The History of Earth Day

earth-dayThe recent Earth Day celebration (Sunday April 22, 2012) begs the question: how did Earth Day come about? Earth Day emerged out of no one person or idea, but out of the ethos of the budding environmental movement of the 1960’s and 1970’s. Now, Earth Day is an annual observance honoring the earth and the natural environment. Some complain that Earth Day should be everyday, and that the awareness and appreciation the event promotes should be lifelong and constant. While this is true, it does not hurt to commemorate the goodness done and the progress made in the name of preservation, conservation, and ecological understanding. While the modern environmental movement faces many a challenge, it is still important to salute those who have made positive, sustainable environmental impacts since that initial Earth Day that took place in 1970. A few different founders lay claim to the initial creation of Earth Day and while it is unclear who exactly established the holiday, all are equally interesting.

Similar to the environmental movement itself, Earth Day was created out of disgust for industrial polluters and environmental degradation. Peace activist John McConnell is credited with the naming and founding of Earth Day. He first became transfixed by environmental causes in 1939, notably before such trends became common. His interest in the environment was spurred by his employment in a plastic factory, at which time he realized how degrading plastic production is to the environment. During the 1960’s McConnell’s environmental convictions only grew, and so did his religious ones. As a deeply devout Christian he believed he had an obligation to be a steward of the earth. When McConnell saw the highly influential and iconic image of the Earth as viewed from space on the cover of Life magazine he was so moved that he decided to make that image the symbol of the Earth Day flag. The “Whole Earth Catalogue” was first to feature the flag that he designed.

The story begins at the 1969 United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) National Conference, which took place in San Francisco. McConnell proposed that a holiday be founded to celebrate the Earth and he proposed the date of March 21, because that is the first day of spring in the northern hemisphere. He intended Earth Day to promote awareness about Earth’s threatened ecological balances and how life as we know it depends on that balance. The City of San Francisco then issued an Earth Day Proclamation after his proposal won strong support. The Proclamation soon went global and was signed by the UN Secretary General at the time, U Thant.

Separate from John McConnell’s creation of Earth Day is the founding of Earth Day by Senator Gaylord Nelson.  The Wisconsin Senator was prompted to plan an environmental teach-in after witnessing the massively disastrous effects of the 1969 oil spill in Santa Barbara, CA. The teach-in was scheduled for April 22, 1970 and Senator Nelson intended to harness the enthusiasm behind the anti-war movement in order to inspire similar passion for environmental causes like air and water pollution. More so, Senator Nelson hoped the foundation of Earth Day would move environmental protection onto the national agenda. On April 22, 1970 twenty-two million Americans across the nation demonstrated in the streets in support of a healthy, sustainable environment. The central aims of the nationwide protests focused on concerns such as oil spills, polluting factories and power plants, raw sewage, toxic dumps, pesticides, freeways, the loss of wilderness, and the extinction of wildlife. The creation of Earth Day is thought to have led to the creation of the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the passing of the Clean Air and Clean Water and Endangered Species Acts. Denis Hayes was recruited as the co-chair and national coordinator of the Earth Day foundation committee.

In 1990 Denis Hayes organized another large campaign; he made Earth Day a global celebration. Hayes founded the Earth Day Network, expanding Earth Day to over 180 countries. The Earth Day Network obviously credits Senator Nelson with founding the movement, but Earth Day is beyond any individual. Earth Day represents the entire environmental movement.

There is yet another person to have claimed to have founded Earth Day. Bizarrely, that person is Ira Einhorn, the “Unicorn Killer.” His claims have been proven fraudulent and because of his notoriety are not only dismissed, but considered to taint the reputation of the movement.

John McDonnell currently lives in Denver, CO and at the age of 97 he still believes in protecting the environment. To watch a recent interview with him check out this link from Denver’s local news station, 9 News.

The Earth Day Network does more than just facilitating annual Earth Day events all over the world. During the rest of the year they work on many environmental projects including educational campaigns, service projects, community outreach, and so on. To learn more about Earth Day Network’s work in your community or to donate to the cause check out their website.

Photo credit: nssdc.gsfc.nasa.gov/image/planetary/earth/apollo17_earth.jpg

 

People Across The Globe Getting Ready For World Environment Day 2011

As this year’s World Environment Day approaches, people from around the world are finalizing their preparations for this annual event. The United Nations initiated the first ever World Environment Day (WED) in 1972 to be a day to celebrate and promote respect and unity between people and the environment.

