Oh, back to school. Back to school, to prove to Dad that I'm not a fool. I got my...lunch packed up, my boots tied tight, I hope I don't get in a fight. Excuse us if this feels like old news to you, but as two Eastern Washington University grads (we were on the quarter system), the thought of back to school doesn't register in our brains until mid September. So now that every blog and news site in the world has ran some sort of "green back to school" guide, allow us to come in and reaffirm some of the thoughts already echoed and to introduce some of our own. This week we will feature stories on new school thoughts, old school thoughts, and just about everything in between, to show you what's happening on campuses across America to better prepare the youth for an ever-changing environment.
There was a time not that long ago where the trek to university was as celebrated as any other major milestone in one's upbringing - for it was an understanding that that boy or girl would come back smarter and more equipped for the "real world". Well today the "real world" is as scary as a place as anyone ever imagined and in our opinion, a university is not preparing people for that. We need foot soldiers coming out of college, to take the momentum of change and progression that fosters at college and spread the message. More often than not that energy and passion dies the second they hit a cubicle, and in doing so, there is a generation of untapped potential wasting away. It's up to the youth and to young professionals to make a difference. Don't stand for people telling you things can't get better, don't stand for people telling you it's too late, and don't stand for old school beliefs carrying forward.
Here are some stories you might have missed last week.
An apple a day might help keep global warming away. What is our freedom from dependence on foreign oil worth - is it worth the "millions of poor people in the third world [who] will go hungry if the appetites of wealthy peoples’ cars drive up prices for staple foods such as corn and cooking oil" as The Register Guard out of Eugene recently proposed? In a fascinating editorial that appeared last week, Gordon Sayre proposed another source for alternative fuels... apples. "Bicycling around Eugene, I see thousands of apples lying on the ground, unpicked, uneaten, and unnoticed. Every apple, ripe or rotten, tasty or wormy, is rich in sugar and an ideal source of alcohol. What’s more, no plowing, no fertilizer, no irrigation, and no extra land are needed to produce a huge annual crop of apples. If we are really serious about reducing our dependence on foreign oil, Oregonians should organize to process apples for ethanol production." Read more HERE.
Van Jones - looking back and looking forward. In a week that will likely be remembered for the "you lie" buffoon, it's hard to remember that we began discussing the resignation of Van Jones, President Obama's pick for Special Adviser for Green Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation at The White House's Council on Environmental Quality. For the most part, though upset about losing "one on the inside", we agreed with Arianna Huffington and felt some what relieved to have Jones unshackled from bureaucracy and back on the outside. But Melissa Harris-Lacewell of The Nation sure made some strong arguments against that thought in her recent column. "The EJ (environmental justice) movement was just beginning to gain a foothold in national politics, just beginning to develop a more cohesive and identifiable national platform, and Jones' position within the White House was important to those efforts." Read more HERE.
SpokeFest. Yesterday marked the second annual SpokeFest and the turnout topped 1,600 compared to 1,200 from last year. Yep, we’re building as a bike city. According to the S-R, during the first two years of the city’s Bike to Work Week, participation has risen from 952 to 1,472, and organizers hope to attract 1,700 riders in 2010. Keep it up Spokane, and we’ll see you out on the road. Check HERE for S-R coverage of the event, and HERE for our fun profile of the new City Of Spokane Bike Coordinator, Grant Wencel.
Mad Max. Max Baucus, the Democratic senator from Montana, is only doing one thing fast: Making his way to the enemies of DTE list. Hey, climate politics isn't clean. It wouldn’t be so insulting if Baucus worked with his standard glacial pacing (similar to health care) on a drafted climate bill since he believes, as the chair of the Senate Finance Committee, he should have the most say because of overseeing the cap-and-trade permits. The problem: His committee has held only one hearing on the issue this year…and he didn’t even attend!
It’s all about staking a claim. According to Grist, in the last election cycle for a race that wasn’t even close, Baucus received $1.6 million in donations from the health and insurance industry, and $437,140 from electrical utilities and agriculture groups. (Only 13 percent of his 2008 campaign financing came from Montana donors. The rest came from industries overseen by Finance and Baucus' other committees.)
Read a profile about the Max Baucus factor HERE.
Let’s start the week with a sense of optimism. TIME sat down with the Obamas for a chat on the meaning of public service. Here’s a terrific excerpt: “Now, I would argue that now is exactly the time where we need more volunteerism, not only because needs are greater, more people are hungry, more people are out of work, more people are falling through the cracks, but when I talk to young people, for example, I say to them now is the time to get experience — since you may not be able to find a job right away — get some experience doing some good for your country, and that will not only be in the interest of the people you help, but it's going to be in your self-interest. You'll get work experience, you'll make contacts, you'll network, you'll expand your community in a way that ultimately will be good for you.”