10/10/10 Global Work Parties

Eye candy from 10/10/10 Work Parties (PICS)

13
Oct
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We'll have much more about the hugely successful 10/10/10 Global Work Parties, but for now just sit back and enjoy the climate action eye candy we've been receiving since Saturday. Be sure to share them on Facebook, Twitter and any other social networks using our handy "share" bar on this page.

Do you have pics from a 10/10/10 work party to share? Here's how:

  • Add your photos as attachments, making sure not to exceed individual photo size of 10MB (and keep in mind your own email service's attachment size limit!).
  • Include your city and state in the subject.
  • Please include a description of your event -- we're always looking for compelling stories from the grassroots!
  • Send your email to photos@1sky.org.

We'll add more photos and stories from 10/10/10 soon -- stay tuned!

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10/10/10 Story: Maryland students give local businesses a "lift"

13
Oct
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On Sunday, University of Maryland students in the Beyond the Classroom Living and Learning Program used their 10/10/10 Global Work Party to help a local Maryland green business spruce up their store.

Students helped Community Forklift, a surplus, salvage, and green building material provider outside Washington, DC, to sort, organe, and clean their warehouse. Forklift Outreach and Education Director Ruthie Mundell and the university's program director, Professor James Riker, set up the party to discuss the Forklift's business model with students and to show them how their work efforts symbolized the push for clean energy solutions. Riker said his students spent the week discussing these issues and watched The Age of Stupid in class before starting their work party, getting them "beyond the classroom" and into the movement. Here are some pictures from that event:

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Sun, sun, sun, here it comes!

5
Oct
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Great news from the White House! President Obama has decided to install solar panels atop the White House residence:

The most famous residence in America, which has already boosted its green credentials by planting a garden, plans to install solar panels atop the White House's living quarters. The solar panels are to be installed by spring 2011, and will heat water for the first family and supply some electricity.

The plans will be formally announced later Tuesday by White House Council on Environmental Quality Chairwoman Nancy Sutley and Energy Secretary Steven Chu.

Groups like 350.org have been urging Obama to put solar on the White House for some time, so it's nice to see the President heeding their call to lead by example. As Bill McKibben said:

The White House did the right thing, and for the right reasons: they listened to the Americans who asked for solar on their roof, and they listened to the scientists and engineers who told them this is the path to the future...If it has anything like the effect of the White House garden, it could be a trigger for a wave of solar installations across the country and around the world."

Add this to a list of significant climate achievements so far in Obama's young presidency (the lack of a certain critical item notwithstanding). And while the value of this move is largely symbolic, never underestimate the power of presidential symbolism:

"Putting solar on the roof of the nation's most important real estate is a powerful symbol calling on all Americans to rethink how we generate electricity," Solar Energy Industries Association President Rhone Resch said.

This is a great way to start the final week before the worldwide 10/10/10 Global Work Parties on Sunday. And on a personal note, I'd like to thank President Obama and the AP for giving me the flimsiest of excuses to include a Beatles song with this post:

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Policy Update 10/6/2010 - EPA/DOT Propose Stronger Auto Efficiency Standards (VIDEO)

4
Oct
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Last week, President Obama's Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and Department of Transportation (DOT) announced their intent to set progressively stronger efficiency standards for new cars: 47-62 mpg by 2025. Congress wrapped up its pre-election business promptly to allow members to return home and campaign.

Congressional Timeline:

  • 11/2: Election Day
  • 11/15: Beginning of Senate Lame Duck session (tentative)

Obama Administration proposes another strong cars rule

In spring of 2009, President Obama worked with automakers to push for 35.5 mpg standards by 2016, and is now beginning a second rulemaking process that will set even stronger standards for new vehicles: 47-62 mpg by 2025, which represents a 3-6% annual improvement beyond the existing 2016 standards. This announcement represents a stage of administrative rulemaking called a "Notice of Intent" (NOI), essentially a draft rule made public to allow stakeholders to weigh in. The final rule will not be finalized until July of 2012.

Our allies at Environment America, Sierra Club, and other groups are advocating for a 60 mpg standard. According to the EPA, a 62 mpg standard is doable if much of the new fleet is made up of plug-in hybrid electric vehicles.

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Weekly roundup 9/10/10: Navel-gazing and direct action (and inaction) (VIDEO)

10
Sep
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How could a four-day work week after Labor Day and with the Senate in recess still feel so full? Could we possibly have much to talk about? Actually, we always have a lot to talk about, and this week it’s about contemplating the movement, direct action against mountaintop removal, pondering the failure of a comprehensive climate bill, and a wrap on Bill McKibben's excellent solar adventure.

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We won't back down

10
Sep
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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 info@1sky.org. 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.

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Gulf Disaster, Part II? (UPDATED)

2
Sep
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This morning, another Gulf Coast oil rig exploded within four months, injuring one oil rig worker. This comes at the heels of the April BP oil rig explosion off the Gulf of Mexico, killing 11 people.

Given the tragic consequences of the April spill -- 11 dead workers, severe impacts on the fishing and shrimping industries, pollution of the coastlines of Louisiana, and hundreds of people out of work -- it's infuriating that the oil industry has done this again.

What this explosion reveals is that our oil addiction (80 million barrels a day in the U.S. alone) has unavoidably dangerous consequences.  The only way to avoid tragedies like this moving forward is to reduce our dependency on oil and move toward sustainable sources of clean energy.  We need to take personal responsibility for our consumption, and also hold our elected leaders accountable.

Find out more about how to demand Congress takes action by getting involved in an October 10th "Global Work Party" event year you.

UPDATE:  There are reports that oil is spilling into the ocean:

The Coast Guard is reporting that a mile-long oil sheen is spreading from the site of today's oil rig explosion in the Gulf of Mexico, according to the Associated Press.
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An open letter to all people and organizations working to combat global warming

6
Aug
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This open letter was originally published on August 6, 2010 in response to the Senate's failure to pass climate legislation. Please share it widely and you haven't already, consider making a generous tax-deductible donation to 1Sky, then tell your friends and family to do the same. -- Gillian.

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 pollution at 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:

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