Thursday, October 23, 2014

Into the National Conversation

The other day as my running buddy and I cruised though our usual loop, we wondered aloud if there has been any progress since Hurricane Sandy pummeled the New York area.

We loosely mused that New York is still probably unprepared for another storm surge and rising seas. The city is thinking about preparation and debating preparation, but it's not prepared. We are a species, or at least the American variety, that learns the hard way.

Though we may not be prepared, there has been steady progress, and optimism shines as bright as fall foliage.

It's in the stats that say more Americans than ever believe climate change is a real problem. It's in the 311,000 hearts (by one sound account) beating for action at the recent climate rally. The grand surge of bodies in the city streets, like a river of unstoppable positive energy, won't be forgotten anytime soon.

The optimism even glints from the political rhetoric heating up many states in the mid-term elections. Out of the usually useless hot air a hopeful picture emerges of American politicians finally talking about climate issues.

"Ads mentioning energy, climate change and the environment — over 125,000 spots and climbing on the Senate side — have surged to record levels during the 2014 midterm election cycle," according to the New York Times.

A year ago, it was hard to get anyone to even whisper about such things.

How positive the messages are for a clean energy future depends on where you are and who's talking. In Iowa, 40% of the political ads mentioned clean energy. In Kentucky, it's about loving coal.

But I'll take it. The future of energy is on the board. There have been so many years of squawking about the issue and barely getting an ear even among the most indulgent friends and family. It was those warm, silent smiles that said "no one cares" or "just let her get this out of her system."

And now we finally have sides defined. Far fewer shadows. Much less subterfuge.

"The explosion of energy and environmental megadonors — such as Thomas F. Steyer, a California billionaire and environmental activist on the left, and Charles G. and David H. Koch, billionaire brothers on the right — take sides," according to the Times.

Supporters of fossil fuels and carbon pollution may have more resources and the most powerful industries in the world behind them but clean energy supporters have something better. They know they're fighting the good fight and they intend to win.

No comments: