Astroturf Fail? Join the real grassroots climate action movement

Graphic of activists holding climate action signs

It’s more important than ever that we keep the pressure up for strong climate policy. As Emily wrote earlier this week, a fake-grassroots campaign is being unleashed against energy and climate policy reform.

Big Oil is eager to evade regulation of their dirty energy supplies. It’s taken a cue from the health care reform protesters, who have managed to seize the media spotlight with intimidation tactics like shouting down members of Congress at their in-district town hall meetings.

Kevin Grandia recently wrote on HuffPo about an email memo, written by American Petroleum Institute (API) president Jack Gerard, that was leaked to colleagues of mine here at Greenpeace. The memo details how API, a lobbying group for Big Oil, “plans to launch a nationwide Astroturf campaign attacking climate legislation at public events scheduled throughout the final weeks of recess before the Senate returns to debate the issue in September.”

The best cures for astroturf are real grassroots. So here are ways that you can get involved right now, to help keep the record straight and demand solutions on climate and energy policy:

Green the Block‘s national day of service on September 11:

This campaign builds off President Obama’s call for citizen’s to join in national recovery and renewal efforts on September 11th, 2009. Enter your event into Green the Block’s online system, so that anyone looking for something to do on 9/11 will be able to find it.

This campaign is organized by green jobs group Green for All and the Hip Hop Caucus “to educate and mobilize communities of color to ensure a voice and stake in the clean-energy economy.”

Above: Green for All has put together a really great video, called “The New Sound,” to help get the word out about “Green the Block” day of service on Sept. 11, 2009.

The International Day of Climate Action on October 24th:

Being co-ordinated by, which has tools online to help you plan and promote an event in your community.

The goal is to unite activists worldwide around getting the greenhouse gas pollution in the atmosphere down to 350 parts per million (right now we’re at around 389 and climbing), and demand that world leaders take action to solve global warming.

As writer and activist Bill McKibben told us right here on this blog this week, there are over 1,500 or so events already scheduled around the world, from rallies in big cities to “climbers high in the Himalayas, and underwater demonstrations off the coral reefs of the Maldives, and teams of 350 bike riders, and churches ringing their bells 350 times, and an endless variety of other creative and impassioned ways to drive this most important number into the consciousness of the world!”

Maybe you don’t want to wait until 9/11 or 10/24:

Well, Greenpeace has organizers around the country who’d be happy to help you plug in to your local activist community. Check out to find an organizer near you, or to sign up to get more information from one of our national organizers if you’re not near one of our field organizers.

I know I’m really stoked about the Mobilization for Climate Justice happening here in the Bay Area this weekend, to protest the expansion of a Chevron refinery in Richmond, CA.

[Other organizing / action efforts and events to consider: 1Sky’s “Summer Recess Beach Party” campaign, the Alliance for Energy Education‘s climate assemblies, and the Energy Action Coalition youth movement. – Ed.]

The important thing is that we all get out there and make sure that corporate-backed astroturfers don’t hijack this debate. Don’t let Big Oil drown our voices out! The time for real global warming solutions is now. Let’s make it happen.

Image via Energy Action Coalition.

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