Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Stepping Up the Global Warming Fight

I've been meaning to post here for a while about local activities here in the Upper Connecticut River Valley of Vermont-New Hampshire (known locally as the "Upper Valley") on Step It Up Day, a national day of demonstrations against global warming April 14.

We had a whole series of local events, in White River Junction, Norwich, Thetford (all in Vermont) and Hanover (New Hampshire), and I'm sure there were others. They wound up by feeding into a gathering of 300 or more folks on the Dartmouth College green in Hanover, where U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), a member of the Senate committees on energy (Energy and Natural Resources) and the environment (Environment and Public Works) addressed the crowd. Sanders talked about the dramatic changes in Congress, exemplified by Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.), a committed environmentalist, replacing Sen. James Inhofe (R-Okla.), who had previously called global warming "one of the greatest hoaxes ever perpetrated on mankind." Sanders said there is an urgent need to press ahead with the development of renewable energy sources like wind power and solar energy.

I was impressed by the commitment of those present--standing around for a couple of hours on a cold and windy day and even lining up to sign petitions urging Congress to cut U.S. emissions of carbon dioxide, the leading greenhouse gas, by 80% by 2050. You can get a good feel for the intensity of feeling in this region about global warming from the Step It Up map of action reports.

Here in Vermont, the folks from the Service Politics Institute also took part, installing compact fluorescent lightbulbs in a local affordable housing community.

Lots of people were involved, both here and nationwide. It was encouraging, but it's clear that we still need to vastly increase the numbers of folks who take these issues seriously.

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