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RESIST: People’s Climate March set for April 29

Climate activists have announced a major People’s Climate March on April 29 in Washington, D.C., and solidarity marches the country.

The effort is being organized by the coalition formed out of 2014’s People’s Climate March, which brought more than 400,000 people to the streets of New York City and many more around the world.

The April 29 march comes in response to outrage against President Donald Trump’s anti-climate agenda, including his executive orders advancing the Keystone and Dakota Access pipelines.

“The climate crisis is an outcome of the long term disinvestment of low-income communities, and low-income communities of color,” said Rae Breaux, lead climate justice organizer for People’s Action Institute.

“President Trump’s First 100 Days plan is a clear sign that he will fast-track profits for corporations before he invests in the needs of the American people. Now is the time to come together and build an economy where investments are made to benefit workers, communities of color and low-income folks – an economy that is structured to reflect the fact that black, brown and indigenous lives matter,” she continued.

The People’s Climate Movement grew out of the largest climate march in U.S. history in New York in September 2014, creating a coalition of green and environmental justice groups, labor unions, faith, students, indigenous peoples and civil rights groups working to advance a climate agenda rooted in economic and racial justice.

Here’s what others are saying about climate action and standing up to Trump:

Jeremiah Lowery, environmental justice organizer, Washington, D.C.: “As a community member of the frontline, we must not be forgotten. The next 100 days are critical. Trump’s policies will have devastating impact on communities directly impacted by climate change. Supporting local organizing efforts will be important in any effort to stop Trump’s attack on our environment, health, and ultimately collective well-being”

Denise Abdul-Rahman, NAACP Indiana executive board member: “The NAACP mantra is about advocating for civil rights. Our grassroots based organization has injected civil disobedience to oppose the current attorney general appointee, we are asserting our voices and calling for a more just and inclusive policies and appointees. We are strategizing at local, state and federal level to curtail the oppressive policies espoused by the Koch Brothers and Alec. These are policies that disproportionately impact our communities, such as criminal justice, voting rights, jobs, women’s rights, health care, climate and education. We are with the People, and the People’s Climate Movement.”

The Rev. Leo Woodbury, Kingdom Living Temple in Florence, South Carolina: “President Trump’s issuing of executive orders rolling back President Obama’s climate agenda in his first days of office and his efforts at dismantling the EPA is a serious threat to our communities. In South Carolina and across the country, communities of color and low-income people are on the front-lines of the climate crisis and we need to fight back. This year we are rebuilding our church for the second time in two years due to flooding from storms that were stronger due to climate change. In our communities, and others across the country, people are dealing with wells and drinking water contaminated with human waste, pesticides and toxic chemicals due to overflow from storms that are stronger than ever before as a result of global warming.  We need to come together under the People’s Climate Movement banner in Washington, D.C. on April 29 to say we are fighting for our planet and our communities.”

Angela Adrar, executive director, Climate Justice Alliance: “For the next 100 days and as long as it will take, the Climate Justice Alliance is standing side by side across the U.S. in unity with the people — in defiance of those who want to divide us. Women of color will not be sacrificed, our communities will not be sacrificed — now is the time to fight for climate justice as it is key to our liberation and justice for all. Defenders of water, land, air, food, our bodies, and homes will unite across struggles to grow the resistance. Inauguration was just the beginning of a social movement uprising that is making Her-story.”

Aura Vasquez, director of climate justice, Center for Popular Democracy: “Around the country and the world, we agreed that climate change is real and affects those most vulnerable. We cannot afford to continue polluting our air and water. Our families deserve a healthy environment to live in. CPD is committed to continue pushing for climate justice with some of the strongest grassroots organizations in the country. We can’t back down now. We need climate solutions that protect the most vulnerable from climate change-related damage while finding viable solutions to our current climate crisis.”

Michelle Suarez, Florida Institute for Reform and Empowerment (FIRE):  “As the climate crisis worsens, it’s clear that women, children, indigenous nations, low-income and communities of color must lead the way. Marginalized communities can no longer be ignored, instead, real solutions must come from more intentional relationships with one another, an intersectional approach as we empower, educate, and mobilize towards ensuring more resilient communities, justice and equity for all.”

