The Skywriter

Activists rally across 17 states to protect the Clean Air Act


Activists rally across 17 states to protect the Clean Air Act

Rally photo.jpg

Just over a week ago, climate activists across 17 states campaigned with rallies, meetings, calls, and letters to demand that their elected officials protect the Clean Air Act. The message was clear: represent your constituents, not your corporate donors.

In states such as Colorado, the message was a 'thank you' to climate champions. In Michigan, however, hundreds of people loudly voiced their disappointment with Representative Fred Upton’s recent Dirty Air Act and choice to side with corporate polluters instead of his constituents.

Acacia Williams and Dana Johnson from Michigan give us the scoop on what’s been happening there:

More than one hundred people gathered to support the Clean Air Act in front of Rep. Fred Upton's (R, MI-6) downtown Kalamazoo office on Saturday, February 26th.

We started with chants like "Upton, Upton, hear what we say! Get your hands off the EPA!" and "Phase out coal, cuz what does it spew? Mercury, Lead, and CO2!" "Tell me what democracy looks like...This is what democracy looks like!" The energy was amazing as we marched up and down the block, carrying lots of signs ("Clean Air is for Everyone" / "I heart Clean Air") and banners from some of the groups co-sponsoring the rally.

We combined 98 signatures from rally attendees with 250 letters gathered by Sierra Club members all calling for the protection of the Clean Air Act and hand delivered them to Upton's staff. I was able to talk with Upton's staff for a full 30 minutes when we dropped off the letters, so we are making our voices heard!

The rally really showcased local passion and commitment on the part of environmental activists in Upton's district, and was likely just a taste of what is to come if Upton continues with his attack on the EPA and the Clean Air Act. The power of the people is what will make our elected representatives wake up and listen to the will of their constituents.

Micah Parkin in Colorado was on the ground for events in Boulder and Denver, where rallies were much more collaborative with local elected officials:

In Boulder, more than 20 groups and 185 people came out to ask Colorado’s federal delegation to voice loud public support for the protection of the Clean Air Act. Speakers included Mayor Susan Osborne and even Minister Jack Groverland. In Denver the following day, 13 groups and more than 90 people showed up.

We called on our elected leaders to stand strong against the influence of corporate polluters who are more interested in profits than the health of our families. We also thanked our leaders who are standing up to these influences and have reaffirmed their commitments to oppose attacks on the Clean Air Act. Some of those thanked included Senators Michael Bennet and Mark Udall and Congressman Jared Polis.

Meanwhile, in Massachusetts, a number of local residents sat down with Representative Ed Markey. Mary Gilbert describes the group:

…It was very moving. We were a disparate group. Our group included a woman in the high income group who was distressed that her taxes had not been raised to pay for what she believed to the be government's responsibilities to citizens, a retired minister who said he felt like his "world was being torn apart," a fireman's wife, an unemployed nurse and social worker, a disabled man worried about his future dignity and about the possible future facing his college student son, and others. I spoke about climate concerns, having attended COP15 in Copenhagen and COP16 in Cancun, and being a participant in the UN CoNGO Working Group on Climate.

We felt heard, both by each other and by Representative Markey’s staff.

We stormed the media, supported our champions, called out opponents to the Clean Air Act, and helped new climate activists learn about making their voices heard all at once! Amazing folks came out across the country and made it clear that when it comes to the Clean Air Act, there is no room for compromise. Make sure to check out the amazing pictures from the rallies, meetings, and actions across the United States here:

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