Turning the heat up on Congress — Activists push diet change to head of climate change

Turning the heat up on Congress — Activists push diet change to head of climate change

The Hour
Norwalk Connecticut
April 15, 2007
By James Walker — Hour Staff Writer

Step It Up

Norwalk — While scientists with the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change released a dire report on global warming, residents in Norwalk took to the streets Saturday to urge Congress to “Step It Up” by cutting carbon dioxide emissions by the year 2050.

About 30 local people concerned with “the catastrophic effects of climate change” met on the drawbridge near Water and Washington Streets as part of a statewide effort to demand “bold action” be taken.

The event was part of “Step It Up 2007,” a nationwide demonstration and the largest day of action focusing on climate meltdown in America’s history, said Priscilla Feral, the local organizer for the event.

A rally was also scheduled for early Saturday evening in Westport.

“The message today was for Congress to step it up,” Feral said. “It’s Congress we need to set standard and policy.”

The 2007 campaign was expected to cover 50 states and nearly 1,400 events from Maine to Hawaii and from Seattle to Key West.

The local group handed out fliers and distributed educational materials to passersby and motorists from noon to 2 p.m. The demonstrators want an 80% reduction in carbon dioxide emissions during the next 43 years.

Feral, president of Darien-based Friends of Animals, said her organization’s focus was on the grazing of animals, which contributes about 18 percent of all greenhouse gases that drive global warming.

Feral said according to the Worldwatch Institute, 87 percent of agricultural land is devoted to raising animals for human consumption.

Grazing animals consume more food than they yield and emit methane, which is a powerful greenhouse gas associated with landfill and coal mines.
According to the Intergovernmental Panel, global warming is already having an effect on daily life but when the Earth gets a few degrees hotter, the current inconvenience could give way to danger and even death.

The scientists report that Chicago and Los Angeles will likely to face increasing heat waves and severe storm surges could hit New York and Boston.
And cities that rely on melting snow for water may also run into serious shortages.

Feral said to help rectify the situation, people should commit to a plant-based diet and not help fortify an industry.

“If we the people lead, the government will follow,” she said. Adopting a vegan lifestyle can reduce greenhouse gas.

The Associated Press contributed to this story.

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