Deep patriots don't just sing the song, 'America the Beautiful' and then go home. We actually stick around to defend America's beauty -- from the oil spillers, the clear-cutters and the mountaintop removers. Deep patriots don't just visit the Statue of Liberty and send a postcard home to grandma. We defend the principles upon which that great monument was founded -- 'give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free.'
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The first few feet of sea-level rise alone will displace more than 100 million people worldwide and turn all our major Gulf and Atlantic coast cities into preKatrina New Orleans - below sea level and facing super-hurricanes. - Joseph Romm210. The generations living today get to retrofit, reboot, and reenergize a nation. We get to rescue and reinvent the U.S. economy.
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Now we stand at our own crossroads, looking out upon two futures: one with rising temperatures, rising oceans, and rising violence on a hot and strip-mined planet and another with expanding organic harvests, growing solar arrays, and deepening global partnerships on a green and thriving Earth.
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The chief moral obligation of the 21st Century is to build a green economy that is strong enough to lift people out of poverty. Those communities that were locked out of the last century's pollution-based economy must be locked into the new, clean and renewable economy. Our youth need green-collar jobs, not jails.
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We need to send hundreds of millions of dollars down to our public high schools, vocational colleges, and community colleges to begin training people in the green-collar work of the future - things like solar-panel installation, retrofitting buildings that are leaking energy, wastewater reclamation, organic food, materials reuse and recycling.
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All the big ideas for getting us onto a lower carbon trajectory involve a lot of people doing a lot of work, and that's been missing from the conversation. This is a great time to go to the next step and ask, well, who's going to do the work? Who's going to invest in the new technologies? What are ways to get communities wealth, improved health, and expanded job opportunities out of this improved transition?
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We seem to forget that everything that is good for the environment is a job. Solar panels don't put themselves up. Wind turbines don't manufacture themselves. Houses don't retrofit themselves and put in their own new boilers and furnaces and better-fitting windows and doors. Advanced biofuel crops don't plant themselves. Community gardens don't tend themselves. Farmers' markets don't run themselves. Every single thing that is good for the environment is actually a job, a contract, or an entrepreneurial opportunity.
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Now, here's a good question: should serious people focus on global political instability - terrorism, failing states, nuclear weapons - or should we focus on global climate instability - droughts, floods, extreme weather? Here's the correct answer: yes, both, because climate disruption will make every other national security problem worse.
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Mr. Vice President, the most fiscally conservative thing this government has ever done, is to invest massively in the green part of the recovery. Because those green dollars are the hardest working dollars in the history of American politics. That same dollar that is being used to cut energy bills, is also cutting global warming gas emissions, is also cutting unemployment, is also cutting poverty, through retrofits it's also raising the value of homes, is also by cleaning the air, cutting asthma rates.
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To solve the new century's mounting social and environmental problems, people of color activist and white activists need to be able to join forces. But all too often, the unconscious racism of white activists stands in the way of any effective, worthwhile collaboration. The Challenging White Supremacy Workshop is the most powerful tool that I have seen for removing the barriers to true partnerships between people of color and white folks. If the CWS trainings were mandatory for all white activists, the progressive movement in the United States would be unstoppable.
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The end of the occupation. The right of return of the Palestinian people. These are critical dividing lines in human rights. We have to be here. No American would put up with an Israeli-style occupation of their hometown for 53 days let alone 54 years. U.S. tax dollars are funding violence against people of color inside the U.S. borders and outside the U.S. borders.
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