Forward on Climate

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The Forward on Climate rally took place Sunday, Feb. 17, 2013, in Washington DC.

Speakers and agenda

Sunday, Feb. 17, 2013 the nation's capital hosted what was billed as the largest climate rally in U.S. history.

Thousands of environmentalists, farmers and workers of all kinds gathered in the shadow of the Washington Monument for a "Forward on Climate" demonstration to shout their opposition to the Keystone XL pipeline, fracking, Big Oil, and nuclear power.

The Rev. Lennox Yearwood of the Hip Hop Caucus, who emceed the event, introduced a list of speakers which included: Bill McKibben, president of 350.org; Van Jones, president of Rebuild the Dream; Maria Cordones, founder of Latinovations; Indigenous Peoples representatives including Chief Jacqueline Thomas from the Saik'uz First Nation and Crystal Lameman from the Beaver Lake Cree First Nations; Michael Brune, the Sierra Club's executive director and Democratic U.S. Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse from Rhode Island. Present, too, were celebrities like Evangeline Lilly and Rosario Dawson.

Bold.org, one of the event organizers, predicted that 20,000 people would participate, but Rev. Yearwood announced that the actual number there, 40,000, doubled expectations. Supplementing the massive action in D.C. were some 20 solidarity rallies in 16 states, from the four corners of the country-- Los Angeles, Palm City, Seattle, Portland, Maine-- and points in between. They included rallies in Arkansas, Kansas, Nebraska, and five in Montana alone.

"Bold Nebraska" and the Nebraska Farmers Union sent some hundred people to the demonstration from rural towns and farms and from the University of Nebraska. It was the largest national mobilization in the years the two organizations have been fighting TransCanada and their Keystone XL pipeline.

In a report on the rally, a representative from the Climate Change Action Network stated: "With President Obama's explicit call for climate action during his inaugural speech, we can see a possibility -- a realistic possibility -- that over the next four years we can make major strides forward. As he said on that day, 'We will respond to the threat of climate change, knowing that the failure to do so would betray our children and future generations. Some may still deny the overwhelming judgment of science, but none can avoid the devastating impact of raging fires, and crippling drought, and more powerful storms.[1]

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