Just in time to give this weekend's Global Work Party a White House-sized boost, the Obama administration announced this morning that they are going to put solar panels on the First Family's living quarters, returning to a tradition begun by president Jimmy Carter and abandoned by Ronald Reagan.
It's a great win for your efforts over the last months--everyone who wrote letters, signed petitions for our "Put Solar On It" campaign, and turned out for the Solar Road Trip as we rolled down the east coast from Unity College towing one of the original Carter panels. We were disappointed that day that the White House wasn't prepared to go solar, but are now very happy and honored that they took our suggestion to look into the matter seriously.
Solar panels on one house, even this house, won't save the climate, of course. But they're a powerful symbol to the whole nation about where the future lies. And President Obama will wake up every morning and make his toast by the power of the sun (do presidents make toast?), which will be a constant reminder to be pushing the U.S. Congress for the kind of comprehensive reform we need.
And remember, President Obama's not alone: tomorrow, Maldivian President Mohamed Nasheed and a crew from Sungevity will be putting solar panels on the Muliaa'ge, the "White House of the Maldives". It's a trend!
Of course, both of these initiatives are perfectly timed to lead into this weekend's Global Work Party, when 6127 carbon-cutting events (and rising) will take place in 187 countries. If you haven't already gotten involved, now is most definitely the time to join an event near you--or register your own.
The first account of the news from the White House, from Associated Press reporter Dina Cappiello, noted the efforts of 350.org to make this happen. In particular, I'd like to salute Jean Altomare, Amanda Nelson, and Jamie Nemecek, the three young women from Unity College who brought the Carter solar panels to Washington DC, and made such an impression on the White House.
They remind all of us why we'll be working hard this weekend for the Global Work Party--and why, when the day is done, we'll be putting down our hammers and our shovels and picking up our cellphones to call our leaders.
You never know what will happen when you ask for change.
Bill McKibben for the 350.org Team