Photo Credit: Craig Quirolo/Reef Relief – Sand Key Reef, Florida Keys
Consider this post a love letter of sorts. Last week I was at the Ceres conference where environmentalists, investors and corporations meet to discuss ways to work together to protect the environment. It's always a fascinating gathering – last year Al Gore gave his Inconvenient Truth presentation, the year before Gus Speth told us how dire the state of the world's ecosystem was on day one, on day two, Tim Wirth explained how fixing that was the most exciting work we could do. So this is first a shout out to the folks at Ceres and I'll do a post with more about them as soon as they get the conference videos and transcripts online – again this year they really got me thinking and I'd like to share some of that inspiration with firepups.
But before all that, back to my new love … Step It Up 2007 which was all the talk at Ceres.
You see, Step It Up 2007 began as an idea shared by Bill McKibben and a group of 6 young friends in Vermont. As McKibben described it, they got together and decided to launch a campaign with a website to try to get people to do something about Global Warming on one day – April 14, 2007. They wanted to put the call out to Congress to take action – we must decrease our carbon emissions by 80% by 2050 if we have any chance to save our planet from the worst effects of global warming.
They launched this project with big hopes but no funding or infrastructure or …. just a lot of spirit and smarts and heart.
The outcome – over 1400 events nationwide – big and small – all joining in to Step It Up. Their idea spread virally – across college campuses, through word of mouth, from friend to friend. They gathered supporters and encouraged people to come up with creative ways to let congress know that they wanted action – 80% by 2050.
And the events themselves were amazing:
In New York City, about 1,200 people gathered at the tip of Manhattan for a rally and then spread out in a line across the city's low-lying financial district.
The so-called Sea of People demonstration, in which many participants wore blue and brought such props as scuba equipment and beach balls, was meant to delineate the part of the city that would be submerged if half of the Greenland ice sheet melted, said organizer Ben Jervey.
A group of 1,000 middle school kids spelled out the message in Park Ridge, UT and in Austin, TX the Alpha Phi sorority held an event and said:
"We have approximately 180 members, and we are excited to help cut carbon! We wanted to show that it’s not just hippies who care about global warming! We all care!”
And after their success last month, they're making new plans and asking us all to help move this effort forward. They have a great list of Next Steps that we can all help with and that's another reason I'm cheering this team -their website is a model of how to do it right. From ways to join in to great information on why 80% by 2050 and how we can get there, Step It Up makes makes it easy for us to understand the issue and take action.
So I'm in love – with a great team of organizers who are showing us all how a small group can make a big impact.
As Bill McKibben says on their site:
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.
I'm hoping that we will all join in – taking up the Step It Up challenge — and taking inspiration from their success to change the realities we talk about together at FDL.