by Trudi Jenny, Global Restoration Committee member
It was a long bus ride and a long rally in frigid wind chills, but the short of it is—the climate action grassroots movement is alive and very well! Three busloads (150 people) from Wisconsin arrived in D.C. around 11:00 am on February 17th, just in time to join everyone gathering near the Washington Monument. Between 35,000 and 50,000 souls from across the country braved the cold to express the urgent need to lower our carbon emissions if we are to save God’s gift of Earth. Young and old carried signs, chanted and sang, and shared their own stories, inspired by the words of rally speakers including Bill McKibben (350.org), Michael Brune (Sierra Club), two leaders of First Nation tribes in Canada, and Tom Steyer, a California investment fund manager and major Obama fundraiser.
The event brought back memories of being in D.C. to participate in civil rights marches and protests against the Vietnam War. While those events were much larger, it was inspiring and energizing to be among so many of my fellow citizens who are working on the front lines of what I consider to be the most important issue of our time. If we don’t save the Earth, all our peace-building efforts will be thwarted.
I carried a sign (to the right) representing Pax Christi and was delighted when a couple people walking by recognized and were grateful for our presence there and others let me know they appreciated the Pope’s message.
I came away from the event exhausted by the cold but invigorated by the community surrounding me. When we all join forces we can make a difference. As someone recently reminded me, WE THE PEOPLE are the 4th branch of government and we need to keep the other three branches in check. To that end I am writing a letter to President Obama to urge him to deny TransCanada the rights to build the Keystone XL Pipeline. I will also be encouraging our Wisconsin Senators to sign on as co-sponsors of Senators Bernie Sanders and Barbara Boxer’s recently drafted carbon tax bill.
A couple articles on the rally:
An article that speaks to the urgency of our work:
If you don’t have time to write a letter to the President, consider signing this one: http://ran.org/act/obamakeystone/?t=a
Let us cultivate peace by protecting creation.
Trudi Jenny is a member of the Pax Christi Global Restoration Committee, a JustFaith graduate abd a member of Wisconsin Interfaith Power and Light, 350 Madison Climate Action Team, and Citizens Climate Lobby Madison.