Na­tion­wide, a Clamor Over Global Warm­ing

Rally Near Capi­tol Mir­rors More Than 1,400 Oth­ers Urg­ing Con­gres­sional Ac­tion

The Washington Post Sunday - - National News - By Dar­ragh John­son

In front of the Capi­tol they gath­ered, a thick semi­cir­cle of a cou­ple hun­dred peo­ple — mostly stu­dents, some par­ents with small chil­dren and a smat­ter­ing of gray­ing oth­ers. They crowded around a stage and car­ried signs that said, “Stop Global Warm­ing.”

“Stu­dents have his­tor­i­cally been at the fore­front of most ma­jor po­lit­i­cal and so­cial move­ments,” Tow­son Univer­sity fresh­man Erica Stout boomed into a mi­cro­phone. “We protested the Viet­nam War . . . we stood up against racial in­jus­tices . . . and we are here again to­day to de­mand an 80 per­cent re­duc­tion in car­bon emis­sions.”

On broad signs stretch­ing to the right and left of the stage were pho­tos from across the coun­try: 5,000 pic­tures of nearly 10,000 stu­dents from such schools as Brown, Texas A&M and Cal­i­for­nia State univer­si­ties and the Con­necti­cut Com­mu­nity Col­lege sys­tem — all hold­ing signs and ban­ners call­ing for more con­gres­sional at­ten­tion to global warm­ing.

At more than 1,400 events yes­ter­day, in each of the 50 states — in­clud­ing such places as Homer, Alaska, and Moscow, Idaho — events urg­ing Congress to ac­tion against cli­mate change took place, honor­ing the Na­tional Day of Cli­mate Ac­tion.

“The point was not to get a lot of peo­ple in one place,” said Alison Ho­bart, 39, who came from Fayston, Vt., with her fam­ily. “It was to get peo­ple ex­cited in a lot of places. Lots of peo­ple we know in Ver­mont were go­ing to lo­cal ones.” She was in Wash­ing­ton to visit her sis­ter, so they came to the Capi­tol event. “If we were just go­ing to go to an ac- tion, we wouldn’t use that much fos­sil fuel to go to D.C.”

Sprin­kled through­out the crowd were mem­bers of the Re­li­gious Cam­paign for For­est Con­ser­va­tion who came to Wash­ing­ton for meet­ings on the sub­ject this week and stopped by to sup­port yes­ter­day’s Step It Up rally.

“I’m here be­cause I feel a call­ing by God,” said Tom Her­schel­man, 63, of She­boy­gan Falls, Wis., who works for an in­sur­ance com­pany and is work­ing to­ward a mas­ter’s de­gree in the­ol­ogy. “God owns the Earth. We are stew­ards of the Earth. For us to trash the Earth, to think that it is only for our use, does not il­lus­trate hu­mil­ity. It il­lus­trates ar­ro­gance.”

PHO­TOS BY MARVIN JOSEPH — THE WASH­ING­TON POST

Michael Craw­ford, cen­ter, and Richard Graves, both of En­ergy Ac­tion Coali­tion, chant “stop global warm­ing” dur­ing a rally near the U.S. Capi­tol.

Ly­dia Rid­dell, 5, of Ver­mont joins in the Step It Up rally in Wash­ing­ton, which con­sisted mostly of stu­dents but also par­ents, chil­dren and oth­ers. There were events in all 50 states yes­ter­day, the Na­tional Day of Cli­mate Ac­tion.

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