The Progressive


A project of Common Dreams

For Immediate Release

Francisca Santana, 707-338-5531

Capitol Climate Action Victorious in Washington DC

Capitol Power Plant Shut Down


Today, climate activists
from across the country braved a snowstorm and freezing temperatures to
successfully block and shut down the Capitol Power Plant in Washington, D.C.
Thousands of people of every age and race participated in the action, the
largest act of peaceful civil disobedience on climate change in U.S. history.
The Center for Biological Diversity, a sponsor of the event, sent Climate
Associate, Francisca Santana, to participate in the event and walk beside the
protesters, which included environmental activist Bill McKibben and climate
scientist James Hansen.

The crowd of marchers was comprised
of people from every walk of life: residents of coal mining towns, mothers and
daughters, celebrities, scientists, and a large contingent of students who
gathered in Washington,
D.C. this weekend for the
Powershift 2009, a youth climate conference. Some notable figures, along with
McKibben and Hansen, included Wendell Berry, Gus Speth, Vandana Shiva and
actress Daryl Hannah.

The protest was a model of
organization and non-violence. The crowd marched through the streets around the
Capitol Power Plant and deposited a group of protesters in front of each gate in
order to block traffic in and out. When addressing the crowd, author Wendell
Berry said, "Someone asked me if I wanted to get arrested. The answer is simple:
no. But I am willing to get arrested. We have tried everything else." Ultimately
no one was arrested during the protest.

Prior to the protest and march on
the Capitol Power Plant, Powershift 2009 organized a morning and afternoon of
lobbying on Capitol Hill. A group of students gathered in front of the Capitol
on the West Lawn to rally and support their fellow students who walked the halls
of the Capitol and legislative offices. The rally featured several speakers,
including Congressman Ed Markey, Chairman of the Select Committee on Energy
Independence and Global Warming. Francisca Santana, Climate Associate at the
Center for Biological Diversity, said today, "The Lobby Day will serve as a
catalyst for members of Congress to act in the coming months on bold climate
legislation. The voices of the youth of America were heard today, loud and
clear, on the steps of the Capitol."

This is a critical year for
leadership by both Congress and the White House on energy and climate change.
Leading climate scientist Dr. James Hansen has made it clear that atmospheric
greenhouse gas levels must be reduced to 350ppm or below in order to avoid the
most profound effects of global warming. Dr. Hansen, in a statement of support
before the protest, said "Climate is an emergency. Climate is changing, the
ocean is getting warmer, ice is melting, climate zones are shifting.... What has
become clear from the science is that we cannot burn all the fossil fuels
without creating a very different planet."

Also, in an email today, author and
activist Bill McKibben asked people across the country to support the action
with the following pledge: "I share your vision of a coal-free future and a safe
climate, not only in Washington DC,
but all over the world. I stand in solidarity with the coalition of citizens
working for a clean energy future for the entire planet."


For a list of sponsors and more
information about the Capitol Climate Action (including videos about the event),

At the Center for Biological Diversity, we believe that the welfare of human beings is deeply linked to nature — to the existence in our world of a vast diversity of wild animals and plants. Because diversity has intrinsic value, and because its loss impoverishes society, we work to secure a future for all species, great and small, hovering on the brink of extinction. We do so through science, law and creative media, with a focus on protecting the lands, waters and climate that species need to survive.

(520) 623-5252