By Hannah Buoye

This Saturday, Apr. 14, Santa Cruz residents will gather in San Lorenzo Park and ask Congress to “Step It Up” on climate change legislation. Organized by Soquel resident and sustainable product retailer, Elizabeth Borelli, the rally is part of a national environmental campaign.

Dubbed the “National Day of Climate Action,” Saturday will see local rallies in all 50 states uniting around a single slogan: “Step It Up, Congress! Cut Carbon 80 percent by 2050.”

The campaign aims to illustrate to Congress the extent and magnitude of concerned citizens, serve as an opportunity for communities to inform residents, and raise awareness of global warming and its achievable solutions.

Borelli explained that the event will combine information and entertainment to demonstrate the plausible and practical solutions that can reduce and prevent further damage to the environment. The event estimates an attendance of 300 to 400 participants.

To make it upbeat and educational, Borelli has created an atmosphere of informative fun with “interesting speakers, local environmental groups, and face painting.”

“It doesn’t have to be serious and scary, doom and gloom all the time,” Borelli said of global warming and attitudes toward environmental activism. “There can be a positive view toward change.”

Businesses such as Nubius Organics and Solar Technologies and the Central Coast Auto Association, an advocacy group for electric cars, will be represented at the event, as well as UC Santa Cruz’s Education For Sustainable Living Program (ESLP).

Gail Francisco, a representative from Solar Technologies, said that the company will be supporting the event’s positive stance.

“There are solutions to the energy crisis,” Francisco said. She said that the company’s table will include “photos of solar power installations, diagrams explaining the mechanics of solar power, and table-top gadgets” such as a mechanical butterfly with solar-powered wings.

Event speakers include Santa Cruz Mayor Emily Reilly and UCSC student Tommaso Boggia, a member of the Green Campus Program.

Boggia shares Borelli’s disdain for a “doom and gloom” view of climate change. He plans to address the need for a holistic approach to global warming.

“People are tired of being told that climate change is here, that the world is coming to an end,” he said.

Eager to talk to the larger Santa Cruz community, Boggia will address what he sees as the resistance to change and use of scapegoats that global warming often creates.

He plans to show community members the relevance of climate change issues to their daily lives in a way that will inspire people to “reinvent the way we do things.”

“It’s not all sacrifices, just adjustments,” Boggia said. “Protecting the environment is more than recycling cans and choosing paper over plastic, it’s about living life with a consciousness of your personal impact on the environment.”

_The Step It Up rally will be held this Saturday at San Lorenzo Park from 12:30-2:00 pm. For more information visit the campaign’s national website: ._