An Appeal From Bill McKibben
08 September, 2010
Well, I'm getting to work a few weeks ahead of 10-10-10, and wanted to send along the story to get you fired up for the big day.
I'm trying to type this as the biodiesel van I'm sitting in bumps down the highway from the state of Maine on the east coast of the USA. We left tiny Unity College yesterday morning, bound for the White House with stops in Boston and New York -- and we're carrying a piece of history with us.
It's one of the solar panels that the American president Jimmy Carter installed on the roof of the White House in 1979, 31 long years ago. Here's what Carter said that day: "A generation from now this solar heater can either be a curiosity, a museum piece, an example of a road not taken, or it can be just a small part of one of the greatest and most exciting adventures ever undertaken by the American people."
Sadly, the panels were taken down a few years later during the Reagan administration. Not because they stopped working -- but because we stopped thinking carefully about the future. The folks at Unity College salvaged them from a government warehouse and put them on the roof of their school cafeteria, where they still work fine.
But now they've agreed to donate one solar panel back to the White House, in the hope that it will spur Obama to pick up where Carter left off.
Our great hope, of course, is that on 10-10-10 President Obama will be up there on the roof, helping to put the panels in place. Our friends at the solar company Sungevity have even offered to donate a massive, brand new solar array for free. (Mohamed Nasheed, president of the Maldives, has already taken them up on the offer -- he'll be up on his roof on 10-10-10 hammering in a new set of panels).
But so far, there's no definitive answer from the White House. They say they're "interested", but that it's "complicated".
Here's how you can tip the balance: in the next 24 hours, we're going to get back on the phone with the White House and work to convince them to commit to taking action on 10-10-10. It would greatly strengthen our hand to say that hundreds of people have registered new work parties since we last called.
Can you help by registering an event in your community or forwarding this email to friends encouraging them to Get to Work on 10/10/10?
We'll keep you updated on our Solar Road Trip blog on how negotiations with the White House go and how many actions get signed up over the next 24 hours. Together, we can send President Obama and all politicians a clear message: we're getting to work, now it's time for you to do your part.
In the end, we can't completely control what President Obama, or any other political leader decides to do. We can control what happens in our communities, and we can use our own efforts to put more political pressure on our leaders.
With events already scheduled in over 140 countries, 10/10/10 is shaping up to be huge -- but it needs to be massive to create enough pressure to really count.
Please help lead this movement, and get involved in 10/10/10 today.
Bill McKibben for The 350.org Team
P.S.: Can you take a moment to inspire your friends to join you on 10/10/10, with a few clicks on Twitter & Facebook ?
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350.org is an international grassroots campaign that aims to mobilize a global climate movement united by a common call to action. By spreading an understanding of the science and a shared vision for a fair policy, we will ensure that the world creates bold and equitable solutions to the climate crisis. 350.org is an independent and not-for-profit project.
What is 350? 350 is the number that leading scientists say is the safe upper limit for carbon dioxide in our atmosphere. Scientists measure carbon dioxide in "parts per million" (ppm), so 350ppm is the number humanity needs to get below as soon as possible to avoid runaway climate change. To get there, we need a different kind of PPM-a "people powered movement" that is made of people like you in every corner of the planet.