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A Guest Post From US Representative Peter Welch!

Posted by on January 30th, 2007

Peter Welch is a United States Representative from Vermont.  Last summer, Representative Welch was involved in a rally that concluded a fifty mile march for climate action.  He was part of a group of candidates running for US House, US Senate, and the Vermont governorship who signed a pledge to support the same goal as Step It Up: 80% carbon reductions by 2050!  Important to note (watch the parties here), Democrat Peter Welch signed this pledge alongside Republican Martha Rainville, Democrat Scudder Parker, Republican Rich Tarrant, and Independent Bernie Sanders.  It was amazing.

This delegation shows exactly the kind of Congressional response that we’re pushing for.  If all of you organizing Step It Up events across the country let your members of Congress know you want them involved, hopefully we can multiply this times fifty!  Here’s a guest blog from Peter Welch, showing his support for the work everyone is doing on Step It Up 2007:


Greetings from Washington, D.C.!

Your work across Vermont and the nation serves as an inspiration for me and a reminder to elected leaders around the country that Americans are serious about taking meaningful action to combat climate change.

It was a great day last fall when I witnessed the thousands who marched into Burlington, Vermont in support of immediate and substantive Congressional action.  I was proud to pledge my support for legislation that calls for vast improvements in our automobile mileage standards and will reduce our carbon emissions 80% by 2050 (among the sponsors, Vermont's own Senator Jim Jeffords).  I will support similar legislation in the House.

On January 18th, as part of our first 100 hours agenda, the House passed the Clean Energy Act of 2007, repealing tax breaks to Big Oil to fund instead the development of renewable energy sources.  This is the first step in setting America on a new energy course. Not only must we address global warming, but I strongly believe that addressing this challenge presents our country with enormous opportunities: to improve efficiency, create jobs, clean our air, and make us more competitive and secure in the world.  It's time to act.  American ingenuity combined with political leadership can help us meet this challenge and move to a sustainable energy future.

Your work and activism is making all the difference- keep it up!



Rep. Peter Welch (D-VT)

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Step it Up Answers Arctic Call

Posted by Step it Up Organizing Team on January 29th, 2007

The Step it Up organizing team is ecstatic to present this incredible aerial artwork as we spread our message to more and more people!

These photos may look like the brushstrokes of a giant painter in the sky, but they are made up of thousands of people in North America calling for action on global warming. The left-hand photo, taken in 2005 on sea ice in Iqualit, spells out "Listen" in the Inuit language--a powerful call from over 1,000 people already suffering from global warming. The right-hand photo, taken last week in Park City, Utah, spells out "I heard you, and I'm going to respond," also in Inuit, as well as our message to Step it Up! In the center of the circle are two bear prints, representing carbon neutral footprints. The entire event was carbon neutral because of Working Films carbon offsets through Native Energy. Many thanks to over 800 students at  Treasure Mountain Middle School in Park City, Utah, for helping out!

The Park City photo, with aerial art by John Quigley and photography by David Crane, took place in conjunction with the release of "Everything's Cool," a new film about global warming premiering at the Sundance Film Festival. This film features Bill McKibben and members of the Step it Up organizing team, and tells an inspiring story of the people trying to get the message out about global warming. The film was a big success at Sundance.

Taking an aerial photo is no easy task--especially in cold weather! We all felt the power of creating something together as a community--with aerial art, every person matters. This is a powerful lesson as we all work together planning actions for April 14.

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Virtual Marchers Unite!

Posted by on January 26th, 2007

Two weeks ago we posted a guest blog from Laurie David, the climate organizer behind both the Stop Global Warming Virtual March and “An Inconvenient Truth.”  She’s pushing Step It Up through her incredible network of Virtual Marchers, more than half a million strong throughout the country.

Welcome, Virtual Marchers!  Your network of climate organizing is the largest in the country.  That makes you incredibly strong.  You’ve demonstrated that strength online in leveraging the Stop Global Warming Virtual March of which you’re all a part.  Now we’d like to ask you to use that same strength in your community, uniting groups across the country in a massive shout towards Washington saying, “Step It Up, Congress!”

