Bernie Sanders

Sunday, September 8, 2019
Bird Dogs: Shaun Ahern, Kathy Byrnes, Ed Fallon, Lisa Kinney

Sanders speaks about the imperative for climate action. Note that he is not using a plastic water bottle.

Climate Bird Dogs hold up signs during applause breaks and after Sanders spoke about the need for climate action. (Photo by Julie Charikov)

Bernie Sanders spoke at Iowa State University to about 500 people. We stood right in front of him and displayed our “Climate is a Crisis” signs at appropriate moments throughout his speech. Afterward, Ed spoke with him about the proposed expansion of the Dakota Access Pipeline. Sanders seemed to be aware of what was happening. His reaction strongly suggests that he is opposed to the expansion.

Shaun Ahern, Kathy Byrnes, Lisa Kinney (Photo by Ed Fallon)

Ed asks Bernie to speak out about the doubling of oil in the Dakota Access Pipeline, in this video taken by Kathy Byrnes.

Bernie talks climate during his remarks, in this video taken by Ed Fallon.

Our climate signs make regular appearances throughout the official video from Sanders’ talk, in the video below. This video has had around 60,000 views. The climate remarks start around 22:10.

Tailgating with Bernie: Iowa State University

TAILGATING WITH BERNIE: Young people today make up the most progressive generation in history. Together we’ll sweep Trump out of office and take that movement to the White House. Join us in organizing on campuses all over this country at‬

Posted by Bernie Sanders on Sunday, September 8, 2019


Sunday, August 21, 2019
Des Moines
Bird Dogs: Valerie Madison, Sam Kuhn, Shaun Ahern, Ed Fallon

The forum was focused on health care. We tried to catch Sanders afterwards to push him to come out against the expansion of the Dakota Access Pipeline, but we weren’t able to catch him. Valerie, who sat in the front row with a Bold Iowa “Climate is a Crisis” sign mentioned climate as a prelude to her question about a friend with a medical emergency that the current system is failing to address.


Sunday, August 11, 2019
Iowa State Fair, Des Moines
Bird Dogs: Shaun Ahern, Anmol Pakhale, Sam Kuhn, Kathy Byrnes, Ed Fallon, Shari Hrdina


Saturday, March 9, 2019
Des Moines
Bird Dogs: Kathy Byrnes, Sam Kuhn, Adrianne Erickson, Blake Erickson, Kari Noble, Todd Steichen, Jennie Erwin, Lysa Fisk, Marty Monroe, Brenda Milligan

Bold Iowa signs on display during Bernie Sanders’ Des Moines rally, March 9, 2019

Our squad of climate bird doggers wasn’t intimidated by the Sanders campaign’s decision to prohibit signs. Our message of urgency on the climate crisis is simply too important to be silenced. When Sanders began to talk climate in the middle of his speech (see video below, through the 47:46 mark), the signs came out. At one point, Sanders looked right at us and then appeared to go off script, comparing the lies spread by the fossil-fuel industry to the lies spread by big tobacco companies. At his Des Moines rally, Sanders talked about climate change for nearly twice as long as he did in Iowa City and Council Bluffs, and we suspect the presence of our signs had everything to do with it.

Sanders platform on climate change is both strong and genuine. Yet we’re disappointed that climate doesn’t receive top billing in his platform. The issues he addresses are important, critical even. But none of them will matter if our leaders don’t prioritize the gravest existential crisis humanity has ever faced.


Thursday, March 7, 2019
Council Bluffs
Bird Dog: Melanie Williams-Smotherman

Melanie Williams-Smotherman (r) and Michelle Free-Lamere (l)

After announcing his decision to run for president, Bernie Sanders held his first Iowa rally. We prepared signs reading “Be Bold on Climate” and “Climate is a Crisis.” The plan was for volunteers to hold them up when Sanders spoke about climate.

We were surprised to learn that signs wouldn’t be allowed. “The staff told us explicitly that no homemade signs were allowed,” wrote Melanie, who also volunteers with the Sanders campaign. “The coordinator explained that it’s unfortunate, but they’ve been burned by allowing what they thought were supportive messages, only to have those signs turned around to display damaging messages.”

Ed Fallon said, “Sanders talks about the climate crisis in strong terms, and I’m happy to see that. But it’s disturbing that his campaign refuses to let voters express their views and creativity with signs — even supportive signs. I understand the risk, but it’s better to error on the side of the First Amendment than to stifle positive creative messaging from the grassroots.”