by Maura Cowley, Executive Director, Energy Action Coalition
On Tuesday, President Barack Obama earned the opportunity to lead our country for another four years. And that means that our movement must fight harder for climate action than we ever have before. The candidate that the fossil fuel lobby spent millions trying to get into the White House lost last. But if clean energy is going to win, our movement must be ready to roll up our sleeves and get to work right away. There isn’t a moment to lose.
Big Oil, Big Coal and the 1% pledged to spend record amounts -- over $1 billion -- trying to rollback the progress we’ve made on building a clean energy economy, but once again we showed that people power can overcome. And it almost worked.
For the first time in many of our lives, climate wasn’t even mentioned in the Presidential debates. Instead, we saw a race to the bottom as the candidates competed over who had the plan to burn the planet the fastest.
But time and time again, our movement rose to the occasion; we organized people power to stand up to all the dirty money, and misleading TV ads that led to a near silence on climate change. We organized with people in the grassroots to demand climate action, and demand the candidates break their silence.
And on Tuesday, thanks to many of you, our generation proved it’s power and it’s passion when we mobilized like never before: in 2012, Millennials were any even greater share of the electorate than we were in 2008. Nobody expected this. With all the challenges and growing cynicism, people expected that youth vote would stay home; but we didn’t, we showed them that no matter how great the challenge, we’re determined to meet it.
With the East Coast still reeling from Superstorm Sandy (please donate to a community organization like CAAAV here), it’s clear that taking bold and urgent action on the climate crisis must be at the top of President Obama’s list. Sandy has reminded us that the impacts of the climate crisis are immediate, local and terribly human. The toll of inaction on climate will only continue to grow, and as the generation with the most at stake, we must demand that President Obama make action on climate a top priority.
If we have learned anything about President Obama over the last four years, it is that he is a man we can work with and push on the issues we care about. Throughout his first term, when the American people rose up, when they fought and organized around the issues they care about, he listened and he responded. And in a democracy that overwhelmed with corporate money, this is a very important thing.
In order for our movement to be ready for the next four years, we must be bigger and bolder than we ever have been. We need millions of people to join our movement as we march through the streets demanding real solutions to climate change. We need our campuses and communities to do everything they can do reduce global warming pollution and cut their ties with Big Oil and the fossil fuel lobby. And we need to take the fossil fuel funded climate deniers in Congress on and make their positions seem pathetic, instead of relevant.
We’re kicking this phase of our work off by asking everyone in the youth climate movement to build the movement and get ready for more action, but responding to the crisis at hand with the boldness and swiftness that it demands. Sign up here, get 5 of your friends to sign up. And get ready for more action to come.