Just two weeks ago, we still had doubts that our invitation tool was working. Only a handful of members of Congress had agreed to attend events or issue a statement of support. But the invitation counter kept going up thanks to your hard work - 8,000 invites, 9,000 invites, and just a few days ago over 10,000 invitations sent. At the same time, more and more events kept being signed up in communities nationwide. News of local rallies, concerts, marches, and bike-rides kept coming in from around the country.
And guess what? It's worked!
Today, we cruised past over 50 members of Congress participating in Step It Up's national day of climate action this November 3rd. Not all of them will be attending events, which is what we all asked for - but those who aren't are sending statements or representatives. Sometimes we can't blame them: it's probably best that Senator Akaka not emit all the carbon to fly back to Hawaii from D.C. for an event, we'll take a video instead.
Members of Congress will be participating in events all around the country - representatives like Rep. Chris Shays will be attending an event in New Canaan, CT or Rep. Steve Kagan will be at an event in Green Bay, WI. One Congressman is spanning both coasts: Rep. Earl Blumenauer from Oregon will be in Miami at the Rail~Volution Conference that began today.
At each event, members of Congress will be able to meet with citizens in their community who are leading the fight against global warming (that's you!). And in each instance they'll be presented with the 1 Sky priorities that Step It Up is supporting:
Green Jobs Now: 5 Million green jobs conserving 20% of our energy by 2015.
Cut Carbon 80% by 2050: Freeze climate pollution levels now and cut at least 80% by 2050 and 30% by 2020.
No New Coal: A moratorium on new coal-fired power plants.
Thank you to everyone who has contributed to the campaign thus-far. Keep up the great work - we're almost there!
Our friends over at the Drum Major Institute just announced a brand new website. And you know how much we love websites, but this one is REALLY cool! At TheMiddleClass.org, Drum Major Institute analyzes bills that would have a significant impact (positive or negative) on the squeezed middle class, as well as on the aspirations of low-income Americans who want to work their way into the middle class. One of the issues they track is Energy and Environment. The way they do it is very hip, and worth an introductory visit. But don't take my word for it--click here!
The entire approach resonates with the Step It Up message--
"The Drum Major Institute for Public Policy neither supports nor opposes any candidate for office. Rather, we believe better policy can be created when ordinary citizens – not just political insiders – know how their legislators voted on the issues that matter most to them, and when legislators know their constituents are watching."
On November 3, you get the chance to hear directly from your elected officials on the issues that matter to you! Join an action today!
These past few days, we have all witnessed a pretty incredible display of democracy as thousands of people have been able to interact personally with their politicians through our invitations, building a relationship with our government that will deepen on November 3rd. And, they have heard us, promising to attend events across the country. With Senator John Kerry of Massachusetts, a little serendipity and the magic of post-season baseball helped demonstrate that our politicians truly are ready to listen to what we have to say.
I happen to come from a family of devout Red Sox fans, and so couldn't believe it when I found myself with a seat at Game 2 of the World Series in Boston. My sister came all the way from Wyoming (where she is organizing the Jackson Hole Step it Up event!) to join me, and on Thursday night we entered our beloved Fenway Park to begin a night of hot dogs and heckling.
As we reached our seats, I practically bumped into the Senator himself, out to enjoy the phenomenon that is the 2007 Red Sox, taking pictures and chatting with fans. I seized the opportunity (call me opportunistic...) and invited him out to an event as my sister and I snapped a quick photo with him. He was really excited about the whole campaign, and I promised I would follow up with his scheduler.
A few quick emails later, followed by some scheming with Massachusetts organizer Roger Shamel, we finally heard yesterday that the Senator will be attending the Revolutionary Rally at the Old North Bridge in Concord, MA, my hometown! He will join recently elected MA Representative Niki Tsongas, and other great speakers, at what promises to be a great event.
Point being, Step it Up has been filled with funny little moments like these, where we realize that this is what democracy is all about. Our politicians are people, like us, who are ready to listen and ultimately follow our lead. On November 3rd, let's flood these events and demonstrate where we want to go!
