I’ve rubbed elbows with some pretty impressive people the last two weeks. It’s not really the people I’m impressed with, just the fact that I am meeting them. I’ve been working on a national youth conference for the last few months at work and it took place the first weekend in November. It was somewhat of a headache working on this, not because of the actual event, but because I work with a bunch of dumbasses. And I have to admit, I totally expected it to be a bust. What can I say? It’s a coalition of over 30 different youth and environmental organizations. We couldn’t even agree on a name for the conference so I didn’t really have high expectations. But I am happy to say that I was wrong. We were aiming for about 3,000 students from all over the country and ended up with over 6,000! I thought the best speaker we’d be able to get was some random student from a liberal arts school in Vermont. But then Rep. Ed Markey, Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, Ralph Nader, and author and founder of the “Step It Up” campaign Bill McKibben showed up. And it was covered on Hardball and MTV and Discovery, and it was mentioned in Time magazine. And I can’t help it, I’ve got to get sappy here - when I was actually standing on the Hill surrounded by students that actually care and I was watching students from Alaska and Florida and Arizona and Michigan gearing up for over 2,000 separate lobby visits – it felt like a movement. The energy was palpable and after years of saying we were going to start engaging students – we actually were. It was inspiring and uplifting and it really does give me hope that we might be able to organize and truly make a difference.
I so desperately needed something to be proud of too. Working on global warming issues every day can be so daunting. And depressing. And I think it’s crucial to be optimistic in this field. I mean, if you don’t think anyone can make a difference, what’s the point?
My other brush with fame was courtesy of free tickets to the DC premiere of Lions for Lambs. Now, the movie sucked and I hate Tom Cruise, but he was there and he came with Katie. Robert Redford was there too. And Lynda Carter, but I am not really sure why she was there. And best of all, there was free soda and popcorn! Can’t get much better than that!