On Saturday, Sept. 24, Moving Planet, a day of action to move beyond fossil fuels, swept the globe in mass movements of determination and passion for a cleaner, safer environment and hopes for a fossil fuel-free future.
The campaign is a grassroots movement for citizens who have grown weary of dead end promises by government officials to take responsibility and clean up the dirty habits that are destroying our beautiful Earth.
The Madison (Wisconsin) Sierra Club highlighted its quest to kick coal to the curb by hosting a Kick the Coal Habit carnival at the beautiful Brittingham Park on Monona Bay in Madison. Though the weather was a bit chilly, spirits were bright as more than 75 environmental activists pledged to take part in kicking habits that rely on coal and other fossil fuels.
A handful of speakers enlightened activist attendants with tales of harrowing success in the closing of a nearby coal-powered plant, stricter clean air regulations and slowly but surely increasing awareness of global warming by our government. State representatives pledged to stand strong in their fight for clean air, while other speakers presented the all-too-real effects of dirty coal on our atmosphere, planet and health. Though they come from different backgrounds, the overall message of the speakers was simple: we all must unite in our battle for a cleaner, safer environment.
After presentations, the audience was delighted with a performance by The Raging Grannies of Madison (pictured above), a group of older women who sing for peace, economic and social justice, and the environment. Especially delightful was their rendition on The Beatles' "When I'm 64." Songs were filled with thought-provoking demands for a cleaner, healthier environment through better government regulations and accountability.
The carnival kicked off after the last note, presenting attendees with the opportunity to "give coal a good licking" by signing the Clean Air Promise, a pledge to protect America's children and families from dangerous air pollution by supporting clean air policies and safeguards recommended by the Environmental Protection Agency. Those who pledged received a button and had their choice of which toxic chemical they wanted to "lick," with delicious free ice cream provided by Madison's Chocolate Shoppe Ice Cream.
There was also a soccer contest, giant inflatable coal plant, beanbag toss and a variety of environmentally focused tables. Attendants also had the opportunity to take pictures, write notes, create posters and record videos that would be sent to President Barack Obama.
The event was a success in calling attention to the need for stronger coal plant protections to keep America's families and children safe. Madeleine Para, a local environmental activist heavily involved in the 350.org cause, said it best with a quote from Margaret Mead: "Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it's the only thing that ever has."
-- Alyssa Skiba, Madison Sierra Club