YOUTH VOICES ROCK THE SENATE

Last week I was in Washington DC to present our Declaration of Independence from Fossil Fuels to the group of Senators who are working hard to pass some laws that will help to slow down global warming emissions.  Senator Barbara Boxer, the Chairman of the Committee, invited me to attend a reception to celebrate the passing of the Kerry-Boxer bill out of the Environment and Public Works Committee.

It was pretty awesome, if you think about it.  There were like 50 or 60 people there, most of them from Environmental organizations who have supported this bill in one way or another.  But there were also five Senators and a couple Cabinet representatives.  Senator Boxer and three other senators gave statements and offered words of thanks and encouragement.  Then, she introduced….me!  This regular kid from California with a huge roll of butcher paper in his arms, filled with over 10,000 signatures from the last unrepresented segment of our society:  people under the age of 18.

We can’t vote.  We aren’t lobbyists.  But our voices are too passionate to be ignored.

I wrote the Declaration of Independence from Fossil Fuels a year and a half ago.  At first, it was just a simple way for kids to take action after my presentations.

But then, when we joined up with ACE, it became a national campaign.  ACE educators and I are still collecting signatures after our assembly presentations, and there are videos online you can forward to your friends to collect signatures.  So far, we have about 40,000, including all the online signatures, but we’re gonna keep going till we have at least 350,000 of them and get the Declaration recorded in the official minutes of the Congressional hearings.  350,000 seems like the right number, don’t you think?  Invite all your friends to sign.  This is our chance to be heard.

Our voices are probably the most important ones out there in this growing debate.  They count for more because we are the ones who will be most affected by what does or does not happen over the next year.  The Senators need to be brave and do what is right…even if it means they’ll look bad in the eyes of those who want to keep the status quo.

It’s getting nasty out there.  We need to keep speaking up, keep doing projects that conserve the fossil fuel energy we have, and keep thinking of ways to do life differently in this new society we’re creating.

When I was talking to Senator Kerry last week, he told me they need the youth voice in the next couple months if we are going to pass this bill through the Senate. He challenged our generation to stand up, and get active in this fight. So who is ready to join me?