Thursday, April 22, 2010

Happy Earth Day!

Happy Earth Day, everybody!  Being that I am currently an intern for Repower America I feel as though I'm obligated to blog about energy and the environment for Lefty's as we celebrate this Earth Day.  It should go without saying to the readers of this blog that climate change is one of the most urgent and significant issues facing our generation.

Regardless of what the college dropouts turned journalists political commentators televangelists on FOX "News" might say, climate change is indeed happening; and it is a problem we can, and must, address.  The facts about climate change are widely available, and this post is not intended to provoke another faux debate between rationally thinking people and the vocal minority of flat-earthers.  We all know this is serious: the polar ice caps are melting, the seas are rising (along with the average global temperature) causing erratic weather patterns at a higher frequency than usual--that will only increase over time.  What this means for those of us who would like to live long and healthy lives, and would like to pass on a healthy and functioning planet to our children, is that we must come together and take action now to reverse some of the dangerous trends that humans set into motion during the industrial revolution.  For the last 200 years, mankind has been sucking up fossil fuels and consuming its natural resources faster than an 80's rockband goes through hookers and blow.  The party's over kids; and it's time to get into rehab before our planet looks like Lindsay Lohan's internal organs.

The problem of global climate change effects not only our environment, but our economy, national security, and our standard of living.  This is a big problem, and it's going to require BIG solutions.  That's why I've been working with Repower America this semester to spread the message to fellow Hoosiers throughout the 2nd District that America needs strong, comprehensive clean energy legislation.  I was initially surprised upon moving to Indiana, how hostile much of the voting constituency here is to the notion of clean energy, or cap & trade legislation.  Many Indiana residents seem to be under the impression that solving the climate crisis means losing jobs.  Well, wake up folks.  The jobs have been gone for quite some time.  When I drive through the city of South Bend I see old factories in near ruins, the businesses that used to support our manufacturing sector closed and shuttered for years, and the homes of the workers who used to have those jobs abandoned.  Driving through the state the sights don't get much better.  This part of the country used to have a booming manufacturing sector that provided well-paying middle class jobs during America's heyday... And guess what?  Clean energy has the potential to bring that all back.

If we sit back and do nothing, America will continue to lose our competitive edge to nations like China and India who are already jumping aboard the clean energy bandwagon and producing wind turbines and solar technology.  The time to act is now.  We can begin (and have already begun) by using money from the American Recovery Act and Reinvestment Act to rebuild our energy grid and improve energy efficiency throughout the country.  We also need to invest in green-infrastructure, expanding smart-grids throughout the nation, improving the quality, efficiency and access to public transportation, and investing significant capital in the kinds of renewable fuels that will power our economy in the not-too-distant future if we hope to maintain a similar way of life to the one most of us enjoy today.

Here at Notre Dame we've been taking this mission seriously, and doing our part to urge Senator's Richard Lugar and Evan Bayh to pass a comprehensive clean energy bill by the end of the year.  I'd like to say a special thank you to all of you who came out and volunteered your time in recent weeks at the various phone banks and other events that I helped organize with Repower America to spread the word, and rally the support of Hoosiers throughout the state who want a healthy and prosperous future for future generations.  Your action is yet another demonstration of how amazing the progressive presence here at this allegedly conservative campus is (College Democrats 2009-2010 Club of the Year! woot woot!!!).  As fashionable and forward-thinking as we may all consider ourselves when we buy florescent light bulbs, organic cotton T's and order our lattes in reusable thermoses, that simply isn't going to cut it.  If you really want to see change in this world you have to eventually log off of the blogs, put your feet to the pavement, and knock on doors, make phone calls, harass your apathetic friends and neighbors, and fight for change just as hard as we did in the fall of 2008.  You are all already living proof of what can be accomplished when you take these words to heart.  Let's keep up the good work and set an example for our peers.  If anyone's going to clean up this mess, it's going to have to be our generation.

*This post is my own personal opinion, I am not speaking in any official capacity for the Alliance for Climate Protection and Repower America


Bill said...

whoa now. I have to log off the blogs? I always saw myself as more of an "armchair activist". Isn't it enough for me to just tell other people what to do?

j/k obviously

Colleen Lowry said...


Bill said...

Wait. Aren't hookers and blow renewable resources?

Thomas Wachtel said...

That post was awesome, especially the "hookers and blow" line. Well played, sir.