by Peter Freyne
Quite the healthy Sunday morning turnout at Montpeculiar High School for the "Bernie & Bill Show" - a United States Senator's Town Meeting on Global Warming featuring the one-and-only Bernie Sanders and Mr. "End of Nature" himself - Bill McKibben.
"I think we all know what the bad news is," said U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders as he wrapped up his two-hour Sunday morning town meeting on global warming at Montpelier High School. "This state, this country, this planet faces some terrible problems and we have got to get our act together. We have to do it quickly and we have to do it aggressively.
"The good news is, and it really is good news," he continued, "is that consciousness on this issue is rising all over the place, not just from progressives, not just from moderates, but from conservatives as well. I happen to believe that as often is the case, you’re going to see states play important roles, and cities playing important roles."
"There’s a sense that things are changing?" we asked.
"Absolutely," replied Ol' Bernardo, "no question about it. The oil companies, as powerful as they are, the coal companies, as powerful as they are, the big-monied interests - they’re on the defensive. But we’ve got to continue the strong grassroots effort and get Congress to do the right thing."
Certainly the Sanders Town Meeting on Global Warming is a perfect lead into Wednesday's showdown under Montpelier's Golden Dome over Republican Gov. Jim Douglas' veto of H. 520, the Democrats' global warming bill.
"I think Vermont is one of the birthing places," said McKibben, "of what’s now become a nationwide movement to do something about climate and we’ve just got to keep it up. We’ll have a chance this Wednesday to keep it up and we’ll have a lot more chances in the year ahead to make sure that this is at the top of the agenda in the presidential elections, that it’s the most important issue that we have out there. It's the one thing that really threatens our civilization and our way of life and we have to take every opportunity, including ones like this, to broaden the base of that movement all the time.
"What does it say," we asked, "that the governor of the state of Vermont vetoed it and it looks like his veto going to be upheld?
"You know," replied McKibben, "I think that it says we need a new governor."
"The governor doesn’t take global warming seriously," said McKibben. "He’s the only politician of note that didn’t come to our rally last year when 1000 Vermonters walked up the state of Vermont to demand action and now we know why he didn’t come. He talked a good game on climate change. Says all the right things cause he’s in Vermont where people care about it, but he won’t do anything about it. And given the opportunity, he vetoes legislation about it. It’s a tremendous shame," said the Ripton writer.
"What's dissappointing is what’s going on in Montpelier," said Bill. "What’s going onin Washington is pretty exciting and Bernie is at the absolute centerof it. It’s amazing to turn on the TV and see Pat Leahy preventing themas best he can from shredding the Constitution and Bernie Sanderspreventing them, as best he can, from shredding the Earth."