July 11, 2010
By Bill McKibben
Those solar panels won't be enough solve climate change, obviously. But they'll send a strong symbolic message about what the future demand--and maybe our leaders will see how easy it is to start down a greener path. If they hammer in a solar panel, perhaps they'll feel more committed to hammering out some clean energy legislation.
As you all know, we're getting to work on 10/10/10--all around the world
people are preparing climate solutions projects for their communities,
their mosques and churches and synagogues and temples, their schools and
We thought our leaders should have a chance to get personally involved
too, which is why we're today launchinga special campaign <http://salsa.democracyinaction.org/dia/track.jsp?v=2&c=cJ5qsD7vsheq6JZou8rp4XG4eeHcJqiG>
aimed just at them.
Each one has a roof over their heads--in India at the Rashtrapati
Bhavan; in Mexico they call it Los Pinos, and in Washington it's the
Those roofs need solar panels--and we hope they'll go up on October 10,
just as around the world people are taking practical action in their own
communities. It's remarkably easy to send a message to your
leader--just click here for instructions: <http://salsa.democracyinaction.org/dia/track.jsp?v=2&c=uIQXioMTzuFkONbl9%2BSCLHG4eeHcJqiG>
Those solar panels won't be enough solve climate change, obviously. But
they'll send a strong symbolic message about what the future
demand--and maybe our leaders will see how easy it is to start down a
greener path. If they hammer in a solar panel, perhaps they'll feel more
committed to hammering out some clean energy legislation.
We're a little worried, of course, that our leaders will use their new
solar panels to claim that they're sincere about climate change without
passing the legislation and enacting the regulations that really
matter--none of us wants to be used for a photo opportunity. Instead,
the message we'll all be sending is: you've taken symbolic action, so
now get to work on the real thing.
But the symbolism is important too. Just imagine: 30 years ago the
American White House actually did have solar panels on the roof,
installed by president Jimmy Carter. But they were taken down by the
next administration, and they've never reappeared. That represents three
wasted decades when we could have been doing something about the
climate crisis--we'll never get those decades back, but we can start to
catch up now.
So while you're rounding up your neighbors for your own 10/10/10 action,
invite the person in charge of your nation to join you on that day.
Remind them that one answer to our greatest crisis is directly above
their heads. Tell them to roll up their sleeves and get to work!
Bill McKibben for the whole 350.org
P.S. Good news already! Just as we're launching this campaign, President
Mohammed Nasheed of the Maldives confirmed he'll be up on his roof on
10/10/10, installing a solar array. Who's next?
You should join us on Facebook by becoming a fan of our page at facebook.com/350org
and follow us on twitter by visiting twitter.com/350 <http://salsa.democracyinaction.org/dia/track.jsp?v=2&c=HK2ZzWpavQvkJXF4371L1XG4eeHcJqiG>
To join our list (maybe a friend forwarded you this e-mail) visit www.350.org/signup <http://salsa.democracyinaction.org/dia/track.jsp?v=2&c=gWVCY%2F3EoLi6LhM3za%2F6SnG4eeHcJqiG>
350.org needs your help!
To support our work, donate securely online at 350.org/donate <http://salsa.democracyinaction.org/dia/track.jsp?v=2&c=VC4PI3rBCpPiDoJH13Q4ZHG4eeHcJqiG>
Bill McKibben is the author of a dozen books, including The End of Nature and Deep Economy: The Wealth of Communities and the Durable Future. A former staff writer for The New Yorker, he writes regularly for Harper's, The Atlantic Monthly, and The New York Review of Books, among other publications. In April 2007, he organized the Step It Up National Day of Climate Action, one of the largest global warming protests to date. Most recently, he has co-founder of 350.org, an international grassroots campaign that aims to mobilize a global climate movement united by a common call to action. He is a scholar-in-residence at Middlebury College, and lives in Vermont with his wife, the writer Sue Halpern, and their daughter.