The other day at the Taste of Green event, a fellow I know who works over at the San Francisco Greenpeace office told me about a huge civil disobedience event they're planning. In a nut shell, over 2,500 people are going to go in their Sunday best to risk arrest in peaceful protest over global warming. On March 2nd, they will be marching on the Capitol Power Plant (owned by Congress) which burns coal to power some of the Capitol Hill buildings.
Here's part of the press release:
The Capitol Climate Action Coalition announced today that more than 2,500 people have registered to participate in the March 2 Capitol Power Plant protest, ensuring that it will be the largest act of peaceful civil disobedience on global warming in the country’s history.
In attendance, and willing to risk arrest, will be former coal miners, ministers, mothers, students, and climate activists from Arizona to Appalachia who have united to demand bold and far-reaching action on the climate and energy crises. Also attending will be leaders from the scientific and environmental community, such as Dr. James Hansen, Bill McKibben, Wendell Berry, Gus Speth, Vandana Shiva, former Salt Lake City Mayor Rocky Anderson, as well as Grammy winner Kathy Mattea and actress Daryl Hannah. More than 90 advocacy groups across the nation have endorsed the action.
This is a critical year for strong U.S. leadership on climate and energy, with a major domestic policy debate around the corner and a deadline for international action set for the Copenhagen UN climate talks in December. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change has cautioned that the United States and other industrialized countries need to reduce their global warming pollution by 25 – 40 % below 1990 levels by 2020 to avoid the worst impacts of severe climate change.
Leading climate scientist Dr. James Hansen, who will join the protest and is willing to get arrested, has testified before Congress that the world must begin phasing out coal immediately to avoid the worst impacts of global warming, including severe economic impacts. The climate crisis, if left unaddressed, is projected to put a serious billion drag on the U.S. economy by 2025.
“This is just the moment to up the ante,” said Bill McKibben, professor and founder of 350.org. “"Barack Obama--an organizer himself--has asked us all to give him the political backing he needs to make the change that science requires. When civil disobedience works, it demonstrates a willingness to bear a certain amount of pain for a larger end — a way to say, ‘coal is bad enough that I’m willing to get arrested.’”
The Capitol Power Plant, which is owned by Congress, burns coal to heat and cool numerous buildings on Capitol Hill, and has become a powerful symbol of coal’s stranglehold on the environment and public health. Coal is the country’s biggest source of global warming pollution. In addition, burning coal cuts short at least 24,000 lives in the U.S. annually, inflicts severe damage to the landscape and water supplies, and jeopardizes the lives of miners.