A Shout Out to Climate Activists

Thank you.

That's what I want to say to everyone out in the snow doing civil disobedience [yesterday].

Thanks to Wendell Berry and Bill McKibben for their call to action:

are moments in a nation's-and a planet's-history when it may be
necessary for some to break the law in order to bear witness to an
evil, bring it to wider attention, and push for its correction. We
think such a time has arrived."

Thanks to Bill Greider, Paul Hawken, Vandana Shiva, and Martin Sheen and others for taking a stand:

of the UN conference in Copenhagen and with climate and energy
legislation coming down the pipe, 2009 is a now-or-never moment to
ensure that climate and energy decisions by our government are bold,
just and far-reaching. Right now, it is up to civil society to take the
lead in demonstrating in ever-more powerful ways to provide political
cover for lawmakers who will face fierce pressure from business groups,
like the coal lobby, to water down or vote down bold solutions."

to the Rukus Society, Greenpeace, the Rainforest Action Network, and
the Chesapeake Climate Action Network (CCAN) for organizing this
large-scale civil disobedience. Matt Leonard of Greenpeace:

demonstration marks the beginning of a sustained effort to draw a line
in the sand against this dirty and dangerous fuel."

Thanks to the youth who are showing up at Powershift and in their own communities to press for climate action. Joshua Kahn Russell
-- thank you for standing up for survival at the global climate summit
in Poland in December, and for mobilizing youth for today's civil
disobedience. Here's how Joshua explains what's happening:

will be sitting-in at the dirty coal power station that literally
powers our congressional building in DC. This Power Station is just
blocks from Congress and is a national symbol for the stranglehold
dirty energy sources like coal have over our communities, our climate
and our future. Coal is the single biggest contributor to global
warming and it will be impossible to have a safe and secure future for
humankind if we continue to burn it."

A qualified
"thank you" to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Majority Leader
Harry Reid who last week asked the Capitol architect to switch the
power plant in question to natural gas -- achieving the immediate aim
of the protesters without a single arrest. I'm not sure if they took
that action out of concern about the climate emergency or as an attempt
to pre-empt today's protests. But the protest is on, in spite of
today's snow and frigid temperatures. (You can follow the action on
twitter, here.)

coal plant is just one among the thousands around the world that
threaten to push climate disruption beyond the point of no return (if
we aren't already there). The BBC
recently reported yet another survey that shows that the damage to the
climate is happening more rapidly than cautious scientists had

And, according to NASA's Jim Hansen -- the climate scientist the Bush administration was unable to muzzle -- this is a climate emergency:

is the biggest source of greenhouse gas emissions in the country and
that must change. The world is waiting for the Obama administration and
Congress to lead the way forward on this defining issue of our time.
They need to start by getting coal out of Congress."

Dr. Hansen is joining the protest,
which organizers hope will be the largest civil disobedience action on
climate ever. Thank you, Dr. Hansen, for stepping out of the cloistered
role of scientist to help the rest of us understand the urgency.

We are being thrust out of business-as-usual, like it or not, by the financial melt-down coupled with increasing evidence of climate disaster. The moral leadership of those risking arrest today along with the Obama administration could could bring us closer to a turn around. Thanks to everyone who is making it so.

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