Chloe Jackson,Missourians Organizing for Reform and Empowerment: “Communities across the country have been working for environmental and social justice for centuries. Now it’s time for our struggles to unite and work together across borders to fight racism, sexism, xenophobia, and environmental destruction. We have a lot of work to do, and we are stronger together. Our vision for a better future can be achieved if we join hands in this struggle and support each other.”

Mark Magaña, president and CEO, GreenLatinos: “Latino communities and GreenLatinos members across this country will stand together with the People’s Climate Movement and lift our voices for justice; the right to clean air and clean water; the right to a healthy, clean, and protected environment; the right to live. Latinos have a culture that is grounded in environmentalism and conservationism. It is a way of being for our community, and it is in our DNA. GreenLatinos members from across the country will join the People’s Climate March in Washington, DC on April 29th to bring that collective culture and wisdom to bare on the most anti-environment administration and Congress in generations.”

Jamie Henn, 350.org strategic communications director: “As Trump’s corrupt cabinet presents a dark and divisive vision for our world, we envision a world powered by renewable energy with an economy that works for all of us. For too long, a small few have exploited people and planet all in the name of profit. Now, we all must come together to fight for the world we know is possible.”

Dr. Rachel Cleetus, Union of Concerned Scientists: “Climate change is contributing to an increase in extreme weather disasters. We’re seeing more rains that come as deluges, stronger North Atlantic hurricanes, worsening droughts and heat waves, and a longer, more severe Western wildfire season. When disaster strikes, we see the same old pattern: low-income and minority communities are hit harder than others and have a much harder time recovering.”

Patrick Carolan, executive director, Franciscan Action Network: “Pope Francis, in his encyclical on ecology, Laudato Si, calls on “every person living on this planet” (LS#3) to “move forward in a bold cultural revolution.” (LS#114) It is our moral responsibility to enter in to dialogue with political and faith leaders and ardently work to care for our common home.”

Dominique Browning, Moms Clean Air Force: “We represent a million moms—and dads—from across the country. Republican and Democrat, we want to see action to cut the carbon and methane emissions that are changing our climate to so dangerously, and so rapidly. Climate change threatens the health of our children. We are ready to march, to show elected officials that we expect them to respect science, respect medicine, and do the right thing.”

Karina Castillo, Miami-based meteorologist and Moms Clean Air Force Organizer: “In Florida, Latinas understand that climate change is a major threat to our health, our livelihood, and our future. Our families and communities are on the line. We are going to make that loud and clear.”

Kieran Suckling, executive director, Center for Biological Diversity: “From coast-to-coast, we’ve seen a massive movement building to resist Trump and any policies that would hurt wildlife, marginalize entire classes of people and drive the climate deeper into crisis,” said Kieran Suckling, executive director of the Center for Biological Diversity, which just completed its 16-city Earth2Trump tour across the country. “People from all walks of life, are speaking with a single voice of resistance against Trump and his corrupt agenda to gut climate progress and dig fossil fuels from the ground. It’s a powerful movement that will show its mighty political force at the People’s Climate March in 2017 and over the next four years.”

Margrete Strand Rangnes, Public Citizen: “Despite the Trump Administration’s insistence to bury its head in the sand and deny the overwhelming scientific evidence, climate change is real and is impacting people’s lives. Moving away from fossil fuels and toward energy efficiency and renewable energy will not only lower energy prices for consumers, but also save lives and improve the health of people and communities”

Sierra Club executive director Michael Brune: “On April 29th, it’s going to be much clearer to Donald Trump that he won’t drag America or the world backwards on climate without the fight of his life. Our planet is in crisis, and voices from around the nation must and will be heard.”

Eva Lin (18 years old), Alliance for Climate Education fellow: “As a young person, a woman, and an immigrant, Trump’s presidency threatens my future career as an environmental activist, my bodily autonomy, and my right to simply exist in this country.”

Gene Karpinski, League of Conservation Voters: “The Trump administration’s agenda for the environment is a polluter’s dream. It’s one of the most dangerous we’ve seen yet. We must fight back — but it’s going to take all of us.”

Ernesto Vargas, League of Conservation Voters: “We must grow the resistance to this administration’s disregard for our climate and our communities. We must organize to guarantee that the political power of communities of color is seen, heard and felt at the White House.”

