Washington, D.C. – One year before the 2008 elections, today hundreds of Washington area residents and activists held a rally calling on national political leaders to support key global warming initiatives in front of the Lincoln Memorial as thousands of other Americans joined them in rallies across the country.
“November 3 represents a new move towards political accountability,” Step It Up spokesperson and author Bill McKibben said. “So far it's been enough for politicians to say: I care. Now, one year out from a pivotal global warming election, it's time to see who's going to lead.”
The Step It Up participants today called for real leadership on global warming including enacting the 1 Sky priorities: (1) no new coal plants, (2) 80% reduction in global warming pollution by 2050, and (3) 5 million new green jobs. The DC Step It Up rally was headlined by Van Jones, Executive Director of the Ella Baker Center for Human Rights, Dr. Beverly Wright, Director of the Deep South Center for Environmental Justice, and David Doniger, Policy Director of the Natural Resources Defense Council’s Climate Center (NRDC). League of Conservation Voters Education Fund Campus Coordinator Courtney Fryxell served as the Master of Ceremonies.
"None of us believe that we have any throwaway resources, any throwaway species,” Ella Baker Center for Human Rights Executive Director Van Jones said. “We also believe that we don't have any throwaway neighborhoods or throwaway children. There is only one solution to the ecological crisis and only one solution to the socio-economical crisis: we need a green economy that is strong enough to lift people out of poverty."
At the rally in front of the Lincoln Memorial, participants dipped an index finger in green ink, a reminder that they plan to cast their vote next fall with global warming in mind. Across the country, Step It Up supporters nationwide sent over 14,000 invitations to our politicians asking to see their plan to stop global warming. Today’s event builds on Step It Up’s April 14 rally that produced more than 1,400 events in 50 states, the largest global warming event in U.S. history.
“Katrina has taught us that our reckless and unsustainable use of our natural resources can cause us to suffer insurmountable damages to our built environment with extreme loss of life,” Deep South Center for Environmental Justice Executive Director Dr. Beverly Wright said. “The victims of Katrina in the Gulf Coast now represent the “face” of climate change. Their faces are a haunting reminder of our eminent fate if we don’t change our direction. We should reduce CO2 emissions, eliminate the construction of new coals plants, and redirect our economy to the development of green jobs.”
While Step It Up rallies issued a call for action from local communities in DC and across the country, thousands of youth also gathered today at the University of Maryland at College Park, calling for change at the Powershift 2007 conference: http://powershift07.org
“From melting ice caps to erratic weather, we already see the impact of global warming,” Bill McKibben added. “But while global warming presents our most pressing challenge, it also presents our most inspiring opportunity. As the first Step It Up event showed,Americans will unite across partisan, racial, economic and religious lines to pressure leaders to solve this crisis.”
For information on Step It Up, visit: www.stepitup2007.org
For details on the 1 Sky initiative, visit: http://www.1skycampaign.org