Earth Day Open Thread

Today is the 40th anniversary of the first Earth Day. What are you doing to celebrate?

I spent last Saturday helping man the Repower America booth at Earth Day Omaha, an amazing celebration in Elmwood Park with dozens of great booths, amazing live music (folk, rock, and Tuvan throat singers!), and literally thousands of people roaming around. On Tuesday, I phone-banked for Repower's Clean Energy Revolution campaign to encourage Omahans to call Senator Ben Nelson and ask him to support clean energy and climate legislation. Today, the day itself, I'm making my own call to Senator Nelson's office, taking my glass bottles to the recycles, going for a hike in Iowa's Hitchcock Nature Center, and throwing a cloth bag in the car for a stop at the grocery store on the way home.

None of us are perfect. I'm going to said nature preserve alone in a van that gets 22mpg, I'm taking that cloth bag to a chain grocery store rather than a farmer's market, and I had brauts for launch. But we can all take a few steps, and finding a short trail near home and calling your Senator are two such steps. The Sierra Club is also asking folks to take a pledge to take one of five other simple actions: biking/walking instead of driving, taking a reusable bag to the store, plant a tree, make an organic meal, or write a letter about a green issue. (Make the pledge and you're entered into a drawing to win a trip to Hawaii.)

Al Gore's Repower America has set up a Senate hotline where you can call, enter in your zip code, and be connected to one of your Senators: 1-877-55-REPOWER (or 1-877-557-3769). Which Senator are you calling, and what else are you doing for Earth Day?

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72 24 Hours For Clean American Power

I wrote this on Tuesday but am bumping it for the last day of the call-in. Also check out this diary from Heather Taylor-Miesle on a related topic. -Nathan

From a networking standpoint, it’s pretty impressive. From a policy standpoint, it’s pretty important.

Starting today and running through Thursday, virtually every major environmental group is promoting a 72-hour push to have people call their Senators in support of clean energy legislation. Clean Energy Works, Repower America, the Sierra Club, Earthjustice, the NRDC, the League of Conservation Voters, the World Wildlife Federation, faith groups like Earth Ministry and Interfaith Power & Light, and many more are all working together to coordinate this important push.

No issue connects the dots like the need for clean energy. Coal-fired power plants kill over 24,000 Americans each year while the mining destroys drinking water and impoverished towns in Appalachia. Oil causes wars and imperils our national security. The construction of wind turbines and solar panels would bring hundreds of thousands of jobs to America. Jobs, health, national security, economic justice, environmentalism – it’s all here.

So please, help us put some pressure on the U.S. Senate. This is an issue where, thanks to folks like Lindsey Graham, there’s still room for bipartisanship and thus a more appealing path to 60 votes. Let’s bring this home this year. Make a simple call.

From Clean Energy Works:

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Six Upcoming Conferences on Faith and the Environment

I am aware of six conferences on faith, environmental stewardship, and climate change between now and May. If you are anywhere near Omaha, NE; Chicago, IL; New Haven, CT; Spokane, WA; Fayetville, AR; or the Adirondack Mountains and have any interest in either religion or new ways to discuss environmentalism, please consider attending the event near you. The first two are above the fold. The rest, in chronological order, are below the fold, including the one I think looks the most exciting. If you are aware of any others, please be sure to let me know!

February 27, Omaha, NE: Sustainable Faith: An Interfaith Forum on Climate Change and Clean Energy

Repower America and the College of St. Mary will co-host this week’s event on Saturday from 1-5pm. Discussion topics will include eco-justice, eco-spirituality, how faith communities can get involved in the push for clean energy legislation, and what churches can do to be more energy efficient. We will hear from prominent local clergypersons, watch the documentary “Clean Coal,” and learn what congregations around the state are already doing to fight climate change and be better environmental stewards.

“These religious leaders and teachers are forming mutual ministries to address climate challenge,” said the Rev. Dr. Ken Moore, who will speak at the forum. “They recognize that the effects of climate change are devastating – especially on the vulnerable, poor societies. Transitioning to clean, renewable energy would help us preserve God’s green earth, while benefiting the U.S. economy and American families.” Moore is regional minister for the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) in Nebraska and the board chair of Nebraska Interfaith Power and Light. Other speakers will include the Jesuit director of Creighton University’s campus ministry, the director of Justice and Advocacy Ministries ELCA-NE, and an Episcopal deacon and philosophy professor.

Admission is free, and RSVPs are requested but not required. For more information or to RSVP, e-mail or visit the event’s Facebook page. (Disclosure: I am organizing this forum on behalf of Repower America.)

March 18-19, Chicago, IL: Shared Earth: Interfaith Conference on the Environment

This event will be held at the Lutheran School of Theology at Chicago, and is sponsored by A Center of Christian-Muslim Engagement for Peace and Justice (CCME). The two day conference will include four speakers and five workshops.

Speakers will include Claremont School of Theology Professor Philip Clayton, Shomrei Adamah founder Ellen Bernstein, Rubenstein School of Natural Resources Professor Saleem H. Ali, and Chicago Zen Center director Sevan Ross. Workshops will include “Organizing Environmental Interfaith Action Projects,” “Creating Faith in Place,” “The Care and Redemption of God’s Good Earth: Perspectives from Christian Theology,” “Caring for Mother Earth: A Native American Perspective,” and “Living Green at the Mosque Foundation.”

Admission is free but pre-registration is requested. For more information, visit the CCME’s website.

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Progressive Democrat Newsletter Issue 240

Welcome to 2010. Hope everyone had a good break.

In 2010 we still have a long way to go with our economic recovery. And, as I have been saying for more than 5 years, the best way to revitalize our economy is through conversion to a green economy. Focusing on energy solutions like solar, wind, small hydroelectric, methane capture, biodiesel, etc. we create American jobs, produce energy more locally (hence improving the efficiency of energy delivery) and reduce our dependence on nations like Saudi Arabia and Venezuela. The United States has dragged its feet on this. As individuals we have generally been reluctant to make the personal decisions necessary to create a sound market for clean energy. And our local, state and Federal governments have been painfully slow to put in the incentives and regulations that would encourage such a shift. In 2010 we have to turn the tide both as individuals and at the level of government. This is critical both for job creation and for addressing global warming.

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Progressive Democrat Newsletter Issue 238

Trying to get back to regular newsletters, but it may not be quite weekly.

I am continuing to introduce a some more local pages focusing on particular counties or congressional districts in Texas, California and New York. These are focused on some swing districts that I think are worth concentrating on where I think I have readers. So keep an eye open for some new info on some local districts in these three states. My intention is to compile some info which I won't necessarily update regularly, but will still be a good resource for people in those areas. This week I add Suffolk County and the 19th Congressional District in New York. My motivation is that these are districts with Democrats who are very progressive for the districts they represent (thanks to this website for info: and who are potential targets for Republican challengers, so I want to help them out. I also started coverage of Lancaster County, PA where the Pitts of Stupal-Pitts is the Congressional Rep. Last newsletter I covered the TX-10 and TX-21 districts where healthcare reform is desperately needed but obstructionist Republicans are preventing it.

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