Alexa Aispuro,  League of Conservation Voters: “As a young woman, I believe now more than ever our communities are ready to stand up for Mother Earth. I want to ensure that future generations have access to clean air and water, hope for curbing climate change. That’s why I look forward to joining the April 29th march and encouraging others in my state and around the country to do the same.”

Mike Tidwell, Chesapeake Climate Action Network: “This morning, Trump made clear that he is putting pipelines over people. We want to make clear: We will never stop fighting. In Trump’s first 100 days of office, we will continue mobilizing a historic movement to protect our water, our climate, and our communities.”

Day after march, environmental activists staging Wall Street sit-in

The day after a massive march to call attention to climate change and demand action to protect the planet, a storm of protesters were expected to descend on Wall Street.

An estimated 400,000 demonstrators participated in the People’s Climate March in New York City on Sept. 21.

Today, Sept. 22, protesters were expected to assemble in New York’s Financial District to focus on the profiteers fueling the climate crisis. Participants planned to stage a sit-in to disrupt business as usual on the first day of the work week.

Speakers lined up included author-activists Naomi Klein, Chris Hedges and Rebecca Solnit.

“Two years ago, Superstorm Sandy literally flooded New York’s Financial District — but it didn’t phase Wall Street and their drive for the short term profits that flow from the cooking of the planet,” said Klein. “Which is why we’re going to flood them again.”

Bill McKibben of 350.org also was expected to particpate in the day’s events, which were to begin at the World War II memorial in Battery Park and were to include a parade with a 300-foot banner, a 15-foot inflattable “carbon bubble” and oversized puppets.

The events serve as a prelude to climate change talks set for the UN this week. President Barack Obama is set to attend, along with French President Francois Hollande, South Korean President Park Geun-hye and UK Prime Minister David Cameron.

The march on Sunday led demonstrators, including activists with 350 Madison, across Manhattan.

“We said it would take everyone to change everything — and everyone showed up,” said Eddie Bautista of the New York City Environmental Justice Alliance.

Particpants included: UN Secretary General Ban Ki Moon, New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio, former Vice President Al Gore, U.S. Sens. Sheldon Whitehouse, Bernard Sanders and Chuck Schumer, U.S. Reps. Keith Ellison, Nydia Velázquez and Jerrold Nadler, New York State Attorney General Eric Schneiderman and celebrity activists such as Sting and Leonardo di iCaprio and Mark Ruffalo.

Marches also took place elsewhere in the United States, Europe, Africa, Australia, the Pacific Island and Southeast Asia.

Michael Brune, executive director of the Sierra Club, said, “The People’s Climate March has given tens of thousands of passionate and dedicated allies an opportunity to let the world’s leaders know that we support setting the highest possible goals to address climate pollution, and that the United States must fully embrace and lead a worldwide effort to accelerate the 21st Century’s complete transformation to a prosperous clean energy economy.”

Laura Hanson Schlachter of 350 Madison said, “Although we are part of a global movement, each of us working in our local communities rarely has an opportunity to come together in person. 350 Madison has worked with allies from Nebraska to Maine to halt the expansion of Enbridge Line 61 — Wisconsin’s Keystone — but it wasn’t until our group of more than 150 Wisconsinites marched with the tar sands hub today that it hit me: We truly are part of a global movement for climate justice, and that movement is finally coming of age.”

Editor’s note: This story will be updated.

Marching to protect our homes

Many Wisconsinites will be heading to New York City to join the largest climate event in history, the Peoples’ Climate March, on Sept. 21. Why are so many of us so keen to go so far? The answer lies in yesterday’s heroes and today’s backyards.

We are blessed to be living in a state with great natural beauty. We enjoy an abundance of lakes, rivers, wetlands and meadows that are home to many plants and animals. Whether for growing crops, producing dairy, hiking, fishing, hunting or just enjoying the outdoors, the state’s natural resources are priceless. 

We also have an unusually strong tradition of conservation, with a history of wilderness champions. John Muir, Gaylord Nelson, Aldo Leopold, Joseph Hickey, Owen Gromme and much beloved former DNR Secretary “Buzz” Besadny are shining examples of Wisconsin’s conservation ethic, and their legacies are an important part of what it means to be a Wisconsinite. 

