Wilton prepares for the People's Climate March

In May 2013, Quaker and environmental activist Jay O’Hara and his friend Ken Ward anchored their small lobster boat in Fall River, Mass., to block an incoming 40,000-ton coal shipment to Brayton Point, New England’s largest coal-fired power plant.

The two men were arrested and faced criminal charges, but just as the trial was set to begin on Monday, Sept. 8, Bristol District Attorney C. Samuel Sutter, decided to drop all charges.

According to the Boston Globe, Mr. Sutter said during an appearance at Fall River District Court that he “empathized with the stance” of Mr. O’Hara and Mr. Ward, “who said they were acting to reduce harm to the planet.”

In his statement, according to the Boston Globe, Mr. Sutter said he believes Mr. O’Hara and Mr. Ward have presented a “compelling case about climate change.”

“I do believe they’re right,” Mr. Sutter said, “that we’re at a crisis point with climate change.”

On Thursday, Sept. 18, Mr. O’Hara will host a 7 p.m. discussion on climate change at Wilton Friends Meetinghouse, 317 New Canaan Road, before heading to the People’s Climate March in New York City on Sunday, Sept. 21.

Wilton is just one of the six Connecticut stops Mr. O’Hara will have made on his Climate Tour.

During his visit, Mr. O’Hara will discuss more than just climate change — he will also talk about direct action. As he sails his way to the New York march, Mr. O’Hara is inviting people to “get energized and ready” to join what he calls “the biggest climate change rally in history.”

Wilton Go Green

Wilton Go Green will join other environmental advocates and activists like Mr. O’Hara at the People’s Climate March.

“One of our areas of interest is energy and energy conservation, and climate change has definitely been in the forefront, growing more apparent,” said Jana Bertkau, Wilton Go Green vice president.

“This is something we should be paying more attention to. We support people reducing their carbon footprint by having energy audits.”

Wilton Go Green is offering Wilton residents to help “change everything” by attending the 11:30 a.m. march at Columbus Circle.

“We have 10 people signed up and are hoping for more,” said Ms. Bertkau, “and lawn signs will be going up soon.”

The People’s Climate March is being put together by the organization 350.org and will precede the Climate Summit 2014 at the United Nations on Sept. 23.

Wilton Go Green voted in June to partner with 350.org for the march, and has since been organizing the trip.

“We have always linked to 350.org. When we heard they were bringing this to our backyard, we voted to partner with them in this event,” said Ms. Bertkau.

“We are trying to lead the charge in Wilton on something very important.”

The 350.org group is dedicated to building a global climate movement through online campaigns, grassroots organizing, and mass public actions.

The number 350 refers to the level of parts per million to which CO2 in the atmosphere must be reduced to for a “livable planet.” According to 305.org, it is now at 400 ppm.

Ms. Bertkau said the Wilton Congregational Church Earth Ministry Team will be joining Wilton Go Green at the People’s Climate March.

“They have a few folks signed up and Rev. Arnold Thomas will send the group off with a blessing,” she said.

United Nations

In July, U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon introduced the United Nations-backed “Deep Decarbonization Pathway Project” report in July.

The report outlined ways major industrial nations can cut their carbon emissions by the middle of this century. The report was produced by research institutes in 15 countries.

According to the U.N. website, it is the “first global cooperative program to identify practical pathways to a low-carbon economy by 2050.”

The report emphasizes energy efficiency, low-carbon electricity and fuel switching. It also outlines steps “countries can take to meet internationally agreed target of limiting the increase in global mean surface temperature to less than 2 degrees Celsius.”

Mr. Ki-moon called for leaders around the world — in government, business, finance and civil society — to join at U.N. headquarters in Manhattan for the People’s Climate March.

“By seeing what is possible, others can take inspiration and follow suit,” he said.

“People need to understand why decarbonization is necessary. They need to know it is possible. And they need to see that cutting emissions can benefit economics and people’s well-being.”

Wilton residents who would like to join the march may join the Wilton Go Green group, which will be leaving from Wilton Station at 8:10 a.m., Sunday, Sept. 21.

“We all will leave from the Wilton station...and join other Connecticut folks who are traveling by train from New Haven,” said Ms. Bertkau.

“They are adding four cars on three different trains to accommodate the New Haven marchers.”


For more information on the march, visit: wiltongogreen.org or 350.org.

Those interested in learning more about Wilton Go Green’s trip to the march may email info@wiltongogreen.org or visit wiltongogreen.org.