Global warming activists gather in Carson as part of national effort

What did you do to reduce your carbon footprint Saturday?

Carbon footprint?

You know, the sum of all the greenhouse gasses you produce at any given time by opening your fridge, driving your truck to the store or throwing away your plastic Big Gulp cup.

Unfamiliar with this term - or what you can do to help fight global warming? Well, you're not alone.

"It seems a lot of people are now at the point where they want to find small ways they can help - or they just might give up altogether," said Melissa Kent, a Washoe Valley resident and local representative for Step It Up - the year-old national organization behind the National Day of Climate Action - otherwise known as Nov. 3.

Saturday, activists rallied from Park City, Utah, to Farmingham, Mass., making banners, creating giant human "signs" urging change and generally spreading the word about what can be done to help ebb global warming.

In Carson, a group of volunteers about 20 strong at 2 p.m., mingled with curious onlookers and even a handful of skeptics in front of Comma Coffee to spread the word about what can be done to fight global warming.

"It's pretty simple," said Anne Macquarie, a Carson-based urban planner. "There are a number of things that can be done locally to address global warming.

"It's not as scary a proposition as people think."

Macquarie was on hand to discuss the U.S. Mayor's Climate Protection Agreement, in which mayors from more than 710 cities across the U.S. have signed, including the Nevada cities of Henderson, Las Vegas, Reno and Sparks.

"I think the first priority is to get the word out and urge the mayor to look address climate change right here in Carson," Macquarie said. "The changes proposed here are small ones, but can lead to big results."

An emphasis of Saturday's rally was looking ahead to the 2008 election, Kent said.

Jade Alvarenga, 16, a junior at Carson High School and president of the school's environmental club said the 2008 election is just one of the ways she and her peers can make a difference in helping fight global climate change.

"It's a little scary," she said. "Knowing what we do now, our children will have to undo. It's just we have to be a little more aware of our actions and how if things don't change, it is going to be a real struggle for the next generation."

It's that kind of forward thinking that got people like Michael Gilbert curious about what he could do to conserve, long before the alarm was sounded.

"Well, I'm Melissa's father," he said. "And I've always been into re-use, recycle - I'm glad she picked up on some of that.

"It's just something that's made sense to me, and I support it. I grew up around here and I think we just need to all think - and do our part."

For their part, a day of music, banner making and sharing ideas with other Carson residents was a small, but effective piece to the larger puzzle that was the nationwide call to activism.

"Sometimes it's easier to shut your door and try to wait for it to be over," Kent said. "But, getting out, talking to people, sharing your ideas -listening - encouraging others to listen. I think that's a more effective way to get things done."

• Contact reporter Andrew Pridgen at or 881-1219.

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