The theme for WED 2011 is “Forests: Nature at Your Service” and will emphasize the importance of the world’s forests and trees and what they do for us, such as providing the clean air we breathe, providing a home to a diversity of species, and managing our water supply.

WED 2011 will be held on June 5th and hosted in India, for the first time in the event’s history. This country was specially chosen to be the host because of the dangers India’s forests and land are facing. Consisting of many densely populated areas, India’s farmers grow too many crops in a limited area of land which exhausts nutrients in the soil and renders the soil barren and dead. This prevents the land from supporting any future agriculture.

For the WED celebration in New Delhi, India, the following activities are planned:

– a Biodiversity film festival. There are different sessions: one for the general public, one for disadvantaged children, one for prisoners, one for people serving in the Indian Air Force and their families, and one for officials and Jawans of the Indo-Tibetan Border Police (ITBP).

– a UNEP hosted workshop: “Reporting Green: UNEP Media Workshop on Journalism and the Environment”

– the public dedication of a tree plantation

– a luncheon with the business community, featuring their input and discussions on the Green Economy

– an organic food cook-out featuring celebrities

– the launch of a nature camp for speech and hearing impaired children

– a green walk-a-thon

The activities for WED, however, are not limited to the host country, India. One of the highlights of this year’s WED is the WED Challenge. In this competition, celebrities from different countries try to encourage people worldwide to take up a green activity, via the official WED website, personal blog or website, social media, and videos. These people, whether an individual or even an entire community, can share the details of their activity online at the official WED website, http://www.unep.org/wed/. Additionally, the activity can be pledged to one of the competing celebrities. People are able to share and pledge their activities until June 5.

Some activities include trash pickup events, walking or biking to work or school, planting a tree, or using reusable bags instead of plastic bags when shopping.

This year’s WED Challenge features supermodel Gisele Bündchen, actor Don Cheadle, Bollywood’s Priyanka Chopra and Rahul Bose, Chinese actress Li Bingbing, and entrepreneur Wang Shi.

In their pitches, Bündchen, Priyanka Chopra, and Li Bingbing each have promised to plant one tree for each activity pledged to them.

However, Cheadle, Rahul Bose, and Wang Shi each have pledged to plant two trees for each pledged activity.

Initially, the only two celebrities participating in the WED challenge were Bündchen and Cheadle. With only a few days remaining until WED, Bündchen has 56% of the total votes and Cheadle trails with 44% of the votes.

Individual countries have also planned their own activities in celebration of WED. With the regional celebration hosted in Toronto, Canada has planned and registered over 50 WED events which include workshops, book readings, and consultation from environmental leaders on the Green Economy. Costa Rica has planned training course on sustainable forest management. And in Nepal, the United Nations is hosting a clean up around Mt. Everest. The 60 volunteer climbers recruited will kick off a long term clean up expedition that will aim to remove an estimated 9 tons of trash on and around Mt. Everest. Also, sustainable waste management and recycling facilities are planned to be developed in the area.

The preparation and excitement leading up to WED has influenced some additional celebrities and companies. Nick Offerman, who starred in “Parks and Recreation”, and Budweiser launched their campaign, Grow One, Save a Million. Offerman encourages men to quit shaving their beards until WED arrives because it will conserve water. Says Offerman, “The only thing manlier than growing a big, burly beard is ripping a big, burly beard off of a charging grizzly with your bare hands. That, and saving the planet.”

World Environment Day may be held only once a year, but it aims to be an impact and inspiration every day of the year. It calls for positive environmental actions; everyone everywhere should not only be more environmentally responsible in their daily lives, but also to be active in promoting and initiating a cleaner and greener future.

Photo credit: flickr.com/photos/ssandars/161624646/

Christie’s “Green Auction” Raises $2.4 million for Environmental Causes

auction-gavel-Christie'sThe international auction house Christie’s has raised a total of $2.4 million for environmental causes, through its “Green Auction: Bid to Save the Earth” event. Through collaboration with charitybuzz.com, the event included a live auction on March 29th, combined with three weeks of online auctioning ending on April 7th.
Sales from the live auction totaled $1.4 million, with $750,000 raised through the charitybuzz.com online auction and $10 donations sent via text message.

The four beneficiaries of the funds are the Central Park Conservancy, Conservation International, Oceana, and the National Resources Defense Council. The non-profit organizations were selected based upon their four-star rating by the charity rating agency, Charity Navigator.

