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Carl Pope

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Field Notes Archive

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Carl Pope's Field Notes

Too Fired Up for the Fire Marshal
30, 2004

Our Thursday afternoon rally -- co-sponsored by the Sierra Club, the League of Conservation Voters, WildPac, and others -- attracted so many fired-up people that the fire marshal shut us down. More than 500 cheering, chanting people were inspired by Robert Kennedy, Jr. (whose speech was almost magical); former EPA administrator Carole Browner; actor/director Rob Reiner; LCV's Deb Callahan; Congressmen Mark Udall and Jay Inslee; and New York Attorney General Eliot Spitzer.

I quoted Thomas Edison, who said "Genius is 1% inspiration and 99% perspiration," and told the crowd "Get ready to sweat." And if their enthusiasm this afternoon is any measure, they are more than ready to spend the next 95 days soaking wet.

We Could Have a President Who Sees "Trees as Cathedrals"

John Kerry gave a powerful acceptance speech tonight that used environmental issues to showcase his values and to contrast his vision and record with that of the Bush administration.

Early in his address, Kerry revealed that it was his mother who "gave me her passion for the environment. She taught me to see the trees as cathedrals of nature." He promised he will "have a vice president who will not conduct secret meetings with polluters to rewrite our environmental laws" -- referring of course to the Cheney Energy Task Force meetings. (The Sierra Club went all the way to the US Supreme Court in an effort to force the Vice President to reveal which special interest lobbyists and corporate officers attended the Task Force meetings.)

Kerry also told the nation of his plans for a $10 billion incentive program to entice automakers to build fuel-efficient vehicles. His call for energy independence reinforced policies we have been pushing for years: "I want an America that relies on its ingenuity and innovation, not on the Saudi royal family." His plan echoes the vision of the Apollo Project, a joint effort by unions and environmental groups that the Sierra Club has helped get off the ground: "Our energy plan will invest in new technologies and alternative fuels and the cars of the future so that no young American n uniform will ever be held hostage to our dependence on oil from the Middle East." This is, almost verbatim, the message of the ads that our energy team produced two years ago featuring former Senator Bob Kerrey and retired Vice-Admiral Jack Shanahan.

There Is a Better Way

The Sierra Club's been saying it for more than year -- America Can Do Better. That was the theme of Kerry's speech and in some ways of the entire Democratic convention. Americans who are paying attention to what happened this week in Boston heard a lot about hope and solutions to our problems -- now it's up to us to get the word out even more broadly. Our Environmental Voter Education Campaign kicks off Monday.