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Calling on Congress to Change It

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Author: Lara Petersen

As part of the Change It training, students worked through a simulation earlier this week where they were challenged to solve an energy crisis in “Sweet River, USA.” At first, as with any simulation, there were some participants who seemed a bit apprehensive. But eventually everyone really got into it and enjoyed their simulated energy campaigns, lobbying sessions, and the community events held in Sweet River.

Sweet River is over now, but today we witnessed students putting their new skills into action... Over 120 of them descended upon Capitol Hill, in D.C.’s blazing heat (100 degrees without the index!), to let Congress know that they’re feeling hot under the collar about global warming (yuk yuk), and to launch Greenpeace’s Project Hot Seat.

Below is an image of Change It participants strategically aligned, with their principals and their bodies, to create a human arrow pointing at Congress as the place where global warming starts.

And here is a link to the image that Reuter’s picked up, pointing to where global warming stops. (p.s. their Change It shirts are organic cotton, of course!)

Just as we were about to finish up and head to lunch, Capitol Security showed up (with machine guns by the way – did we know they carried those?) and asked us to leave. Perfect timing… we were done. But of course Gregor had to try and instigate something with “the man” (see below).

Gregor! Didn’t your non-violent direct action training with Greenpeace yesterday teach you that we don't provoke the police, that we always have an action delegate to speak with officers, and that you’re NEVER going to be one of them?? ;) (please note playfulness of crooked smiley face, denoting that this part of the story is a fabrication, skillful use of a photo taken out of context.)

So next we printed the photo above (not the Gregor meets “the man” one), and each student presented it to their Congressperson with a written letter outlining their concerns around global warming.

And there it is. A call for real change. It’s a small moment in time, that took a ton of planning from talented Greenpeace folk, and involved over 100 students who, I’ll quote one of them, “felt empowered”. It was HUGE! I have hope after today, after this entire week, for tomorrow.

Witnessing while beaming,
Lara

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