While you’re here, take a quick look around.  Bill McKibben’s letter posted at the top of our site does a great job of laying out the straight-forward morality and pragmatism of Step It Up -- we see an opening for global warming legislation widening in Congress, and we see the dangers of a disrupted climate coming to bear on our communities.  It’s time to Step It Up.  You can also catch up on Bill’s weekly postings in Grist as he tracks our progress and the incredible response from our fellow citizens.

Also take a peek at the blogs from people who are already on board.  We have climbers, skiers, downtown rallies, scuba divers, and yes, even marchers.  Their wonderful stories are just the tip of the iceberg, and our iceberg isn’t shrinking... take a look as the number of groups Stepping It Up around the country grows daily!

But while you’re doing all this poking around, which of course we’d like to encourage, our real ask to you is to get involved.  What do you enjoy doing?  What about your life is now in question or danger because of global warming?  We’re asking you to celebrate that part of your life on April 14th.  Get your friends together and go downtown, get out into the wilderness, get out and do whatever you love.  All we ask is that you do it with a big banner, and do it with a digital camera.  That’s it.  Simple. 

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CODEPINK is Stepping It Up--A Guest Post by Nancy Kricorian

Posted by on January 23rd, 2007

Nancy Kricorian is the New York City coordinator for CODEPINK WOMEN FOR PEACE. CODEPINK is a women-initiated grassroots peace and social
justice movement working to end the war in Iraq, stop new wars, and redirect our nation’s resources into healthcare, education and other life-affirming activities. CODEPINK hallmark tools include street theater and non-violent direct action.

Two weeks ago when the weather here in New York City hit 70 degrees Fahrenheit, the snowdrops, daffodils and honeysuckle burst into bloom in the park across the street from our apartment building. It was the second week of January and even though everyone was enjoying the blue skies and uncharacteristically warm weather, many of our neighbors were making uneasy jokes about global warming. My fourteen-year-old daughter, who had seen AN INCONVENIENT TRUTH with her eighth grade class last spring, looked at me dolefully and said, “The polar bears are drowning.”

As the mother of two girls—one almost eleven and one almost fifteen—I can see that for kids of their generation climate change and the protection of their environment are among the political issues that concern them most. While kids in the fifties were hiding under their classroom desks practicing for nuclear attack, my kids run around the house shutting off the lights because the polar bears are drowning.  They are worried about the future of the planet that they will inherit and pass on to their own kids.

That same balmy January weekend, as I was scrolling through the daily digest of the Indian Point Safe Energy Coalition listserve, I saw Bill McKibben’s call to action for StepItUp2007. I decided to pitch the idea at our next CODEPINK staff conference call. While the primary focus for CODEPINK’s activism has been the war in Iraq, we have also collaborated with Global Exchange and Rainforest Action Network on their JumpStart Ford and anti-Hummer campaigns. As individuals and as a group the women of CODEPINK’s national staff are committed to environmental justice and to a sustainable energy policy. So when I proposed that we sign on for the Day of Climate Action and send it out to our 100+ local chapters the response was a resounding and unanimous yes.

And in our home, the response was equally enthusiastic. My older daughter plans to organize a group of kids from her school to join us.  My younger daughter has volunteered to help make signs. So on April 14 CODEPINK and the Kricorians will be hitting the streets to STEP IT UP!

----Nancy Kricorian

New York City coordinator for CODEPINK WOMEN FOR PEACE.

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Step It Up on Grist--Part 3

Posted by on January 22nd, 2007

On his way to Antarctica, Bill McKibben reflects on the trials and tribulations of the planet and Congress in his newest dipatch in Grist. Check out his weekly series here.

Monday, 22 Jan 2007

En route to Antarctica

It's happening. The 20-year Washington logjam over global warming is starting to break -- which means that our Step It Up 2007 plans are suddenly more important than ever.

The last few days have seen all kinds of improbable things: a coalition of businesses starting to talk seriously about carbon caps (though tepid and small ones), reports that President Bush will give his first real lip service to global warming (followed, unfortunately, by reports to the contrary), and, maybe most importantly in the long run, the news that House Democrats plan to set up a special committee to consider climate change -- a not very subtle message that Michigan Rep. John Dingell (D) will not be allowed to forever block progress.

None of this would have been imaginable six months ago. And none of it means that there's going to be great progress -- only that there's an opening. Sometime, somehow, in the next couple of years, there's going to be a deal made. If there's a lot of public outcry, there's some chance that deal will actually sting the fossil-fuel industry and in the process do some serious good for the future of the climate.

