It's relatively quiet now here at t 2nd floor lobby of the DC Convention Center, but 15 mins. ago it was controlled chaos. At tabling central, dozens and dozens of climate activists young and old(er) swarmed tables from all kinds of organizations: We Campaign, Green for All, Sierra--and of course 1Sky.
I'd been led to expect big things from my first night at a Power Shift conference--and I gotta say, it didn't disappoint! Having been to my share of progressive conferences in the past, I can say that this was an entirely different animal. Thanks to the sheer size of the crowd and its energy, the excitement in the air was contagious. (Check out the slide show at the end of this post!)
This week, President Obama presented his budgetary plan for the United States stating that our government must “invest in the three areas that are absolutely critical to our economic future: energy, health care, and education." Obama's energy policy marks a sea change away from the archaic energy regulations of George W. Bush. Think Progress' Wonk Room reports on the details of Obama's energy plan:
I can’t believe this weekend is already here! We’ve been talking about it for weeks, and now, in a matter of HOURS, 11,000 people are descending upon Washington, D.C. for Power Shift '09 to unite the movement and make our voices heard in Congress .
The website’s core is a list of lies propagated by the coal industry, including the dirtiest lie of all: that coal can ever be clean. The site exposes the lies through scientific studies, legal facts, videos, and graphics, revealing the shocking truths about the destructiveness of the entire coal life cycle.
The site's videos are especially compelling. "The Miraculous Mercury Baby, Parts 1, 2, and 3" in particular grabbed my attention. The series weaves together the story of coal's toxic effects on the food chain with the story of Lucy, a young mother from Williamsburg, New York trying to find out if her son Freddy has high levels of mercury (a by-product of coal mining) in his body. While waiting for her and her son's mercury test results (which she has to pay out of pocket because her insurance won't pay for them unless she already shows symptoms of mercury poisoning), Lucy talks about the high levels of toxic substances contained in fish due to coal pollution of our waterways, and the hard choices coal pollution poses for a young mother of two.
And finally, don't forget to check out the Powershift conference this weekend in DC. 10,000 youth organizers talking about climate and green jobs.
I believe the expression you're looking for is "w00t, w00t!"
The whole post is worth a read. Greg Nelson does a roundup of President Obama's green jobs initiatives, including the confirmation of Hilda Solis as Secretary of Labor:
It is shaping up to be a great week for making that promise a reality for even more Americans. Representative Hilda Solis, one of the earliest champions for the power of green jobs -- and the architect and sponsor of the Green Jobs Act -- was confirmed by the Senate yesterday with a strong 80-17 to be our next Secretary of the Department of Labor. She's been a remarkable advocate for developing green jobs by building an economy we can all be proud of, and her voice and vision will be a powerful addition -- the Sierra Club said they were "overjoyed" by the confirmation.
It's good to see the White House blogging about green jobs. Actually, it's good to see the White House blogging at all.
During his address to Congress, President Obama just said:
We know the country that harnesses the power of clean, renewable energy will lead the 21st century. And yet, it is China that has launched the largest effort in history to make their economy energy efficient. We invented solar technology, but we've fallen behind countries like Germany and Japan in producing it. New plug-in hybrids roll off our assembly lines, but they will run on batteries made in Korea.
Well I do not accept a future where the jobs and industries of tomorrow take root beyond our borders - and I know you don't either. It is time for America to lead again.
Thanks to our recovery plan, we will double this nation's supply of renewable energy in the next three years. We have also made the largest investment in basic research funding in American history - an investment that will spur not only new discoveries in energy, but breakthroughs in medicine, science, and technology.
We will soon lay down thousands of miles of power lines that can carry new energy to cities and towns across this country. And we will put Americans to work making our homes and buildings more efficient so that we can save billions of dollars on our energy bills.
But to truly transform our economy, protect our security, and save our planet from the ravages of climate change, we need to ultimately make clean, renewable energy the profitable kind of energy. So I ask this Congress to send me legislation that places a market-based cap on carbon pollution and drives the production of more renewable energy in America. And to support that innovation, we will invest fifteen billion dollars a year to develop technologies like wind power and solar power; advanced biofuels, clean coal, and more fuel-efficient cars and trucks built right here in America.