Edward Dolman, Chairman of Christie’s, discussed the auction house’s goals for the event, stating, “By hosting the Green Auction, Christie’s is taking the lead with innovative ways to raise crucial funds and awareness for the preservation of our planet, and we are happy to be a global catalyst in such a noble endeavor.”  

Auction lots varied from pledges of support for the featured environmental non-profits to tickets to the Vanity Fair Oscar party. Numerous social and political figures were featured, including letters of support from Prince Charles of the United Kingdom and Prince Albert of Monaco, flying lessons with Harrison Ford, and backstage meet-ups with Justin Bieber or Lady Gaga.

Environmentally-themed art, luxury “eco-conscious” vacation packages, and tickets to television finales were also offered.

Prices for the lots varied, with an hour long tennis lesson with John McEnroe selling for $26,000, while a day spent with former President Bill Clinton was auctioned for as much as $100,000.

The event was co-hosted by François-Henri Pinault, Salma Hayek, Graydon and Anna Carter, Vogue Magazine, and David and Susan Rockefeller, the latter of which is also a member of Oceana’s board. Speaking to Reuters,  Rockefeller, a respected environmental activist and documentary film maker, called the event “multi-tiered”.

“Art, philanthropy, music and fashion can all transform the way you see something and make it come alive,” she stated. “All these people from different walks of life, with different talents, scientists, lawyers, all working toward protecting the environment.”

The live auction at Christie’s also featured a “Runway to Green” fashion show, in which most major fashion houses, totally 24 brands in all, participated. Sponsored and underwritten by Tiffany and Co, designers ranging from Gucci to Marc Jacobs donated or crafted pieces for the show. All featured pieces were afterwards made available for purchase online at Net-A-Porter. 

A percentage of all proceeds from the “Runway to Green” sales were donated to numerous environmental organizations, including the United Nations Environment Programme’s Billion Tree Campaign, the National Resources Defense Council and the Alliance for Climate Protection.

Participating designers also made pledges to investigate the National Resources Defense Council’s sustainable manufacturing practices, as put forth in the non-profit’s “Clean by Design” initiative.

Lorenzo Roccia, the Chairman of “Runway to Green”, commented on the fashion industry’s growing awareness of its environmental impact.
“This collaboration constitutes one of the most important commitments made on behalf of the fashion industry to learn and address its impact on the environment,” he stated. “It uses the power and reach of the industry to deliver a global message about the relevance and necessity to be educated on our individual role and responsibility in protecting the environment.”

This is Christie’s second annual “Bid to Save the Earth” event, with last year’s auction raising over $2 million for the featured environmental organizations. The auction itself strove to be carbon neutral, with electronic catalogues, the utilization of Christie’s LIVE for real-time online bidding, and carbon off-sets offered to those travelling to the event. 

Photographs and further information on the event can be found here.

Photo credit: yuma-az.gov/8265.htm

 

The international auction house Christie’s has raised a total of $2.4 million for environmental causes, through its “Green Auction: Bid to Save the Earth” event. Through collaboration with charitybuzz.com, the event included a live auction on March 29th, combined with three weeks of online auctioning ending on April 7th. Sales from the live auction totaled $1.4 million, with $750,000 raised through the charitybuzz.com online auction and $10 donations sent via text message.

The four beneficiaries of the funds are the Central Park Conservancy, Conservation International, Oceana, and the National Resources Defense Council. The non-profits were selected based upon their four-star rating by the charity-rating agency, Charity Navigator.

Edward Dolman, Chairman of Christie’s, discussed the auction house’s goals for the event, stating, “By hosting the Green Auction, Christie’s is taking the lead with innovative ways to raise crucial funds and awareness for the preservation of our planet, and we are happy to be a global catalyst in such a noble endeavor.”  

Auction lots varied from pledges of support for the featured environmental organizations to tickets to the Vanity Fair Oscar party. Numerous political and social figures were featured, including letters of support from Prince Charles of the United Kingdom and Prince Albert of Monaco, flying lessons with Harrison Ford, and backstage meet-ups with Justin Bieber or Lady Gaga. Environmentally-themed art, luxury “eco-conscious” vacation packages, and tickets television finales were also offered.

Prices for the lots varied, with an hour long tennis lesson with John McEnroe selling for $26,000, while a day spent with former President Bill Clinton was auctioned for $100,000.