Which is why, in our little world, the best news is that Step It Up 2007 is going through the roof. As of today, just two weeks after we launched our website, we've scheduled more than 250 rallies -- a number we thought, optimistically, we might hit in a month or two. It's very clear now that this is going to be by far the biggest demonstration against global warming the U.S. has ever seen, and perhaps the world as well. Rallies are being set up all over -- 45 states so far -- and some of them are incredibly creative. (Read the account on our blog of the climbers planning to hang a banner off the Shawangunk Cliffs in the Hudson River Valley.)

But the nicest part for me is watching so many parts of this movement come together under the same roof. Cal DeWitt, a true pioneer of the religious environmental movement, not only sent in a blog post last week, he sent out a letter to 60 evangelical colleges and universities asking that they join in. Meanwhile, MUSE, an organization of musicians hard at work on climate change, is pledging a new song every day on our website through April 14. And all this without any conventional press -- we're still a little under the radar, which is where we'd like to stay 'til Feb. 1 or so.

If all goes as planned, the April 14 rallies will hearten the politicians who want progress on climate, and send a little chill through those who are thinking of some tepid backroom compromise. We've got to help them understand just how important this moment is, and what a shame it would be to let it pass.

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Cancelled Event: Stepping It Up the Shawangunk Cliffs

Posted by on January 19th, 2007

This event has been canceled. 

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From the Hill: The Political Landscape is Changing

Posted by on January 19th, 2007

We realize that three months is cutting it a little tight for planning a national day of action.  There are friends to inspire, posters to paste, calls to make, banners to write.  But there’s also a special little something about a home-grown, grassroots action like Step It Up – we can be timely.

Things are heating up in the Washington Beltway, and it’s not just the climate...  People are talking global warming.  Senators Barack Obama (D-IL), Joe Lieberman (I-CT), and John McCain (R-AZ) have teamed up on a bill to cut carbon emissions two-thirds by mid-century.  Vermont Independent Bernie Sanders just re-introduced Jim Jeffords’ strong climate legislation calling for 80% reductions by 2050.  And there are guarded reports that President Bush is going to talk up global warming in this year’s State of the Union address. 

Is it time for celebration?  Well, yes, our lawmakers are listening.  But is it time to step down from our efforts with Step It Up?  Quite the contrary.  These politicians’ ideas of what can be accomplished in the federal government vary incredibly.  Now is exactly the time to Step It Up, to show our national politicians that the U.S. public demands the best national legislation to tackle this immense problem.  Our three month timeline gives us a voice in this most important time, when everyone on Capitol Hill will be talking global warming and looking to their home states for some direction. 

Getting politicians involved in your local Step It Up event is a fantastic way to bump them up a notch on tackling global warming.  Imagine one hundred invitations coming from all corners of your state to your Congressperson’s door asking them to come attend a community global warming event.  They need to know what you want.  Tell ‘em to Step It Up!

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Calvin DeWitt on Science, Evangelicals, and Climate Change

Posted by on January 19th, 2007

If there's a father of the religious environmental movement, it might well be Calvin DeWitt. For better than a quarter-century he's been patiently and prophetically making the case for why people of faith should be people of action on the environment. He was an instrumental figure in last year's declaration of concern on climate from leading evangelicals, and we are enormously proud that he's joined our effort so enthusiastically. Along with this blog post, he's sending out the message to dozens and dozens of evangelical colleges and universities; we're so glad to be joining them in this work.

Dear Climate-Careful Friends—

Please step right up to "Step It Up!" Climate change is the most serious threat of our time, and action is needed now. We all have to pitch in—in the short time we have left. "Step it up America! Step it up Congress!"

One part of the great push to step it up emerged in January from a first-of-its-kind collaboration between evangelical leaders and key U. S. scientists—a collaboration that will continue on into the coming months as we join together to get action.

The coalition’s "Urgent Call to Action" urged "fundamental change in values, lifestyles, and public policies required to address these worsening problems before it is too late."

"Business as usual cannot continue yet one more day," it said, and pledged to "work together toward a responsible care for Creation and call with one voice" to the religious, scientific, business, political and educational arenas—to join them in this great historic initiative.

So Step it Up, Congress! "There is no such thing as a Republican or Democrat, a liberal or conservative, a religious or secular environment."

