This Saturday, October 2nd, Washington, D.C. will be swarmed by tens of thousands of activists from across the country who are advocating for progressive change in America. The coalition that is putting on One Nation Working Together (ONWT) consists of groups across the progressive spectrum, from labor unions to LBGTQ advocacy groups to immigration organizations and environmental groups.
1Sky is proud to be part of this effort to unite progressive organizations behind pushing for tangible change in politics. Read more about the coalition’s mission here.
Whatever way you’re able to contribute is greatly appreciated. ONWT is an inspiring example of various progressive movements coming together behind a shared vision for change. We need more collaboration like this in the coming months.
It's the end of my first week as 1Sky's new Campaign Director, and I wanted to take some time to tell you about our future plans together.
But first I want to thank my predecessor Gillian Caldwell for her amazing leadership over the past three years. Her work has made the climate movement stronger than ever.
As I step into this new role after three years at 1Sky, I recognize that we face major challenges to solve the climate crisis. Extreme weather events like the record worldwide heatwave and the floods in Pakistan show that we're running out of time to act. Disasters like the BP oil spill and the West Virginia coal mine explosion remind us that dirty energy is as dangerous as ever. At the same time, the Senate has failed to enact comprehensive climate legislation; Congress is drowning in dirty energy money and crawling with lobbyists; and our president hasn't been the fierce advocate we hoped for on climate.
If you're feeling a strong urge to crawl under the covers, I don't blame you -- we've all felt discouraged before. But this isn't the time to give up -- it's time to fight back.
So let me tell you where we stand: 1Sky will not back down -- and neither will I. We won't stop fighting for the changes we need to make our planet safe and build a clean energy future. And we will not lie down and let Big Oil, Dirty Coal and their cronies hijack our democracy and our future with their dirty money.
Here's how we want to work with you in the coming months:
Fight Dirty Coal: Coal power plants are the largest source of global warming pollution in this country, so we have to take the fight to them. We're going to defend the Clean Air Act from assaults by Dirty Coal and their allies. In fact, we'll fight to make it stronger and use it to cut climate pollution. We'll also keep exposing the corrupt influence of Dirty Coal money in our politics.
Push the President: As a candidate, Barack Obama made climate and clean energy a priority; as president, his record has been mixed. Obama has pushed through the biggest investments ever on clean energy and is working to crack down on the biggest climate polluters through regulations -- but he hasn't made passing a climate and clean energy bill a high enough priority, and it shows. We're going to support the President where he's making progress and push him hard where he isn't, including his promises to provide climate assistance to developing nations and shut down subsidies for dirty fossil fuels.
Grow the climate movement: The movement has grown dramatically in just a few years, but too many Americans still sit on the sidelines. The only way we'll beat the billions of dollars that polluters spend every year buying votes in Congress is with a massive grassroots movement to hold our leaders accountable. We will help lead the charge to grow the movement in the months ahead.
This renewed push for climate action starts now with the Global Work Parties taking place around the world on Sunday, October 10, 2010. 1Sky is working with our ally 350.org, which is taking the lead around the world to organize local events that will show our leaders what people can do in their own communities to deal with climate change: plant trees, hold bike rides, install solar panels, make homes more energy efficient, and so on. Sign up here to plan your own event or find a 10/10/10 work party in your area.
I'm also interested in your opinion of the campaign and where we go from here. What's needed right now to win on climate and clean energy? What are we doing right? What can we improve? How can we help you become a more effective advocate to create the change we need? Please send me your thoughts and suggestions at email@example.com. You can also share your thoughts with me on Twitter and talk with me directly on Facebook. This campaign is about empowering you to take action, so we take your opinions very seriously around here.
Despite the challenges we face, I know we can win. The climate movement keeps growing and getting stronger. More and more Americans understand what's at stake and want our leaders in Washington to take action. We're ready to keep fighting for a safer planet and a clean energy future -- and we're ready to win. Let's get moving.
