Saturday, March 26, 2011

Earth Hour reminds us to widen our horizon globally for progressive advocacy

Today is the day for Earth Hour when people turn off the lights from 8:30 pm to 9:30 pm local time to raise awareness of the need to confront global warming - an idea dreamed up only six years ago by Australians looking to raise awareness about climate change and now the largest single action taken by the people of the world to advance a political cause. There will likely be close to half a billion people participating or made aware of Earth Hour today in almost every nation on earth.

What I really like about Earth Hour is the reminder that our electorate is really global and our ability to successfully wage advocacy campaigns does not end at our national borders. While I prefer to focus on state and local governments to implement the progressive agenda, largely because they are run by Democrats who are far more sympathetic to the agenda than the opposition, the prerequisite work to build consensus among citizens before their representatives are ready to implement an improvement can occur everywhere, both in Republican-majority states in the US and in nations without basic democracy. It is just as important that the average Chinese citizen (who doesn't vote for her government) comes to see global warming as an economic threat as it is for the average American citizen (who does) in order to forge a binding global agreement on reducing pollution.

When I turn off the lights and sit in candlelight tonight, I'll do so not only to remember the need to modernize our economy to emit far less pollution, but I'll do so as part of global solidarity with the other tens of millions of progressive advocates who similarly work to build consensus for a higher standard of living for all. And I'll be thinking about what sort of similarly effective campaigns my clients can launch or participate in to change the minds of everyday people in order to hasten the day when we implement their particular part of the progressive agenda.

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