Assembling a Strong Coalition for Local Climate Action

On August 19-20, the Great March for Climate Action passed through my hometown, Iowa City, Iowa. The March, which seeks to inspire action to resolve the climate crisis, began in Los Angeles, California, on March 1, 2014, and has now walked roughly 2,000 miles on its way to Washington, DC. You can learn more about the Great March at: http://climatemarch.org/

On the morning of the 20th, I joined roughly 150 people to march 2-3 miles from the New Pioneer Co-Op in Coralville, Iowa, to the Pedestrian Mall in downtown Iowa City. Four or five people spoke to the assembled crowd, including March organizer Ed Fallon, State Representative Rob Hogg, unofficial March “mayor” Miriam Kashia, and me.

Here’s the text of my short speech:

Jim Throgmorton’s speech to the Great March for Climate Action

For those of you who are new to Iowa City, welcome. And a special welcome to you brave men and women of the Great March for Climate Action.

You have been putting your bodies on the line for the future of life on Earth and for justice among the people of our planet. And for that, you have earned our praise and thanks.

Say, YES, to the Great Marchers for Climate Action. [YES!]

I also want to thank my friend Ed Fallon for organizing the March, and to thank both him and my good friend Miriam Kashia for undertaking such an inspiring mission.

Say, YES, to Ed and Miriam. [YES!]

And I want to recognize State Senator Joe Bolkcom and, especially, State Representative Rob Hogg for their relentless efforts in the State Legislature on behalf of climate action.

Say, YES, to Rob and Joe. [YES!]

We are gathered here to celebrate these brave Marchers for Climate Action.

But we have also assembled here because we know we have important work to do.

We need to pressure our Congress men and women to enact effective legislation curbing carbon emissions. One good approach, which I personally favor, is the Citizens Climate Lobby’s revenue neutral Fee and Dividend approach. [See http://citizensclimatelobby.org/%5D

But we can’t passively wait for action at the federal level. We also need to do what we can right here, and that means assembling a strong local coalition for climate action.

Help me out. When I call out the name of a group you are affiliated with, raise your hand.

I call upon

  • Students and faculty at the University of Iowa,
  • Iowa City Climate Advocates
  • The Johnson County Affordable Homes Coalition, and
  • The Iowa City Area Development Group.

I call upon

  • The Center for Worker Justice,
  • The Iowa Renewable Energy Association,
  • The Iowa City Area Chamber of Commerce, and
  • Think Bicycles of Johnson County.

I call upon

  • Friends of the Iowa River,
  • The Downtown District,
  • The Black Voices Project,
  • The Coalition for Racial Justice, and
  • 100 Grannies.

I call upon poets and painters, engineers and business owners, parents and grandparents of school-aged children throughout the County.

We need you!

We need you to push your City Councils in Iowa City, Coralville, and North Liberty (and your Supervisors on the County Board):

Tell us to develop, with your help, carbon reduction strategies that will reduce the cost of living and stimulate development of local businesses.

Tell us not to offer any tax incentives for economic development projects unless they will exceed the State Energy Code by at least 40%.

Tell us not to approve any new multi-unit apartment buildings unless they will exceed the State Energy Code by at least 40%.

And tell us to revise our zoning codes, budgets and capital investment plans so that they will enhance the health of the whole.

If those of us currently on these elected bodies won’t act, we need for you identify and elect replacements who will.

So, say YES! to the Great Marchers for Climate Action. [YES!]

Say YES! to Ed and Miriam and Rob and Joe. [YES!]

And say YES! to effective carbon action right here at home. [YES!].

Thank you!

 

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