It's hard to believe three years have passed since I joined 1Sky as its first Campaign Director, and how far we've come in such a short time because of your hard work and dedication. Which leads me to the decision I'm announcing today.
It's with a bittersweet mixture of excitement and sadness that I am stepping down from my role at 1Sky to consult on social justice issues near and dear to my heart -- including, of course, climate change.
1Sky has grown from being a start-up in 2007 with a devoted founding board of directors, just one staffer (i.e. me) and no office, into a powerful grassroots campaign that has worked tirelessly nationwide to push our leaders in Washington for bold solutions to the climate crisis.
Together, we've grown the climate movement, helped to pass President Obama's economic recovery plan that contained a whopping $87 billion in green investments, and protected the Clean Air Act from dirty polluters and their allies in Congress itching to gut it.
Even though our leaders have deeply disappointed us so far this year by failing to pass a climate bill or even an oil spill recovery bill, I'm proud of our achievements and I'm confident that we've laid a solid foundation for climate action in the future.
I am also pleased to announce that our current Deputy Campaign Director, Liz Butler, will be taking over for me as Campaign Director. With more than 17 years of organizing experience and senior leadership in the environmental movement, Liz is a great choice to lead 1Sky into its next chapter, and you'll be hearing from her in the next few weeks as she lays out the campaign's priorities for the coming year.
Big Oil and Dirty Coal have lavished nearly $15 million in campaign contributions on members of Congress since 2009, and that money has bought them a pass so far on climate, clean energy and taking responsibility for the BP oil spill, just to name a few. We need to keep building and strengthening this grassroots movement to take them on, and your generous contribution will do just that.
Three years ago, I threw myself into the climate movement because I knew that the poorest and most marginalized people on the planet are being hit first and worst by the ravages of global warming. But I also did it because I wanted to leave my children Tess and Finn a cleaner, safer world. Despite recent setbacks, I'm confident that the arc of history for the climate movement is bending towards the change we so desperately need. That's why I'll continue to support 1Sky after my departure and I know you will, too. It's the fight of our lifetimes -- we can't just throw up our hands in despair and walk away.
From members of the 1Sky Board of Directors: Jessica Bailey, KC Golden, Bracken Hendricks, Bill McKibben, Billy Parish, Vicky Rateau, Gus Speth and Betsy Taylor
As we find ourselves surrounded by the tatters of the climate debate in the U.S. Congress, it seems fitting to take a moment to step back and ponder where we go from here. While the blogosphere is buzzing with assignments of blame for the failure of the Senate to act, we are much more concerned about how we move forward with urgency and clarity of purpose. Unfortunately, we do not have the luxury to pack our bags and go home as the Senate did only moments ago. We just staggered through the hottest six months in recorded history worldwide. People everywhere are being impacted by the damage we have done through decades of carbon loading, and it is clear that our ailing planet will not sit idly by as our political leaders have done.
In reflecting, we find ourselves returning to the founding principles of 1Sky when we formed in 2007: We must redouble our efforts to unite American society across all divides in an unyielding call for action on the scope and scale of the enormous challenge and opportunity we are confronting. We are galvanized by the understanding that the political, human rights and economic repercussions of climate change transcend the ‘environmental issue’ label, and present a nation-wide challenge requiring a unified response. As United States citizens, we understand our moral and ethical responsibility to act with resolve – both as members of a global community, and as the leading per capita emitters of global warming pollution. We must succeed in building a nationwide movement that changes the politics of what is possible to deliver what is necessary; our very lives depend on it.
The central aspirations of our campaign as embodied in the 1Sky Solutions which have been endorsed by more than 600 allied organizations nationwide continue as our north star:
Reduce global warming pollutionat least 35 percent below current levels by 2020, and at least 80 percent by 2050.
