The youth climate movement is gearing up to burst onto the national political scene in a massive way this weekend, with Power Shift 07 and Step It Up 2. The Nov. 5th Lobby Day will be a critical component of that and we will be joining the fight as part of the 1 Sky Campaign.
1 Sky – Three Asks
However, how we are going to Mobilize America, Secure Our Future, or Transform our Energy Priorities is a complex question. This is where the painstakingly acquired skills and experiences of the youth climate movement are so valuable. The smart economists and policy experts at big environmental organizations have considerable experience in writing legislation and calculating impacts, but actually implementing their ideas – well, they haven’t had the chance. But we have, through our campaigns to make our colleges and universities carbon-neutral and foster a clean energy economy.
What have we learned? Well, I am only going to scratch the surface here and I want you to contribute your ideas – but there are a few that I think are particularly valuable.
Be the Solution: Like governments, universities have competing priorities. Instead of being a competing ‘interest’, many student groups focused on using climate solutions to impact other problems, such as rising energy costs, health care, and tuition. This builds a broad coalition and makes efforts welcomed by administrations, not fought as an burden.
Investment is Magic: If you know how to speak the language of investment, you can work wonders. Bury the word ‘payback’ in the deepest pit available, start using ‘Return on Investment’, ‘roll-over’, and ‘contained energy costs’ and startle your Treasurer. We all know that a 3% investment in green building can change everything, but they often don’t. Conservation is money in the bank for renewable energy, zero-waste, etc. Show them the money!
Think Big, Win Big: We all have heard the voice saying, “Shouldn’t we try and go for something easier or smaller?” Well, yes but only as part of something bigger and faster. When you start thinking about carbon neutrality, you rethink your heating plant and electricity, buildings, and fuels. To achieve a small goal, you get stuck trying to get people to turn out lights and replace their lightbulbs. Most ‘Breakthroughs’ are in your thinking, not necessarily in the technology.
Got some more? Write a comment!