A Look Back At Opportunity Lost – And 72 Hours to Change Our Future


Before we talk about the next 72 Hours, let’s take a look back — all the way back to 2003. That’s when the U.S. Senate took its first vote on comprehensive climate legislation. The Climate Stewardship Act, a bipartisan bill sponsored by Senators Joe Lieberman & John McCain, was defeated on a 43 to 55 vote.

So what’s happened in the roughly 60,000 hours since then?

  • According to NASA, 2005 was the hottest year on record, with 2009 tied for 2nd. The 2000s were the hottest decade on record.

  • Gas prices are up an incredible 82% since 2003.

  • Our energy supply is less secure — even after eight years of expanded domestic drilling in the Bush/Cheney administration, and even after the recession brought U.S. energy consumption down sharply, we’re still importing 6% more oil than we were in 2003.

Where has the status quo gotten us since 2003? Deeper into the climate crisis. More money going to energy costs & less money going to job creation. Less energy security. And after all that, politicians & front groups in the pockets of big polluters have the gall to claim that it’s change to our energy policies that would pose a risk. Are they kidding?

Enough. Time to tell our Senators that we’re tired of the same old excuses, same old unwillingness to stand up to polluters, same old status quo of climate & energy inaction. Here’s how Robert Redford frames our opportunity to make a difference:

Many Americans are tempted to turn their backs on the DC infighting, but that would be a mistake. We still possess a powerful ability to influence our lawmakers. When we raise our voices loudly and fully enough, we can hit the core sensitivity of politicians: the desire for votes. They are still our representatives, after all, and they have to respond to public outcry.

From Alaska’s Arctic National Wildlife Refuge to Wyoming’s oil and gas fields, I’ve seen concerned activists demand the best of our lawmakers.

That citizen force is about to be unleashed again, and this time, it will be in support of the most critical environmental vote of my lifetime: passing clean energy and climate legislation in the Senate.

The National Wildlife Federation has joined with dozens of other organizations to make it easier than ever to take action. Just visit 72 Hours for Clean American Power and enter your contact information. We’ll call you, and after a few instructions, connect you directly with your senator’s office. Every call makes a difference!

Photo via Flickr’s Public Citizen