Climate Action Day Sends Call to Cut Carbon 80% by 2050
By Kyle Taylor Lucas
Joining 1,400 events nationwide, a coalition of local groups organized Olympia’s first annual Climate Action Day Festival on April 14 at Sylvester Park in Olympia. More than 200 people turned out to the event to highlight the crisis of global warming and called for 80 percent cuts in carbon by the year 2050.
Representing just 5 percent of the world’s population, the United States uses a staggering 25 percent of the Earth’s energy resources, thus contributing about 25 percent of global CO2 emissions. Coalition organizers declared, “Clearly, we have a responsibility to act dramatically to reduce our carbon footprint.”
The latest science is sobering: the Earth’s temperatures are rising faster than was projected, resulting in melting ice caps, dramatic weather changes and storms, and rising sea levels.
Calling for 80 percent carbon cuts by 2050 challenges us to lead the way in transforming our fossil-fuel-dependent economy, culture, and society into a clean-energy, renewable-based, and green-values-oriented one. Event organizers stated, “The focus is on grassroots, local, state, regional and national efforts leading us in this direction.” Cutting our carbon footprint by two percent a year will require commitment and resources to switch from fossil fuels to new energy sources and for Americans to make changes in their individual energy usage.
First Annual Climate Action Day Festival Activities
Earthbound Productions colorfully adorned the park grounds with Earth flags along with a variety of Procession of the Species representations that will face extinction if global climate solutions are not immediately implemented.
The day featured music, interactive displays, informational booths, and expert speakers, including City of Olympia Councilmember Karen Messmer, and Beth Doglio of Climate Solutions — among many others — who spoke about their organizations’ efforts to address global climate change.
A “Drive Green” display of energy-efficient vehicles was a big hit, as was the “Global Warming Café,” co-sponsored by Sustainable Community Roundtable and Northwest Earth Institute, that provided individual “Carbon Footprint” measurement and demonstrated a “low-carbon diet,” providing loss of up to 5,000 pounds of carbon emissions per year.
The Eco-City Olympia/Terra Commons booth provided valuable information on Permaculture. Children had fun at a learning table and activities just for them. Food Not Bombs provided complimentary food and beverages. Climate Solutions’ staff members were on hand to update the community about their work to promote clean-energy development in the Northwest.
Futuristic waterfront tours demonstrated the dramatic effects of climate change and glacial melting contributing to rising sea level of three feet by the year 2030.
The films “An Inconvenient Truth,” “The Great Warming,” and “Too Hot Not to Handle” were shown at the Olympia Timberland Library throughout the day. In the late afternoon, Ezra Eickenbery presented a slide show and discussion on Global Warming Problem and Solutions hosted by Mixx96.
Closing the day, Maya Elson, Bruce Wilkinson, and Daniel Serres inspired the assemblage with impassioned calls for immediate action, identifying the crisis as “our moral responsibility.” They identified liquefied natural gas as a significant carbon threat not well understood by the public. To that end, the three are working with Rising Tide to organize a West Coast Climate Convergence to be held in Astoria, Oregon, August 9-14, 2007. The event will be concurrent with convergences planned nationwide to coincide with the U.K.’s Camp for Climate Action. For information, visit: http://risingtidenorthamerica.org/wordpress/category/front-page/
Adding to the high energy for individual and collective action, the entire day was infused with music from a variety of talented bands and musicians, including Native Blue jazz sextet, Planet Percussion, Hail Seizures, and the Blackberry Bushes.
How can we cut carbon 80 percent by 2050?
Further steps include demanding accountability by our elected officials for creation of new laws to steer our nation and economy toward carbon reduction, along with individual commitment to choose efficient and alternative transportation, drive less and drive smart, purchase energy-efficient appliances, replace light bulbs with compact fluorescent bulbs, weatherize, and choose renewable energy wherever possible.
Festival presenters affirmed that climate change is no longer a question and that we have the solutions to drastically cut CO2. We just need to exert our collective will to do it!
Event organizers have coalesced into what's called “Olympia Climate Action” to continue community-wide efforts to address the challenges of Global Warming. Contact Jack Zeiger at email@example.com to join the listserv.
Kyle Taylor Lucas, a local activist with the justice and environmental communities, was formerly executive director of the Governor's Office of Indian Affairs and Tribal Affairs Manager for Washington Department of Natural Resources. She now operates a public-affairs consulting firm supporting just and sustainable communities. She is a member of the Tulalip Tribes of Washington and of the Lytton and Cooks Ferry Bands of the Nlakapamux Nation, B.C. Contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org or (360) 480-1011.
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