Here we go! With just 3 days to the big day, Step It Up is gaining incredible momentum. Have you seen the leader counter up there recently? We are adding members of Congress by the hour. You've helped create an unavoidable call for change - the way things are going right now, Nov. 3 will have more politicians addressing a single topic than in a very long time.
Here's some of the recent highlights:
Video from Florida of Melissa Meehan promoting her event on Fox News (click the player above) - you too can make the news: check out our organizer headquarters for media tips.
Confirmations from politicians around the country, like Congressman Baron Hill in Indiana who will be going to the Bloomington rally that is being put together by all-star organizer Stephanie Kimball.
Word from Power Shift 07 that over 5,000 students are registered for this weekend's conference in Washington D.C.! They'll be doing a major Step It Up action Saturday night and delivering photos of actions from around the country straight to Congress on Monday, Nov. 5
For those of you on the website for the first time - nows a great opportunity to send some final invitations to politicians to get out to Step It Up events. For organizers, keep up the fantastic work - just think, on Sunday you can just sit back and watch the slide-show of events from across the country. And for everyone, help us spread the word - - Nov. 3 is going to be an incredible day and we want to share it with everyone.
Just a few minutes ago, we received a video from Senator Barack Obama's office. Turns out that the more than 500 invitations Step It Up supporters sent to his scheduler did not fall on deaf ears. In addition to the video, he will be sending former Senator Tom Daschle to speak on his behalf at the Step It Up event in Des Moines, IA. Obama heard you loud and clear, and it's up to you to decide whether he's addressed the issues you care about.
He knows that you are the leaders of the grassroots climate movement, so let Barack Obama and the other leaders know what you think (click here to get in touch with him). And keep inviting them to November 3rd events near you so that they know nothing beats an in-person address at a Step It Up event.
We've invited all the candidates to attend rallies or submit videos
to address a broad array of issues affecting climate change, and you
Posted by Beka Economopoulos on October 30th, 2007
Here is a guest post by Beka Economopoulos and our friends over at Project Hot Seat, including new resources for Step It Up organizers:
Step It Up is fast approaching - are you ready for the big day? We can either stand up for what is right - our health, humanity, our planet, or we can sit by and watch while decisions are made that threaten our world and our lives. On November 3rd, the movement to stop global warming will step it up a notch, to hold our leaders accountable.
Whether there's a politician attending your Step It Up event or not, you can still take advantage of this day of action to light a fire under Congress. From collecting signatures for postcards to Congress, to distributing fact sheets, to encouraging people to leave voice mails for elected officials, there's a lot that you can do at your event on Saturday.
Here are some downloadable materials from Greenpeace, True Majority, Step It Up and 1Sky that you can use at your event to educate the public and pressure your Representative to champion strong global warming solutions.
1) Help us send thousands of postcards to Congress. Download postcards here, print and copy them, and then collect signatures at your local Step It Up event. Need tips on collecting signatures? Watch this video, it just takes a minute. Be sure to keep the signed postcards and send them to 702 H Street, NW, Suite 300, Washington, D.C. 20001, or fax them to (415) 255-9201. We'll include them in a bulk delivery event to Congress.
2) Educate the public. Download a Project Hot Seat fact sheet to distribute at your event. With facts about global warming and suggestions for how to shift the climate in Congress, this flyer is a good way to educate and engage the public.
3) Reach out and call Congress. Recruit people to call too! Download a phone call flyer, copy, and distribute it in any public space, put it on car windshields, get creative! Recruit Step It Up participants to use their cell phones on Saturday to call Congress and leave a voice mail urging them to pass strong global warming solutions. We need steep reductions in global warming pollution, and it's going to take every one of us to put Congress in the Hot Seat!
