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Inaugurate Change
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Please visit Worldchanging's Inaugurate Change campaign to add your name to this letter that will urge Obama's administration to deliver a vital message about climate change in his very first speech as President.

Dear President-Elect Obama,

On January 20th, 2009, you will have the opportunity in your inaugural address to speak to the whole world at a moment of grave crisis. Your words at the podium that day will set the tone for how we as a nation rise to meet that crisis, and how our allies abroad respond.

We, the undersigned, believe you must call on all Americans to prepare for a national transformation. Scientists warn that what may be the highest safe level of climate emissions -- 350 parts per million of CO2 in the air -- is already behind us. That means we must slow down (and then begin to reverse) the flow of greenhouse gasses into the atmosphere in the next 20 years if we wish to avoid catastrophe.

This is a monumental challenge, but it is an even better opportunity. We also encourage you to drive home the point that the things we must do to fight climate change are also the things we need to do to generate a strong economic recovery. Livable cities, clean energy, green jobs, new technologies, improved product design, better transportation, healthy forests and thriving family farms are all foundations of a strong new economy. American ingenuity can and will start a global recovery based on those foundations.

We encourage you to call for a national crusade to turn America into a climate-neutral nation by 2030, while building the bright green economy of the future. We also encourage you to promise policies which will drive rapid progress towards that goal, such as:

• Set a national greenhouse gas cap, fortified by an aggressive auction-and-dividend approach, so that the proceeds of the auction of carbon permits are returned to the people of the U.S. to offset any rising energy expenditures.

• Launch a national smart growth campaign, ordering all federal agencies to examine their policies' effects on the built environment and funding only infrastructure projects which stop sprawl and promote compact community and transportation choices. Preferentially support location-efficient mortgages and urban development bonds. [Smart Growth America]

• Set national building standards that will require all buildings to be carbon neutral by 2030. [Architecture 2030] Promote national policies reducing water waste and expanding green infrastructure. Greatly expand weatherization and retrofit support, helping to spur a green jobs boom among urban youth. [Green For All]

• Redirect all funding and support for fossil fuels into clean energy capacity. Underwrite investment into the infrastructure of the future, promoting smart grids and pushing the deployment of plug-in electric cars. Commit to meeting former Vice President Gore's challenge to provide all electricity in the U.S. from clean sources by 2020. [We Campaign]

• Rewrite the Farm Bill, to support smaller-scale family farms, local food, organic and heritage farming and the rapid reduction of the use of fossil fuels and irrigation water, as well as the rapid improvement of food quality in schools and low-income food programs. [The Food Declaration]

• Manage public lands and waters with carbon sequestration and biodiversity as primary goals, while supporting companies and workers transitioning to sustainable forestry, fishing and ranching. Direct agencies to work with states to promote large migration corridors linking biodiversity hotspots, and to anticipate the effects of climate change.

• Restore a respected role for science in the national debate. Appoint a science adviser on day one; invest in our national research institutions, including universities, and launch a major national environmental and climate science initiative. [AAAS and alies]

• Promote a national campaign for innovation and public outreach, funding the study of bright green innovation in universities, community colleges and schools. Support prizes for new designs and technologies and create block grants for NGOs and local governments working to spread innovation in communities and small businesses.

• Vigorously apply current and future environmental enforcement. Investigate past allegations of corruption and influence-peddling. Enforce the strictest standards of transparency and accountability in government watchdog and enforcement agencies. Raise EPA to cabinet-level status.

• Take a leadership position in international climate, trade and development talks, starting by attending this year's climate talks in Poznan, Poland as president-elect [] and then pushing hard for a treaty that sets developed world climate neutrality by 2030, and global climate-neutrality by 2050, as its targets.

We ask that you show the leadership needed to redefine our national challenge for the American people, and signal our good intentions to the rest of the world, and we pledge to do everything in our power to support the coming transformation.

With great hope,

The Undersigned

Sign this letter at

Photo credit: flickr/selena marie, Creative Commons license.

