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Martin Sheen, Paul Hawken, James Hansen and others invite citizens to stand with them against coal

In advance of the Capitol Climate Action, which is taking place on Monday, March 2, Dr. James Hansen, Rabbi Michael Lerner, author Paul Hawken, actor and activist Martin Sheen, and many others have released an open letter inviting people to the largest civil disobedience on global warming in U.S. history.

Their letter is below:

Clean Energy is Our Opportunity, 2009 is Our Time to Act

We are a country of excellent talkers. When it comes to the growing global warming crisis we have been incredibly good at analyzing, debating, discussing, negotiating, and compromising our way around and around the problem. On action, we have fallen short.

The facts are no longer up for debate: the burning of fossil fuels, especially coal, is responsible for global warming; U.S. inaction will ensure that our young people inherit a climate problem that is deeper and ever more impossible to solve; and, if we allow current warming trends to continue, we will face a massive drag on our economy that will be much worse than today's recession.

It is time we escalate our actions to meet the immediacy of our message. It is time to seize the opportunity to be a country where actions speak louder than words--we can and we must!

On March 2, more than 2,500 people--backed by more than 90 environmental, public health, labor, social justice, and faith-based advocacy groups--will participate in a multi-generational act of peaceful civil disobedience at the coal power plant that literally powers congressional buildings in Washington DC. We stand with them. The Capitol Power Plant is a national symbol for the stranglehold that dirty energy sources have over our communities, our climate and our economy.

The Capitol Climate Action is a rallying cry to renew America with a clean energy economy that will protect the health of our families, secure our economic future and preserve our environment.

Ahead of the UN conference in Copenhagen and with climate and energy legislation coming down the pipe, 2009 is a now-or-never moment to ensure that climate and energy decisions by our government are bold, just and far-reaching. Right now, it is up to civil society to take the lead in demonstrating in ever-more powerful ways to provide political cover for lawmakers who will face fierce pressure from business groups, like the coal lobby, to water down or vote down bold solutions.

It is no small thing to stand up when so many others are still sitting down--especially when it may mean personally risking arrest. More than 2500 people will take this stand on March 2.

Will you stand with them?

Sincerely,

Enei Begaye, Co-Director, Black Mesa Water Coalition

Julia 'Judy' Bonds, Co-Director Coail River Mountain Watch

Adrienne Maree Brown, Executive Director of The Ruckus Society

Michael Brune, Executive Director, Rainforest Action Network

Mike Clark, Executive Director, Greenpeace US

Paul R. Ehrlich, President, Center for Conservation Biology, Stanford University

Bill Greider, Author Come Home, America: The Rise and Fall (and Redeeming Promise) of Our Country

Dr. James Hansen, Leading climate scientist

Paul Hawken, Environmentalist, entrepreneur, journalist, and author

Wahleah Johns, Co-Director Black Mesa Water Coalition

David N. Pellow, Board member, Greenpeace USA; Author of Resisting Global Toxics: Transnational Movements for Environmental Justice

Rabbi Michael Lerner, Author, The Left Hand of God: Taking Our Country Back from the Religious Right; Editor, TIKKUN magazine

Bill McKibben, Author, educator, and founder of 350.org

Professor Richard L. Ottinger, Dean Emeritus, Pace Law School

Martin Sheen, Actor

Vandana Shiva, world-renowned environmental leader and thinker

Gustave Speth, Former adviser on environment for President Carter and Clinton