The event was co-hosted by François-Henri Pinault, Salma Hayek, Graydon and Anna Carter, Vogue Magazine, and David and Susan Rockefeller, the latter of which is also a member of Oceana’s board. Speaking to Reuters, Mrs. Rockefeller, a respected environmental activist and documentary film maker, called the event “multi-tiered”.

“Art, philanthropy, music and fashion can all transform the way you see something and make it come alive,” she stated. “All these people from different walks of life, with different talents, scientists, lawyers, all working toward protecting the environment.”

This is Christie’s second annual “Bid to Save the Earth” event, with last year’s auction raising $2 million for the featured environmental organizations. The auction itself strove to be carbon neutral, with electronic catalogues, the utilization of Christie’s LIVE for real-time online bidding, and carbon off-sets offered to those travelling to the event.  

The live auction at Christie’s also featured a “Runway to Green” fashion show, in which almost all the major fashion houses, totally 24 brands in all, participated. Sponsored and underwritten by Tiffany and Co, designers ranging from Gucci to Marc Jacobs donated or crafted pieces for the show. All featured pieces were afterwards made available for purchase online at Net-A-Porter. 

A percentage of all proceeds from the “Runway to Green” sales were donated to numerous environmental organizations, including the United Nations Environment Programme’s Billion Tree Campaign, the NRDC and the Alliance for Climate Protection. All participating designers also made pledges to investigate the National Resource De

The international auction house Christie’s has raised a total of $2.4 million for environmental causes, through its “Green Auction: Bid to Save the Earth” event. Through collaboration with charitybuzz.com, the event included a live auction on March 29th, combined with three weeks of online auctioning ending on April 7th. Sales from the live auction totaled $1.4 million, with $750,000 raised through the charitybuzz.com online auction and $10 donations sent via text message.

The four beneficiaries of the funds are the Central Park Conservancy, Conservation International, Oceana, and the National Resources Defense Council. The non-profits were selected based upon their four-star rating by the charity-rating agency, Charity Navigator.

Edward Dolman, Chairman of Christie’s, discussed the auction house’s goals for the event, stating, “By hosting the Green Auction, Christie’s is taking the lead with innovative ways to raise crucial funds and awareness for the preservation of our planet, and we are happy to be a global catalyst in such a noble endeavor.”  

Auction lots varied from pledges of support for the featured environmental organizations to tickets to the Vanity Fair Oscar party. Numerous political and social figures were featured, including letters of support from Prince Charles of the United Kingdom and Prince Albert of Monaco, flying lessons with Harrison Ford, and backstage meet-ups with Justin Bieber or Lady Gaga. Environmentally-themed art, luxury “eco-conscious” vacation packages, and tickets television finales were also offered.

Prices for the lots varied, with an hour long tennis lesson with John McEnroe selling for $26,000, while a day spent with former President Bill Clinton was auctioned for $100,000.

The event was co-hosted by François-Henri Pinault, Salma Hayek, Graydon and Anna Carter, Vogue Magazine, and David and Susan Rockefeller, the latter of which is also a member of Oceana’s board. Speaking to Reuters, Mrs. Rockefeller, a respected environmental activist and documentary film maker, called the event “multi-tiered”.

“Art, philanthropy, music and fashion can all transform the way you see something and make it come alive,” she stated. “All these people from different walks of life, with different talents, scientists, lawyers, all working toward protecting the environment.”

This is Christie’s second annual “Bid to Save the Earth” event, with last year’s auction raising $2 million for the featured environmental organizations. The auction itself strove to be carbon neutral, with electronic catalogues, the utilization of Christie’s LIVE for real-time online bidding, and carbon off-sets offered to those travelling to the event.  

The live auction at Christie’s also featured a “Runway to Green” fashion show, in which almost all the major fashion houses, totally 24 brands in all, participated. Sponsored and underwritten by Tiffany and Co, designers ranging from Gucci to Marc Jacobs donated or crafted pieces for the show. All featured pieces were afterwards made available for purchase online at Net-A-Porter. 

A percentage of all proceeds from the “Runway to Green” sales were donated to numerous environmental organizations, including the United Nations Environment Programme’s Billion Tree Campaign, the NRDC and the Alliance for Climate Protection. All participating designers also made pledges to investigate the National Resource Defense Council’s sustainable manufacturing practices, as put forth in the non-profit’s Clean by Design initiative.

