The Dernogalizer

October 26, 2009

350 plus Maryland Powershift

Filed under: Energy/Climate,National Politics — Matt Dernoga @ 1:09 pm
Tags: , ,

The Diamondback has coverage of the coverage this weekend that took place involving University of Maryland students, along with our regional Maryland Powershift.  I participated in the 350 action at UMD, the 350 march to the White House in DC, and I led a lobby training at Maryland Powershift.  All in all, a great weekend of activism.  Below are excerpts from both events.

A march on Washington. A climb to the top of an Antarctic mountain. A photo shoot outside the McKeldin Library.

An international protest pushing policymakers to cut atmospheric carbon concentrations took on many forms this weekend, as more than 5,200 broke out across 181 countries. But all the events unified around a common theme: the number 350.”

“The 70 students who gathered in front of the library Friday hoped their demonstration would play a part in pressuring lawmakers to take ambitious steps to reduce the earth’s carbon concentration as a global climate summit approaches in December.

“We want to show that Maryland, as a school and campus, cared as a whole,” said Kate Richard, a member of UMD for Clean Energy, who organized the petition. “Our main goal was to get as many people out for the petition as possible, especially since the main events are all this weekend.”

“The protests continued Saturday, the official 350 Day of Action, when about 25 students from UMD for Clean Energy joined hundreds of others for a march on the White House.

Similar events took place in all 50 states, and organizers declared the day of action the largest environmental demonstration ever  recorded.

The Chesapeake Climate Action Network coordinated the Washington protest, where supporters marched from Malcolm X Park to Lafayette Park, stopping outside the White House to form a “circle of hope” in the hopes of persuading President Barack Obama and other U.S. leaders to create an ambitious treaty at the Copenhagen meeting.

“It was inspirational walking down the street because we held up traffic and people were cheering on the side, which was exciting,” Eric Marshall-Main, a member of UMD for Clean Energy, said. “The rain definitely hampered the turnout, but the energy was still huge.”

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“Students from schools across the state gathered yesterday at the first-ever Maryland Power Shift, a conference to train, educate and inform student environmental activists.

In the basement of Jimenez Hall, nearly 100 students from high schools and universities, including this one, learned how to lobby as they cooked up plans to pressure the U.S. Senate to pass a climate bill before an international global warming summit meets in Copenhagen in December.”

“Students attended training and break-out sessions where they learned about leadership, lobbying, and running local and national campaigns. Fellow students led some sessions, while others were headed by activists from organizations including the Chesapeake Climate Action Network, Avaaz Climate Action Factory and the Sierra Student Coalition.”

“In some of the training sessions, students acted out meetings with legislators. In the break-out sessions, students devised plans of action to combine local and national issues in an effort to build a successful lobbying base for the Senate bill.”

“Many have attributed Obama’s victory to us,” Nazdin said. “Now that he’s in office, it’s time for him to put his money where his mouth is and go to Copenhagen and push for a strong international climate agreement that won’t leave developing countries behind.”

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