photo via 350.org
Bill McKibben, author, activist and founder of 350.org, has been on a tour of the East Coast to promote his latest project, PutSolarOnIt, an effort to get the White House to put Jimmy Carter's solar panels back on the roof after Ronald Reagan had them removed. The project was an ingenious PR stunt designed to both educate the public about how powerful solar energy is and just what the White House's priorities are when it comes to climate and energy policy. On Friday, the White House refused the panels, giving some indication just what those priorities in fact are. After Reagan had them removed, the panels have been stored at Unity College in Maine. McKibben took ownership of them and offered them to White House to heat hot water for presidential showers and dishwashing.
Always quick with a smart line, McKibben told the NY Times:
"They refused to take the Carter-era panel that we brought with us and said they would continue their deliberative process to figure out what is appropriate for the White House someday. I told them it would be nice to deliberate as fast as possible, since that is the rate at which the planet's climate is deteriorating."
The White House did offer an official reply:
"Representatives from the White House met with the group to discuss President Obama's unprecedented commitment to renewable energy including more than $80 billion in the generation of renewable energy sources, expanding manufacturing capacity for clean energy technology, advancing vehicle and fuel technologies, and building a bigger, better, smarter electric grid, all while creating new, sustainable jobs.
Undaunted, McKibben's energies will now flow toward 350.org's international day of action on October 10. The day is a Global Work Party, created to "encourage communities across the globe to get to work on climate solutions and celebrate clean energy." Already, over 1,000 work parties have been registered in more than 100 countries. Last year, in advance of the climate negotiations in Copenhagen, 350.org coordinated what has been described as the biggest day of action ever on climate change.
You can sign up to host or attend a party on 10/10/10 here.