70 Minnesotans hopped on a train headed for Washington, DC this morning. They’ll be attending the Forward On Climate rally tomorrow on the Washington Mall. The rally is expected to draw tens of thousands of people.
This morning 70 Minnesotans discovered that changing one word can change the world. As they gathered at the St Paul Amtrak station, a flash mob blossomed singing, “ride on the earth train,” a heartfelt adaptation of Cat Steven’s “Peace Train.”
The dream of an earth train was born on November 30th as Susan and Jim Lenfestey left Bill McKibben’s Do the Math Tour feeling inspired and ready for action. Bill had suggested attendees join him for a rally in Washington D.C in February to encourage President Obama to take meaningful action towards a clean, sustainable energy future. Susan joked, “well we know we can’t fly. Let’s take the train!”
Her offhanded joke was really a deeper reflection of a commitment to a clean energy future. Planes are one of the biggest contributors of carbon, and if we are to significantly lower the carbon in our atmosphere, limiting our air travel is an excellent place to start. The train ride to D.C will be long, but it will be a chance to enjoy the landscape, engage with other passengers, and minimize carbon emissions on a long journey. (Read more about Amtrak’s commitment to environmental sustainability here).
Rep. Frank Hornstein (DFL-Mpls) was one of the 70 to hop on the train.
“I’m a life-long environmentalist,” Hornstein said. Hornstein is chair of the House Transportation Committee and a member of the Energy Policy Committee. “I strongly believe that climate change is one of the defining issues of our generation. This event is nothing less than historic.”
A few others hopped on the train, too. Author Louise Erdrich, humorist, storyteller Kevin Kling as well as musician Prudence Johnson.