My letter to the Obama-Biden Transition Team on Energy and the Environment:
I am a recent college graduate. I am not an engineer or a businessperson, but a writer and a musician. You won’t see me developing new green technology or creating new jobs to promote these innovations. But I do focus on the choices I make in my daily life: light bulbs, groceries, water bottles, recycling, transportation, etc. When it comes to energy, I am interested in supply but involved in demand, and I believe that this is where ‘everyday’ Americans can become best involved in, and have the most impact on, our cultural energy trends.
However, I know that many people are still not aware of the impact their small choices can make, or they don’t see enough reason to change their actions. (It’s not just Washington that has some bad habits.) Recycling, using canvas bags, and combining errands into fewer car trips are just not a part of how many of us think.
Something that I would like to see during the Obama presidency is a focus on grassroots awareness and education in these areas. I admire President-Elect Obama’s statement that service to the country should not be relegated to the military, but is something we should all be involved in. I would love to see a growing culture of local involvement and volunteerism, not just for elections and legislation but for broader education regarding the issues we face, and can affect, by the choices we make as citizens. I believe the administration can encourage and guide such a movement.
I recently heard an interesting radio piece about parenting class for families in a low income neighborhood. They focused on productive discipline techniques and taught the parents why reading to their kids was so important. The parents listened, and the program was a success, albeit a small one. I think this type of approach can work for the energy and economic choices we make as well.
I’ll let Washington and the business, financial, and environmental leaders worry about the policies needed to encourage production and development of green energy. But the rest of us have an important role to play in decreasing our demand for energy, which we should be doing regardless of gas prices.
Now, more than ever, people all over the country feel both involved in and connected to the political process, and I think this presents an amazing opportunity to keep people involved. Please, find some way to turn the campaign’s impressive organizing skills into a more permanent opportunity for cultural dialogue on a neighbor-to-neighbor basis.