"We all breathe the same air and drink the same water. Scientists and evangelicals share a deep moral commitment to preserve this precious gift we have all been given," said Dr. Eric Chivian, Nobel laureate and Director of the Center for Health and the Global Environment at Harvard Medical School.

"Great scientists are people of imagination. So are people of great faith. We dare to imagine a world in which science and religion work together to reverse the degradation of Creation. We will not allow it to be progressively destroyed by human folly," added Rev. Richard Cizik, Vice President for Governmental Affairs of the National Association of Evangelicals.

"If current deterioration of the environment by human activity continues unabated, best estimates are that half of Earth's surviving species of plants and animals will be extinguished or critically endangered by the end of the century. The price for future generations will be paid in economic opportunity, environmental security, and spiritual fulfillment. The saving of the living environment is therefore an issue appropriately addressed jointly by science and religion," said Pulitzer Prize-winning author Dr. Edward O. Wilson.

One of the imperatives of the group is to STEP UP the dialogue and influence policy in regards to global warming. "In order to avoid clear and substantial dangers...it will be necessary to substantially reduce CO2 emissions during the next few decades, and perhaps by 80 percent or more before the end of the century," said Dr. James Hansen, the leading U.S. climate change scientist.

The coalition vowed to expand their collaboration and encourage action from all sectors of society. "We are glad to be partnering with our friends in the scientific community. They have the facts we need to present to our congregations; we have the numbers of activists that will work through churches, government, and the business community to make a significant impact," said Dr. Joel Hunter, Senior Pastor of Northland Church in Orlando, Florida.

This unique collaboration with leaders from the Center for Health and the Global Environment at Harvard Medical School and the National Association of Evangelicals began last November 30 to December 2nd in Georgia where the group agreed that science proves that the natural world is imperiled by human behaviors and policies, particularly by the unsustainable burning of fossil fuels and degradation of living systems.

They decided to embark on a continuing collaboration and authored the "Urgent Call to Action" statement. (Click here for more details).

So, I am pleased to join you in taking one spring day and use it to reshape the future. Science is on our side; and the deep ethical and moral fabric of America is on our side.

We now need a movement—one that will produce the largest rally ever to address—seriously and NOW—the great emerging crisis of global warming and climate change!

----Calvin B. DeWitt,

Professor of Environmental Studies, University of Wisconsin-Madison and President of the Academy of Evangelical Scientists and Ethicists.
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Action Spotlight: Stepping It Up the Shawangunk Cliffs

Posted by on January 18th, 2007

Ever feel like challenging yourself a bit?  How about Stepping It Up hundreds of feet of vertical (and sometimes overhanging) rock?  How about doing it with a monster banner saying “Step It Up Congress?”  Oh, and don’t forget that camera…

Alana Sagin is part of a new Step It Up action rock climbing in the Shawangunk Cliffs of New York state.  Her group is joining the movement with those rallying in downtown centers, walking local nature trails, and gathering in the rural fairgrounds for Step It Up 2007.  Alana is currently working her way through medical school in Philadephia, but even with all that studying she finds some time to get out on the rocks with her fellow doctors-to-be.  Their crew is concerned, “not just from an environmental perspective but because of the frightening implications for global health. On April 14th we will show our concern by doing what we love – rock climbing.”

The climb is called High Exposure, and with good reason.  The land leading up to the cliff is steep, so that when you get up on the rock you’re exposed to not only the height of the rock wall, but the entire mountainside.  And then there’s the classic move of this climb.  On the final pitch (when you’re the farthest of the ground) the climber comes up against an overhanging ledge.  To get past it involves a blind reach out and away from the cliffside, a scary move even by the standards of people who routinely exercise hundreds of feet off the ground.  Alana and her friends will Step It Up this amazing climb, hanging their huge banner off a ledge near the top.  Alana said their group chose the climb partly because of this incredible exposure.  “We’ll hang the banner where it will be visible for miles around,” she explains.

Awesome, Alana.  Step It Up is going to get some High Exposure up there in the Gunks.  Way to rock it.

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Step It Up on Grist--Part 2

Posted by on January 17th, 2007

Check out Bill McKibben's latest piece on Grist, the big mama of online environmental journalism.  Bill's piece is the second in a twelve-part series on Step It Up 2007. 