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Making an impassioned plea about the urgency of climate change coupled with a statement about how the solutions to the climate crises are also the solutions to the economic crises would be world changing and get things off to a tremendous start

Posted by: Jason Schaefer on 7 Nov 08


Although not an American citizen, I would like to join this campaign. But I'm quite unhappy with the online form. Entering name + email is really just like nothing. No way to say "Hey, Mr President, here's what I am and do and why I'm joining the call". Why don't we leverage the power of our online social networks by signing not with a meaningless name + e-mail, but by a link to some relevant on-line profile, like WiserEarth or LinkedIn profile. We have a Worldchanging group on LinkedIn, of which members should be able to pass the word in their network.

Just my 0.02€

Posted by: Bernard on 7 Nov 08

My plea is for a better America, better world, for my son & daughter, grandchildren and the future.

Things have gotten out of control and no time like the present to make these changes. The habits, the lifestyles we've become so accustomed to, will be our undoing if we don't start now.

Perhaps it will take our leaders to kick-start us.

Posted by: Margie Gordon on 7 Nov 08

I believe he (Obama) needs to display “wisdom” and focus on the big 3. One may have to go down and the rise of a green player to replace the fallen may need to be his biggest move! If I was an advisor to President Obama, I would encourage him to not bailout anyone-else (excluding the middle class) and focus on transitioning from the traditional economic giants to investing in the new green giants! One of my own favorite quotes is:

“I happen to deeply agree with the wisdom of Tom Friedman (that we cannot consume of way out of this mess and “Have you ever been to a revolution where nobody gets hurt?”). The fact is that the current economic conditions will cause a lot of companies to close their doors (websites too), and they will die off altogether due to lack of understanding the competitive (innovative) landscape. Just look at Detroit and the Big 3 for example! Those that will fight to stay alive will need to figure out — What’s Next?

I believe that the New Green Economy will include the Rise of Green Real Estate Markets paired with the continued success of Cleantech, Clean Energy Markets, and large scale shifts toward Clean Transportation, and the Greening of the IT Industries (plus a fourth quarter of record investment!!), which will lead to a boom in “American Made” Green Collar Jobs and the creation of new wealth. The trick is: “who will get it right??” Execution makes all the difference for most of these opportunities and green investors need to pay more attention to the items that management claim they can achieve.” - Yeves Perez, Founder of - Nov 2008

See more on talk on Fast Company:

Posted by: EcoConnoisseur on 7 Nov 08

We have witnessed an historical election. Now is our opportunity to enact change and actually create our moment in history as a decisive and progressive chapter. The potential for sustainable change and leadership is great, but so too are the dangers of stagnation and inertia by continued use of fossil fuels as well as current national and foreign policies. This movement requires all of our participation at a local level to succeed and hold our national leaders accountable for progressive and sustainable change.

Posted by: Kelly Rivas on 7 Nov 08

Hopefully, every reader will cross post this message in every network they go to, and take the message to every meeting they go to, because without correcting climate change, all our other efforts are for naught.

Obama is an amazing organizer, but he rode a wave already in existence. He rode our national outrage and concern for our communities and our planet. We must keep the pressure up.

We need to demand those things that will free the working poor and the working class to heal those things that plague the nation and the world.

We need to demand the following:

Medicare for all.
Free education through college.
Tripple the minimum wage.

We all need to be as relentless as the exploiters have been over the last 40 years.

The resources are ours, and we can demand how they are used.

Posted by: Maggie Metcalfe on 8 Nov 08

Though you can't do it all, I urge you to do what you can to make it easier for the majority to work for real and beneficial change.

Posted by: Patti cassidy on 8 Nov 08

This is a terrific idea! Let's start this administration on a note of real vision and integrity!

Posted by: Kate on 9 Nov 08

The idea behind this movement is great. However I think that the factors having to do with world changes are much more than just humans using, polluting, and wasting...that the larger problem is all encompassing of our universe. Let's do our part, and everyone be open to new evidence and show more compassion and less fear.

