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Step it up: Warming up to combating warming

Published April 12, 2007 7:24 pm

This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2007, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.

Scientists have spoken, convincingly. Glaciers are melting, sea levels are rising and weather patterns are changing as the planet slowly chokes on greenhouse gases. The world's ability to support human life as we know it is threatened, and, unlike forest fires, there's nothing you and you alone can do about it. Only politicians can prevent global warming.

But you and millions of other people, well, that's a different story. If we all step up and change the way we live our lives - drive less, walk more, reduce our consumption of electricity - it will be a step in the right direction. And if we join forces in a new grass-roots effort, beginning tomorrow, to convince our government to do its part, we'll be on the road to success.

It's called "Step It Up 2007," a nationwide campaign that goes far beyond encouraging individuals to drive hybrids, ride the bus and turn off some lights to reduce energy consumption. It aims at the root of the problem, our representatives in Washington, D.C.

At more than 1,300 locations, including four in Salt Lake City, concerned citizens will gather to learn about global warming, listen to speeches and bands, and more importantly, send a message to Congress: "Take bold and immediate steps to combat global warming. Reduce carbon dioxide emissions by 80 percent by 2050."

There's an "or else" in that message, an implied threat that should make politicians take notice. Do it - reduce greenhouse gases starting now - or we'll elect somebody who will.

It won't be easy. We'll have to change the way we produce electricity and transport ourselves, but it can be done. The U.S. Supreme Court ruled last week that carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases qualify as pollutants under the Clean Air Act, giving the Environmental Protection Agency the right to regulate them. While the lame-duck Bush administration opposes mandatory reductions, Congress must begin to impose strict limits.

And you, by applying political pressure and voting with your body at a rally tomorrow, can help. A list of events can be found online at events.stepitup2007.org.

We owe it to the world. The United States produces a quarter of the planet's greenhouse gases. And we owe it to ourselves and our children.

Humans, Americans in particular, have the ability to destroy the world. We've proven that.

Now it's time to prove we can save it.