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February 21, 2013

Georgia Activists Greet Obama, Keep Pressure On

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It's hard to catch a president whose travel schedule is always up in the air. But that didn't discourage Georgia activists from greeting President Obama during a recent last-minute stop in Atlanta.

Mere days after President Obama used strong words to address the climate crisis in his State of the Union address, organizers and activists mobilized quickly after Beyond Coal campaign leaders learned about the president's pit stop, turning out more than 30 people to a rapid-response text message.

Nearly half the responders -- "mostly first time action takers" according to Sierra Club Conservation Organizer Seth Gunning -- gathered to make signs, buttons, and banners beforehand. Then more than three dozen activists showed up to greet the president at his Decatur, Ga., visit.

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The goal was to urge the president to make good on his promise to take immediate, strong action on climate disruption. During his State of the Union address, Obama said, "We can choose to believe that Superstorm Sandy, and the most severe drought in decades, and the worst wildfires some states have ever seen, were all just a freak coincidence. Or we can choose to believe in the overwhelming judgment of science, and act before it's too late."

It was encouraging to hear. But will the president back up his words with action?

"President Obama committed to taking action to solve the climate crisis and invigorate America's economy. That's why our members and supporters are out today, asking for leadership," said Colleen Kiernan, director of the Sierra Club's Georgia chapter. "Climate solutions can drive Georgia's economy, create jobs, clean up our air and water, and improve the health of our communities."

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The gathering was the perfect prelude to the historic Forward on Climate rally that drew nearly 50,000 people to the National Mall in Washington, D.C., last weekend. More than 100 Beyond Coal activists from Georgia traveled to the rally.

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"From rejecting the toxic Keystone XL tar sands pipeline to limiting carbon pollution from our nation's dirty power plants, Obama's legacy as president will rest squarely on his response, resolve, and leadership in solving the climate crisis for future generations," Gunning said.

Images courtesy Seth Gunning.


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