¡Si Se Puede! Yes We Can!
On a blustery, cold Sunday afternoon in February, more than 35,000 friends, family and strangers came together on the National Mall for the Forward on Climate rally to support action being taken on climate change. This monumental event marked the first time in history that so many people from across the country joined hands to take a stand on climate change at the nation’s capital.
The rally was organized by NRDC, Sierra Club and 350.org and featured a number of motivational speakers including the founder of 350.org Bill McKibben, Rebuild a Dream President and NRDC Trustee Van Jones, Senator Sheldon Whitehouse, and popular CNN Latino anchor, Maria Cardona. Of all these fabulous speakers, Maria really captured the crowd with her chant, “¡Si Se Puede!” which engaged thousands of enthusiastic marchers on the mall. In addition to her role as CNN anchor, Maria is also a board member and voice of the Latino-based environmental organization, Voces Verdes. She spoke of the importance of environmental awareness in the Latino community because of the detrimental effects of toxins in the water and in the air in the communities they live in. She emphasized that Latinos disproportionately live in communities that have been poisoned and where the children that play outside have to suffer through asthma due to the poor air quality days. Maria really took a stand on climate change when she reminded the crowd of what President Obama said in the State of the Union address: “For the sake of our children and our future, we must do more to combat climate change,” and how that was more important now than ever.
What Maria said next was possibly the most significant part of the day: “[We] unequivocally support limits for carbon pollution from power plants. Getting standards for new and existing power plants will mean real improvements for the health for our families and children.” That phrase is so important because limiting emissions from power plants really is the best plan to help clean up our air in the most economically beneficial way. Learn more about NRDC’s proposal to cut carbon emissions from power plants in my colleague, Dan Lashof’s, blog.
Although I was unable to make it to the rally to provide a personal testament, my colleague Denée shared her incredible experience and what the real feeling of the rally was in her blog, here. It is important to remember that the Latino community is a growing community that is continuing to play a more significant role in the shaping the future of our country. As Maria addressed the crowd on climate change, she said, “[she has] no doubt that with [our] commitment, energy, heart and soul, ¡si se puede!”
Thanks to Rocky Kistner for creating the video of Maria’s speech: