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Step It Up!—and Help Fight Global Warming on the National Day of Climate Action.
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by Bill McKibben | 2007

A Letter of Invitation from Writer and Environmentalist Bill McKibben

As some of you may already know, this April 14, tens of thousands of Americans will come together to tell Congress: “Step it up. Cut carbon 80 percent by 2050.”

This National Day of Climate Action (Step It Up 2007) is a grassroots effort started by author Bill McKibben and co-sponsored by the Sierra Club and dozens of other environmental groups. We encourage Club members to participate as individuals in scheduled events or, better yet, start an event with your chapter or group.

While Step It Up is focusing on documenting the problem of global warming, the Sierra Club will also focus on documenting solutions — we’ll be asking your help in taking photos of progress where you find it, whether it’s an array of photovoltaic cells or that hybrid parked in your garage.

Step It Up is one part of the Club’s menu of Earth Day activities planned for April.  Stay tuned—see


A Letter from Bill McKibben, noted writer and environmentalist:

Dear Friends,

            This is an invitation to help start a movement—to take one spring day and use it to reshape the future. Those of us who know that climate change is the greatest threat civilization now faces have science on our side; we have economists and policy specialists, courageous mayors and governors, engineers with cool new technology.

            But we don’t have a movement—the largest rally yet held in the U.S. about global warming drew a thousand people. If we’re going to make the kind of change we need in the short time left us, we need something that looks like the civil rights movement, and we need it now. Changing light bulbs just isn’t enough.

            So pitch in. A few of us are trying to organize a nationwide day of hundreds and hundreds of rallies on April 14. We hope to have gatherings in every state, and in many of America’s most iconic places: on the levees in New Orleans, on top of the melting glaciers on Mt. Rainier, even underwater on the endangered coral reefs off Key West.

            We need rallies outside churches, along the tide lines in our coastal cities, in cornfields and forests and on statehouse steps.

            Every group will be saying the same thing: Step it up, Congress! Enact immediate cuts in carbon emissions, and pledge an 80% reduction by 2050. No half measures, no easy compromises-the time has come to take the real actions that can stabilize our climate.

            As people gather, we’ll link pictures of the protests together electronically via the web-before the weekend is out, we’ll have the largest protest the country has ever seen, not in numbers but in extent. From every corner of the nation we’ll start to shake things up.

            By its very nature, this action needs all kinds of people to help out. We can’t make it happen—it has to assemble itself.

            Sign up to host an action. We’ll coordinate the responses, introducing you to others from your area, and give you everything you need to be a leader, from banners to press releases.

            You don’t have to have ever done anything like this-you’re not organizing a March on Washington, just a gathering of scores or hundreds in your town or neighborhood.

            We need creativity, good humor, commitment. If you are active in a campus group or a church or a local environmental group or a garden society or a bike club-or if you just saw Al Gore’s movie and want to do something-then we need you now.

            And by now, we mean now.

            The best science tells us we have ten years to fundamentally transform our economy and lead the world in the same direction or else, in the words of NASA’s Jim Hansen, we will face a “totally different planet,” one infinitely sadder and less flourishing.

            The recent elections have given us an opening, and polling shows most Americans know there’s a problem. But the forces of inertia and business-as-usual are still in control, and only our voices, united and loud, joyful and determined, can change that reality.

            Please join us.          


> 2007 Table of Contents


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