Lorenzo Roccia, the Chairman of “Runway to Green”, commented on the fashion industry’s growing awareness of its environmental impact.
“This collaboration constitutes one of the most important commitments made on behalf of the fashion industry to learn and address its impact on the environment,” he stated. “It uses the power and reach of the industry to deliver a global message about the relevance and necessity to be educated on our individual role and responsibility in protecting the environment.”

Photographs and further information on the event can be found here.

 

fense Council’s sustainable manufacturing practices, as put forth in the non-profit’s Clean by Design initiative.

Lorenzo Roccia, the Chairman of “Runway to Green”, commented on the fashion industry’s growing awareness of its environmental impact.
This collaboration constitutes one of the most important commitments made on behalf of the fashion industry to learn and address its impact on the environment,” he stated. “It uses the power and reach of the industry to deliver a global message about the relevance and necessity to be educated on our individual role and responsibility in protecting the environment.”

Photographs and further information on the event can be found here.

 

Millions Hit The Light Switch For Earth Hour

Millions of people across the globe switched off their lights on Saturday night in celebration of Earth Hour, a World Wildlife Fund-sponsored event that began in 2007. The concept of the event is to bring people together in an energy-saving effort with climate change in mind. 

134 countries were involved this year, including Germany, India, Fiji, Australia, China, Canada, and the United States. Earth Hour occurs every year at 8:30 pm and for the past three years has involved hundreds of millions of people. This year, many countries held a moment of silence to remember Japan in its recent catastrophic earthquake and tsunami.

In California, lights were shut off at notable locations including the LAX airport sign, the Ferris wheel on Santa Monica’s pier, and the “Queen Mary” in Long Beach.

In Chicago, numerous important landmarks went dark including Willis Tower, the Merchandise Mart, and the Navy Pier Ferris wheel.

The concept originally began in Australia but quickly gained popularity and turned into a unifying global event. For many cities, the energy saved is enough to highlight the value of even small conservation efforts.

“Let us use 60 minutes of darkness to help the world see the light,” said Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard. “The simple and powerful idea of switching off lights for an hour to drive action on climate change began in Sydney and has been embraced around the world.”

Co-founder of the event Andy Ridley explained that the event is meant to spread awareness about environmental concerns, and how we can unify to battle against such problems. “What it is meant to be about is showing what can happen when people come together,” he said, as quoted by Patty Daily New.

But he says they never expected Earth Hour to become so widespread. “We didn’t imagine right at the beginning… it would be on the scale that it is now. And the fact that it is so cross cultural, beyond borders and race and religion,” he said.

In many cities, there was a noticeable drop in power use. According to The Star, power use in Toronto dropped 5 percent. But this was half the reduction that was achieved at last year’s Earth Hour in the city. In 2009, the city saw a 15 percent drop.

Experts suggest that the event has lost its novelty, but the WWF says it has spread across more countries than ever before. The event is meant to be both symbolic and a united effort as a globe.

Many organizations celebrated the hour in their own creative ways. According to the Baltimore Sun, the Maryland Science Center celebrated their own version of Earth Hour between 3 and 4 pm and involved their young visitors in special science experiments during that hour, sans-electricity.

All lights, computers, and other electric equipment were turned off while the children enjoyed interactive gadgets. The centere normally runs high-tech displays, but during the hour they performed experiments such as using lenses to make telescopes. One scientist used the hour to display the planetarium and show the visitors what stars they would see that night if they celebrated Earth Hour.

The first Earth Hour in 2007 involved 2.2 million people and 2,000 businesses across Australia. By 2008, the event had globalized. Another year later and hundreds of millions of people were participating. In India and other emerging economies, participation greatly increased this year, doubling from last year. 

Earth Hour’s founders are encouraging people to take the idea of conservation beyond the hour and into their daily lives.

Photo source

For Global Work Party, Groups in 188 Countries Highlight Solutions

By: Nick Engelfried 

October 11, 2010

From New Zealand to the United States, and from China to Costa Rica, people around the world held over 7,340 events in 188 countries Sunday urging world leaders to take action to prevent global warming.  Sunday’s Global Work Party, an international day of action initiated by climate activist group 350.org, is already being called the most widespread day of political action and participation ever organized in world history.

Events held Sunday ranged from bicycle rallies in India to solar panel installations in the Namibian desert, but all were united by a common theme.  According to 350.org, every event registered for the day of action was designed to put people to work implementing solutions that curb carbon emissions in some way.  Activists hope to send a message to policymakers around the planet that solutions to global warming already exist.  Says 350.org’s web site: “We’re sending a clear message to our political leaders: ‘If we can get to work, so can you!’”

