|Science & Environmental Health Network|
Science, Ethics and Action in the Public Interest
Action on climate change needed now, rallygoers say; benefits are for future generations|
By Heidi Marttila-Losure, Staff Writer
Ames Tribune - April 15, 2007
While prominent speakers talked about the importance of taking action to fight global climate change at the Step It Up rally Saturday in Bandshell Park, the people in the crowd most likely to benefit from such action were squealing and laughing as they went down slides and twirled bright orange pinwheels.
"The true benefit of climate change policy won't benefit any of the older generation here," said Devin Harman, an Iowa State University senior and president of ActivUs, a student organization that works on climate change. "Largely it won't even benefit our generation. The real generation - you see the kids playing over here, it's their grandkids that will have the most to benefit from what we decide to do in the next 10 years."
The rally was part of more than 1,300 events held across the country on the first National Day of Action on global climate change. All of the rallies have the same message: Convince Congress to "step up" its efforts on climate change, to reduce carbon emissions by 80 percent by 2050.
The Ames event started with a march of 141 participants, according to the organizers' official count, from the ISU Power Plant to the Ames Power Plant, and the crowd about doubled in size for the rally with speakers and music in Bandshell Park.
The crowd posed for a photo around a sign with its message to Congress, which will be posted on a Web site with photos from other rallies around the country, virtually amplifying the message.
Good weather made for a good turnout at the event, which was made festive with dogs and children playing on the greening grass.
Some of those children were running around Elizabeth Osborn, who was attending the event with a cousin and her family.
Osborn said she attended to watch Thoughts of Crossing, one of the bands that played at the event, but she also was happy to see such a big turnout for the cause of global warming. Osborn, who moved to Ames from San Diego recently, said she doesn't have a car and walks or takes CyRide where she needs to go. She won't buy a car until she can afford a hybrid, she said.
Osborn said it's a matter of looking out for the next generation.
"What's going to be left for these four kids?" she said of her cousin's children.
Peter Maris was one of several people who attended the rally on a bicycle. He also is a new resident of Ames, having moved here from Pittsburgh to take a job at ISU. His car stayed behind with his wife, but he said he doesn't need one.
"Ames is small enough that there is absolutely no reason to have a car here," he said.
Global warming is a big problem, Maris said, and is going to require action from everyone.
"Even with the alternative sources of energy that are available, every person has to get used to using less energy in order to do something about global warming," he said.
Environmentalist Carolyn Raffensperger, executive director of the Science and Environmental Health Network, rallied the crowd with her call to use a "scratch and sniff test" for every candidate for political office.
"If they smell like a clothes drier, they're not our candidate," Raffensperger said. "If they smell like their clothes have been hung out to dry in the sun, they're our candidate, regardless of party."
A purchased bottle of water is also a sign that that candidate hasn't done enough thinking about global climate change, she said, as much fossil fuel has been used to make that bottle available.
Raffensperger suggested out-of-the-box solutions such as making Ames a "Hummer-free zone," where people would park on the edge of town and bike where they needed to go.
"We have got to employ every element of our imagination and political will in this," Raffensperger said.
Heidi Marttila-Losure can be reached at 232-2161, Ext. 352, or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Want to know more?
For more information about the movement, go to www.stepitup2007.org.
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