Environmentalist and author, Bill McKibben, together with coordinators of the climate activist group, 350.org, came up with an interesting idea to re-boot the shift to clean energy at our nation's capitol by challenging President Obama to put solar panels back on the White House!
President Jimmy Carter, saddled with an energy crisis, not only created the Department of Energy, but also demonstrated his energy leadership in a practical way: by installing solar panels on the roof of the White House. That was 31 years ago!
President Carter wanted to show that America could harness “the power of the sun to enrich our lives as we move away from our crippling dependence on foreign oil.” Sound familiar? Sadly, we remain cripplingly dependent on foreign oil to this day.
After the solar thermal panels were taken down and warehoused during the Reagan administration, Unity College in Maine salvaged them and installed them at the college, where they continued to produce hot water for the next thirty years. Unity College agreed to donate one of the solar panels back to the White House, in the hope that it will spur President Obama to pick up where Carter left off.
McKibben and Unity College students set out on September 7 in a bio-diesel-powered truck on a journey to Washington DC. Rallies were planned in Boston and NY City along the way. They will arrive in DC on Friday, September 10, and present the solar panel at the White House.
But that's not all: the solar company, Sungevity, has offered to donate a massive, brand new solar array to generate electricity. According to McKibben, there's no definitive answer from the White House. They say they're "interested," but that it's "complicated."
So the question is, will Obama permit the White House to go Green?
McKibben's 350.org group is also organizing a Global Work Party on October 10, 2010...i.e., 10/10/10. They are asking if we can help by registering events in our community to encourage others to "Get to Work on 10/10/10!" or by attending events. The group wishes to send President Obama and all politicians a clear message: we're getting to work, now it's time for you to do your part.
For some Ideas for 10/10/10 Events, click here. There are so many related projects in place or in the plans for Buffalo, that I'm sure people could come up with many events. Solar panels on City Hall?
Save the Date: November 13, 2010
Bill McKibben will speak in Buffalo at the Environmental Congress sponsored by the WNY Environmental Alliance.
Recently, Bill McKibben appeared on the Letterman show to talk about climate change, putting solar back on the White House, and organizing the Global Work Party on 10/10/10. Check it out here.