Nationwide, a Clamor Over Global Warming

Michael Crawford, center, and Richard Graves, both of Energy Action Coalition, chant
Michael Crawford, center, and Richard Graves, both of Energy Action Coalition, chant "stop global warming" during a rally near the U.S. Capitol. (Photos By Marvin Joseph -- The Washington Post)
By Darragh Johnson
Washington Post Staff Writer
Sunday, April 15, 2007

In front of the Capitol they gathered, a thick semicircle of a couple hundred people -- mostly students, some parents with small children and a smattering of graying others. They crowded around a stage and carried signs that said, "Stop Global Warming."

"Students have historically been at the forefront of most major political and social movements," Towson University freshman Erica Stout boomed into a microphone. "We protested the Vietnam War . . . we stood up against racial injustices . . . and we are here again today to demand an 80 percent reduction in carbon emissions."

On broad signs stretching to the right and left of the stage were photos from across the country: 5,000 pictures of nearly 10,000 students from such schools as Brown, Texas A&M and California State universities and the Connecticut Community College system -- all holding signs and banners calling for more congressional attention to global warming.

At more than 1,400 events yesterday, in each of the 50 states -- including such places as Homer, Alaska, and Moscow, Idaho -- events urging Congress to action against climate change took place, honoring the National Day of Climate Action.

"The point was not to get a lot of people in one place," said Alison Hobart, 39, who came from Fayston, Vt., with her family. "It was to get people excited in a lot of places. Lots of people we know in Vermont were going to local ones." She was in Washington to visit her sister, so they came to the Capitol event. "If we were just going to go to an action, we wouldn't use that much fossil fuel to go to D.C."

Sprinkled throughout the crowd were members of the Religious Campaign for Forest Conservation who came to Washington for meetings on the subject this week and stopped by to support yesterday's Step It Up rally.

"I'm here because I feel a calling by God," said Tom Herschelman, 63, of Sheboygan Falls, Wis., who works for an insurance company and is working toward a master's degree in theology. "God owns the Earth. We are stewards of the Earth. For us to trash the Earth, to think that it is only for our use, does not illustrate humility. It illustrates arrogance."

© 2007 The Washington Post Company