I really like this recent article by Carl Pope (he’s the Executive Director of the Sierra Club, a leading environmental organization) about how environmental change in the United States is happening from the ground up.  Here’s the money quote:

“But while Washington clearly doesn’t get global warming, the entire landscape of the politics of energy is changing dramatically, as things often do in the United States, from the ground up. Cities and states are, in effect, creating their own energy policies, and in some cases their own foreign policies, to deal with a paired set of recognitions:

  • that global warming is real, serious and imminent
  • that US energy policy, overall, is destructive to the nation’s industrial base, economic competitiveness, global security, and environmental health. Worse, US energy policy is so outmoded that it cannot possibly survive the 21st century; if we don’t change it soon, we will be playing catch-up with the rest of the world for the next fifty years.”

Knowing the success that AID’s members have had in building local environmental coalitions arround a set of goals called the Urban Environmental Accords, this rings true to me.  Pope rightly observes that change is coming about because more and more Americans are seeing the disturbing ramifications of our energy policy in their local communities, be it in terms of fuel prices, our foreign policy in the Middle East, trade deficits or the environment itself.  Although the environment is emerging as an important issue in the national November 7th elections, a lot of the real change is happening city by city, state by state.  How’s that for a global-to-local connection?!