On September 10, exactly one month before the 10/10/10 event, 350.org’s Bill McKibben and his team went to the White House. Theyentered the meeting with over 40,000 letters asking President Obama toreturn solar panels to the White House.
At McKibbens request, hundreds of people registered new work parties to encourage President Obama to reinstall solar panels on the White House roof.
On the way to Washington, McKibben wrote to his legions of followers from a biodiesel van on a highway in the state of Maine. McKibben shared thefact that he and his team were traveling with one of the solar panelsthat American president Jimmy Carter installed on the White House roofover three decades ago.
When this solar panel was installed in1979, Carter said, "A generation from now this solar heater can eitherbe a curiosity, a museum piece, an example of a road not taken, or itcan be just a small part of one of the greatest and most excitingadventures ever undertaken by the American people."
Sadly, thepanels were removed by Republican President Ronald Reagan. Unity College salvaged them from a government warehouse and installed them on theroof of their school cafeteria. The school agreed to donate one solarpanel back to the White House, "in the hope that it will spur Obama topick up where Carter left off."
Mohamed Nasheed, president of the Maldives, had agreed to install solar panels on his roof on October 10and McKibben was hoping that President Obama would do the same. However, McKibben left dissapointed as the White House has opted to continue its deliberations to figure out an appropriate course of action.
OnOctober 10 2010, the Global Work Party will send the President and allpoliticians a clear message: we’re getting to work, now it’s time foryou to do your part.
Independent of what political leadershipswill do, McKibben and the 350.org team wants to send the message that we can control what happens in our communities, and we can use our ownefforts to put more political pressure on our leaders.
Richard Matthews is a consultant, eco-entrepreneur, sustainable investor and writer. He is the owner of THE GREEN MARKET, one of the Web’s most comprehensive resources on the business of the environment. He is also the author of numerous articles on sustainable positioning, green investing, enviro-politics and eco-economics.