2008/09/29:Crowd rallies for more green jobs - 1Sky

Crowd rallies for more green jobs

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Crowd rallies for more green jobs

SIGNE BREWSTER/Herald photo

by Elizabeth Mathie

The Badger Herald

Monday, September 29, 2008

Activists for government action on climate change marched down State Street Saturday promoting more “green jobs,” with leaders calling it “the biggest issue of our century, of our generation.” 

The event was organized by 1Sky, an organization seeking to unite people across the nation on the global warming issue.

Roughly 50 residents from all over Wisconsin came to participate in the event, which was one of 668 green job rallies on Saturday throughout the country, according to John Stewart, an organizer for 1Sky. 

“People across the country are coming to unite over this,” he said. 

The crowd of about 50 participants wearing green hard hats marched up State Street holding signs and chanting “green jobs now!”

Reactions on the sidewalk were mostly positive. People smiled, took pictures and a few even clapped. 

Stewart said he was pleased with the event, especially with the visuals and the march.

“The march was … amazing,” Stewart said. “People up and down the blocks were taking pictures … raising the profile of the issue.”   

The rally included a series of speeches in Library Mall by Madison leaders and influential people involved in environmental action as well as live music by the band A Minute Jack.

Madison resident Caryl Terrell, the legislative chair for the local chapter of the Sierra Club, a nationwide group that has long been addressing environmental issues, said the unity Stewart alluded to is essential to the campaign. 

“What’s really important is the breadth of the coalition,” Terrell said.

She went on to explain that not just environmentally-focused groups, but unions, religious organizations and others were coming together to take action against global warming. 

University of Wisconsin students were represented at the rally in part by senior Scott Thompson, head of the Wisconsin Public Interest Research Group’s Big Red, Go Green campaign. 

Thompson’s speech focused on how much the youth of Madison have done already and motivating more students to take action.

“We’re ready to make a difference,” Thompson said. “We’re not going to stand for an economy after we graduate that isn’t able to support us.”

Other speakers included Jim Cavanaugh, president of the South Central Federation of Labor; Todd Dennis, a member of Veterans for Peace since 2005; Richard Bogovich, a founder and member of the Wisconsin Interfaith Climate and Energy Campaign; and Ald. Satya Rhodes-Conway, District 12.

Rhodes-Conway also expressed satisfaction after the event and showed confidence in Madison’s ability to move forward on this issue.

“There’s a lot of opportunity in Madison to grow the clean energy economy,” Rhodes-Conway said. “Madisonians are very environmentally aware, and we’ve got a number of businesses in the Madison area that are on the cutting edge of renewable energy work.” 

Rhodes-Conway said she is hopeful Madison will continue toward making environmentally-conscious decisions.

“All of this is possible today,” Rhodes-Conway said. “All of this is within our reach.”