There’s a movement going on. It’s a movement made of people who care and people who see and people who concern themselves with the affairs of more than just their own.
What they see – what we see – is that the issue of environmental stewardship is an issue that concerns us all. Everyone. It’s global, local and personal.
The simple fact is the exponential growth of the human enterprise now impacts and dictates to the future of every living being we share this planet with.
How will America, the leader of industrial might, metabolize this responsibility?
We need to make a choice – and do what’s right.
Our nation, has been at the crossroads of choice before, and it hasn’t always been easy: abolishing slavery, getting women the right to vote – but we have yet to establish a sane energy policy as this goal has been thwarted time and again.
All the way back to the 1930s – hybrid fuels and cars built to run on ethanol were blocked by Big Oil.
Those same forces bought up and systematically dismantled more than 100 electric mass transit systems in 45 cities across America – including our city of St. Louis.
After World War II, there was desire to reduce our dependency on foreign sources of energy, so alternative and synthetic fuels were developed right here in Louisiana Missouri. But in the 50s an Oil Glut stopped that and blocked the diversification of our energy portfolio.
In the 70s, following the Middle East oil embargo and energy crisis we knew the way. Jimmy Carter over 30 years ago signed into law comprehensive energy reform including renewable and alternative energy sources. He put solar panels on the White House.
Well, in the 80s, an Oil Glut stopped that – and the next President took those panels down. Reagan tore down that symbol of American energy independence.
Now that we’re facing the irrefutable science of global climate change and global warming, all of a sudden we are struck with an economic crisis not seen since the likes of the Great Depression – and accusations of any economic recovery that we’ve entertained so far as being “jobless”…
A “jobless-recovery” ? What’s that?
The way I see it, it’s an opportunity. And it all centers on how we power our society.
There is an emerging industry before us – an industry that hasn’t existed before.
Green energy – renewable energy – energy efficiency.
The benefits are legion. And many of these new jobs can’t be outsourced because they happen right here at home. Its win, win, win.
Take energy efficiency for example, 95% of all existing homes and construction can be audited and assessed and fixed to a higher standard of efficiency, saving folks on energy costs, creating new jobs, avoiding the construction of polluting power plants.
Residential buildings generate over 20 percent of carbon dioxide emissions from non-renewable fuel consumption in the United States.
One solution is the Missouri Association of Accredited Energy Professionals, or “MAAEP”, representing certified energy assessors – a new profession – greening the American economic landscape one home at a time – bringing our carbon levels back down to what leading scientists say is sustainable: 350! 350 parts per million.
In this climate of economic recession, any project that promises great job creating prospects should be our number one focus. We stand at the Gateway to a New Economy and thousands of Missourians and millions of Americans are leading the way. Organizations, non-profits, businesses are coming together to capitalize on this Copernican shift for not just America, but the world. Join us and cross over this threshold to a cleaner and safer future for all.
(Speech prepared for 350.org International Day of Climate Action Oct. 24th, Action at the Arch, St. Louis)