Unfortunately, Wisconsin’s natural heritage is under increasing threat from many directions. One of the most direct threats: pipelines carrying toxic tar sands. These pipelines have proven unreliable, with catastrophic spills from which the environment has not recovered. Many people have heard of the Keystone XL pipeline, but few know that there is a pipeline running through Wisconsin, even through Dane County, and that it is projected to carry even more tar sands than the Keystone XL.

The threat posed to Wisconsin farms, communities, water, woodlands and people far outweighs any benefit. Tar sands originate in Canada, pass through our state and are refined elsewhere or shipped to global markets. So, the cost of a spill will be directly on us. 

Wisconsin also is under siege from “bomb trains,” where as many as 100 rail cars carrying explosive Bakken crude oil travel through some communities every day. Billions continue to be made by the purveyors of fossil fuels while Wisconsin, like much of the United States, experiences increasing extremes of weather that cost the local economy dearly. 

But it’s not just the direct impacts of fossil fuels that are causing problems. Wisconsin has already started to feel the burn of global warming. For example, the detailed records kept by Aldo Leopold in 1935 have been used to show that as temperatures have warmed, seasons have shifted. 

Outside our state, climate change — which 97 percent of the scientific community links to fossil fuel use — leads to the melting of the Greenland ice sheet, the Arctic and Antarctica; acidification of the sea, with loss of fish and coral; and rises in sea level. And there is increasing concern from scientists that we will reach a “tipping point” of runaway, unstoppable climate change. 

So people from Wisconsin will be marching in New York because we care about the fate of the Earth, because we care about the fate of our own backyards, our kids, our wildlife, lakes, farms, rivers, and streams. And we march to carry on the legacy of Wisconsin’s environmental heroes: Muir, Leopold and Besadny. 

Mary Beth Elliott is the coordinator of the People’s Climate March. For more details on the march, visit peoplesclimatemarch.org or 350madison.wordpress.com.

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Madison activists charter buses for People’s Climate March

The 350Madison Climate Action Team chartered three buses for 150 Madison area citizens who will join the People’s Climate March in New York City on Sept. 21.

UN Secretary General Ban-Ki-moon has called a meeting of heads of state that week at UN Headquarters to discuss addressing climate change.

Organizers of the march want a show of public support for meaningful action and the People’s Climate March is being called the “unofficial opening of the UN Conference on Global Climate Change.”

More than 100,000 citizens are expected to be present.  They represent more than 1,000 environmental, labor, religious and social justice organizations. The People’s Climate March has a permit from the city of New York and will feature family-friendly music, art, puppets and street theater.

“Recent alarming data about the impacts of climate change require an immediate response,” Beth Esser of 350Madison Climate Action Team said in a news release.

She continued, “Unfortunately, most world leaders are not taking adequate action.  The diverse group of activists attending the People’s Climate March represent a multitude of climate change related concerns. But what they agree on is that 350 parts per million of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere is what the planet can tolerate and still support life as we know it.  We are now at 400 parts per million and rising.  The next obvious question is what are the costs of an increasingly warmer planet and who will bear them?  Climate Justice is the overarching theme of the People’s Climate March.”

The Madison contingent of 150 citizens will begin boarding buses at 2 pm Sept. 20 at the Madison Labor Temple, 1602 South Park St.

Local members of 350.org and others will hold a bus send-off event at that location with music and banners.

Those present will also be invited to complete a climate ribbon for marchers to take with them to NYC.

On the Web…



Massive environmental march a prelude to U.N. meeting

The alarm has sounded for years. Now a draft U.N. report on the environment warns that global warming is here, caused by people, unquestionably dangerous and possibly irreversible.

With this news, activists from across the country will converge on New York City on Sept. 21 for what could become the largest climate change march in history — the People’s Climate March.

“Thousands of people from across the world, from all walks of life, will stand as one calling for global climate action,” said Frances Beinecke of the Natural Resources Defense Council. “This event will show the world’s most powerful leaders that people are united in their support of this cause and want to see ambitious climate action today. It is time for world leaders to rise to the challenge.”