Posted by: Dorothy on 9 Nov 08

You should include a Department of Sustainability and push for sustainability metrics across the board. Policies, metrics, and incentives--and innovate/change. Recommend a feed-in-tariff for solar and renewable energy.

Posted by: Jean Woo on 9 Nov 08

Do the right thing!

Posted by: Julia Somerville on 10 Nov 08

Hey Worldchanging Central Office Types,

I just signed up via the link to inaugurate change through the Worldchanging post. I hit the button to send to a friend and this link was placed in the body of the compose window of my email client: . Great so far. The problem is when I cut and paste this link into a browser, I get a 404! WTF! Perhaps you ought to fix this! Then, perhaps you ought to email all the poor souls who sent this bum link to their friends and warn them that they just sent a bogus chain letter out to all their friends!



Posted by: Brent Verrill on 10 Nov 08

It is encouraging to see that the concern is about a change for a beter world, it is much cheaper to improve living conditions, the possibility of a sustainable existence, to set the arena so people can ear a dignified living, this is sustainability, and this is the way you get rid of violence.

Posted by: Melania on 10 Nov 08

Hi Alex - thanks for posting this. I'm signing the petition, but I really would have liked the list to be shorter and more focused. I'm neither here nor there on the "family farm/local food" issue (I just don't see agriculture as a significant part of the future economy) and was almost turned off by that one line of it. There are way too many laundry lists of this sort out there, but overall, this is a good list, and I do support it. Just hoping the best stuff doesn't get bogged down by the inessential.

Posted by: Arthur Smith on 10 Nov 08

Mr. President-Elect,


I wish to congratulate you on your historic victory. You are not only an inspiration to millions of Americans; you have inspired millions around the world.

I beseech you to lead the international community in helping end the
18-year nightmare in Somalia. I urge you to look at Somalia through a new lens and to hear the voices of the people. Somalia is not a haven for terror; it is a victim of it. The people of Somalia need peace, food and medicine not bombs and military occupations.

The news story, "Piracy Response Criticized" [Oct. 17], made me both laugh and cry. The U.S. military lost a lot of good men the last time Somalia asked for our help. In 1991, the majority of Somalis didn’t want our help. They resisted us at every level and engaged us daily. Then they cheered when they dragged our dead soldiers through the streets of Mogadishu. Now the de facto leaders of what once was the nation of Somalia blame us for their lawlessness and descent into anarchy. But, in reality, they have only themselves to blame.

This may be the point view of many people, but is not the reality. We cannot be ignored any longer. The hope of the innocent Somali women and children lives in me, a Somali war refugee, as well as those who believe in justice and are willing to stand up on behalf of the innocent children who are raped, beaten and murdered everyday.

My name is Layla.

I was born a Muslim in a Muslim world. I grew up in Somalia and experienced a childhood of legendary hardship. As a small child, I endured rape and physical abuse as a result of clan violence and racial hate. This happened to me several times a week for years. At the age of ten, I was forced from my home in Mogadishu and out onto the streets where I ran for six months with no more than 20 minutes of sleep at a time and scarcely more than powdered milk for nourishment. I watched humans slashed and gunned down. I saw my fellow Somalis drink the blood of the dying to live. Lions and hyenas feasted upon those not strong enough to continue against the relentless, genocide-hungry pursuit of the Somalia’s Hawie tribe. At eleven, I spent an entire year completely by myself, subsisting only on nuts and tree sap while sleeping in hand-dug holes to protect myself from prowling lions.

My story needs to be told not only to bring to light the horror that is day-to-day living for so many in East Africa, but also to show others who deal with hardships that even from the darkest of nights, dawn will emerge if you are patient and determined.

Mr. President, no doubt you are a man of immense talent and you are an inspiration to all generations. The world is proud to have some one with an appetite for change. Somalia has been used and abused by foreign powers for many years, not to mention our own tendency to advocate the clan card, which is certainly part of our downfall, but we are a proud nation that defies humiliation and exploitation.