When she RSVPed a few weeks ago, Rep. Kirsten Gillibrand had 6 actions in her upstate NY district, and many committed organizers willing to pick up a phone a give her a call - like Judy Villa-White in Glens Falls. The district offices were so impressed that they took the time to make a YouTube video addressing the entire district! Check it out:
YouToo can become an online video star. Mayors, Governors, Congressmen, Presidential Candidates, Raffi and other noteworthy leaders will be at these events. Be sure to have a camera on hand to document them addressing the three 1Sky Priorities. Ask them to put a little green ink on their finger. But better yet, share it with the world when you're done. With your help, we can make this national day of action as big, fun, meaningful, and moving as it needs to be - a solution on the scale of the problem. Great work everyone!
In Santa Cruz, California, a broad coalition of students, local organizations, business leaders and citizens is planning a great day of action. Event organizers Ellen Farmer and Jeannie Collins had this to say about their event:
"We were inspired to produce our Step It Up! Santa Cruz event after seeing Bill McKibben speak in person at a mid-September conference in Washington DC--Confronting the Triple Threat: Climate Change, Peak Oil, and Resource Depletion, sponsored by the International Forum on Globalization.
We bought the DVD from the conference, got permission to produce a 20-minute piece for local community TV, featuring Bill's speech, then started networking to create our own local event."
People Power, one of the main sponsors, is a community organization promoting bike lanes, bike-to-work days, walking, and accessible public transportation, is working with Local Solutions to Global Problems--a new group working with progressive communities of faith to create climate change support networks--to host the event.
A speaker will talk about mountaintop removal coal mining, addressing the 1Sky No New Coal priority, and they are involving people of all ages, from young skateboarders (check out the cool poster they've deigned!) to families on bikes. Anything that's people-powered!
Neuroscientists estimate that each neuron in the human brain is connected to 10,000 others. That kind of intensely bound network exists in so many places in the physical world—from the balanced ecosystems that make the whole planet function to the intricate cellular structures of plants and animals. Our everyday structures, too, resemble the network of neurons in our brains. Take the internet, for example—just think of a popular website and count how many links there are on one page, and how many links to others there are on each of those pages.
Perhaps the most important kinds of networks are the human ones: friends, families, coworkers, neighbors and everybody else we know. Like neurons in the brain, each of us connects with people each day, becoming something larger and louder than ourselves. The 10,000 people that have used our invite tool over the last few weeks have proven that sharing singular actions with others—part of the intricate web of human relationships—multiplies their power. In a certain way, we’re becoming a web of neurons, interconnected; a brain powerful enough to think a social movement into existence, and make climate change history.
With one week to go before November 3, we expected Monday to be busy. We didn't guess how exciting it would be! Today we learned that Senator Chris Dodd will attend the Step It Up event in Concord, New Hampshire, and Senator Hillary Clinton will send a representative to the event in Des Moines, Iowa. For more information on David Slutzky, her surrogate, keep reading! Congratulations to the event organizers, as well as those of you who sent hundreds of invitations to both senators. Stay tuned to the blog for more updates throughout the day.
David Slutzky is President of E² Inc., an ecology and economics policy think-tank based in Charlottesville, Virginia. Mr. Slutzky is also on the faculty of the Department of Urban and Environmental Planning at the University of Virginia. Mr. Slutzky was elected to the Albemarle County Board of Supervisors in 2005, and serves as the Chairman of the Charlottesville-Albemarle MPO. He has more than 20 years' experience with environmental policy issues in diverse public and private sector contexts.