In late August, the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change circulated the draft of a 127-page report on the state and the future of the planet. “Continued emission of greenhouse gases will cause further warming and long-lasting changes in all components of the climate system, increasing the likelihood of severe, pervasive and irreversible impacts for people and ecosystems,” the paper states.

The report warns that if the world continues to pump greenhouse gases at an accelerating rate, it’s likely that by mid-century temperatures will increase by about another 3.6 degrees Fahrenheit compared to temperatures from 1986 to 2005. And by the end of the century, that scenario will bring temperatures that are about 6.7 degrees warmer.

“Climate change is the crisis of our times,” said Bridget Burns, advocacy and communications director of the Women’s Environment and Development Organization. “For too long now, political posturing, greed and complacency in ‘business as usual’ has taken precedent over justice, equality, action and ambition. But change is not something which you wait for, it’s something that you make happen.”

WEDO is one of the many organizations involved in the march, which is being held to demand action from world leaders who in the fall will begin 18 months of international negotiations. Climate negotiators will meet in New York and Copenhagen this fall, then head to Peru in December to work on a global climate deal. In September 2015, world leaders again will meet in New York to adopt the Sustainable Development Goals. Three months later, leaders will gather in Paris to negotiate a climate treaty.

Some 750 groups — from the largest transit workers union in New York City to a coalition of Buddhist monks — are involved in staging the march.

The scale of organizing rivals a major electoral campaign, with thousands of volunteers, daily phone-banks and canvasses in New York City, and a major online operation to turn out people for the march that begins at Columbus Circle.

Trains and hundreds of buses are bringing people to New York, including dedicated trains from San Francisco and D.C. and buses from multiple points outside of New York, including Madison. Much of the recruitment is taking place on college campuses.

“Young people are coming to the streets of New York in huge numbers to stand up and say we’ve had enough — we’re not going to sit back and wait for politicians to save our future,” said Adam Hasz of the environmental group SustainUS. “Instead, we’re on the front lines fighting extractive industries and proposing just policies to confront climate change and its impacts on the most vulnerable. The People’s Climate March will show that a better future is not only possible, but underway.”

In August, at a warehouse in Bushwick, artists were at work creating giant sculptures, floats and banners for the march. Others were designing posters for a subway campaign.

“The energy buzzing around the march organizing headquarters here in New York is palpable,” said May Boeve, executive director of the activist group 350.org. “Every day, volunteers are hitting the phones, streets and Internet to turn people out. …This effort has already helped build the type of movement infrastructure we need to take the climate fight to the next level.”

Hundreds of events coincide with the NYC march: 

• In New Delhi, people will take to the streets on Sept. 20 to demand a renewable energy revolution.

• In Australia, organizers are expecting hundreds of individual events to take place across the country.

• In London, groups are planning a march through the city to the steps of Parliament.

• In Berlin, three parallel marches will combine forces in a festival.

• In Paris, local groups will create the Paris Marche pour le Climat, with parades, marches and bicycle rides planned across the bridges of the Seinne.

• Events also are being organized in Kathmandu, Rio, Sao Paulo, Jakarta, Dublin, Manila, Seoul, Mumbai, Istanbul, Ghana, Kenya, DRC, Nigeria, Guinea and Johannesburg.

Marching out of Madison

Activists with 350 Madison are organizing a Wisconsin contingent for the People’s Climate March in New York on Sept. 21.

“We will bring our message that Wisconsin is becoming a major battleground in the fight against climate change,” said a statement from the grassroots environmental group. 

350 Madison said utilities in Wisconsin are proposing “billing schemes that are a huge detriment to renewable energy and energy efficiency” and that the Canadian company Enbridge Energy “plans to expand the Line 61 pipeline, which traverses our beautiful state from Superior to Delavan, to carry more toxic tar sands than what the controversial Keystone XL pipeline would carry.”

The grassroots group also raised concerns for “trains, carrying the potentially explosive Bakken oil” traveling through many Wisconsin communities.

Get connected

For more information, details on travel scholarships or to purchase tickets for the bus trip from Madison to New York City, go online to http://350madison.wordpress.com/upcoming-events/peoples-climate-march-nyc/.