Urgency of Now

September 17, 2009 at 6:50 pm 1 comment

cross-posted on the SustainUS blog

Students from UNC Asheville's Active Students for a Healthy Environment met with Rep. Shuler on August 25th

Students from UNC Asheville's Active Students for a Healthy Environment met with Rep. Shuler on August 25th

Access to our federal elected officials certainly improves when we live within the beltway of Washington DC, but in our districts across the nation our elected officials are closer at hand than we might expect. In the past month I have met with my Representative and a legislative assistant from one of my Senators offices. These two meetings took place all within a short bike ride from my home in quaint little Asheville, NC.  Previous to these meetings my only experience in meeting with my congressional officials was during the Power Shift conferences in Washington D.C.

I have realized though, that I cannot wait for another Power Shift to setup meetings with my elected officials. If there was ever a time to seek out our congressional representative’s local offices, the time seems to be now. Coming down the climate policy pipeline is a Senate bill that will address climate change on the domestic front and international UN climate negotiations leading (we hope) up to a treaty signed in Copenhagen this December. The success of one is heavily hinged on the success of the other. Without a clear demonstration from Congress of how we are going to address climate change within our own borders, the US delegates to the climate negotiations will likely not advocate for the boldest policies knowing that they do not have the support of Congress back home. What is needed is a call to action from our president and from our elected officials in Congress. Their leadership will come much sooner if they know that they have the support of the country and constituents like us. In my meeting with Rep. Heath Shuler, I was excited by his enthusiasm for real clean energy solutions that take us away from coal–but as a Representative it seemed he saw his battle as being already won with the American Clean Energy and Security Act already passed. I reiterated to him the importance of providing strong leadership to keep the inertia building as we address climate change.

There are now 84 days until the UN meets in Copenhagen. As the negotiations stand now, the treaty looks disgustingly weak. We have got to fix it up.  The words of Martin Luther King swell in my heart as I consider what is at stake and call my Senator’s office again.

“We are now faced with the face that tomorrow is today.  We are confronted with the fierce urgency of now.  In this unfolding conundrum of life and history there is such a thing as being too late.”   -Martin Luther King

With the possibility of a better future for all, we can all face the “the urgency of now.”

-Ellie J.

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Entry filed under: southern energy network.

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