On March 1 we passed through the Pennsylvania countryside and then on into Virginia, Maryland, and the District of Columbia. Some of us had traveled by train from as far away as California, while others had gotten on in Illinois, Michigan, and Ohio.
We were headed to Washington for the Capitol Climate Action, a large national witness for a sustainable planet, and were taking the train to help in a small way to reduce the environmental cost of making our voices heard.
In preparation for this effort, Pace e Bene was asked to lead a nonviolent action training for those traveling by train from Chicago to Washington. Pace e Bene staffer Ken Butigan joined others in boarding in Chicago on Saturday evening, February 28. In the morning, he and fifteen others spent a few hours reflecting on the power of nonviolent change and role-playing what they might face.
The March 2 Capitol Climate Action is focusing on a a coal-fired power plant that supplies the US Capitol with its energy. As the action organizers put it, “The Capitol Power Plant is a symbol of the stranglehold dirty energy, coal first-and-foremost, has over our government and future. The Capitol Power Plant is the national stage for our movement.”
On the night before this action, 1500 people jammed an auditorium at George Washington University to attend “Artists for the Climate,” a powerful tune-up for the event emceed by environmentalist Bill McKibben and featuring rapper Laelo Hood; Grammy-winning country singer Kathy Mattea; Dean of the Yale School of Forestry and Environmental Studies, Gus Speth; Hip Hop Caucus president and Pace e Bene board member Rev. Lennox Yearwood, Jr; and two powerful poets and essayist for the planet: Terry Tempest Williams and Wendell Berry.
The next day, in spite of snow, there was a powerful march and nonviolent witness for the planet.