Originally Posted at It’s Getting Hot In Here
Forty years ago tomorrow, there was a call for justice. Twenty million Americans heard that call and came together for the first Earth Day. It was bold. It was loud. It was right. And soon politicians who opposed strong environmental legislation started losing their jobs. There has been progress since 1970. But by and large, the movement to save the Earth has been wandering in the desert for the past forty years. Forty years is enough time to wander in the desert. It’s about time we crossed the river.
We cannot wait any longer. The world is burning. We need to get bolder. We cannot accept compromises. There is no room for negotiation. If real action on climate destabilization is not “politically feasible” then the politics need to change, because as Bill McKibben is fond of saying, physics and chemistry are very poor negotiators. And we need to get louder. A lot louder.
In Washington, a bill is about to be introduced that will almost certainly do next to nothing to stop global climatic disruption. And this is not unexpected — it is foolish to expect our politicians to lead us to a just and stable future. We must lead them. We must make real demands, and remove any politician who does not meet them. That is what democracy looks like.
Across the country now we are hearing a call. 100% Clean Electricity within this decade. It’s a good call, because it makes clear that this is a moral issue. People are losing their homes. People are dying. We never heard a call for 80% less slavery in in the next fifty years. Or 35% increases in a woman’s right to vote. Or get rid of segregation eventually. When something is wrong is has to stop completely and it has to stop immediately. Burning fossil fuels is wrong. It must be ended right now.
Here in Massachusetts, participants in The Leadership Campaign are spending Earth Day Eve on the Boston Common, sleeping-out. We are refusing to sleep in our dorms, homes, and apartments powered by dirty electricity. We are calling on our state legislature to give us 100% Clean Electricity within this decade. We are holding them accountable. And this is happening across the country in Connecticut and Pennsylvania and Oregon and Vermont.
What we need is nothing less than a movement. A real movement. A principled movement. An enraged movement. A people-in-the-streets movement. There is no more time for talk. There is no more time for compromise. We must act, now.