WASHINGTON, D.C. - Today over a thousand student leaders and Washington, D.C. residents concerned about the catastrophic effects of global warming joined together to urge Congress to cut carbon dioxide emissions 80% by 2050. The event was part of the Step It Up 2007 campaign, the largest day of citizen action focusing on global warming in our nation's history.
With the Capitol at their backs, participants were photographed displaying their message: "Step It Up Congress! Cut Carbon 80% by 2050!" Participants also created a human postcard that spelled out "80% by 2050" that will be sent to Congress. In addition, student leaders unveiled a national photo petition sent from over 4,000 students across the country pledging their support for these reductions and asking Congress to do the same.
"As concerned citizens, we realize we must quickly take bold action to curb global warming. As youth, we know we must address the greatest challenge of our generation. As voters, we are calling on Congress to pass legislation that will not only curb global warming, but help strengthen our economy and create jobs," said Courtney Fryxell, National Coordinator of the League of Conservation Voter's Student Conservation Voters program and co-organizer of the DC Step It Up event. "We are here today to urge Congress to Step It Up to ensure a more secure, hopeful future not only for our generation, but for our children and grandchildren."
Step it Up is a nationwide campaign comprised of over 1,300 events in 50 states rallying around the need for substantial and rapid action on the issue of global warming. Events were held today in every corner of the country, from Maine to Hawaii, and from Seattle to Key West. The events were held in major cities, iconic locations and small towns across America. The Groups and individuals from all walks of life who organized the rallies all agreed on one thing: the time has come for our elected officials to take bold and immediate steps to combat global warming.
Congressman Chris Van Hollen (D-MD) said, "The time for talking about global warming is over; the time for action is now. The federal government must take immediate steps to address this challenge."
"Today thousands of concerned citizens and students gathered in front of the Capitol building to turn up the heat on Congress on our need to cool down the planet," League of Conservation Voters Education Fund President Gene Karpinski said. "We know what we need to do, now we need Congress to take meaningful action. We urge Congress to pass legislation that would achieve the an 80 percent reduction in global warming emissions by 2050."
"The groundswell of support for this effort is incredible. This is truly a viral grassroots movement, organized mainly through word of mouth, email outreach among friends, and the online community," said Step it Up Organizer Bill McKibben. "The enormous participation in today's movement is a wake-up call to legislators from across the country. Their constituents are urgently demanding that America get on the path towards reducing carbon emissions before it is too late."
The impact of global warming will be felt greatest among the most vulnerable of the world's population. The droughts and stronger and more frequent storms combined with rising sea levels caused by global warming will dramatically affect the already scarce resources relied upon by hundreds of millions for the basics of life. The organizers of today's events saw an opportunity and a responsibility to ensure that solutions to this crisis take vulnerable populations - developing nations, people of color and low income communities - into account.
For more information please visit the Step it Up campaign website: www.stepitup2007.org