordinator of the Campaign against Climate Change, and he is organizing a solidarity event in London. Phil came to visit New England a few months ago, and attended the inaugural party here at our Action Center. So it's an extra special shout-out! Here's his event description:
"A small gathering for a solidarity event around the statue of Franklin
Delano Roosevelt in Grosvenor Square, outside the US embassy, London
UK. With banners for Step it Up and Global Day of Action on the 8th