In late summer 2006 McKibben helped lead a five-day walk across Vermont to demand action on global warming that some newspaper accounts called the largest demonstration to date in America about climate change.Beginning in January 2007, he founded Step It Up 2007, which organized rallies in hundreds of American cities and towns on April 14, 2007 to demand that Congress enact curbs on carbon emissions by 80 percent by 2050. The campaign quickly won widespread support from a wide variety of environmental, student, and religious groups, with 1400 rallies taking place.
As McKibben wrote in an open letter on the Step It Up! website, The enormous participation in today’s movement is a wake-up call to legislators from across the country. Their constituents are urgently demanding that America get on the path towards reducing carbon emissions before it is too late.
McKibben once stated in an column on the environmental web site www.grist.org that popular momentum had lagged. “We don’t have a movement,” he wrote. “The largest rally yet held in the U.S. about global warming drew a thousand people. If we’re going to make the kind of change we need in the short time left us, we need something that looks like the civil rights movement, and we need it now. Changing light bulbs just isn’t enough.”