There are probably people with such overriding social confidence -- Martha Stewart, Donald Trump -- that they can plan a party without ever worrying whether or not people will want to come. I'm not like that.

When we tossed up our website for Step It Up 2007 last Monday, we didn't know how people would respond to the invitation to put together a climate-change rally in their community for April 14. Seven days later, we have a pretty good idea.

It's been a remarkable and moving week. From the very start, the responses have been flowing in: I'll organize one on a bridge over the Charles River. I'll put together a march to the Hollywood sign. Here's my bookstore -- it's the perfect place to start a rally. Twin Cities. Tampa Bay. The Poconos. Utah. Alabama. Iowa. New Orleans. The Bronx River. Fort Collins. Reno. They've come in so fast and furious -- way over a hundred in the first five days -- that we're having to work hard to get them completely nailed down. Should we merge the five (so far) New York City rallies into one bigger one? We're working on it! But we need many, many more people to step up and start planning actions in their neighborhoods -- I think April 14 will see many hundreds of rallies, from big cities to small suburbs. It's already clear that it's going to be by far the largest climate-change demonstration in American history -- and we've only been going a week.

To continue reading Bill's piece visit Grist.

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The Power of Citizen Action--Bernie Sanders and "The Gold Standard"

Posted by on January 15th, 2007

Just in case you're wondering if citizen action makes a difference, STEP IT UP organizers Will Bates and Bill McKibben  joined Vermont's Senator Bernie Sanders for the announcement this morning that he will re-introduce the strong legislation that his predecessor, Jim Jeffords, submitted to the last Congress. The bill--in Sanders' words the 'gold standard' of climate laws now on the table--calls for an 80% reduction in global warming gases by 2050. Sanders first pledged to support the legislation when a thousand Vermonters marched across the state last Labor Day; as he reminded us yesterday, only if we can organize around the country do we have a chance at persuading enough other members of the House and Senate to pass this or any other bill. It was an appropriate moment for Martin Luther King Day, because Dr. King, though he was many things, was an organizer at heart!

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Action Spotlight: Stepping It Up and Skiing It Down

Posted by on January 14th, 2007

From Forrest McCarthy of Teton Village, WY, an incredibly exciting action in Wyoming's Wind River Mountains.  Way to Step It Up, Forrest.  This is going to be awesome. 

On April 14th, as part of the nationwide Step It Up campaign, a small group of experienced ski mountaineers propose a ski descent of Wyoming’s highest point, Gannet Peak (13,804 ft.), via the shrinking Dinwoody Glacier. We hope to encourage the U.S. Congress to “Step It Up” and enact immediate cuts in carbon emissions, pledging an 80% reduction by 2050. No half-measures and no easy compromises — the time has come to take the real actions that can stabilize our climate!

A small group of four highly experienced ski mountaineers will depart on April 12 to complete the 25 mile approach and be prepared for an ascent of the Dinwoody Glacier and Gannet Peak on April 14. Weather and avalanche conditions permitting, we’ll make a cybercast from the summit. Afterward, we’ll complete a ski descent of the mountain and its glaciers and begin the journey back home.  In addition to an April 14th cybercast, we’ll be taking photos and keeping a journal of our experience to be used later in an article highlighting the impacts of climate change and energy development.

Gannet Peak, flanked by glaciers on all side, is an iconic place for an activity promoting legislation to curb CO2 emissions and accelerated climate change. Not only is Gannet Wyoming’s highest point, it is the giant of the northern Wind River Mountains, home to seven of the ten largest glaciers in the Lower 48. Unfortunately these glaciers are suffering from the effects of our addiction to fossil fuels.

Like most of the world’s glaciers, climate changes including decreasing precipitation and higher temperatures have driven the rapid recession of the Wind River glaciers. Energy development upwind in Wyoming’s Green River Basin is adding to their decline. The industrialization of the Green River Basin (just west of the Wind River Mountains) for the extraction of methane has jeopardized local air quality. Airborne particulates generated from energy development have decreased the reflectivity of the Wind River snowpack causing the snow to melt faster and earlier every year. The Dinwoody Glacier on the southwest flank of Gannet Peak is estimated to be one quarter of the size it was 50 years ago.  Researchers predict it will disappear altogether in another 50 years. People engaged in agriculture in the Wind River Valley to the east rely on the glaciers for irrigation during the dry summer months. Its disappearance will have significant economic and social impacts to the residents of Wyoming’s Wind River Valley.

