Bike rally highlights global warming issue

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(Host) This past weekend concerned citizens around Vermont and around the country rallied to call for stronger action on global warming.

In Brattleboro the Step-it-up’ Campaign included a bike rally and a student-organized sustainability fair.

VPR’s Susan Keese reports:

(Sounds of bikes and bells)

(Keese) More than a hundred gathered with their bikes at the Brattleboro High School on a raw April morning.

(Ray) “Look at the people. They’re just pouring in!”

(Keese) Five year old Gus Nordemeir of Newfane watched his dad secure his little brother into a pull-behind bike trailer. Gus, who has his own two wheeler, is clear about why he’s here.

(Nordemeir) “To save the earth?”
(Keese) “Why?”
(Nordemeir) “Cause there’s a lot of pollution.”

(Keese) At the other end of the age continuum was Bill Callaghan.

(Callaghan) “I’m 82 and I ride as much as I can, and I’m here to emphasize that we need to take care of our earth. One thing I try to do is ride my bike and leave my car at home as much as possible.”

(Keese) Baxter and Samantha Cragin of Putney and their mom and Dad all have decorated signs over their handlebars. Each sign contains part of an old Vermont saying.

(Baxter) “Use it up.”
(Samantha) “Make it do.”
(Baxter) “No use it up wear it out, make it do or do without. Cause maybe it will make people think about, Oh, I’m using up all this stuff, cause they keep having to make it and it’s causing all this pollution and everything.’ And then we’re going to take this big picture and we’re going to send it up to Congress and we’re going to try to tell them to put an end to this and to the global warming.”

(Keese) Brattleboro climate change activist Janisse Ray says the group wants Congress to cut carbon emissions by 80% by 2050.

(Ray) “And so all over the country people are joining in groups to say, just step it up!”

(Crowd) “Ready to go!” “Okay we’re movin out.” “Okay, Carl, you’re with me buddy.”

(Keese) The cyclists rode a mile or so into Brattleboro s downtown. Afterwards in a main street church, there were speeches, music by local singer-songwriter Breeze Verdant; and lots of ideas for reducing personal greenhouse gas emissions.

(Verdant singing) “We drill drill drill, when we should be looking up. Can’t seem to get our fill. Seems like there’s a hole in our cup.”

(Keese) Farmers sold shares for community supported agriculture. A man showed off his battery operated pickup. Junior High students from Marlboro had a solar-powered display on compact fluorescent light bulbs.

Brattleboro Union high school junior Frances Wilson was one of the fair’s organizers.

(Wilson) “You know there are so many different things out there to do that people don’t realize make a big difference in the long run.”

(Keese) Organizers said the lifestyle changes necessary to combat global warming aren’t as burdensome as many people think. They say it’s just a matter of getting started.

(Verdant singing) “You can tell your grandchildren. I’ll tell mine, why we ran around working over time, to make the well run dry.”

For VPR News, I’m Susan Keese in Brattleboro.

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