I ask you to negotiate and address Somali policy and come up with a genuine peace initiative, because lasting peace in Somalia is the interest of the whole world and that is one challenge I believe you can execute with diplomacy and compassion.

Militia politics and radical Islam permeates Somali culture and it’s problem that Somalia must - and can - solve.

Posted by: Layla on 10 Nov 08

usa is a bad place povity exstream religen ie fred felpes etc,plus bush is the most dislked person in the hole world.

please mr president elec turn the usa around if you can rember al gore the usa his runing out of time .

Posted by: dr julian c gallimore on 12 Nov 08

I'm a divorced mom with an 11 year old son. As much as I want for my son to have happiness in his life, I realize I must acknowledge his uniqueness as an individual. I'm with Alice Walker, whose open letter to President Elect Barack Obama follows:

Open Letter to Barack Obama from Alice Walker
Nov. 5, 2008
Dear Brother Obama,
You have no idea, really, of how profound this moment is for us. Us being the black people of the Southern United States. You think you know, because you are thoughtful, and you have studied our history. But seeing you deliver the torch so many others before you carried, year after year, decade after decade, century after century, only to be struck down before igniting the flame of justice andof law, is almost more than the heart can bear. And yet, this observation is not intended to burden you, for you are of a different time, and, indeed, because of all the relay runners before you, North America is a different place. It is really only to say: Well done. We knew, through all the generations, that you were with us, in us, the best of the spirit of Africa and of the Americas. Knowing this, that you would actually appear, someday, was part of our strength. Seeing you take your rightful place, based solely on your wisdom, stamina and character, is a balm for the weary warriors of hope, previously only sung about.I would advise you to remember that you did not create the disaster that the world is experiencing, and you alone are not responsible for bringing the world back to balance. A primary responsibility that you do have, however, is to cultivate happiness in your
own life. To make a schedule that permits sufficient time of rest and play with your gorgeous wife and lovely daughters. And so on. One gathers that your family is large. We are used to seeing men in the White House soon become juiceless and as white-haired as the building; we notice their wives and children looking strained and stressed. They soon have smiles so lacking in joy that they remind us of scissors. This is no way to lead. Nor doesyour family deserve this fate. One way of thinking about all this is: It is so bad now that there is no excuse not to relax. From your happy, relaxed state, you can model real success, which is all that so many people in the world really want. They may buy endless cars and houses and furs and gobble up all the attention and space they can manage, or barely manage, but this is because it is not yet clear to them that success is truly an inside job. That it is within the reach of
almost everyone. I would further advise you not to take on other people's enemies. Most damage that others do to us is out of fear, humiliation and pain. Those feeling soccur in all of us, not just in those of us who profess a certain religious or racial devotion. We must learn actually not to have enemies, but only confused adversaries who are ourselves in disguise. It is understood by all that you are commander in chief of the United States and are sworn to protect our beloved country; this we understand, completely. However, as my mother used to say, quoting a Bible with which I often fought, "hate the sin, but love the sinner." There must be no more crushing of whole communities, no more torture, no more dehumanizing as a means of ruling a people's spirit. This has already happened to people of color, poor people, women, children. We see where this leads, where it has led. A good model of how to "work
with the enemy" internally is presented by the Dalai Lama, in his endless care taking of his soul as he confronts the Chinese government that invaded Tibet. Because, finally, it is the soul that must be preserved, if one is to remain a credible leader. All else might belost; but when the soul dies, the connection to earth, to peoples, to animals,to rivers, to mountain ranges, purple and majestic, also dies. And your smile, with which we watch you do gracious battle with unjust characterizations, distortions and lies, is that expression of healthy self-worth, spirit and soul,that, kept happy and free and relaxed, can find an answering smile in all of us, lighting our way, and brightening the world. We are the ones we have been waiting for. In Peace and Joy, Alice Walker

Posted by: Shana on 12 Nov 08



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