This is an email I received from Bill McKibben of 350.org this week. Thought it was worth a full share, so here it is.
If you’ve never bicycled in a big group of people, it feels…powerful.
The highlight of the week for me was joining the 150 riders on this year’s east coast Climate Ride as they finished their trek from New York City to Washington, DC, 300 miles in 5 days. They’d pedaled through rain and fog, up hill and over dale; I rode the last couple of miles on one of DC’s new bike-share bikes. Riding with such a big crew felt like being part of some big animal, sweeping around curves and across intersections with a bunch of whooping, hollering climate activists.
This week made me understand why Moving Planet on Sept 24th will be both fun and powerful, potentially a watershed day in the fight for a workable planet. Imagine the whole world riding together, moving beyond fossil fuels and delivering powerful demands to our politicians.
The Climate Riders were doing more than just raising money (though they did that too, for eight environmental groups including 350.org). They were also raising hell–or at least a bit of a ruckus. In a particular twist of fate, they landed on the west lawn of the U.S. Capitol literally at the same moment that the Senate was deciding whether to finally cut taxpayer subsidies to the giant oil companies.
On that lawn in front of Congress, they delivered over 400 THOUSAND signatures from people across the country who took a stand against oil subsidies:
Here was the situation in DC: Outside the Capitol was a small crowd of people on bikes, moved only by their muscles and their morals. Meanwhile, inside the Capitol, hundreds of lobbyists from places like the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, compelled by corporate cash and cronyism. This week the lobbyists won, and the Senate agreed to keep funneling tax money to Exxon and the rest of the big polluters.
But we can change this situation by making our movement big enough to really matter–big enough that our demands to politicians carry more weight than campaign contributions from big polluters. And one key to making our movement big is to make it joyful. There are millions of Americans who love to bike. They may not know it yet, but they are our natural allies in the fight against climate change: they understand that many of the changes we need are not just possible but fun.
They’re some of the folks that we will be reaching out to for Sept. 24–your local bike clubs, race teams, elementary schools. With your help, we can make Moving Planet big enough to break through and change the politics of climate change. Politicians will pay attention if we can extend the climate movement beyond the people they expect to hear from–we need to show we’re not a special interest, we are the majority. We need to be circling the U.S. Capitol, and the capitols of every state, riding laps around city halls and coal-fired power plants.
Trust me, the organizing will be worth it. The feeling of riding in a happy bunch of your brothers and sisters makes you feel more powerful.
Help us build this power at www.moving-planet.org