Our Work

Climate Action March a Resounding Success

August 14, 2006

Hundreds of entrepreneurs, businesses, farmers, scholars, sugar-makers and concerned citizens from across the political spectrum joined noted author Bill McKibben in a five-day walk from Ripton to Burlington to raise awareness about global warming this past Labor Day weekend. The five-day event, the first of its kind in the nation pressing for action on global warming, was a resounding success. Read a statement by Bill McKibben on the last day of the event here. Follow Bill’s synopsis of each day through an online diary at Grist.org.

The goal of the walk, which VNRC helped to organize, was to catalyze substantive action from state and federal leaders to move toward a clean energy future. Our ability to meet that goal took a vital step forward at the rally following the last leg of the journey.

On a stage in Battery Park, each of the leading candidates for Vermont’s highest political offices, including U.S. Senate candidates Bernie Sanders and Richard Tarrant and U.S. House of Representatives candidates Peter Welch and Martha Rainville, added their signatures to a pledge to help combat climate change. The global warming pledge included supporting an 85 percent reduction in carbon emissions by 2050, the rapid phase-in of 40-mile-per-gallon cars, and a national plan to get 20 percent of our power from renewables by 2020. Democratic guberatorial candidate Scudder Parker signed the pledge as well. Governor Jim Douglas, unfortunately, did not attend the event.

VNRC’s Executive Director Elizabeth Courtney addressed the over 1,000 person crowd, calling for Vermonters to help carry the momentum from this powerful event forward, encouraging people to “think of this march as the first step, not the last step” and asking for Vermonters to think of this event as “the very first step in a marathon for our grandchildren.”

While the buzz from the event continues to linger, VNRC looks forward to continuing our work with citizens, local and elected officials, business leaders, and others to help advance far-reaching public policies and local initiatives that will spur clean energy alternatives and help reduce greenhouse gas emmissions. Stay tuned to our work on this critical issue through our efforts in the Vermont Energy and Climate Action Network, as one of six members of Governor Douglas’ appointed Vermont Climate Change Advisory Group, and our ongoing legislative and community outreach.