By Robert Silvey
California Senator Barbara Boxer called global warming “the challenge of our generation.” On a conference call today with Jerome Ringo of the Apollo Alliance and Eli Pariser of MoveOn.org Political Action, she said, “We need action now on global warming. The American people are far ahead of our government on this issue.”
Boxer outlined the challenges but said she is optimistic. “Diverse voices of the world are coming together to support action now,” she said, and the Live Earth concerts tomorrow demonstrate that support. “It’s time for the US to take leadership in the fight on global warming.” The Apollo Alliance and MoveOn.org PA are cosponsoring the events, and despite Republican opposition, another concert has just been scheduled for Washington, DC, to join the concerts already scheduled in cities on every continent, including London, Johannesburg, Shanghai, and Rio de Janeiro.
As chairwoman of the Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works, Boxer is introducing a bill to reduce carbon use in the US 80 percent by 2050, and Republican Senator John Warner is joining her to sponsor a carbon cap-and-trade program. “On this issue I have hope, not fear,” she added. “We must work together to preserve our home, our planet.”
Ringo, president of the Apollo Alliance, called for an “energy-freedom” effort equivalent to the 1960s Apollo Project, which put a man on the moon in less than a decade. “This concert is a great catalyst,” he said. “We can begin to reduce our dependence on foreign oil, reduce carbon emissions, and strengthen the economy” by focusing on clean-energy alternatives and the good jobs associated with them. “Installing solar panels cannot be outsourced,” he pointed out. And this is a grass-roots effort: “Three-fourths of American city governments are ordering energy-efficient vehicles, and 90 per cent are building energy-efficient buildings.”
Pariser, executive director of MoveOn.org PA, said that a quarter of a million people had recently joined the organization as a result of its emphasis on global warming. To coincide with Live Earth, MoveOn is sponsoring house parties around the country, where people will watch the concerts on TV andâ€”in a virtual town hallâ€”see presidential candidates answer questions about their proposed solutions. “This is not just about new lightbulbs,” said Pariser, “but new leadership.”
Boxer added, “Poor people get hurt disproportionately” by the effects of global warming. “This effort is important to our grandchildren, and it will unite us.”
Update: MoveOn had expected 10,000 members to attend the Saturday night house parties to support Live Earth. As of late Friday, 30,000 people have signed up at 1,300 locations. You can tooâ€”click here to find a party near you.
In other countries around the world, Avaaz.org is also sponsoring house parties to support the Live Earth Pledgeâ€”2,500 events so farâ€”including, for example, one at the China Friendship House in Freetown, Sierra Leone, where the president of the country is expected to attend. If you’re outside the US, click here to find an event. This is a very big deal.