After working in the commercial real estate and finance industries, Mr. Slutzky began to focus on environmental issues, co-founding a major international environmental consulting firm, Environmental Risk Consultants, Inc. (ERC) and ERRIS, at one time the largest environmental data company in the country. Mr. Slutzky later served as a Senior Policy Adviser on environmental issues in the Clinton White House. He served as Coordinator of the International Task Force of the President's Council on Sustainable Development where he focused his efforts on the environmental implications of international capital flows, sustainable development, urban environmental issues and NEPA issues. Previously, Mr. Slutzky was a Senior Policy Advisor at the EPA, where he served as founding Director of the Urban Initiative, an effort to redefine the relationship of the Agency's programs to the urban landform. This Initiative examined the impact of EPA's program implementation strategies on urban revitalization efforts with the objective of supporting rather than undermining such efforts. Mr. Slutzky later became the Managing Director for McDonough Braungart Design Chemistry where he worked with major corporations to redesign industrial processes to reflect ecological and social equity, as well as economic concerns. He received his Bachelors degree in Political Science in 1977 from the University of Chicago where he also completed coursework toward a PhD in Political Science. He received his J.D. from the Program in Environmental and Energy Law of the Chicago-Kent College of Law at the Illinois Institute of Technology.
**The listing of a public appearance by an elected official or candidate is solely for information purposes. The information is not intended to suggest that such public official or candidate holds viewpoints consistent with or inconsistent with those held by Step It Up 2007 or affiliated organizations. Step It Up 2007 does not rate or track the positions of elected officials or candidates for office.**
...or really, Step It Up crew member Jon Warnow did. Though modest as he is, Jon won the award in the name of the movement, crediting all the Step It Up organizers and friends across the country for the award.
What award? Jon went out to California last week to receive the Brower Youth Award. Check out this great little film that documents some of Jon's role behind the scenes at Step It Up headquarters:
And we're off! With just under a week until the big day, Step It Up actions are already beginning. The feeling of momentum is incredible right now (or is it just the warm glow of a Red Sox World Series win . . . we've got some Boston fans in the office - condolences to our Colorado organizers).
On Saturday, actions kept streaming in as people around the country keep signing up events. And on Sunday, we got some more confirmations from politicians that they'll be attending events, including Rep. Timothy Bishop from New York and Rep. Harry Mitchell from Arizona. It's not too late to rope in your political representatives - today's a great day to give their district offices another call to make sure they've received your invitations.
Then, this morning, we're greeted at the office by a picture from UVA of a Step It Up event they did on October 27! "We called ourselves the 'cutting edge' of Step It Up and we succeeded," writes Cal Trepagnier. The event was part of a statewide conference on climate change and was a major success. Cal reports
Rest assured this year will be very successful if our event is any indicator. We drew 150+ people in U.Va.'s stone amphitheater where we remembered the founder of our university and Founding Father, Thomas Jefferson.
Great work UVA! We're looking forward to receiving hundreds of photos from around the country on Nov. 3rd. Make sure to upload photos from your actions as soon as possible on Saturday - we'll put them up on the website and get them into the hands of thousands of students at Power Shift 07, the first national youth climate summit in Washington, D.C. On Monday, Nov. 5 they'll flood congress with photos from all across the country demanding for climate leadership and 1 Sky! Now that's what we call a movement . . .
Since entering the race for President, and entering our illustrious Leader Counter, Stephen Colbert, has had probably the fastest invitation rate of any leader, surpassing Ron Paul in just 24 hours. Ron Paul fans, where are you? But Colbert hasn't committed to step it up quite yet, so check out this video from a Step It Up organizer, and then send an email to the candidate! Yes, you are America, but are you a Climate Leader? The jury is out, Colbert...
This morning an exciting new action popped up on our website from Waukesha, WI. After a quick celebratory dance, I called up the organizer to hear his plans, which include a human-powered concert that won't only be carbon neutral, but carbon negative. Turns out he had found out about Step It Up months ago, only to forget the name, but he's kept on planning the event regardless. Just this morning, while reading an article on Alternet, he came across the name of Step It Up, and signed it right up! Better late than never, right? Especially in the case of this awesome event! Check out the press their event got in their local paper this weekend to hear how they're really getting his attendees to step it up, get fit, and take action on climate AT THE SAME TIME!
CITY OF PEWAUKEE - City of Pewaukee resident Dan Aukofer jumped on top
of an exercise bike in the middle of his barn on a dreary Friday afternoon
and began pedaling, slowly increasing speed.
Behind him, his friend Dan O’Brien fiddled with knobs on a control
panel, which turned a small light on.
