Locals will step it up against global warming this weekend | NevadaAppeal.com

Locals will step it up against global warming this weekend

Abby Johnson
For the Nevada Appeal

Whether you are a Republican, Democrat, non-partisan, fence sitter or couch potato, you are living on this soon-to-be-sizzling planet. And global warming demands leadership at all levels of government and community.

“Think globally, act locally” will come to life at Comma Coffee this Saturday afternoon. That’s when the first annual Great Basin Step It Up Event for climate leadership happens.

What does Step It Up mean? It means get with the program, get it in gear, pay attention Congress and presidential candidates and start doing something to reverse global warming!

Why Nov. 3? It’s a year before the 2008 presidential election. The events “will show the contrast between the intense concern of ordinary Americans and the leadership vacuum in Washington,” according to Step It Up organizers.

Global warming was simmering along until last month when Al Gore and the United Nation’s Climate Change Panel won the Nobel Peace Prize. Now the heat is turned up to embolden leaders who can effect the kinds of changes needed to cool the planet down.

Those leaders may be among us. Step It Up founder Bill McKibben is an example. McKibben has been writing, speaking and teaching for years in a thoughtful green sustainable vein that has convinced many that our fossil fueled throwaway spendthrift ways are wrongheaded and hazardous to the planet. McKibben sounded the global warming alarm back in 1989 in “The End of Nature,” the first major book on global warming.

This year he launched Step It Up with the help of six college students. The first Step It Up rally was held in April with more than 1,400 events in 50 states. Now McKibben says it’s past time to debate global warming; it’s time to fight it.

“November 3 represents a new move toward political accountability,” said McKibben. “So far it’s been enough for politicians to say: I care. Now, one year out from a pivotal global warming election, it’s time to see who’s going to lead.”

Saturday’s climate action events will happen in every state. At local gatherings, people who want to find real solutions to global warming will discuss ways they can make a difference locally and individually, and demand leadership.

The fun begins at 1 p.m. at the Comma Coffee house on Carson Street across from the legislative building. DJ The Postmon will be playing world, reggae and dance music outside. Inside, there will be discussion groups on local solutions to global warming in the front room, and a children’s mural project in the back room.

At 3 p.m., all will rally for a group photo to send to national and local leaders. According to local organizer Melissa Kent, “If you only have 30 minutes to spare, please come for the group photo.” On Monday, Step It Up organizers will deliver photos from all of the events to our leaders in Washington.

The “coffee shop democracy” discussions on creating green collar jobs in Nevada, stopping new coal fired power plants, building local food systems, and using solar and wind energy at home and in our communities are just the beginning.

While the Step It Up day of action is calling on our leaders in Washington, D.C., to do something, it’s also a way for people to work together here in Carson City to find ways to impede global warming.

Acting locally together may be the most powerful tool that each of us has to find real solutions to global warming.

For more information on the event, call Melissa Kent at 775/884-1559. The Step It Up Web site is http://www.stepitup2007.org

Fresh Ideas: Starting conversations by sharing personal perspectives on timely and timeless issues.

• Abby Johnson is a resident of Carson City, and a part-time resident of Baker, Nevada. She consults on community development and nuclear waste issues. Her opinions are her own and do not necessarily reflect those of her clients.