That is why we’re acting now, Stepping It Up and Skiing It Down to help protect these beautiful glaciers and all that depends on them.

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Notes From a Mentor--A Guest Post by Laurie David!

Posted by on January 12th, 2007

Laurie David is the most important climate organizer in the country. She's signed up more than half a million Americans for her virtual march and she bought Al Gore's powerpoint presentation to the big screen as An Inconvenient Truth. She was one of the first people we talked to about Step It Up, and she was one of the first to come on board--in fact, next week she's sending an email blast about our April 14 actions to all 600,000 of her virtual marchers. We wish we were going to be on the road with her in April--but we'll crank up the Sheryl Crow on the office boombox and follow her progress across the country.

2006 is now officially the hottest year on record and experts have already predicted that 2007 could be even hotter. We better get moving and fast. Now is the time to STEP IT UP and show Congress that Americans want solutions now to global warming. April 14th is your chance to have your voice heard loud and clear. By organizing an event, large or small, in your community you will become part of the movement for change.

The Stop Global Warming Virtual March is also taking action in April when Sheryl Crow and I hit the road on April 9th for a two week non-stop bus tour to talk about the urgent issue of global warming and sing a few songs to boot. We will be kicking up the dust from Dallas to DC in the weeks leading up to Earth Day stopping at college campuses across the Southeast, locations to be announced soon. Our last stop will be Washington DC where we will bring the message from campus colleges and over 600,000 Virtual Marchers to Congress and the Administration that we want solutions now to global warming. Step up and demand solutions by joining the Virtual March at StopGlobalWarming.org.

StopGlobalWarming.org is proud to be working with Step It Up to make this April a critical month for solving global warming.



 

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Step It Up on Grist--Part 1

Posted by on January 11th, 2007

Our little homegrown campaign is featured in Grist, the big mama of online environmental journalism.  Bill McKibben's piece is the first in a twelve-part series on Step It Up 2007.  They even took the time to whip up this spiffy Uncle Sam graphic for us.

While you're over there reading Bill's piece, think about subscribing to their newsletter--they like to say that they provide "Doom and Gloom with a Sense of Humor."  A true "beacon in the smog," they'll keep you updated on everything environmental, without bogging you down.

Looks like this little homegrown campaign has the potential to get some big exposure...let's give the media something worth writing about, eh?

 

 

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Cruising Past 100 Actions!

Posted by on January 11th, 2007

Wahooo!  

We reached a true milestone today: a HUNDRED actions are already planned for April 14th, the big day of action for Step It Up 2007.  And the honor of number 100 goes to...Ashland, Oregon where an action is being organized by an actress and web designer named Cat Gould.  Like many of us, she's been freaked out by global warming for a while--but hasn't quite known how to channel that concern.  For Cat, organizing a action with Step It Up 2007 is more than just making a lot of noise, it's "something that actually feels good to the core."  We agree.

Welcome aboard Ashland...with more organizers like Cat Gould stepping up every day, we should be pushing our action tally over 200 soon enough. So keep on signing up, keep checking in with the blog, keep on spreading the word...together, we're going to make this thing huge.

 Keep it rolling,

 -The Step It Up Organizing Crew-



 

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Procedures and Poetry...

Posted by on January 10th, 2007

Stepitup headquarters is a flurry of activity--things are happening almost faster than we can keep track of. If we take a day or two to get back to you, please forgive us in advance. In case anyone forgets, in all that hurry, why it's worth doing, let me give you a short report on my day. I spent the morning leading off the testimony on climate change at the Vermont State Legislature in Montpelier. The senators and representatives were serious and interested--I think that our march last summer convinced them that their constituents care, which is just the message we hope to spread nationwide on April 14.

Then I spent the afternoon with Mr. Burrell's 6th grade class from the Montpelier middle school.  We went for a walk in the woods and did a little science: the carbon cycle, before we upset it. And then we had a little writing workshop. Click "read more" to see two of the poems the kids produced--I think you'll see why I'm passing them along.