Moments later, Caribbean music began playing and a stage light cast
Aukofer in different colors on his bike. He told O’Brien to turn up the
volume of the rhythmic music and began to pedal faster.
Both the music and lights were being powered by Aukofer’s bike.
"This is something that I have been planning for years," he
said. "Instead of taking from the (power) grid, I’m actually
feeding to the grid."
Aukofer is an environmentalist, fitness fanatic and music lover who
said he tries to live as environmentally friendly as possible. His love
for the environment and preserving precious resources pushed him to
combine his three passions.
The result will be a concert on his farm next Saturday that will have
all electrical aspects of the show powered completely by people riding
bikes in front of the stage.
To pull off the show, Aukofer enlisted the help of Chuck Smith,
president of Current Electric, a leader in the "green"
electricity industry in the state. In order to generate the necessary
power, they built the bikes into what they describe as
We're pleased to be joined by Will Steger for a guest blog - here's a guy who really knows how to Step It Up. Steger has been an eyewitness to the on-going catastrophic consequences
of global warming. A formidable voice calling for understanding and the
preservation of the Arctic, and the Earth, Will Steger is best known
for his legendary polar explorations. He has traveled tens of thousands
of miles by kayak and dog- sled over 40 years, leading teams on some of
the most significant polar expeditions in history.
Global warming is a reality. It threatens both our society and life, as we know it on earth. I have been to both poles; and I’ve seen catastrophic consequences of the climate change. I crossed both the Ward Hunt Ice Shelf in the Arctic and Larson A and B Ice Shelves on Antarctica. All of which, to the astonishment of scientists, abruptly collapsed into the sea in the last decade as a result of climate changes. I experienced firsthand the melting of the sea ice on the Arctic Ocean. The polar sea has lost one fourth of both its thickness and area in the last two decades. Its once reflective surface is now exposing the darker ocean surfaces; because darker surfaces absorb more energy than lighter ones, warmth is accelerated. The summer sea ice is predicted to virtually disappear during the second half of this century, dooming animals like the polar bear and walrus to probable extinction. In 1990, I testified before Congress about the danger of global warming thawing the northern permafrost releasing methane gas, a dangerous greenhouse gas, into the atmosphere. This process is now in motion. The record warm summers in the Arctic are advancing the thawing of the high elevations of the Greenland icecap. The loss of ice that we are now experiencing worldwide is the fingerprint of global warming.
The Arctic and the Antarctic regions have been my home for over 40 years. To survive in these lands, I have become intimately familiar with their vast lands, wildlife, and climates. The changes I see deeply affect me in a way neither a scientific study nor a satellite image could. Without action, life in the Arctic faces extinction. With action, we can address the root causes and limit the impact.
How can we act to avert the worst consequences? We must take action.
Action begins with education. Global warming must be an essential topic in the K-12 educational agenda. Because we are dealing with an immediate threat, we must also launch a public education campaign to engage everyone. Congregations, environmental groups, youth organizations, campuses, clubs of all kinds will play a pivotal role informing and engaging their members and moving them towards action. We must expect that our leaders in government, industry, congregations, and schools, are well informed about global warming and its consequences.
The effects of global warming are pervasive. We cannot delay in slowing and reversing this trend. Our economy, security, health, and the environment demand it. Step it up!
To learn more about Polar Explorer Will Steger, the Will Steger Foundation, and Will's next expedition to the Canadian Island visit www.globalwarming101.com
Here is a guest post by Adam Siegel, originally printed in a DailyKos diary:
C02 emissions are growing at ever faster rates, in part, because the oceans are absorbing less CO2 and tropical forests are being devastated. Ecosystems are shifting. Fires are spreading. Droughts continue. And, it is nearly November, the heat has yet to go on. Have we already pulled the trigger?
The latest from a series of updates from Bill McKibben on the Step It Up campaign published on Grist:
This has been the grimmest week in a long time for those of us following the global-warming crisis -- and the best week, too, for those of us at Step It Up who are organizing to do something about it.
