The Student News Site of Macalester College

The Mac Weekly

The Student News Site of Macalester College

The Mac Weekly

The Student News Site of Macalester College

The Mac Weekly

The Impossible Will Take a Little While

By Timothy Den Herder-Thomas

So we’ve finally
heard it: George Bush slipped the words “global climate change”
into his State of the Union Address, then promptly went on to talk
about judicial reform in the court system.

Today ends the national
week of youth action, Rising to the Challenge, the largest
mobilization ƒ?” about 574 campuses ƒ?” of student leaders at
colleges and high schools working for global warming solutions in
history. As you’re probably well aware, the Minnesota College
Energy Coalition has teamed up with the Minnesota Public Interest
Research Group to launch Campus Wars statewide: Macalester now faces
Carleton, the University of Minnesota, and a dozen others as we fight
for energy-efficient campuses. With the help of President Rosenberg
and our friends statewide, we’ve got approval from several other
college presidents, readied Facilities Managers for the challenge,
and pulled together rising groups across the state. You met the
Energy Crusaders yesterday; now it‘s time to get down to business.

Let’s win this thing! That’s not the end of
the good news. The House passed a pro-clean energy bill a couple
weeks ago by an overwhelming majority. The CLEAN Energy 2007 Act
removes $14 billion in annual subsidies to the oil and gas industry
and dedicating the funding to a yet-to-be structured renewable energy
and energy efficiency fund. Though the $14 billion is only about a
third of the subsidies fossil fuels receive annually (these subsidies
are tied up in dozens of complex royalty and tax code laws), it’s a
huge step in the right direction, sucking power from fossil energy to
fund renewable power. A strong Republican contingent supported the
bill too, as it takes funding away from foreign oil and puts it in
the hands of local energy producers. Next the bill faces the Senate,
and finally President Bush’s desk. That might sound grim, but he’s
spending his time preaching about energy independence, and this one
has broad bipartisan support.

All of these are
straightforward, logical, feasible steps. Not one is the slightest
bit outlandish. This is:
A farmer from Luverne,
Minnesota starts making ethanol, forms a co-op of local producers,
and in just a few years has a coalition nearly large enough to buy
out Archer Daniels Midland, one of the world’s largest
agribusinesses. Texan wind companies start charging less for
electricity than their coal-fired competitors. A labor union leader
forges a coalition of urban residents, union members, and
environmentalists to build a new plan for his factory and the entire
region. Three hundred farmers and rural citizens gather in a small
civic center in St. Cloud to build a movement of independent voices,
entrepreneurs, advocates, and activists ready to transform their
communities from dependents on the largest and most exclusive
industry in the world to engines of their own future. A team of
students prepares a conference and a communications network for
Minnesota citizens on the premise that a hodge-podge of farmers,
duck-hunters, eco-entrepreneurs, congregation members, workers,
residents, and students will stand up to a global challenge and
pioneer a sustainable future.

All of this happened,
much of it in January 2007.

This is the dawn of
people power.

We no longer advocate
for our vision; we build it. We are a new global force, rooted in our
communities, our cultures, our world. Whatever the Institute will
tell you, global citizenship is not about your understanding of
geopolitics and the global economy; it’s in the empowerment of our

Sounds far-fetched?
Today looks just like yesterday, and tomorrow will be just the same?
Globalization will continue to mean globally centralized control and
insignificance for the average Macalester graduate? This vision is
The impossible will
take a little while.

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