Monday, November 10, 2008
Climate Change, One Light Bulb at a Time?
Nov. 08, 2007 - If today's youth are supposed to be politically apathetic, more engaged in Facebook than the fate of the world, no one told Jessy Tolkan. The 26-year-old activist spent Nov. 2 to 5 in Washington at the Power Shift summit, where over 6,000 college students from every state in the country gathered to agitate for federal action on climate change.
For Tolkan, the executive director for the Energy Action Coalition, an umbrella group of youth-oriented environmental groups that helped organize the conference, Power Shift was "by far the most incredible thing that I have ever experienced in my life. I'm going to be running off that energy for a long time."
Energy — and results — is something that the campaign to create political action on climate change in the U.S. has often lacked. Over the past few years there has been a grassroots groundswell on global warming, but the focus has been on personal action, small behavioral changes individuals can make — or more often, buy — to reduce their impact on the Earth. It's the light bulb theory — switch your wasteful incandescent lights for more energy-efficient compact fluorescent bulbs, and you're doing your bit to save the planet.
But while individual action is important — and the increasing ubiquity of green consumerism is a sign that the business world is getting the environmental message — the sheer scale of the climate challenge is so overwhelming that only a worldwide revolution in the way we use energy will be enough to stave off the worst consequences. More >>>