Maryland Takes Lead in Climate Activism

Bill McKibben DCYou might think, had you been at Lafayette Park for the Summer of Heat demonstration Saturday, July 27, that climate change is a fringe issue.  Under 300 people is my estimate of the crowd so in purely numerical terms, it was disappointing.  After all, as we were reminded by the Newseum exhibits, 200,000 people came out for Civil rights and more for the rally to end the draft and the war.  Numbers get media attention and often generate more numbers, so they remain a measure of a movement’s success. Yet numbers tell only a partial story at best.  So while we were a relatively small group gathered in Washington DC to cheer on the Green Grannies, the testimony of children, and listen with rapt attention to Bill McKibben, a great many people have begun to change their behavior as if the argument was settled decades ago (as it was).  Some of them are not afraid to use their positions of leadership to, well, lead.

Take Maryland Governor Martin O’Malley (we would!).  On Thursday, while participants of the Walk for Our Grandchildren were nearing our goal to rally at the White House, Gov. O’Malley offered a new plan for Maryland to a climate summit of hundreds of environmental advocates, scientists and business leaders.
He was blunt about the state’s “moral obligation” to address climate change and argued that retooling for sustainable goals will mean more jobs.

Chesapeake Bay Enviro Cntr2We didn’t have to look too long to see what is already happening in the state.  In Grasonville, MD, where we spent a couple of nights, there is the Chesapeake Bay Environmental Center, miles of trails through bay and wetland restoration projects, a summer camp and ongoing education.  In 2008 CBEC opened a new LEED certified arts and education facility to meet the growing needs of its educational programs. The new facility itself, the first of its kind on the Eastern Shore, is a demonstration site that ‘going green’ is feasible, aesthetically pleasing and economically smart.  It serves as a resource center for developers engaging in smart growth.  Florida, are you listening?

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