(The following blog entry was written by Greenpeace Los Angeles Volunteer Leader Lauren Keenan)
For almost a year now, Greenpeace Los Angeles has been diligently fighting against our city’s addiction to coal. When we were asked to outreach at the Re-Education Camp at LA Rising, the largest rock event at the LA Coliseum in 11 years, we knew we had to be there. After all, the bands (including Rage Against the Machine, Muse, and Rise Against) had personally requested the presence of Greenpeace and over thirty other organizations to “re-educate” the concert attendees about issues effecting our community. How can anyone turn down that invitation?
After some excellent organizing and production skills by Greenpeace volunteers, the day of the event arrived. Despite the massive crowd and scorching sun, the camp was full of people with this amazing urgency to take action and re-educate themselves. It was incredibly inspiring to have our booth surrounded by thousands of people joined together raising their voices and calling for change.
One young man with a raspy voice explained to me before I even got the chance to say hello, how detrimental coal is to not just the environment but to people’s health. It turned out he was a coal miner from Utah and, yes, he signed our petition to get LA coal free. The icing on the cake was when Tom Morello, the guitarist of Rage Against the Machine, walked through our tent and without hesitation, agreed to do a photo petition! Having Rage Against the Machine, who is from Los Angeles and winner of 2 Grammys, support a coal-free LA is a definite illustration to the LADWP and Los Angeles City Council the diversity of support calling for an end of our addiction to dirty energy.
The time came for our shot on the big screen, literally. Following the band Rise Against and opening for Muse, our Quit Coal video, produced by Greenpeace volunteer Blake Hodges, exposed over 60,000 people to LA’s dirty secret: Coal. As the roar of the crowd subsided and 60,000 heads turned to watch our campaign video on two massive screens flanking the stage - it was overwhelming knowing that tens of thousands of people are now ready to take action. You can actually take action right now by watching the video and sharing it with your friends and family or sign up to volunteer.
It was an absolute honor to be one of the many amazing organizations at LA Rising. In total, we collected over 1,000 petitions and 300 photo petitions – add to that what we already have and that’s over 4,000 people who are taking a stand against coal in Los Angeles. It is clear that people want change; People want a clean energy revolution. As Rage Against the Machine says in their song Renegades of Funk “we change the course of history, everyday people like you and me.”