Calling All Citizens: Demand Action on Global Warming

This column is reprinted by permission from Grist. For more environmental news and humor sign up for Grist's free email service.

"Backs against the wall" is not a scientific measurement, but it's right where we are on global warming.

It's the vernacular translation for when the National Snow and Ice Data Center reports that this year the summer Arctic sea ice shrunk to the smallest area ever recorded, about 460,000 square miles less than the previous low point recorded in September 2005. It's what it means when the chair of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change tells reporters, as he did last week, "Wheat production in India is already in decline, for no other reason than climate change. Everyone thought we didn't have to worry about Indian agriculture for several decades. Now we know it's being affected now." He added that a similar shift seems to be underway in China.

And when your back is against the wall, that's when you've got to fight, and fight like you mean it. That's why we're launching Step It Up 2. On Nov. 3, people all across the country are holding rallies to demand action on global warming. Find out if there's one scheduled for your vicinity; if there isn't, then sign up to start one. We can help make it easy -- you're not organizing a March on Washington, just a gathering of your neighbors.

Assuming there's an action somewhere in your neighborhood, you can use our nifty new invite tool to ask politicians to attend -- to ask them if they're ready to stop being politicians and start being leaders. Find your senators and representative on the list, and we give you all the info you need to call, email, or send a letter inviting them to an event near you. Even if they've already been invited, send them another invitation. And if they've already accepted, send them your thanks. While you're at it, you can ask the presidential candidates to come to your local rally too. The more invitations the merrier.

Our goal is to have more politicians talking to more people about a single issue on a single day than ever before. And having those people talk back, having them demand not empty rhetoric but real progress.

We've got a widget or internet tool that tracks how many politicians have been invited and how many have said yes -- watch it on this page, at right, or on the Step It Up 2 website, or add it to your own site. We don't have a $1,000 a plate to lure our politicians to come meet with us. All we have is the power to ask, and the power to see who responds.

And by "we," I mean "you."

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