It is both a national and a local movement, and about 100 Howard County activists rallied last week at county Department of Recreation and Parks headquarters on Oakland Mills Road near Guilford to volunteer and hear organizing plans.
Sierra Club member Lee Walker Oxenham told the group that "global warming is here. It is inescapable, but there are solutions."
The coalition's goal is an 80 percent reduction in carbon dioxide emissions by 2050, a very ambitious step, and a 35 mile-per-gallon average standard for motor vehicles by 2020.
"We want to call on officials to step up the action and step up the heat," Oxenham said.
The Nov. 3 event was advertised on the county Democratic Party Web site, which urged Democrats to attend.
The only elected official to appear was Del. Elizabeth Bobo, a Democrat who represents west Columbia and a small portion of Ellicott City. Joshua Feldmark, the county's environmental director, also attended.
"This is a real upper, I'll tell you," Bobo said, referring to the enthusiastic crowd. "This is not exactly the environment in Annapolis right now. What we're about here is to build a network in Howard County."
Bobo, who said she just bought a hybrid car, bemoaned the death in the General Assembly last week of a proposed state "green" fund tax intended to pay for Chesapeake Bay cleanup - something she attributed to pressure from the state Chamber of Commerce and the business community.
The subject of global warming "is everywhere now," she said.
"It is on people's minds," Bobo continued. "We need networks like this so people don't go off in all directions. I am sensing, like never before, a passion in this room, a determination. I think we're really starting to get it."