York residents and York Energy Efficiency Committee members Eric Hopkins, Hilary Clark, and Melissa Enright were among those who were taking a stand for the environment and for future generations in Washington last weekend. From the excellent Seacoastonline article by Deborah McDermott:
Seacoast voices among 35,000-plus in D.C. climate rally
Call for veto of Keystone XL pipeline
PORTSMOUTH — They came from Minnesota. They came from Oregon. They came from New Hampshire and Maine, holding their banners, braving 30-degree weather with wind gusts of 20 miles an hour, 35,000 to 40,000 strong, gathering Sunday on the Mall in Washington, D.C.
And they came in all shapes and sizes, from babies to the very elderly, to be present and to be heard at the Forward on Climate rally, sponsored by 350.org and the Sierra Club. The rally was directed at President Barack Obama, to urge him to veto the Keystone XL pipeline and pursue climate policy decisions and legislation.
Among them was a group of nearly 50 people from throughout the Seacoast region, who hopped on a bus Saturday evening, arrived in Washington at 7 a.m. Sunday morning, went to the rally, hopped back on a bus Sunday night and arrived back in Portsmouth just before 5 a.m. Monday morning.
They said it was important for them to be counted.
“This work can be frustrating, and often you feel like you’re spinning your wheels,” said Eric Hopkins, chairman of the York Energy Efficiency Committee, York Goes Green. “So I came looking for inspiration from people who feel passionate about the same thing. And it worked. I feel very much reenergized and excited to move forward.”
And there was inspiration aplenty at the rally. Take, for instance, U.S. Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse, D-R.I., who told the crowd that future generations are looking “down the hallways of history” at today’s Americans.
“They’re watching. And they know this is our time. They know this is our choice. They know this is our moment and they know we were made for this moment,” he said. “To our children, and to their children and to their children, are we going to say, ‘We failed you?’ No chance. We are going to look down the hallway of history at them and say, ‘This is our time and these are our voices and this is our choice.'”
Among those inspired by those words was James Saxe of Portsmouth, a member of the senior youth group of high school students at South Church, which sponsored the bus. He and fellow youth group member Seamus Potter were among the youngest on the bus to Washington.
“Without a sustainable way of life, all else is useless. So I’m here for progression, but I’m also here for self-preservation,” Saxe said. “I’m quite young, and already we’re seeing the effects from global warming. I don’t want to live in some sort of dystopian future where I can’t breathe the air or drink the water.”
Saxe was certainly not alone among young people on the bus. In fact, most travelers from the Seacoast could be fairly described as those older than 55 and those younger than 30.
. . . “It’s going to take a tremendous amount of public will to give [President Obama] the political will that will enable him to sign the veto (on the Keystone pipeline) and move on in terms of a whole new agenda.”
“There’s clearly energy around this, but will the president do something about it?” said Penny Reynolds of Portsmouth. “When I listened to the State of the Union address, he said we’re drilling and going after more gas reserves than ever before. So I’m not so sure.”
One final note: The Washington Post sent a photographer; there was no staff report. The New York Times put the story on its business page. It got 30 seconds on CBS and NBC, five or six paragraphs on CNN.
Clearly, there’s more work to do.
Read the rest of the story.