I’m now in day three of Green Corps training, the ‘school for environmental organizing.’ They have likened it to a master’s degree in environmental organizing and honestly it is hard not to see the success of the program. With around 275 alumni since the early nineties, members have become executive directors across the board in some of the top environmental organizations in America. Just in the last few days we’ve had speakers such as Phil Radford, the executive director of Greenpeace USA. While I’ve always been skeptical of their tactics, Phil seemed to me to have a solid head on his shoulders. He discussed the ‘million dollar megaphone’ we’re up against with corporations willing to spend whatever they can to keep things easy for them. In terms of his organization having a radical public perception, he emphasized that ‘we should be radical and effective.’
Yesterday we had John Rogers, the senior analyst from the Union of Concerned Scientists talk about their report, Climate 2030: A National Footprint for a Clean Energy Economy. This report goes into if a cap-and-trade carbon program in conjunction with implementing local polices toward a clean energy future could not only save the country hundreds of billions of dollars but also can create millions of jobs and save tens of thousands of square miles of space in our country (mining efforts may take upwards of 80,000 square miles). Solutions like this make sense, but unfortunately the steps we need to take to have a just transition to a sustainable economy are blocked by strong corporate interests, that million dollar microphone. This is one of the main reasons why the cap-and-trade bill just fell in the senate.
I must run, but this has been an amazing experience already, meeting a great diversity of organizers (there are 21 of us in the class of 2011) from all over the country. We face extraordinary challenges ahead and we must put forth a tremendous effort to bring about a just and clean future for all.
Of course with the hard deadline of 80% reductions of carbon emissions by 2050 only having a 50/50 chance of being enough to stabilize climate change, we must always continue to push in this movement.
“50/50 shot for our kids’ future? I don’t think so!” said Phil Radford.