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Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Our new messaging on Global Warming -- It's trickling up!

Global warming: Is it an inconvenient truth or an opportunity to transition towards a more sustainable, just, and prosperous future?

Many of us agree that it is both, but the positive message of future opportunities is often drowned out by messaging that is fear driven – melting glaciers, species extinction, water wars, displaced island/coastal peoples, etc. Our environmental groups have been towing the line on this message for decades, and where has it gotten us policy-wise?

The time is ripe for a new message, a positive vision of the future. We need the “I Have A Dream” speech for global warming. And Speaker of the House, Nancy Pelosi, agrees. Our message is trickling up!

After much rigmarole and compromise, Congress passed the energy bill and President Bush signed it this morning. Pelosi gave a statement yesterday afternoon on this victory,

“With one stroke of the pen, America can be on a path to cut greenhouse gas emissions by about 25 percent of what we need to do to save the planet. With one stroke of the pen, we set America on a path to produce $22 billion in annual savings to our consumers. With one stroke of the pen, we take America down a path to create hundreds of thousands of new green jobs and train 3 million workers for new green jobs.”

Indeed, this is the same woman who spoke to us at Power Shift as we chanted “GREEN JOBS, NOT JAILS” and “WE WANT MORE!” If she had tossed in a reference to limiting energy generated by coal, the above statement would directly reflect the 1 Sky platform which we all used to lobby our legislators last November: 1) Green Jobs, 2) Cut global warming pollution, 3) No new coal. Later in the statement she refers to her motivations as a grandmother to be working on this issue and establishing a new direction for America.

And that’s exactly what the country needs – a new direction.

I’m not talking about the same new direction that Nancy is — a Democratic direction. I’m talking about an undivided effort to address climate change and its root causes. And this new direction will be catalyzed by a new message, a message driven by an urgent sense of hope and opportunity.

This message is already being championed by many, Speaker Nancy Pelosi is only the most recent VIP member of the new cool club.

Don’t get me wrong, fear and awareness of catastrophic consequences to global warming can be an extremely powerful organizing tool. However, most folks already know these consequences. We don’t need to run a global warming public education campaign in the same way that was required a few years ago.

Thanks Al, you did your job well, but it’s time to turn to the next phase of public outreach.

We need to run a campaign to build excitement around solving this problem. No one is going to jump on the solution bandwagon if it’s headed inevitably for species extinction and social hysteria. You better believe that motivates me, but the way to build a movement is a positive vision.

We, the youth of this nation, have a dream (and an accompanying message). We communicated it with Nancy Pelosi loud and strong. And as we continue to inspire, our messaging for a positive vision for a sustainable, just, and prosperous future will keep trickling up!

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