Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Pledge to save climate on Step It Up

Organizations plan events to promote action

Express Staff Writer

More than 800 middle school students in Park City, Utah, spell out ?Step It Up? at the Sundance Film Festival to promote a nationwide global warming activism event on April 14, 2007. Photo by Chris Pilaro

Step it Up on Saturday, April 14, and beyond. This is a national day of action for which there are some 1,260 events planned in 50 states across the country to urge Congress to take action on global climate change.

In Idaho, there are 13 events planned including the Concert for Climate Action and a Boise River Climate Call Out, both in Boise, Step It Up in Driggs, Step It Up Idaho Falls!, Step it Up Magic Valley in Twin Falls and the Community Climate Challenge in the Wood River Valley. Other events are to be held in Coeur d'Alene, Moscow, Sandpoint and Salmon.

Every Step It Up action will have a banner saying, "Step It Up, Congress! Cut Carbon 80% by 2050." To make banners, use safe paints and recycled materials such as old sheets, long pieces of fabric, quilting, or even large cardboard boxes, enough to piece them together for a larger banner. If you take a digital photo of your action with your banner front and center, you can upload it to the Step It Up Web site ( immediately.

In an interview in the Boston Globe, James E. Hansen, America's foremost climatologist at the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), "believes that the world has little time to waste in reversing its current trend toward global warming."

In conjunction, with the campaign, the Environmental Resource Center is offering a five-week Community Climate Challenge, a new program.

The challenge encourages people to choose actions from a list that includes measures designed to reduce carbon dioxide emissions, the major contributor to global warming. To join the challenge, one needs only to sign a personal pledge. These will be available at the ERC office. Those who take the challenge will receive public recognition, monthly global warming updates and other benefits.

At the kick-off event on Saturday, participants were able to stop by the ERC's table at Warm Springs Lodge sign-up for the challenge and receive a free compact fluorescent light bulb or PEAK bus pass. Sun Valley Co. also donated $1 from every lift ticket sold that day to the challenge.

There will be different themes each week. For instance, the first week will push energy and water efficiency. From 8:30 to 9:30 p.m. Saturday, April 14, on the official Step It Up Day, there will be a gathering in Atkinson Park in Ketchum. During this time everyone in the valley (and elsewhere) will be encouraged to turn out their lights for the full hour. In partnership with Shades of Sun Valley, there will also be night sky viewing. People are encouraged to bike, walk and carpool to this event.

Transportation will be the topic from April 18 to 24, with a tire pressure check each weekday at the ERC office in Ketchum. During the week of April 25 through May 1, Sustainable Purchasing will be discussed, with an open house and give-aways at the Building Material Thrift Store in Hailey, on Friday, April 17. Beginning May 2, recycling will be discussed and a vermi-composting workshop held by Whitehead's Landscaping, on Monday, May 7. Clean Sweep will be held valley wide on May 19.

The ERC will also offer the Northwest Earth Institute Discussion Course on Global Warming from 10 to 11 a.m. Saturdays, April 14 through May 12 at Zaney's Coffee House in Hailey and from 7 to 8 p.m. Tuesdays, from April 10 through May 8, at Tully's in Ketchum.

These four-week courses cost $18 and include a workbook. For more information call the ERC at 726-4333.

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