By Eban Goodstein, Director of The Bard Center for Environmental Policy
Harry Reid made it clear last week. Sometime next spring, a decade of sweeping grassroots education and national activism will culminate in strong federal clean energy legislation, laying a policy foundation that will be vital for stabilizing the climate.
Or it won’t.
The coming few months represent an extraordinary moment in human history. Should the US fail to pass significant climate legislation, the impact will be felt not only by our children and grandchildren, but by the next thousand generations of human beings to follow. In the coming decade, there will be no big second bite at the policy apple, no final last chance to set the country on a clean energy course. And the climate will not wait on our denial for another decade.
Like all past social movements, the clean energy movement is cresting now in a high-stakes reach for federal legislation. And just as Civil Rights, Labor Rights, and Women’s Rights educators and activists and agitators kept the heat on Congress up to the last minute, so too are advocates for clean energy. The odds are 50:50 that the Senate will take serious action.
What can you do? Talk to a college or university professor, high school teacher, or faith or community or business leader in your state who will help us organize a state-wide conference call with your Senators’ DC environmental policy team, for February or March.
Bard Center for Environmental Policy staff will do all the organizing work, including outreach to Senate offices, publicizing the call, and managing the actual call itself. All you have to do is let the Center set up the call on your behalf. Professors Robert Robertson at Michigan State, Pushpa Ramakrishna at Chandler Gilbert, Richard Rich at Virginia Tech, and Don Brown at Penn State are leading the charge in MI, AZ, VA and PA. To learn more, e-mail us at firstname.lastname@example.org, or call me at 845-758-7067. Help engage dozens of institutions and hundreds of students in your state in direct dialogue with Senate DC staff.
These are not lobbying efforts. We are not asking for any specific legislative outcome. Rather, we seek to engage with each other–and especially with our students–in a broad-ranging dialogue at this historic moment that will, in so many ways, alter what will be possible in the future. Please join us.
An environmental economist and long time environmental organizer, Eban Goodstein directs the Bard Center for Environmental Policy. and also heads the National Teach-In on Global Warming Solutions. Bard CEP, at Bard College in New York, offers a Masters in Environmental Policy, and in Fall 2010, will be offering a new degree: an MS in Climate Science and Policy.