Sunday, July 12, 2009

GreenPeace - Behind-the-scenes video of Mount Rushmore banner hang

"Climbers hung a banner on the face of Mount Rushmore to issue a challenge to President Obama: "America honors leaders, not politicians: Stop global warming." The action is part of a global day of action staged by Greenpeace to urge world leaders attending a G8 meeting in L'Aquila, Italy, to take the actions necessary to avert runaway climate change.

“We are at a key moment in history when we must challenge our president to take real leadership. The steps taken so far have been frankly inadequate. If President Obama wants to take his place among the great leaders of history, he must take aggressive measures to combat climate change and prioritize a strong deal in Copenhagen,” said Carroll Muffet, Deputy Campaign Director for Greenpeace. "We're here at Mount Rushmore to inspire Americans to take action, and remind the world that heroism and leadership are part of our nation’s history — and must be a part of our future.”

from the GreenPeace staff blog:
We just posted this amazing new video – shot by our team in the field at yesterday’s banner hang on Mount Rushmore – to YouTube. Check it out, there’s some cool behind-the-scenes footage, and then you can see just how windy it was. Our climbers get tossed around pretty good. Just goes to show how incredible of a job they really did.

In addition to heaps of praise and words of encouragement, we’ve been getting a lot of flak from people who were upset that we would deface a national monument. My response to them is twofold: First, there are already climbing leads established on the rock, which the park employees use to clean the monument. Our climbers used those leads and were extremely cautious not to do any harm to the monument, and in the end they did not do any damage.

Second, all of the sanctimonious claims about our disrespect for what Mount Rushmore represents are completely baseless. We have utmost respect for the accomplishments of the great leaders who built this country, that’s why we chose it as the site for issuing our challenge to President Obama to be a leader on global warming. But Mount Rushmore was built on a mountain stolen from Native Americans. Adding insult to injury, we then carved a bunch of white people’s faces into it. So you gotta ask yourself: What does Mount Rushmore really represent?

For the record, a member of the local Oglala Sioux tribe has published an op-ed praising our action.

And our larger point still stands: If President Obama wants to be considered equal to the pantheon of great American leaders depicted on Mount Rushmore, he needs to start providing real leadership on global warming, the greatest challenge of our time.

The pesident is currently meeting with the rest of the G8 leaders in L’Aquila, Italy. Yesterday they held a press conference to announce that they were setting a target of limiting global warming to 2 degrees Celsius. But that is not what real leadership looks like – that target had already been endorsed by 109 nations even before the G8 announcement.

Plus, as worthy as this long-term goal is, the truly critical issue is that President Obama and the rest of the world’s leaders still have not laid out an adequate roadmap for how we’re going to get there. In other words, they haven’t set short-term goals that are ambitious enough to get us to the long term goal of keeping global temperature rise below 2 degrees Celsius. Scientists have clearly stated that the United States and other industrialized countries must cut their emissions by 25-40 percent below 1990 levels by 2020. But the Obama Administration, like Congress, continues to promote short-term emissions reductions targets that fall far short of what science demands.

We can’t continue to put off for tomorrow what science tells us we need to do today. While the 2 degree commitment would appear to recognize the severity of the crisis we're facing, the Obama Administration and the G8 have failed to provide any plan for staying below this critical threshold. Sign our petition now and ask Obama to be a leader on global warming, not just here in America but for the world as well.
permalink GreenPeace staff blog

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