Sunday’s event fell almost one year after the first international day of climate action organized by 350.org, which occurred last year on October 24th.  That event generated more than 5,000 rallies and creative actions in 181 countries, drawing attention to the maximum safe level of carbon dioxide content for the atmosphere: 350 parts per million.  Today concentrations of carbon dioxide are at 388 parts per million, meaning deep cuts in carbon emissions are needed to prevent catastrophic global warming.  And on Sunday, 350.org and other leading environmental groups decided to lead by example. 

People in New York City painted building roofs white to reflect sunlight and reduce the need for air conditioning, while activists in Portland, Oregon held a bicycle repair workshop followed by a bike rally in support of replacing Oregon’s Boardman Coal Plant with clean energy.  Students in Barbados constructed a hover-craft powered by fuel cells, while President Mohamed Nasheed of the Maldives Islands climbed onto the roof of the presidential mansion to install solar panels. 

Most of Sunday’s events seem to have been infused with a sense of hope for the future.  Rather than becoming discouraged and giving up, the climate movement is growing stronger all over the world.  There’s also evidence that elected officials in the planet’s major economies may finally be starting to take notice.  Earlier this month, partly in response to pressure from 350.org, the Barack Obama administration announced it will lead by example by installing solar panels on the White House roof. 

So what’s next for this global climate movement?  350.org is in the process of sorting through report-backs from Sunday’s work parties, and developing its strategy for moving forward.  According to 350.org co-founder Bill McKibben, Sunday’s day of action “isn’t the end of our work this year, and it’s vital that we keep the pressure on world leaders.”  If decision makers in the countries contributing most to global warming thought the climate movement would peter out, they were much mistaken.

Photo credit: Jonathan Doig, Nick Engelfried

Thousands Call for End to Mountaintop Removal at Appalachia Rising

Sep 28, 2010 – An estimated couple of thousand people rallied in Washington, DC on Monday to call for an end to the practice of mountaintop removal coal mining.  About 100 protesters were arrested for an act of civil disobedience outside the White House, after refusing to obey an order not to cross a police line.  Monday’s event, titled Appalachia Rising, marks the largest demonstration against mountaintop removal mining so far in the United States.

Mountaintop removal mining, a method for coal extraction used mainly in the Appalachian Mountains, involves clear-cutting forested mountains and blasting away the mountaintops to expose underground coal seems.  In the last year the US Environmental Protection Agency has taken at least some steps to curb the practice and make mountaintop removal mining permits more difficult for companies to obtain.  However environmental groups and many residents of Appalachia charge the practice must be discontinued altogether, and that the EPA has failed to do its job of protecting Appalachia’s environment. 

On Monday morning hundreds of activists began the day with a rally in Washington, DC’s Freedom Plaza.  Speakers from Appalachian communities affected by mountaintop removal mining described how pollution from mining sites has polluted their air and water and damaged the quality of life in mountain towns.  Most mountaintop removal operations end up dumping rubble and debris into nearby streams and valleys, contaminating water with heavy metals and chemicals used for coal mining. 

Matt Dernoga, a graduate student at the University of Maryland who attended the rally, described the impact speakers had on the audience.  “Coalfield residents…spoke from the heart,” says Dernoga, “in a way that conveyed how dire the situation was to those like myself who are fortunate enough to have clean water and relatively clean air.”

Protesters next marched to EPA headquarters to express their frustration with the agency, and then on to the local branch of PNC Bank—one of the main financial institutions that provides funding for mountaintop removal mining.  That morning, in an act of civil disobedience that did not result in any arrests, thirteen activists held a sit-in inside the US Department of the Interior building to urge Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar to work with the Office of Surface Mining to end mountaintop removal. 

Appalachia Rising culminated with a large rally outside the White House, during which about 100 protesters were eventually arrested.  One of the individuals arrested was climate scientist Dr. James Hansen of NASA, who has been among the most outspoken scientific advocates for ending the burning of coal that contributes to global warming. 

The decision to target the White House reflects growing frustration from environmental activists who hoped President Barack Obama would put an end to the practice of mountaintop removal much more quickly than has been the case.  “I have no doubt that those in power and big coal took notice of this day,” said Dernoga.  “I encourage everyone to step up their efforts to win this.”

Photo credit: iLoveMountains.org