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From the Editors of E/The Environmental Magazine

Dear EarthTalk: Is there any theme for Earth Day this year, and what can I do to participate?

— Adele Davies, Seattle, Wash.

The nonprofit Earth Day Network, which organizes and coordinates annual Earth Day celebrations around the U.S. and beyond, is partnering this year with Step It Up 2007, a nationwide campaign organized to demand bold federal action on climate change.

As part of the buildup to Earth Day itself (April 22), Step It Up 2007 has organized hundreds of rallies to take place a week earlier on April 14, including major events at or near “meaningful, iconic” places that are already reeling from the impacts of global warming. These include: New Orleans, where Hurricane Katrina wreaked destruction in 2005; Mt. Rainier in Washington state, where the volume of glaciers shrank by nearly 25 percent over the last century; and Key West, Florida, where increased ocean temperatures are causing the region’s living coral reefs to turn white (bleach) and die.

Step It Up rallies are already planned for nearly 800 U.S. locations, where thousands of concerned citizens will call on Congress to force industry to cut emissions of carbon dioxide, the leading culprit in the onset of unprecedented global warming. Earth Day Network representatives and volunteers will then spend the following week on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC, lobbying Congress directly. Then on Earth Day itself, April 22, millions of Americans will participate in hundreds of celebrations co-sponsored by Earth Day Network coast-to-coast, seeking to raise public awareness about our climate crisis.

Said Earth Day Network, “We all possess the tools and know-how to reduce our own environmental impacts and carbon footprints, but lack a united voice to tell our leaders what to do. Earth Day 2007 will bring together millions of Americans concerned about global warming to call on our elected officials to take immediate and effective action to deal with global warming.”
Those interested in joining the effort can do so by first participating in one of the Step It Up rallies taking place around the nation on April 14 (an event locator can be found at the group’s Web site)—or by organizing a local event. Participants are encouraged to “show their green colors” by foregoing car travel that day and “hiking, biking, climbing, walking, swimming, kayaking, or canoeing” to a rally near them.

Following the April 14 rallies, individuals can join Earth Day Network’s week-long lobbying effort in Washington—or participate virtually over the Internet by first completing an online form at the group’s Web site. The Earth Day Network Web site also offers an Earth Day event locator for those wishing to attend an event.

Earth Day 2007 is the kick-off to a three-year “Climate Change Solutions Campaign” intended to educate and motivate all levels of the global community, including K-12 and college students, governments, corporations, and religious institutions. Earth Day Network is making available an “Earth Day in a Box” kit, which includes an organizers guide for those seeking to plan an event, as well as tips, ideas, and resources on various simple actions individuals can take that can make a difference for the environment.

Submit questions to earthtalk@emagazine.com



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