I'm going to ask you to take what may well be your first political action at the end of this post.
THIS MEANS YOU, TOO, MOM!!!
It's going to mean a phone call. It's going to take less than two minutes. And then I'm going to ask that you come back here to the blog and share your experience of what happened.
AND YES, MOM, THIS MEANS YOU, TOO, TOO!!!
But first, a little story of how I already know you (not just my mom, but everyone) can make a difference...
Regular readers know that recently I visited my Congressman Jerrold Nadler. I'd never in my life even shaken a Congressman's hand. I had no idea how to lobby, no idea of the protocol, no idea about anything remotely activist. And I had no idea whether talking to my congressman made the slightest bit of difference.
What I'm driving at here is that I am and was probably just like you. I felt scared and ignorant and who cares what I have to say anyway? But--and we've talked about this before--I decided that, whether or not I'm the kind of person who can change the world, I want to be the kind of person who tries.
I went to see Nadler with the intention of asking him to sign a pledge vowing to support the 1Sky global warming policy platform of creating 5 million green jobs, placing a moratorium on new coal-powered electricity plants, and reducing greenhouse gas emissions 25% below 1990 levels by 2020 and 80% by 2050 (I believe we may well have to do better than this in the long run but these are the most aggressive measures people in the know seem to believe are within political grasp).
And I asked you readers to send emails of support that I would deliver to him. You sent me an amazing 1,020 emails. I printed them all out (on the opposite side of used paper, of course) and I flopped them like a pile of bricks on the Congressman's floor. And as you know if you're a regular reader, Congressman Nadler signed the pledge.
But here's the great news!
Yesterday, Nadler's legislative director emailed me to let me know that Representative Nadler has agreed to join Representatives Markey and Waxman in sponsoring a new bill that calls for the immediate embargo on building coal powered plants unless they are capable of removing greenhouse gases from their emissions (read a little about the bill here).
In other words, Nadler is making good on the pledge he signed. He is supporting the climate change policy agenda. And I have those of you who sent in emails to thank!
I'm not saying we were the only thing to make the difference here. Nadler may well have agreed to sponsor this bill all the same. But I do think that we were one of the drops in the bucket. And I do think we did and can continue to make a difference. I've said this before and I'll say it again: optimism is the most radical political act there is.
So let's take it two steps further. It's going to take five minutes:
- Let's all call our Congress persons and ask them to support the coal moratorium bill (get the phone number and see directions below).
- Let's all report on what happens back here on the comments of this post.
- Remember, I mean call, by the way, not email. Phone calls are considered more important by members of Congress.
Here's what you do. Click here to get your Congress person's phone number. Enter your address. The result will bring up your senators' phone number, too, but make sure you get your congress member's (it's a House bill not a Senate bill). Then, dial the number, say that you'd like to let your Congress person know how you feel about a piece of pending legislation, get put through to whoever takes your information, and then say this:
"Please support and consider sponsoring H.R. 5575, the Moratorium on Uncontrolled Power Plants Act of 2008, introduced by Representatives Markey and Waxman of the House Committee on Energy and Commerce."
Easy, right? Just do it! Try it without thinking about it. Two minute. Hell, I'm going to get my poor, long-suffering mom to do it. Don't leave my mom hanging!
Last thing: come back here and leave a comment on this post telling us what it felt like to participate in our democracy. I bet you're going to say it feels GREAT!!!
Colin Beavan (that's me!) is now leading a conversation about finding a happy, helpful life at Colinbeavan.com. If you want to know how people are breaking out and and finding authentic, meaningful lives that help our world, check it out the blog here and sign up to join the conversation here.