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Scrapbook: Redding Moving Planet Focuses on Resilient Habitats

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Sierra Club Scrapbook

September 30, 2011

Redding Moving Planet Focuses on Resilient Habitats

Redding's Moving Planet at the Sundial Bridge
Redding's "Human Movement" away from fossil fuels at the Sundial Bridge

Approaching Redding, California, a sign reads, "Welcome to Redding, population 98,000."  The town sits at the north end of the great Central Valley with the Cascade and Sierra mountains rising up on three sides. Redding also straddles a beautiful stretch of the Sacramento River flowing through the heart of its 300-acre urban park.

Redding is a very pretty place but also a community, like many others in California, suffering from budget woes and an extremely high unemployment rate.  In fact, times are so tough that the city's impressive convention center is now being leased to a church group because the city can no longer afford the operating expenses. 

Redding is also home to a growing Tea Party movement. This conservative, timber-industry dominated town hardly seemed like a good arena for a successful Moving Planet climate change action sponsored by the Sierra Club and 350.org.

Yet on September 24, 2011, a dedicated group of community members organized a fantastic "Moving Planet" gathering.   Led by an organizer from the Methodist Church, Peggy Rebol, the gathering included families and a variety of local environmental organizations such as the Battle Creek Alliance. A colorful community spirit was on display. 

The day started with a 1.8 mile "march" in which people walked, rode bikes, skated, and carried a variety of signs.  After crossing Redding's world famous Sundial bridge - a spectacular pedestrian bridge over the Sacramento River -   the marchers gathered at Turtle Bay to hear three inspiring speakers. Juliette Beck spoke on behalf of the Sierra Club's anti-clear-cutting campaign in California. She emphasized the importance of forest preservation as our first line of defense against climate change.

As we left the gathering, I stopped to watch a fly fisherman cast his line into the Sacramento River and looked up at its Mt. Shasta headwaters –a  water source for millions of Californians downstream. If robust, vibrant communities flow from streams and forests, then we can expect to hear more from this small but mighty group of Redding area activists in the future.  They are strongly rooted and deeply motivated. As their speaker Dr. Doug Craig said, "We do this for love."

- by Steve Elias and Juliette Beck

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