Bad news first: It's not just the wildfires in Southern California. It's not just the epic drought in the Southeast. It's not just the bathtub ring in Lake Mead. It's not just the eight inches of rain deluging poor old New Orleans. Those help to tell us how far global warming has proceeded to date, but they don't tell us what more is to come.
That's the job of science, and here's what science told us this week: things are unraveling. Check out the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences to see what I mean. Natural carbon sinks -- the top few meters of the ocean, for instance -- are turning steadily less efficient as the planet warms. They're not performing as well as they have in the past, and so more carbon is accumulating in the atmosphere instead. The natural system is starting to break down.
Not only that, but human systems are breaking down too. Instead of growing more efficient in our use of fossil fuel, the data indicates those improvements have stopped. Economies are growing fast -- China said this week that its economy would soar 11.5 percent this year -- but only by burning cheap coal in ever-larger amounts.
Taken together, the two trends mean we're moving ever farther away from getting carbon emissions under control. As Dr. Corinne Le Quere of the British Antarctic Survey put it, "Only the most extreme climate models predicted this. We didn't think it would happen until the second half of the century."
Momentum works both ways, though, and some of the news is good. As we move into the home stretch for the big Step It Up rallies on Nov. 3, everything is beginning to click. People are issuing a thousand invitations a day through our invite tool to their senators, congresspeople, and presidential candidates. And the politicians are responding -- the number of confirmed speakers for Nov. 3 has doubled in the last 24 hours. We're on our way to having more national politicians addressing a single issue on a single day than at any time since the great national teach-ins of the Vietnam era.
We don't know, in any given hour, whether to hope or despair. The computer screen shows homes going up in flames -- but it also shows hundreds of emails from organizers who are steadily going about the last-minute tasks of inviting reporters, sending out final email invitations, and calling congressional district offices. The TV blares disaster -- but the phones keep ringing with new allies in new parts of the country seeking new ways to help out.
Our endlessly energetic and creative organizing friends down in New York City are up to some excellent work yet again. Here's the latest:
First of all, click here to see their actions elegant new website.
Also, check out organizer John Hunka's latest plan for getting members of Congress to show up to their event:
"On Friday and Saturday, I'm going to jot down short notes to all of our Congressmen and Congresswomen from New York City, and I'm going to put the notes in envelopes with some info about the 1 Sky priorities. Then, on Sunday, I'm going on a bike ride around the city to hand-deliver the envelopes to district offices. We've tried emails, phone calls, and letters, yet we have only one Congressman who has agreed to come. I think it's time to pull out all the stops. As they say, if Moses won't come to the mountain, I'll bring the mountain to Moses."
Not a bad idea, eh? Following-up by phone with congressional schedulers is important, but it doesn't hurt get creative as well.
And speaking of creativity. Check out text message action plan the NYC organizers are implementing. Organizer Stephanie Corrado explains:
"New York City is buzzing with talk of the Step It Up rally that will be held in Washington Square Park. In addition to attending the event on November 3rd and listening to great speakers, bands and participating in eco-projects, Step It Up NYC is giving you the opportunity to take the campaign a step further and become a member of its mobile community. For all those New Yorkers out there, text STEP to 30644 and receive information on how you can STEP IT UP beyond the rally."
Keep up the great work, friends. And everyone in NYC, join the NYC mobile community today.
Those of you who follow Step It Up know how much we believe in the power of distributed action for national change. We're always glad to see when other social change agents rely on it as well. For example, this Saturday is a distributed demonstration about the War in Iraq, coordinated by many organizations and including some our friends and allies, United for Peace and Justice and Code Pink. They've also made a cool video to promote the event.
United for Peace and Justice is helping elevate the issue of climate change by working to promote peace, and director Leslie Kagan told me yesterday that in the pamphlets they've created for tomorrow, they're including educational information about climate change. With the No War No Warming protest on Monday and this on Saturday, we see how more and more groups are working to support each other!