By Coky Michel, Mary-Joe Castells, Chris Castro and Andrea Cuccaro
A few weeks ago, 1Sky activists joined in the South Florida "King Mango Strut" with allies from across the state to bring attention to the BP Oil spill and shed light on the importance of clean energy. The day was packed with fun, theatrics and education.
I woke up Wednesday morning with a scratchy throat but also a whole lot of hope. This week was packed full of events, each one different, and each one inspiring. To kick things off, I was able to participate in a roundtable discussion with community leaders, legislators, business executives and one of my personal heroes, Van Jones, to talk about green jobs and the clean energy economy.
Obama has been lavished with praise for his focus on
competitiveness and clean energy in his State of the Union Address. In the
midst of that praise, however, I must bring up some clear issues of
the President has not actually made a concrete promise to protect the Clean Air
Act from impending congressional attacks; he has only alluded to it.
This week's main event is President Obama's State of the Union address tonight. Both houses of Congress are back in session this week after an extended Senate recess. The GOP-led House voted to repeal the health care reform bill passed last year, and party leaders such as Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Fred Upton (R-MI) are eyeing the Clean Air Act as their next target.
This is it, Mr. President. The Clean Air Act is under attack and we need your help to defend it. We've compromised on a lot in the last two years, but this is our last defense: This is one piece of legislation that cannot be led to the chopping block.
Senator Sherrod Brown (D- OH) has built a reputation of standing up for Ohioans and all Americans in the face of runaway corporate greed. But now, corporate polluters are pushing leaders like Senator Brown into gutting the Clean Air Act -- a political compromise that would cost lives and hamstring efforts to cut climate pollution nationwide.
The big story this week revolves around Chinese President Hu Jintao's state visit to Washington and meetings with President Obama. The bulk of their conversation has been pre-packaged with less-than-savory global issues that are set to heat up already tense relations. But energy has found its way between the two world leaders as grounds for compromise.
Every now and then, we here at 1Sky
are invited to work together with a local climate group doing something extra special -- and we love
invitations to get involved. Why do we like it? The truth is that facts and figures only get you so far in the world (and occasionally
just hold you back); whereas stories not only inspire us to work harder, they also personalize
the everyday battle for a safer planet.
After a week of grieving over the tragedy in Tucson, members of the House returns to DC and to business as usual this week, beginning with a vote on the GOP's "job-killing health care repeal" legislation. The unfortunate events in Tucson have pushed political leaders to call for civility and bipartisanship, yet the rhetoric on Capitol Hill is as heated as ever. The Clean Air Act is up and running for carbon pollution, but remains a political target for leaders of the GOP-led House.