The truly important work of Step It Up is being taken on by the hundreds of local organizers working on the ground in their own communities.
Behind the scenes, there is a small team of us based in New Hampshire. Our days our filled organizing logistics, providing support to local organizers, and reaching out to spread Step It Up 2007 far and wide. We also enjoy playing basketball, eating sandwiches, and ringing a small bell every time someone registers a new action for Step It Up 2007.
Onward with the movement,
The Team (Bill, Will, May, Jeremy, Jon, Phil, Jamie, Ian, Kelly, Lauren and Jason)
Hopefully you all know, or are getting to know, Bill McKibben (or
Billy-the-Kibs, as we sometimes refer to him when he’s not around), but
you might be wondering about the rest of us.So let us provide some introductions...
I’ll go first…
I am only 23 now, as a recent newspaper article pointed out, I’ll be 66
by the time the goals of Step It Up are accomplished (give or take a
decade). I had little idea 4 or 5 years ago that my life
would be devoted to fighting global warming, or more specifically
aiming for a political commitment to reach 80% carbon emission
reductions by 2050.
Nonetheless, for over 2
years now I have considered myself a “climate activist,” spending much
of my time organizing forums, summits, marches like the 5 day walk across Vermont over Labor Day weekend, and other actions all somehow related to overcoming the climate crisis.It’s an exciting life. Working
with my close friends and developing a remarkable sense of community –
the true answer to our society’s troubles – our activism becomes a
process of personal growth and spiritual fulfillment.
Personally, I’m more hard-wired for the outdoors, but time is of the essence in this movement. So I’ll put in some hours now in the hopes that we’ll all be able to enjoy a more peaceful, just world in the future.
Thanks for everyone that’s joined us in Stepping It Up so far. Here’s to a fun and powerful few months. Let’s get moving…
Yesterday morning, I had my first radio interview
for Step It Up. The conversation took place on the show "Uprisings,"
broadcast on KPFK out of L.A. Throughout the course of the 15 minutes
talking about Step It Up, it brought to mind the experience that first
pulled me into the climate movement, when I took part in a three-month
biodiesel tour of the U.S. with Project BioBus.
During that time, I spoke on many radio programs about the need for an
alternative to the fossil fuel economy. Now, more than two years later,
I'm working as a co-coordinator of Step It Up, and couldn't be in a
better place. This work draws together my interest in building the
grassroots climate movement, as well as focusing on political change.
It's been incredibly exciting to watch all the amazing action plans
unfold, and I look forward to working with you all until November 3rd--and
Here at the Step It Up headquarters, people are starting to call me the
“techie.” This freaks me out a little bit—when I decided to dedicate
my adult life to global warming activism, I didn’t exactly envision
spending my days in front of a computer screen. I was expecting
high-paced action: hitting the streets for some old-fashioned community
organizing, perhaps some media-savvy corporate campaigning, maybe even
the occasional act of civil disobedience.
Step It Up needed a webmaster, and everyone else on the team was still
trying to figure out how to plug in their abacuses. So, with the help
I’ve stumbled my way through the management of various technological
aspects of Step It Up. Now I find myself spending my days typing and
clicking my way around a blossoming internet-based social revolution.
And I love it.
The role of web-geek is one that I have
grudgingly embraced, and I am only now starting to realize the
incredible potential of all of these new cyber-tools. It’s almost
enough to make you optimistic about our planet’s future. No doubt,
global warming is still downright scary—but if a problem of this
magnitude had to hit humanity at any time, it may as well be now.
Never before have we had the ability to spread information, coordinate
events, and link up so many communities with such ease and grace. We
have folks in Alaska brainstorming about actions with organizers in
Omaha, people in Maine streaming a new climate change song recorded
hours earlier by a band based in California—the possibilities for
collaboration and collective inspiration are pretty much endless. So
though my retinas are a bit strained from all of this screen-time, I
couldn’t be more psyched the way web-powered campaign is actually
coming together. If I could manage to separate the mouse from my hand,
I’d be raising my fist in solidarity with all of you--the thousands of
people across the county who are making this thing happen. You all are
This morning I jumped off a large stone monument into four feet of
new snow. Three weeks ago, the thermometer showed 72 degrees in Central
Park. This seems a little weird to me. The new Intergovernmental Panel
on Climate Change (IPCC) report
says that scientists are 90% sure that humans have affected the climate
through fossil fuel emissions, which means that freak weather events
like the ones this winter will become much more common. Over the past
decade, like most people around the country, I’ve borne witness to some
of the worst weather events of the century; droughts, blizzards, heat
waves, tornadoes and hurricanes have become more frequent and more
intense. If we don’t start to curb carbon emissions now, we’re in for a
very different future for us and our children, even beyond the
devastation that Hurricane Katrina wreaked on the gulf states.