--Bill McKibben

The Second Week in January

by Anthony Barrows


The  second week in January,
And it’s spring.
People losing jobs,
And people losing spirit.
The second week in January,
And there is a river
Flowing behind my house
Fast and deep.
The second week in January.
And you have to search to find snow
In Vermont.
The second week in January,
And the crocuses come up,
The cherry blossoms flower.
The second week in January,
And I am skiing
Over rocks.
The second week in January,
And you can only hope,
That summer has become winter,
And winter has become summer.



There Was a Day

By Alexis Boucher



There was a day when kids all walked to school
There was a day when vehicles burned no fossil fuel

There was a day when factories didn’t give off all that waste
There was a day when people didn’t go around with haste.

There was a day when snow, it came right on time
But now those days are gone and that sure isn’t fine.

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Action Spotlight: Massachusetts steps it up in faith, hope, and love

Posted by on January 9th, 2007

In a powerful act of witness leading up to April 14, Massachusetts activists will walk from Northampton to Boston in nine days, March 16-24.  

On Saturday, March 24, the swelling throng will march from Cambridge over the Charles River into Boston for interfaith worship at Old South Church.  Then they’ll emerge for a public rally demanding swift, bold, and comprehensive political action to address global warming

In the works for nearly a year, the Interfaith Walk for Climate Rescue marks an historic joining of religious and environmental activism.  Religious Witness for the Earth, which is organizing the walk and rally with enthusiastic support from Massachusetts environmental groups, draws inspiration from heroes like Mahatma Gandhi and Martin Luther King, Jr.

“Many people feel called spiritually as well as politically to safeguard creation and seek justice for all beings harmed by global warming,” says RWE co-founder Rev. Fred Small.  “It’s time to take our prayer out of the sanctuary and into the streets.”

Not everyone, of course, will walk the hundred miles from Northampton to Boston.  You can walk for an hour, an afternoon, a weekend, or the whole nine days.  You can walk as an individual, a family, or a team from your town, school, or congregation.  You can be of any faith or none.

To learn more, walk, help, donate, or organize a team, please visit http://climatewalk.org/. To read Bill McKibben’s letter urging your participation, go to http://climatewalk.org/mckibben.htm

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Action Spotlight: Underwater Steps with Reef Relief

Posted by on January 9th, 2007

Reef Relief, a grassroots membership organization dedicated to protecting coral reefs, is planning an underwater event at the coral reef near Key West, Florida.  Why on the coral reefs? Because as water temperatures rise, reefs "bleach" and die.  Rising ocean temperatures are one of the largest threats within the grand scheme of climate change. Already large swaths of coral around the world are dead, and scientists fear the entire ecosystem is at risk.

Did we mention that this event is underwater?  This is the kind of diversity of action that is making Step It Up incredibly unique.  Divers will hold (waterproof) signs reading Step It Up, Congress...Cut Carbon 80% by 2050, It's Hot Down Here and Stop Global Warming.   Volunteers are invited to participate--the more the merrier!

Some action details: The action crew will depart from Key West the morning of April 14 and return around noon.  Divers must be certified and there will be a charge for the boat excursion.  For more information, contact Reef Relief at reef@bellsouth.net or call (305) 294-3100.

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Action Spotlight: Stepping it Up with 100,000 Steps

Posted by on January 7th, 2007

Timed in conjunction with Step It Up 2007, The New Jersey Climate March  is a four-day walk in support of strong climate policy.  Led by youth activist Carlos Rymer (pictured), the NJ team aims to curb global warming by urging Governor Corzine to push for passage of the Global Warming Response Act.

If passed into law, New Jersey would have to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions by 70% below current levels by the year 2050. This would be a landmark law, as no eastern state has set such a bold goal. The team is ready to answer questions and consider ideas that will make this climate march a huge success.

It seems that Step It Up actions can come in all shapes and sizes—while most actions will probably last a couple of hours, these folks in New Jersey are ready put their feet to the street for four days!  

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Action Spotlight: Plugged in and ready to Step It Up

Posted by on January 4th, 2007

Our National Day of Climate Action is still a few months off, but this photos give a good sense of the kinds of events we'll need to make Step It Up a huge success.

"Plug-in" hybrid car drivers and their friends assemble in front of the beloved Golden Gate Bridge at Crissy Field in San Francisco. Four of these cars, the world's first prototype "plug-in" hybrids, reaching up to 100 miles per gallon, can be seen in the background. These ultra fuel-efficient cars are an important part of a climate-friendly future.

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