I just did the greenest thing I am ever likely to do. I became a US Citizen.
And with the patriotic guitar chords of Lee Greenwood still ringing in my ears (yup, they do make you listen to God Bless the USA), I am excited about what this move means for my family—and for my ability to contribute to the environmental movement.
Sure, America's reliance on dirty fossil fuels and its lack of leadership on climate mean that the idea of becoming American improving one's environmental footprint seems a little oxymoronic at first.
But then we have to remember that real environmental impact is not just about how much, or how little, we emit and consume as individuals, . It's about what influence we can wield on the collective culture. And if you are living in a democracy but you can't vote, that influence will always be limited.
Now that I am a citizen, I have a vote. I have a voice. (Albeit a voice that is somewhat outgunned by big money interests.) And I intend to use it wisely, and widely, to push for what I believe is the right path for this country, and for the world in general. And I still believe there is a good chance we can get this thing done.
With the majority of Americans supporting climate action and clean energy, my optimism is not entirely unfounded.
For better or worse, America remains the preeminent power on the Global stage. And for all its faults (before anyone gets all "love it or leave it "on me, all countries have faults), it is chock full of ethical, hard working, innovative and committed people of all walks of life and political persuasions. People who, if given the opportunity, could step up and help lead the world into a better, fairer and happier future.
I am excited to be able to participate as a citizen in the country I now call home. And I am excited to never have to listen to Lee Greenwood ever, ever again.