Nationwide Climate Rally Puts Heat on Congress

Thousands of people outside the Capitol Building in Washington, D.C. demand an 80 % reduction in carbon emissions.© John Quigley/Spectral Q

Tens of thousands of Americans participated in the nationwide Step It Up 2007 rally on April 14 to draw attention to the issue of global warming and to urge Congress to take strong action to curb the emission of greenhouse gases. Participants traveled primarily by human power—walking, biking, kayaking—to one or more of 1,300 different Step It Up events at iconic American locations (the levees in New Orleans, the melting glaciers of Mt. Rainier, and even underwater on the endangered coral reefs off Key West) across all 50 states. The campaign’s mantra: get Congress to cut emissions of the chief greenhouse gas, carbon dioxide, 80 percent by 2050.

Environmental author Bill McKibben, who provided the impetus for organizing Step It Up, addressed the Natural Resources Committee of the House of Representatives during the day, compelling the members of Congress present to take a serious look at the carbon dioxide cutting plan proposed by the campaign, which would require scaling back emissions only two percent a year.

"Now the real battle is to see if Congress is ever going to do anything about climate change," McKibben told reporters. "They need to act pretty ambitiously if they’re going to have any hope of dealing with the science of the situation."

Source: Step Up