CHITTENDEN SOUTH Citizens around the nation concerned about the effects of global warming rallied together on Saturday, April 14 to urge Congress to cut carbon emissions by 80 percent by 2050. While more than 1,400 organized efforts to spread the word against global warming occurred nationwide last weekend, several noteworthy events took place in South County as well. The events are part of the Step it Up campaign, the largest day of citizen action focusing on global warming. Vermonts own Step It Up organizer, Bill McKibben, said of the day, The groundswell of support for this effort is incredible. This is truly a grassroots movement, organized mainly through word of mouth, email outreach among friends, and the online community. The enormous participation in todays movement is a wake-up call to legislators from across the country. Their constituents are urgently demanding that America get on the path toward reducing carbon emissions before it is too late. On Saturday morning, people all over Vermont gathered in organized efforts, each with a character all its own. At Shelburne Farms, residents from Shelburne and Charlotte gathered in a march for clean earth led by local bagpiper Tim Cummings. Following the march, participants met for a gathering in the Breeding Barn and a discussion of ideas that took the issues of global warming to a personal level. People gathered in small groups to answer tough questions such as, What are you doing to reduce your personal carbon footprint? and What is one good thing to come out of the global warming crisis? After the discussion, a group photo was taken to document the moment and had a special down on the farm character complete with Shelburne Farms animals including horses, a sheep, a goat, and even a few dogs. The photo was posted on the Step It Up website, along with those from hundreds of other events going on around the country. In Hinesburg, an event taking place at NRG attracted an estimated 600 people to participate in the days activities, which included tours of the Gold LEED certified building, clips from the film An Inconvenient Truth,and various groups that had set up displays on ways to save energy. Included in the groups at NRG was representatives from the Hinesburg Sustainability and Energy Planning Task Force who were giving a preview of the Hinesburg Light Switch project, a community challenge to increase energy efficiency in the town simply by having residents switch to using fluorescent light bulbs. The kick-off event for the project is happening on May 5, and Estey Hardware store will be carrying the light bulbs for .99 cents. Although there was reserved prime parking for hybrid vehicles at NRG, some Hinesburg residents took an even more environmentally friendly route in getting there. A group of 12 to 15 people met at the Hinesburg Town Hall and discovered ways to get around town, and to the event at NRG by foot. Participants hiked from the town hall on a network of Hinesburg area recreation trails (hart) that traversed the Russell property and afforded them views overlooking the village. All of the efforts in Shelburne, Hinesburg, and throughout Vermont truly stepped up the pressure to create change and come up with real solutions to combat global warming while heightening the awareness of the problems at a local level. For more information about these events and ones that took place nationwide, visit the Step It Up campaign website: www.stepitup2007.org.