The war to pass clean energy legislation has seen many battles come and go. Lately, our side has been victorious. Sometimes those victories aren't clean cut, and we get bruised along the way, but ever since last January it seems that every passing day we gain momentum in this fight. The last few weeks has seen the biggest push towards victory in this fight that we have yet seen. The first Republican senator--Lindsey Graham--indicated his willing to work towards comprehensive energy reform. Global legislative pre-cursors to Copenhagen have been very successful. China has announced that it will formulate a plan to cut its greenhouse gasses. And just 9 days ago, millions of global citizens united in calling for their leaders to cut the world's atmospheric carbon to 350 parts per million. And that is just the list of accomplishments off the top of my head.
Today Repower America officially launched its biggest weapon yet in the fight to pass clean energy legislation. The Repower America Wall.
First, what is the wall? It is a place to share your voice, your visage, and your reason in supporting clean energy. It is a place to call on your leaders to support clean energy. It is a visual of all the different types of people, companies, and movements that support a sustainable world. And it is, above all, a tool to pressure our leaders into doing the right thing.
The wall is a interactive video site. Citizens from across the nation post their videos (or pictures and written text) as to why they support clean energy, green jobs, conservation, energy independence, etc. People visiting the wall can see that not just the stereotypical environmentalist supports clean energy, but it is something that is important to every person from every sector of our society. Perhaps more importantly going into Copenhagen, citizens from across the world can see that their is broad citizenry support in the U.S. for reducing our greenhouse gasses. And in a democracy, that citizen support WILL translate into meaningful change, even if that change is sometimes slower than we want.
So how will this wall affect the legislative process? Repower America is taking the best voices--the most passionate, or creative, or eloquent citizen videos, and putting them on TV. In Indiana that means that not only will Evan Bayh hear Hoosier voices, but so will every Indiana citizen tuning into their favorite shows. Grassroots organizers, like myself, will take these videos to meetings with elected officials. And citizens will pass along their video to their friends, building the movement.
It is a tactic that has never really been taken, but it is one that will surely be duplicated. Already the American Petroleum Institute's astroturf campaign "Energy Citizens" have launched their own, really boring, video project. (And truth be told, they had theirs up quicker, but I assure you Repower America has been working on this much longer. Visit both sites and you'll see the difference in quality.) But Repower America's Wall will be the more successful. Why? It is a grassroots, user ran project. It only exists because citizens are taking the time to make it exist. It is genuine. It is passionate. It is what we need to pass clean energy legislation.