Step It Up 2007 was a a project that used the internet to stage two highly-coordinated, widely-distributed, “National Days of Climate Action” on April 14th and November 3rd. Step It Up organized over 2,000 rallies, in all 50 states on these two dates this past year. In communities across the country, people staged rallies, protests, concerts, picnics, hikes, bike-rides, and creative actions of all kinds to call for action from our leaders on global warming. People gathered in every major city in the country and in a wide variety of areas treasured by Americans and threatened by global warming: on the levees in a recovering New Orleans, on dwindling Glaciers in Montana, even underwater at threatened coral reefs in Key West.
Every action was connected by a common message: “Step It Up Congress! Cut Carbon 80% by 2050". On November 3rd, we added two new calls to action as well: No New Coal and Green Jobs Now. People sang, chanted, and rallied around this call to action—knowing that reducing greenhouse gases by 80% by 2050 is the only science-based target to avoid the worst consequences of global warming, and that no new coal and green jobs are important steps to reaching that goal. What was even cooler than this unity was the fact that we encouraged every action to create a banner with this message on it, and to take a digital picture of their action with their banner displayed front-and center. Everyone uploaded their digital pictures from their local actions to our website, so that by the end of the day we had a virtual-cascade of hundreds and hundreds of images on our homepage—an empowering visual for all of our participants, and a powerful message for our national leaders.
On November 3rd, Step It Up teamed up with the Powershift 2007 youth climate conference to help launch the new 1 Sky Campaign. The two new calls to action (No New Coal and Green Jobs) complete the 1 Sky platform, which is a bold policy ask that environment, community, labor, racial justice and many other groups are rallying around. Aside from promoting the 1 Sky platform, we also launched the Green Finger campaign for the Step It Up Nov. 3 actions, asking participants to watch the YouTube video and post video or photo responses with the one thing they are voting to protect in 2008.
Step It Up was inspired by a realization that the federal government was not going to act boldly and decisively to tackle the climate crisis unless American citizens in every corner of the country told them to do so. Though their has been a growing concern about global warming, there was nothing that looked like a social movement of any kind—nothing big or loud enough to get our national leadership to take notice. Step It Up 2007 was designed to change that.
As a result of Step It Up, hundreds of community groups have come together all over the country, transcending organizational boundaries to take on climate change at a local level. Such massive citizen involvement has changed the conversation about climate change nationwide and in the halls of Congress—and it is our hope that Step It Up 2007 is the first shot in a revolution of environmental consciousness and advocacy in America.