Not that I’m thinking about kids right now; I’m only 23. But global
warming still scares me. Some folks say that people my age aren’t
engaged in social issues, that we’re self-interested. I know from my
work with thousands of student activists trying to stop global warming
that young people are creative and pack a serious punch when it comes
to getting things done. That’s because it’s our future at stake. Lots
of young people worked on a recent campaign in my home state of New
Jersey to get state legislators and the governor to take strong action
on climate change, and they succeeded. On Tuesday, Governor Corzine
signed an executive order to make a statewide goal of 80% carbon reductions by 2050!
I’m hopeful that all of the folks around the country who are organizing
Step It Up 2007 rallies in their communities will take this youthful
energy and make the movement move on November 3rd. If we all do our part,
even my kids (who I’m not thinking about right now) will be able
experience snowy winters and balmy summers in the northeast.
I grew up in New England and many of the most important places for me
are here in this small, crowded corner of the country. There is the
summit of Mt. Chocorua in New Hampshire, that I first toddled up as a
child with my mother and father; the certain campsite on the Allagash
River in Maine, one of our few remaining wilderness waterways, where on
a clear night you can see the stars reflected in the slowly flowing
water; and, the Lynx ski-trail at Mad River Glen in Vermont, down which
I often tumble head over heels, enjoying the view of the birch trees
is also the park where I grew up playing soccer, my favorite
neighborhood bar, and a nearby church where our community gets together
for a craft fair every winter. These locations are not nearly as
dramatic as my wilderness places, but that doesn't matter: they are
important less for their physical beauty and more for the people who
are often there with me. In my life, community has defined space just
as much as a good view or peaceful feel.
What makes Step It Up
2007 so thrilling is getting to meet the hundreds of you around the
country (all be it only by email or phone) and learn a little about
your communities. What a network we have built in only these few short
months! And, while here at Step It Up headquarters (a two-room office
certainly defined more by the people here than the cramped space) we
often talk about the power of the internet, blogs, and emails in
organizing this movement, it's really the power of all of you, the
power of community, that is going to make this change happen.
raise up your right arm, bend it at the elbow, and give yourselves a
hearty pat on the back. Better yet, congratulate your neighbor or
friend for joining you in your November 3rd action. I look forward to
getting to know more of you over the coming months. Let's do this!
Hey friends – I’ve been told its time to
introduce myself, so here goes!
My name is Kelly Blynn, one of the newcomers to the Step It Up
Organizing Team and I am quite excited to join some of my great friends
to work on this exciting campaign for the fall. After graduating from
college in VT in the spring, I hopped over to NH to begin work on Climate Summer,
a student-led effort to organize a 5 day march across New Hampshire in
order to call for national action on climate change in the key primary
state. It was great fun, and had quite an impact for all those
involved. Now with the long hours of canvassing, permitting, and
logistics behind me, I am now ready to hand over my illustrious title
of “logistics lackey” or “permit princess” that I earned during the
march in order to lace up my organizing boots once again and put on my
Step It Up “organizing crown” (see photo).
But I couldn’t be content any other way at this time in my
life. With the 2008 election fast approaching, I know we need to be
light on our toes (and heavy on the huge wave of grassroots support
developing on this issue) in order to make sure we don’t miss our
window to address global warming in some meaningful and serious way. As
a kid from the unwalkable, highly consumptive burbs o’ Philly, I’ve
felt that something was wrong with the way we’re living for quite a
while, and hearing from all you inspiring leaders every day through the
calls and emails we get makes me feel for the first time like we just
may be able to change some things. So keep on Stepping It Up! I’ll be
here in the office waiting to hear about all you’re doing, and help out
however I can.
Oh, and one more thing then. So I’m working on tapping into
this on-line network of some, oh, 7.5 million progressive folks, called
Care2, in order to spread the word about Step It Up. Is anyone else a
part of this thing? I have 3 friends right now, so its not going all
that well, so if you’re a part of the Care2 network, be my friend and
join the Step It Up group! Thanks, and nice to meet you all.
