Friday, July 18, 2008

Climate Change Challenge

In case you didn't see it, here's Al Gore's speech challenging us to go to non-carbon-based, renewable energy sources in the next ten years, equivalent to Kennedy's challenge to get to the moon within a decade, which of course America accomplished ahead of schedule. All of the technology is available now, but the political willpower is not. I think this is one of the most urgent (and blatantly obvious) issues of our day. If you agree, you can sign the petition and find out how to do more at the We Can Solve It website.

No matter what your political persuasion, and no matter whether you actually believe in global warming or not, these proposals make absolute sense. Getting rid of carbon-based fuel will also restore clean air and water, and cut the funding off from terrorists who get their money from oil-rich countries. Other than economics, I can't see any reason not to do this. And as Gore points out, it also makes economic sense.

As a teacher in a new home, I can't afford this right now, but if anyone else who lives in Virginia is interested, you can opt to get your power from renewable sources through Dominion. It costs about 5 cents per kilowatt hour more right now, and your power can come from a combination of wind and solar, or from methane recollection over landfills. Here's the site for changing over if you think you can afford it. It doesn't actually change where you get your electricity, but Dominion then purchases the amount of power you use each month from a renewable resource supplier, so it effectively works out though not actually. I'll certainly be doing that as soon as we can afford it. And for those of you in NC, here is there FAQ for Green Power down there.

Here's the video of his speech - quite clear, enormously compelling, and really worth watching. One of my favorite quotations: "We should tax what we burn, not what we earn."

In case you are interested, here's an editorial from the NY Times about the speech. My favorite passage:

When exactly was it that the U.S. became a can’t-do society? It wasn’t at the very beginning when 13 ragamuffin colonies went to war against the world’s mightiest empire. It wasn’t during World War II when Japan and Nazi Germany had to be fought simultaneously. It wasn’t in the postwar period that gave us the Marshall Plan and a robust G.I. Bill and the interstate highway system and the space program and the civil rights movement and the women’s movement and the greatest society the world had ever known.

When was it?

Now we can’t even lift New Orleans off its knees.

Again, the website to join the campaign is And here is a link of action steps you can take.

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