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August 04, 2008

Illinoisans Walk for More Jobs and Less Warming

Paula_picard_left_and_bev_white_rig Photo by John Swistak Jr.

Last month, Sierra Club members and United Steelworkers Local 1063 came together in Granite City, Illinois to promote public awareness about global warming. The group walked from Centennial Pavilion in Wilson Park to the Granite City Township Hall in order to support the joint agenda of both the Sierra Club and the United Steelworks for a clean and safe environment.

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The walk culminated with a meeting at the Township Hall to discuss global warming.  Guest speakers included Senator James Clayborne Jr., Robin Rich, of United Steelworkers District 7, Christine Favilla, Sierra Club Three Rivers Project Coordinator, and Climate Change Presentation Coordinator Cathy Blair. Blair, who has been trained by former vice president and climate change activist, Al Gore, on how to present videos to the public about global warming, showed a short version of her video. The meeting also celebrated the union between the Sierra Club and the United Steelworkers in their joint commitment to attain clean, renewable energy and to create hundreds of thousands of green jobs.

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In 2006, the United Steelworkers and the Sierra Club formed the Blue-Green Alliance to highlight the job-creating potential of solutions to global warming. "The Sierra Club is excited about working with the steelworkers because we know that we now have to work together to address the challenges of climate control," Favilla said. She went on to illustrate that investing in clean energy and in green jobs already in existence could not only create the biggest job program in the history of the United States but could also contribute to halting global warming.

Favilla referred to a study completed by the University of Illinois in 2005, which indicated that by 2012, 7,800 renewable energy jobs in Illinois could be created, along with 7,400 industrial-energy-efficient jobs. With the recent launch of its Green Jobs for America campaign, the Blue-Green Alliance hopes to create around 820,000 new green jobs across the country.

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"This Blue-Green Alliance walk is more than good steps in the right direction to raise awareness of global warming issues," said Joyce Blumenshine, Illinois Sierra Conservation Committee Chair, "it shows that workers and environmentalists share the knowledge that action in addressing climate change issues will be a boost to the economy. We are working together to move to a greener and healthier economy for the future."

"When we try to pick out anything by itself, we find it hitched to everything else in the universe." -John Muir

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