Getting to Higher Ground
Happy Anniversary! That’s right: it’s been five, count ‘em, five years since the highest court in all the land decided that greenhouse gases are air pollutants and the EPA may regulate their emission. This is the “wooden” anniversary, so get out there and celebrate by planting or at least hugging a carbon-sequestering tree.
As we all know, Massachusetts vs. EPA set the stage for our community’s current efforts to protect the EPA’s authority under the Clean Air Act to regulate greenhouse gases—including efforts to generate comments in support of the EPA’s proposed standard for industrial carbon pollution. This was one of many topics covered at the 2012 USCAN Annual Conference, held March 20-22 in Denver, CO.
What do you do when you are hosting a conference whose participants are so high-caliber that they could all be panelists, whose interests range from the KXL fight to rooftop solar, and work in communities across the country? First, you host said conference at altitude– hoping the thin air mellows folks out and enhances the effects of happy hour. (kidding, kind of). But seriously–this year’s Steering Committee designed an agenda that focused on three critical areas of our community’s collective efforts: communicating and building momentum, breaking fossil fuel’s grip on our economy and planet, and pushing a clean energy future forward. Wanting to tap into the energy and expertise of panelists and audience participants alike, the Steering Committee focused on creating as much time and space for conversation as possible.
HUGE thanks to the Steering Committee:
Nathan Wilcox, Bill Bradlee, Mary Ann Hitt, Lucy Laflamme, Angela Anderson, Jacqueline Patterson, Claudia Malloy, KC Golden, Joy Bergey, and Adriana Quintero!
The conference began with a thought-provoking discussion of how we talk about our issues and climate change, who can best carry our message to various audiences, and how social change occurs. From there we learned about campaigns across the nation and beyond, ranging from the Clean Air Defense Campaign to energy efficiency in Colorado to international climate policy to fighting coal in the Midwest. Rare is the chance that one can attend one event and be brought up to speed on policy, politics, and campaigns occurring in such a broad array of important climate issue areas!
Through dialogue and debate, our community continues down an important road as we shake off the last vestiges of post cap-and-trade mourning and frustration, and start to bend our broad array of campaigns together as a unified movement—working not in isolation, but in support of a common vision.
For Members Only: Want to read highlights from each of the panels and see some of the presentations? Visit the USCAN website today. Log-in required.
JP Leous, Outreach Director, US Climate Action Network