Friday, July 10, 2009

Avaaz Action Factory helps Senators pump it up and make a STRONG climate bill

By Morgan Goodwin

With youth leading the workout routine, and the EPA spotting them with good oversight, the Senate can qualify for the Climate Olympics in Copenhagen.

Photo Credit: Christine Irvine
This week the bell sounded for round 2 of the US climate change legislative hurdling event with the opening hearing of Sen Boxer’s Environment and Public Works Committee. Over 100 youth organized by the Avaaz Climate Action Factory DC were there, in senators faces, showing them how to get a strong climate bill. Kanye West and Daft Punk provided the inspiration for the week with the theme: Harder, Better, Faster, Stronger.


Harder - oversight on coal plants.
Better - Renewable Portfolio Standard and investments in international adaptation.
Faster - emissions reductions targets.
STRONGER - leadership in the Senate and a stronger bill!





Tuesday, July 7th: first EPW hearing on Climate Bill
The Strongmen stormed the capitol! 6 activists in muscle costumes greeted senators going into the hearing, to flex their legislative muscles and strengthen the bill. Despite getting there at 7am for a 10am hearing, too many paid line-sitters were saving seats for lobbyists, preventing the Strongmen from entering. Their presence in the hallway was still impressive because it afforded the opportunity to talk to the press and flex for all the staff. The Strongmen also greeted energy secretary Steven Chu and Senators Kerry and Lugar walking in and out of the Foreign Relations Committee meeting room across the hall. Quote from Senator Kerry: “Stronger Climate Bill? Lets make it happen!”







Tuesday Afternoon: EPW Follow up
The Action Factory Strongmen visited 18 of the 19 senators offices on the EPW committee that afternoon to do personal workout routines. (Senator Inhoffe was skipped as he is too woefully out of shape to participate.) Workout routines consisted of three easy steps: 4 reps reaching high into the air to hit 40% reductions by 2020, three reps of five for 5% of allocations for international adaptation, 5% for REDD and 5% for clean tech transfer. And finally, since congress needs someone to spot them on the big lifts, we asked the EPA to provide oversight. Strongmen left bar-bells as presents in the offices, as well as teaching the receptionists how to do the workout for their bosses.

Thursday, July 9th: Aerial photo and more office visits:
As part of the Campus Progress lobby day, the Action Factory stepped up to organize a mass-action involving over 60 people in a guerilla aerial photo. Co-organizing with Energy Action Coalition and Chesapeake Climate Action Network, a team of letter captains, 50 volunteers walked into the Senate Hart office building and formed a ‘flash-mob’ spelling out STRONG in front of the baffled police. (See above photo)

This rapid-response call for a STRONG bill was followed by a group of 30 in strongmen outfits, Harder, Better, Faster, Stronger shirts and Powershift09 shirts to visit the offices of primary targets in the fight for a strong climate bill: Senators Levin (D-MI), Snow (R-ME) and McCaskill (D-MO).

The visit to McCaskil’s office was particularly relevant because she has repeatedly expressed concern that the climate bill is ‘too strong’ (to paraphrase). With the Strongmen’s help, Claire can beef up her stance on climate, provide the green jobs Missourians want and the international leadership the world needs.

Avaaz Action Factories: www.actionfactories.org
Avaaz has formed action factories at two strategic locations in Europe and in Washington DC to gather and deploy youth climate activists. Each location houses 15+ 'Youth Climate Fellows' working as a team, and supported by Avaaz.org. These fellows are devoting their summer months to mobilizing stunts, lobbying campaigns, and other actions. The work of these activists will maximize the possibility of achieving a strong binding global climate treaty at Copenhagen, and will raise the expectations and demands of the global public that governments must achieve such a treaty.

Photos Here:
http://www.flickr.com/photos/dc_climate_action/

Media Coverage:

Roll Call - Covers news and gossip on Capitol Hill
http://www.rollcall.com/gallery/1_214/#

Slate.com - Online news magazine with broad national reach and diverse readership
http://www.slate.com/id/2222493/

Free Speech Radio News
http://www.fsrn.org/audio/us-senate-loggerheads-over-clean-energy-legislation/5012

Treehugger.com - national blog on green politics, lifestyle, products and issues
http://www.treehugger.com/files/2009/07/strongmen-capitol.php

Wonkroom - Center for American Progress blog
http://wonkroom.thinkprogress.org/2009/07/09/harder-better-faster-stronger/

CNN - Lou Dobbs - Brief appearance on environmental groups not having a fair fight against big-money lobbyists.
http://www.cnn.com/video/?/video/bestoftv/2009/07/08/ldt.sylvester.homeless.line.holders.cnn

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