"Hooray!" That's the word I saw spelled out in big cardboard letters on the roof of a car driving through the streets of San Francisco this morning. Hooray! That pretty much sums up how a lot of us in the United States are feeling about Barack Obama's inauguration as President.
There's plenty to say about the inauguration, but since I'm writing here on the 350 blog, I want to lay out a few reasons why I think this moment is so important for our movement to stop climate chaos and return the world to 350 ppm C02.
First, we've got a political opening. For the last eight years, the Bush Administration has lead the United States down a suicidal path of climate destruction. Sound harsh? Totally, but it's hardly hyperbole. With Obama in office, we finally have a chance to push the US in the right direction: strong emissions cuts and funding for developing countries for adaptation and sustainable development. That's work that will involve all of us, no matter where we live.
Second, we've seen the strength of a people powered movement (we like to think of the ppm in 350 as representing those last three words). Obama was swept into office with a savvy campaign that mobilized millions of people with a mix of new technology and old-school organizing. People around the US took the campaign into their own hands, organizing block by block, city by city. We can do the same - all around the world.
And third, we've been reminded that history doesn't crawl forward: it leaps and bounds. With all the hurdles we must overcome to pass a strong, international climate treaty in 2009, some are already giving up hope. They've forgotten about the explosive nature of change. With the right mix of ambition, creativity, sheer commitment, and yeah, a good amount of luck, we can move the world faster and farther than the cynics would ever admit.
Here's to more hoorays in our future!