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PowerVote October 28, 2008

Filed under: Politics — Katie @ 3:20 am
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Al Gore will be webcasting live to a student organization known as Power

Power Vote asks students to get involved in the election process.

Power Vote asks students to get involved in the election process.

Vote at campuses around the country Wednesday night, congratulating them on their efforts to get the student vote out. 

 

Power Vote is a group of students campaigning to make green living a real issue in legislatures across the country.  They ask that students sign a pledge to vote for representatives who have a legitimate concern regarding the promotion of green jobs and an economy that runs on clean energy. 

The pledge is a physical representation of how many students consider global warming and green living to be a real issue and are looking for change.  Power Vote hopes to use the number of students who sign the pledge as leverage to show representatives this is an issue that people are concerned about.   

The group has interviewed several congressmen, including Austin’s Elliot Naishtat, to find out what their stances are on clean energy.  Power Vote keeps a record of people’s answers in their blog. 

On Wednesday, Oct. 29, Al Gore will discuss how critical the youth involvement is in this issue, as well as issuing a call for us to vote for clean energy-minded officials on Election Day, Nov. 4. 

Students can view his webcast and meet UT Power Vote students in WEL 2.256 on the University of Texas campus at 7:30.

 

Man with a Plan October 24, 2008

Filed under: Politics,Renewable Energy — Katie @ 6:39 pm
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Pickens plans to use more environmentally friendly resources.

Pickens plans to use more environmentally friendly resources.

Billionaire T. Boone Pickens has a proposition for America, and he’s looking for public support to back his Pickens Plan to decrease our dependency on foreign oil.  The man wants American private industries to invest a trillion dollars in establishing wind turbines around the country to use for power generation in our homes and businesses.  Oil currently used on power generation can then be used solely for transportation purposes.. fueling our cars, trucks, scooters, whatever. Pickens estimates that this plan could save the U.S. $300 billion that we annually spend on foreign oil, meaning the plan would pay for itself in about three and a half years, and says that, with the right leadership, we could expect this to successfully take off within a decade.  The plan has merits – wind energy and a focus on using natural gas instead of oil to fuel our vehicles would significantly decrease the amount of carbon emissions in the air.  But, it’s important to note that full carbon reduction potential isn’t Pickens’ goal… his main proposal is to decrease our dependency on foreign oil.  His plan has been endorsed by Carl Pope, the executive director of the Sierra Club, who says that “to put it plainly, Pickens is out to save America.” Presidential candidate Barack Obama has also said he supports parts of Pickens’ plan.  PIckens will need to garner enough political support for his plan to get passed in Congress before it becomes a reality.  Check out his site or watch the video below and decide for yourself.  

 

Bailout Blues October 13, 2008

Filed under: Politics — Katie @ 7:25 pm
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It’s been a few weeks since Congress passed the $700 billion bailout plan, but it wasn’t until I heard author, journalist and filmmaker Naomi Klein voice her criticisms last night that the number really sank in. 

$700,000,000 is a lot of money – enough money in fact, says Klein, to fund basic healthcare to every child in America.  I think that’s important enough to reiterate.  Right now, in our current state of record-breaking, history-making debt accumulation, our government voted to spend $700 billion dollars to bail out Wall Street when that same amount of money could provide healthcare to every child in this nation.  Hmm.  That paints a pretty interesting picture of where our government’s priorities are. 

Klein also commented about how much money our government is willing to shell out with a little pressure.  The fact that our government promised this much dough means that the excuse of “this is too expensive” to not meet our country’s needs no longer holds firm.  Especially when it comes to issues as important as the health of the climate that we all need in order to survive.

The Obama campaign has already said, if elected, they might have to cut back on their already weak alternative energy plan to make due with less spending.  We need to exert pressure on his campaign to make sure he knows this is not the area to cut back in research spending.

On an entirely related note, executive director of the Sierra Club Carl Pope

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This bailout plan has done a great job at explaining our government's priorities. (source: cartoonstock.com)

 mentioned that this proposed cost of the bailout is roughly the equivalent to our year’s supply of imported oil. 

“So if we really took ending our addiction to oil seriously,” writes Pope, “we could repay the Treasury for the bailout — and it’s hard to see any other pot of money lying around big enough.”

If our next president is going to cut back on spending for anything, here’s the answer.  Cut back on spending money on something inherently destructive to our future generations.  We will not take “lack of money” for an excuse any longer.

 

Drill, baby October 3, 2008

Filed under: Politics — Katie @ 10:27 pm
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Last night’s vice presidential debate covered environmental issues for all of five minutes, but that was long enough to identify crucial differences in the two positions.  

Sarah Palin contributes the cause of global warming to both human activity AND a natural cycle in temperatures.. hmm.  She blared about energy independence, decreasing reliance on foreign sources of oil.  She’s from Alaska.  Obviously this means drilling, “environmentally safe drilling,” according to Palin. Not only that, but as she mentioned, in order to get oil from Alaska to the mainland, a $40 billion pipeline is under construction, one of the most expensive infrastructure projects ever.   

This sounds really great for Alaska, but in the end, more drilling will only require more energy to recover from the disastrous carbon side effects of continued gasoline dependency than if we put that $40 billion to funding alternative energy research. 

Joe Biden says it’s obvious global warming is manmade, and made one of the only mentions of the night to alternative fuels – wind, solar, biofuels, etc.  He wants to invest in clean coal and safe nuclear energy before exporting this technology to other countries in order to reduce their emissions.  

I can’t say I think the words “clean” and “coal” ever belong together, but we do have the technology to burn currently burn cleanER coal, which we need to implement as soon as possible until we figure out a better way to run things. 

Biden continually mentioned that McCain voted 20 times against funding alternative energy research.  I have yet to hear any pundits correct this fact, so as for now, it stands with me.  

32 days and counting until Voting Day.

 

Politics are sexy September 7, 2008

Filed under: Politics — Katie @ 11:06 pm
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The League of Conservation Voters may offer potential voters an insight into political candidates that news sources may not.  The site is an annual scorecard of Congressmen and their voting record in favor of the environment.  The importance of experience has been one of the biggest criticisms in this presidential election, and, more than once, candidates have flip flopped their public position on ways to take care of this planet. A voting record is solid and speaks much louder than political jargon, which makes this site so important.  

In presidential terms, Sen. John McCain has an overall score of voting in favor of the environment 24% of the time he’s been a congressman.  Granted, he didn’t vote at all on any pro-environmental legislation for the entire 2007 session, which counts against this percentage.  He was probably busy campaigning.  Fine.  Sen. Barack Obama has a lifetime LCV score of 86%, and he managed to vote in favor of environmental legislature 67% during the 2007 session.   Check out the comparison chart.

Our candidates
Candidates’ voter history may be more significant than their campaign promises.  As a voter, keep yourself aware. 

There’s no doubt that politics are sexy this season, and we’ve all heard the reports of the thousands of youngsters who flocked to the polls to vote for the first time in the primaries.  With any luck, those numbers will carry over to the local level as well.  It is just as important to make an educated vote for our local politicians.  Citizens have more opportunity to hold these officials accountable for their campaign promises and first handedly witness the benefits of their decisions.   Please, make yourself aware of the positions and voting records of your political candidates and vote for representatives who care about green issues this November.