56 Floridians Travel to Washington D.C. for Massive Rally for Presidential Action on Climate Crisis

Guest Blog | February 15, 2013 | Clean Transportation, Climate Change, Energy Efficiency, Energy Policy, Extreme Weather

“Forward on Climate” rally, expected to draw 20,000 Americans, will be largest climate rally ever.    UPDATE:  35,000-40,000 participated–it was an exciting and inspiring day!  Look for follow-up post soon.

On Sunday, February 17, fifty-six people of all ages from North Florida will be in Washington, D.C. to join a massive rally calling on President Obama to move America Forward on Climate in 2013. Rally organizers, the Sierra Club, 350.org and the Hip Hop Caucus, with their partners including Southern Alliance for Clean Energy, support President Obama’s call to move America forward with decisive action to reduce carbon pollution from fossil fuels like coal, oil and natural gas. The first milestone for President Obama is to reject the proposed Keystone XL pipeline to stop oil from toxic Canadian tar sands from further jeopardizing our climate.

Tens of thousands of Americans from across the country are expected to participate in the Forward on Climate Rally outside the White House, making it the largest climate rally in American history. The Northeast Floridians traveling by bus to the rally (one of over 150 bus loads from more than 30 states scheduled to be attend), from greater Jacksonville, Gainesville, Daytona Beach, and Deland, are being joined by other advocates from across the state–members of local Sierra Club groups, Citizens Climate Lobby, several college environmental clubs, the Occupy movement, Florida Coalition for Peace and Justice, ReThink Energy Florida, Southern Alliance for Clean Energy (SACE) and other climate-concerned groups and citizens. While it is a great distance to travel for them, the importance of the message is critical. Fossil fuel induced climate disruption is affecting the daily lives of millions of Floridians seen obviously in the past several years’ historic hot temperatures, heavy storms, rising seas, on-going droughts and recurring wildfires that are impacting our local communities.
9 million acres burned in wildfires during 2012--Image with more stats
9+ million acres burned in wildfires during 2012

The climate crisis is real and urgent here in Florida. Sea levels are rising at an accelerating pace, flooding where we live, compromising our water supply and putting at grave risk our coastal resources. We need President Obama to act now by directing the Environmental Protection Agency and other executive agencies to quickly reduce carbon and methane pollution from coal and oil combustion, and natural gas development. Energy efficiency and distributed renewable energy, such as solar power, need to come first; they’re getting short shrift in Florida state policy.

John X. Linnehan, an 85-year old “veteran of the struggle for peace and justice,” from Hampton, Fla., is attending the rally to support and affirm President Obama to “stabilize our climate for future generations.”

John is just one of the many careful and astute people from across the nation who are engaging in the campaign to bring climate concerns to the forefront in our civic dialog and to spur action. Another very dedicated passenger on our bus offered this note today:

“When I heard about the bus going to the “Forward on Climate” rally in Washington, D.C., I jumped at the opportunity.  The President and Congress need to realize that the people of this country are demanding significant action on climate change.  The science is absolutely clear:  if we pursue “business as usual” or if we continue to take tentative, incremental measures for reducing greenhouse gas emissions, climate change will have increasingly disruptive impacts on every aspect of our lives, and the lives of people all around the world.

“What we need for properly addressing the climate crisis is strong legislation from Congress.  The most effective, efficient and equitable way of putting a price on fossil fuels is to establish a carbon tax with 100% of the proceeds going to consumers. This will provide a revenue-neutral, market-based approach to stabilizing our climate, while at the same time, bolstering our economy through the development of new industries based on clean energy.”

–  Abhaya Thiele, coordinator of the Gainesville Chapter of Citizens Climate Lobby.

Another participant, Spencer Tobi, Stetson University student and president of Hatters Harvest, a Stetson group that maintains an organic community garden, wanted to join the rally this weekend and is bringing three fellow students because:

“By being physically present and by traversing large distances, our action will communicate to the national community that we are truly concerned for the planet, its environment and the human experience therein.”

– Spencer Tobi, Stetson University

The rally is taking place over the President’s Day holiday weekend to draw attention to the legacy and decisive leadership of American presidents like Lincoln and Roosevelt, in the face of national challenges. We will return to our homes in Florida on Monday, no doubt jazzed-up to share the experience and move Forward on Climate.  Please take this opportunity to  join us, do your part to reduce carbon pollution, and enter into honest, inquisitive and open-minded dialog with your family, friends and neighbors.  Now is the time to act—climate change is happening and we need to protect the future for our children and their children.

More Info:  http://ForwardOnClimate.org

When is the event: Sunday, February 17, 2013, from 12-4 pm

Live Internet video feed on Sunday: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1Q2YpdHuBCA

Where: Washington Monument on the National Mall to the White House; Rally, March and Civil Demonstration

Spread the Word: On Twitter and Facebook.

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