Sign our letter to Obama today.
On November 6, two days after the United States elected Barack Obama to be its next president, we launched a campaign called Inaugurate Change. We asked readers in the U.S. and around the world to sign our letter to Obama, requesting that he deliver a vital message about climate change during his very first speech as President.
We at Worldchanging, and our Inaugurate Change campaign partners at Focus the Nation and 350.org, have great hope for the 44th American president, and also for the passion for and commitment to change he is instilling in people throughout the world. For many people, Barack Obama's presidential campaign, which changed the game by empowering grassroots movements, social networks and individuals, was a turning point. For the first time in a long time, individuals feel empowered to bring a better future to the United States and the world through political and social action.
But as we said in November, the election was just the beginning. The challenges that the Obama administration inherits loom larger than any in history, with historic crises – and historic opportunities -- facing both the planet and the global economy. Even if you got what you wanted on Election Day, there has been no more important time than now to work for a sustainable, prosperous future.
"I get my hope from that fact that Obama was a community organizer before he was a politician," says Jamie Henn of 350.org. "He knows the power of the grassroots and I think he's counting on us to shake things up. Having Obama in the White House doesn't guarantee us anything, but it gives us the space to try something big. He'll be watching and it's up to us to deliver."
Even before the election was decided, many people were sending messages to help spur policy toward sustainability in 2009. Our own network of friends and allies weighed in with advice in our October feature, To the Next U.S. President: 100 Words for 100 Days. Around the country, experts and organizations have been offering their specific prescriptions for big-picture changes such as the creation of a better national transportation system, and new carbon-capping policy that will help reduce the amount of CO2 in the Earth's atmosphere to less than 350 parts per million.
We have also witnessed promising actions from the President-Elect, including his selection of sharp, forward-thinking advisers on energy and environmental policy, and his interest in improving American cities. His voiced commitments to green infrastructure, jobs and urban areas have been impressive. But questions remain. How far will the changes go? Will we truly see innovative thinking and action to reinvigorate our society and systems? Or will the future hold more of the same?
As Obama works to finalize plans for the anticipated economic stimulus package, the chorus of recommendations and concerns is reaching a fever pitch. Will America nurture industries that promote sustainability and offer green jobs? What kind of infrastructure will be built? In 20 years, where will the country's energy come from, and what will transportation look like? As we have said before, transforming America, which leads the world in per capita emissions, will be a key step in ensuring a sustainable future around the world.
"More than 15 million Americans under 30 cast votes for Barack Obama, confident that he shares their dream for the future," said Edward Wolf, board member of Focus the Nation. "The first words he speaks as President can be life-long touchstones for members of the generation that will build a just and prosperous clean energy economy."
Now more than ever, it is vital that we rally together to ask the next U.S. president to strongly and clearly call on all Americans to work toward a sustainable, prosperous, one-planet nation by 2030. With your help, we will show the world that citizens everywhere are ready and willing to accept the challenge.
We look forward to watching the historic swearing-in of President Barack Obama. If you will be in Seattle on Jan. 20, please come watch it with us at our Inauguration Celebration Party.
Image credit: Morgan Greenseth.
Front page photo credit: flickr/wa-J, Creative Commons license.
This is indeed a time of great possibility, hope, and tranformation. From so much need, there is so much potential! In the frenzy to "go green," GOforChange provides a resource for change agents to learn about each other and to refuel on inspiration when they are feeling drained by the challenges of being on the cutting edge of change. We are honored to be part of the change that is coming! Come and visit, connect, and comment: http://www.goforchange.com