On Saturday, September 24th, a broad coalition of Vermonters converged on the Statehouse lawn in Montpelier for the largest climate action event ever held in Vermont.
Well over 1,000 Vermonters walked, biked, rode buses, ride-shared, and more to Montpelier to rally for a bold vision of a just transition to a healthy, sustainable, and thriving future. Participants danced, played Frisbee, submitted comments on the state energy plan (500 written comments, just at the rally!), enjoyed great music as well as yummy ice cream, and heard from a series of speakers.
In a both somber and rousing speech, Senator Sanders told the crowd that “we have more problems than we have faced since the Great Depression,” but pointed out that “if we don’t reverse global warming, if we don’t cut greenhouse gas emissions, all of the other problems aren’t going to mean anything for our kids and our grandchildren, cause we’re not going to have a planet on which to live.” Governor Shumlin put it this way: “there is nothing more important that you can do on this planet, than join this 350 movement, and give Bill McKibben and the team the power, because we’re going to get off our addiction to oil, move to renewables, and make this planet livable for future generations, and it’s going to be your power that makes it happen.”
At Moving Planet Vermont, Governor Shumlin also joined Senator Sanders in calling for a Presidential veto of Keystone XL tar sands pipeline and voiced his support for the Vermonters engaging in civil disobedience to hold the President accountable. The Obama Administration has since sent the pipeline back to the environmental review drawing board.
The schedule of events at Moving Planet Vermont included:
- 2pm – Festival of Solutions and Music
- 3:30pm – Rally
- 5pm – Solar-Powered Dance Party
Climate champions from dozens of communities biked, walked, bused, and carpooled to the Capitol to promote their vision of a green future for everyone in the Green Mountain State, which includes:
- Green Jobs for All
- Energy Efficient Homes and Buildings for All
- 100% Renewable Energy for All
- Local, Healthy Food for All
- Green Transport for All
- Community Forests for All
Exhibitors at our festival of solutions included;
Hunger Mountain Coop, Goddard college, 350Vermont, The Green Building Network, Idle Free Vermont, Hempfully Green, NOFA-VT, Rural Vermont and much more!!
Entertainment included several songs from a local Climate Opera and a dance choreographed by a local dance troupe to Bill McKibben’s inspiring Powershift speech.
TAR SANDS ACTIONS
In late summer 2011, over 100 Vermonters made the trip to Washington, DC, and peacefully took a stand with 1,252 fellow Americans in front of the White House. We were all arrested–as part of the largest act of civil disobedience in decades. Our first mission in DC was to raise the nation’s moral attention to stop the Keystone XL, a disastrous 1,800-mile oil pipeline that would ship Tar Sands oil from northern Alberta, Canada, down through the heartland of America, all the way to the Gulf of Mexico. Our actions receivedlocal to global media coverage galore, the Dalai Lama and Archbishop Desmond Tutu came out in support of the activists, Governor Shumlin stood with us, and eventually a steady outcry increasingly slammed the White House for cronyism around potentially approving what was seen as a very bad idea.
Then, on November 6th about 200 Vermonters headed back to DC to join12,000 more people and Bill McKibben and the whole Tar Sands Action team in forming a huge human circle around the White House.
And guess what? IT WORKED!
After relentless campaigning, the Keystone XL pipeline has been killed! The Obama Administration will be requesting a 12-18 month review for the Keystone XL pipeline, effectively eliminating the potential the project would go through, according to most analysts.
This is incredible news — and a perfect demonstration of how people power can change history.