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Make Political Activism the New Travel Soccer

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The answer is through activism that offers the many benefits of schools and sports: public speaking, exercise, debate practice, camaraderie, art, social skills, and determination through engagement.

Arts and Entertainment -- What kid wouldn't want to walk by -- or create -- brightly colored signs, watch dancers and musicians, or chant:

Michele Obama

Tell your man

Stop the dirty

Pipeline plan.

Effective writing and communicating -- McKibben compares the situation to someone offering you more than you can drink. McKibben illustrated it with cheap beer (Keystone), saying a rugby player that drank 5 times more than he could handle would be "wasted", "wrecked", "trashed", "toasted", and "totaled"   with a long-lasting hangover, like our planet would be. McKibben also said, "What tobacco companies are to individual health, fossil fuel is to the safety of the planet." Kids can find their own ways to communicate and persuade others.

Exercise -- The world's oldest workout? Walking, what parents and kids will do from the subway or car to demonstrations, the farmer's market, or door to door.

Goal setting for progress -- A quick transition to renewable energy is doable. Germany is ahead of schedule to get 35 percent of its energy from renewables by 2035, even though Munich is the latitude of Montreal, not Mali.   One quarter of China uses solar hot water heaters, but just one percent of America (mostly for swimming pools).

Democracy and Money -- After the exercise of voting, we must continue to influence issues. This includes using the power of divestment, something Archbishop Desmond Tutu days said was critical to South Africa ending apartheid. Kids can be involved in rallying and education campaigns, as well as the central goal of the movement: to divest from fossil fuels. They can petition schools and relatives to move their money.

There can no longer be segregated and separate movements -- black people alone fighting police brutality; Latinos, for immigration reform; gay and lesbians, for their rights; and liberals and environmentalists, against climate change. People who care about the Earth and its citizens, all parents and kids, must build a safe and sustainable future.

Gus Speth provided useful advice to this group. The "ultimate insider", who served as environmental advisor to Presidents Carter and Clinton and founded the Natural Resources Defense Council, chose civil disobedience to protest the Keystone XL pipeline that he knew would result in his arrest. In front of the White House last year, he was handcuffed then sent to DC jail. Players on the soccer field, those sitting at Kumon, or vegging in front of the TV -- and their parents -- should reflect on the words he sent from his cell.

"I've been in a lot of positions in this town but none of them seem as important as where I am now."

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Veena Trehan is a DC-based journalist and activist. She has written for NPR, Reuters, Bloomberg News, and local papers.
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The time kids and parents spend reflects their pri... by Veena Trehan on Tuesday, Nov 20, 2012 at 11:55:59 AM
I love, love, love this idea. I'd go so far a... by Rob Kall on Tuesday, Nov 20, 2012 at 11:56:44 AM
Planetary neglect, also. Thanks!... by Veena Trehan on Wednesday, Nov 21, 2012 at 10:20:52 AM