Nick Zhao's action

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Galvanizing the Governors

The main goal for the National Teach-In and 100 days of action is to encourage Congress to pass policies that will help to stabilize climate change. However, a prevalent problem with global climate policy initiatives is that they get lost within the bureaucratic labyrinth that is Congress. The issue of climate change has become a passive matter that Congressmen are afraid to actively deal with it. This stems from the main goal of Congressmen and political leaders: reelection. The public’s phobia of taxes and the negative connotations of corresponding policies push policy makers into a tough position. However, I believe that the governors of America are in a particularly special position to encourage change.

Governors are in a special position because they have more of a connection with the people in the state. This gives them the ability to create policies that are specific towards their state’s problems. The growth of their own state becomes more of a personal goal than a professional one. Governors tend to be reelected if there is growth in there state; and as climate stabilization policies tend to bring about economic stimulus, it is beneficial for governors to enact climate stabilization policies. My proposal is to use the special position of power that governors hold to bolster grassroots movements while enacting initiatives recommended by these local movements.

Galvanizing the governors can be achieved through different pathways stemming from popular public demand. The roots can be planted in neighborhoods and communities by starting petitions advocating state specific policies This will show the state that specific people support climate change, and not just a vague consensus within the community. As interest in climate policies grow, the next step would be to plan a gathering in front of the state house. This will be a major statement for governors, because it will give them a visual of the movement. At this gathering, there should be keynote speakers, and a direct request to the governor to sign the petition. These gatherings need to occur on the same day across the nation. This will send a message that the nation is unified behind climate stabilization. A national day of action is possible and has been exemplified by groups like 1Sky and 350.

By getting the governors on board, National Teach-In will have a great ally within the political arena. Furthermore, the governors will be able to use their influence to spread the word about the goals of National Teach-In and other grassroots movements. The relationship between the state and the grassroots movements will be mutualistic. The state will benefit from the insight that these local groups can bring to the table, while local groups will benefit from the publicity provided by the state. To make this proposal a success, there needs to be corporation amongst the nation’s grassroots movements. Mr. Goodstein should convene a meeting with the heads of these organizations in order to create a centralized goal. This will also be a good way to connect all the movements to create a cohesive and focused one.

Galvanizing the governors is a grassroots movement within itself; smaller governments, concentrated locally, creating a groundswell with hopes to create change in national policy discussions. Recently Governor Schwarzenegger and other governors around the U.S. welcomed international leaders to a discussion about climate policies. This meeting showed that the governors of the U.S. are already ready to jump aboard with the climate movement. This will make the job for Mr. Goodstein and other grassroots movements much easier.