Maybe the Obama Administration was planning on putting solar panels on the White House all along, or maybe the grassroots campaign to put panels on the White House that began with solar advocate Tor Valenza, of SolarPowerRocks.Com, and Sungevity, a California-based solar company, and which was taken up by 350.org’s Bill McKibben and college students from Unity College ultimately inspired higher ups to bring sun power back to 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue.
Either way, President Obama has decided that he’s not just going to talk the renewable energy talk – he’s doing an excellent job of actively promoting renewables – he’s also going to walk the renewable energy walk by installing solar panels on America’s most famous building.
That’s great news for environmentalists and renewable energy advocates. While a few dozen solar panels on the White House won’t have much of an impact on the environment, the symbolism of a White House that’s partially powered by solar will give a tremendous boost to solar and, more broadly, to the so-called green energy economy.
Coupled with President Obama’s recent radio address in which he made a powerful push for renewable energy and for green jobs as absolutely crucial to the United States, the White House going solar ought to fire up environmentalists and renewable energy advocates – not just a little, but a lot.
Obama Administration pro-renewable energy
While the Obama administration has disappointed some progressives some of the time – including this one – it’s done a lot for renewable energy, for electric cars and for environmentalism in general.
We’re talking about a hundred-fold improvement over the other guy who was in the White House for the previous eight years and who was essentially in the pocket of Big Oil. In contrast, Obama directly challenged Big Oil in his recent radio address, noting that, “We can go back to the failed energy policies that profited the oil companies … or we can go after new jobs in growing industries and fight for a brighter future.”
While it may unfortunately be that the fire Obama’s been showing in recent weeks might be coming a bit too late, it’s refreshing to see. This is the Obama I knocked on more than 300 doors for in hotly contested Arapahoe County here in Colorado in the Fall of 2008. This rejuvenated Obama has finally recognized that that milk-toasting it in an attempt to please centrist independents is a losing game plan, especially in a mid-term election year when getting your base out to vote is key.
A cleaner, greener future
There’s a lot at stake in the upcoming U.S. elections. And, if you haven’t gotten charged up about ensuring that Obama has a Congress to work that’s committed to a greener, cleaner future for the United States, you need to — now.
A Republican Congress will be no friend of renewable energy, or a greener, cleaner America. And rest assured, if the Republicans sweep to victory in November of 2010 in part due to the apathy of progressives, the next two years will deliver nothing more than deadlock on renewable energy and environmental issues.
If that happens, there’s a good chance that Obama, arguably the most environmentally friendly president the U.S. has had since the last guy who put up solar panels on the White House – Jimmy Carter – was president, will lose in November of 2012.
That would be a travesty for solar, for renewable energy, for the environment, for the future of the U.S., which will fall hopelessly behind the rest of the world in the renewable energy race, and for the rest of the world, which will pay the economic and environmental price of a rabidly pro-fossil fuel U.S. Congress and president.
Now, if that’s not enough to get you fired up and to motivate you to help get out the vote for pro-renewable energy, pro-solar, pro-plug-in, and pro-environmental candidates for the U.S. House and Senate, 99 percent of them Democrats – I’m not sure what will.
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