Create 5 million green jobs and pathways out of poverty by rebuilding and refueling America with a comprehensive energy efficiency mobilization including immediate investment in a clean-energy infrastructure.
Re-power America by imposing a moratorium on new coal plants that emit global warming pollution and replacing dirty fuels such as coal and oil with 100 percent renewable energy.
But what lessons can we learn from the last three years, years in which the advocacy for action on climate change was better funded and coordinated than ever before? We all had high hopes, and the debate was closer to center stage than it has ever been. But in the end, we are left largely empty-handed.
We feel it is imperative to pause, ask tough questions about what went wrong and why we as a community failed to achieve our aspirations, and – more importantly - to look carefully at what is most needed given the new legislative and political landscape. Toward this end, we are holding a retreat in mid-November with key allies, organizers, 1Sky staff and board, but also with leaders from other sectors to help us see in fresh ways, and to explore what role 1Sky can best play as we move into the next chapter.
As we prepare for the strategic discussions we will be having, six key lessons strike us as salient and worth offering now for discussion and debate. We don’t pretend to have the answers, but we are committed to grappling with the tough questions and to road-testing solutions. Our thoughts at this time:
This week started with ire over the Senate's delay in bringing a climate bill to vote before the Senate recess. And the week ends with... ire over the Senate delaying in bringing a BP accountability and efficiency bill to the floor! The Senate can't even get 60 votes to pass a small, "no-carbon capping" bill with number of non-controversial measures that easily passed bi-partisan Senate subcommittees, like Home Star?
By 1Sky blogger Janelle Corn, Ph.D. See her bio at the end of this post. -- Luis
Alex Bea recently posted a review of a publication (.pdf) that will help us all communicate more effectively about climate change. This led me to consider how I, as an ecologist, might add to the discussion about effective communication.
It’s hard to believe that it’s been three months since the blowout of the Deepwater Horizon drilling rig in the Gulf of Mexico. That's three months of seeing pictures of oil-soaked birds, hearing about failed attempts to stop the spill, and reading stories of people’s lives being devastated by oil reaching their shoreline and crippling their livelihoods.
To commemorate the three month anniversary of the spill, volunteers from many environmental groups, including 1Sky, gathered in front of the Capitol for a rally on July 20. We listened to many speakers, including residents of the Gulf who had come to lobby their senators to pass a climate and energy bill. With signs and chants, we called for an end to dirty energy money in politics, an end to offshore drilling, and a shift to clean, renewable energy sources. Many people covered their hands in oil-like substances to illustrate the devastation in the Gulf and to represent the oily hands of the politicians who accept donations from dirty energy companies. After the rally, many volunteers visited the offices of the ten members of Congress who have received the most campaign contributions from BP and demanded that they give this money to relief efforts in the Gulf. Here's a slideshow of images from yesterday's event:
I'm proud to announce that our own Deputy Campaign Director Liz Butler has been honored with a 40 Under 40 Award from the New Leaders Council. Liz is recognized among a diverse group of young leaders ranging from doctors, elected officials, inspiring community organizers, nonprofit and policy leaders. The group includes winners from our friends at the Sierra Club, Change.org, and the Center for American Progress, among others. There are very few honors for progressive leaders under 40 who, as the New Leader’s Society states, “exemplify the spirit of progressive political entrepreneurship.” Liz definitely fits the bill.
Earlier this week, legendary West Virginia Senator Robert C. Byrd passed away. It is unlikely that an environmental organization would have written positively about a pro-coal senator, but in recent years the late Senator Byrd realized the toll that the coal industry was taking on the environment and his beloved West Virginia. Robert C. Byrd, who once fought hard for coal mining and against regulating it in his early years, had an epiphany:
The industry of coal must also respect the land that yields the coal, as well as the people who live on the land. If the process of mining destroys nearby wells and foundations, if blasting and digging and relocating streams unearths harmful elements and releases them into the environment causing illness and death, that process should be halted and the resulting hazards to the community abated.