New Internationalist

Green America Steps Up

June 2007

No longer prepared to tolerate being responsible for a quarter of the world’s carbon emissions, 14 April saw an extraordinary day of action across the US. Over 1,400 demonstrations, large and small, took place in all 50 states, each with the same message painted on homemade banners: ‘Step It Up, Congress – Cut Carbon 80% by 2050’.

From a rally at a retreating glacier in Alaska to a human chain on threatened Baldwin Beach in Hawaii, concerned Americans were coming together demanding action. Says organizer Bill McKibben: ‘The old ideas about environmentalists are in need of updating. If you’re worried that it’s nothing but old white people with lots of money, think again. The New York City gathering was black, brown, white and young – in fact, young was one of the day’s motifs. Evangelicals, Jews (a “Jew-tingent” organized its own walk to join the day’s big gathering on Capitol Hill, Washington DC), senior citizens, athletes, you name it. Two years ago we were worried about the “death of environmentalism”. Perhaps in part because of that scare, tons of new energy seems to be flooding in.’ Browse the many wonderful photos on http://stepitup2007.org

This column was published in the June 2007 issue of New Internationalist. To read more, buy this issue or subscribe.

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