Saturday, April 14, 2007

Climate Change Rally in Rapid City

A good gathering of folks (maybe about fifty) showed up to hear about what we can do as individuals and through our government to face the issue of global climate change. The emcee for the event was Rhiannon Hutchinson, who is a volunteer with StepItUp, an organization founded by Bill McKibben (more on him, and the event, here) that's been working on the climate change issue for many years. The event was also supported by Defenders of the Black Hills, a broad-based grassroots coalition who is dedicated to honoring treaty rights, because it's right and for the overall betterment of our community. DBH has most recently been in the news addressing the uranium mining issue.

It's very encouraging to see it's not just a bunch of scientists (and a few people that listen to them) on board on the climate change issue on the coasts. This is becoming a mainstream issue here in South Dakota. The reality of climate change was addressed by letters from our entire Washington DC Delegation: Sen. John Thune, Sen. Tim Johnson, and Rep. Stephanie Herseth Sandlin. The StepItUp event today in the Black Hills was a nation-wide event.

The group heard from local activist Charmaine White Face, who offered some perspective from the the point of view with indigenous people whose spirituality and full existence is traditionally in communication with nature. She talked about the three Rs she has used in her educational work: Reduce, Reuse, Recycle, but also talked about a fourth, Remember. Remember where we came from and how we are part of the earth and not here to dominate it but fully live in it.

Sen. Tom Katus talked about what we can do as individuals, including things as simple as changing to fluorescent light bulbs, and as technical as promoting green buildings and renewable energy. He also talked a bit about the Apollo Alliance, which is an effort by the states to do what the Federal Government has been unable to do: get serious about improving our energy policy for environmental and security reasons.

The Hot Shot Dance Team from SDSMT provided some entertainment, and after that, we took a wonderful picture to be combined with all the others at StepItUp's big meeting tonight in Washington DC.

This issue isn't going away, and it's getting late in the day. It's great to see things happening. Looks like they had a great day in Vermillion too!

We were all invited to Earth Day activities at SDSMT next week: Saturday night April 21 is a free showing of An Inconvenient Truth, and Sunday (Earth Day, April 22) 12-4pm is an Earth Day celebration at Surbeck Center. Details forthcoming!

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