Hey there! My name is Jason Kowalski, yet another new
member of the Step It Up team. I've been hard at work over the last couple months trying to make sure this whole operation flows smoothly, so I guess I might as well share a little bit about myself instead of blogging about all the great stuff other people are doing (there's no shortage of material these days). In the grand scheme of things I'm pretty new to the climate movement outside of campus dining halls and small classrooms, so after graduating from MiddleburyCollege this May I decided to “live green or die” over in New
Hampshire, where I spent the summer working on the movement with friends. As part of Climate Summer I joined up with
students from all over the country to help put on a number of fun climate-related events: a 5 Day
March, parades, teach-ins, and even a few chats about the climate at Nascar
events. One of the coolest actions we organized was called Climb-it
for the Climate where we explored the idea of calling for history-book-caliber
leadership, but from summits thousands of feet above sea level. Many members of the
StepItUpfamily led trips up mountains named after historic leaders, dubbed
“the Presidential Range” in northern New
Hampshire. In the end we had over 175 people scaling the
Presidential Peaks, each bearing a message tailored to their mountain/historic
leader: “What Would Washington do? Cut Carbon 80% by 2050.” (Click here for photos and more costume shenanigans)
course we’ve taken the general leadership idea to the next level with the new
brand of web-based maroon and yellow greatness that is Step It Up 2.0. After stretching
myself thin studying and climateering in college, now I feel very lucky to have
the privilege of organizing around this issue full time. My role on the team is
to be sort of a policy nerd. For some reason I get really excited about the
units, numbers, and policy programs that will drive all the great innovation
we’re talking about. I guess it’s the ideas that all this is so doable that
really gets me psyched. As a matter of fact, it was an economics class
that really sparked my ignition within the climate movement. Nothing beats a
solid graph to get your mind rolling around these epic solutions being proposed. (For some of my favorite bedtime reading, click here).
Of course I've also learned that
reading policy papers is no way to fight global warming NOW. Solving the climate crisis is worth devoting a chunk of your life to regardless of how much scientific/economic/political training you have. Personally, I was trained to study medicine and literature, but luckily for me all you really need to spark a revolutionary social movement is a good conscience and a handful of equally passionate friends. Our movement needs all the intelligence, stamina, and creativity we can get, and I get to sit back and watch that poor in all day long. We've got what it takes to make this happen, all we need to do now is friend our leaders.
So I am the newbie around here, and want to take a moment to introduce myself. Like many of us, I just graduated from Middlebury College, spent the summer in New Hampshire with the Climate Summer project, and originally got started doing climate stuff at Middlebury with the Sunday Night Group. However, some might claim that my heart lies in Montana, where I spent the past two months working in Glacier National Park as a boat captain and tour guide for the Glacier Park Boat Company.
Two seasons working in the park has fostered a deep respect for the natural beauty of the area, and anyone who knows me has heard far too much about my time spent there. As a lover of everything mountainous, it’s hard not to fall for the snow-capped peaks, glacially carved valleys and stark landscape. And, of course, it is difficult to avoid thinking about global climate change. With arguably only 19 glaciers left of the 150 evident when the park was established in 1910, the park finds itself in a dramatic state of change. Hiking up to the Grinnell glacier, which struck visitors in the past with its sheer magnificence, tourists are now faced with mere evidence of former beauty. While still striking (after all, it's no fault of the glaciers), the dwindling glaciers are part of a provocative landscape that offers the perfect opportunity to talk about the impact of climate change.
Working as a boat tour guide within this landscape both enables me to educate people about global warming and inspires me to continue the work of getting the U.S. to actually do something about it. And, of course it is not a bad way to spend two months. Yet to now live here in New Hampshire, surrounded by amazing people and hearing about the hard work that you folks are doing across the county, is pretty incredible. Keep inspiring, everyone!
figured it was time to introduce myself before it was too late and we
all get caught up in the success of Nov. 3rd. My name is Lauren and
I’m new to the Step It Up crew and feel very fortunate to be apart this
exciting and energetic grass roots movement. I was a local Step It Up
organizer, yes one of the 1,400, in my community here in beautiful New
Hampshire last April 14th. I really loved the experience of being able
to bring several communities together to rally around the same cause,
and learned one of the most valuable lessons in my life so far;
organizing isn’t hard, it’s actually pretty fun and everyone can do
it. If I could throw together an event in about two weeks while trying
to graduate and plan for the future, you can still do it too.
For our work this fall, I’ve been focusing on working with
candidates to get commitments from them to attend a Step It Up event on
Nov 3rd. With many of my interactions with campaigns I’ve been able to
see how all the invitations and phone calls that each of us make really
has an impact on what the candidates are saying and how they gauge what
is important to the people. So if there is anything we all need to do
is to keep it up; our most powerful resource is our voice, and
collectively we can’t be ignored on Nov. 3rd.
So as I continue to contact these campaigns until they
commit, I hope that you will join me, even if you’ve already invited
everyone. Being in crunch time with Nov 3rd just around the corner,
it’s important to remember what it is that motivates us to put so much
time and energy into working for change. For me it’s my family and my
little brother’s future. What’s your motivation?