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By Moustafa Hassab-Allah, Environment Issue Analyst

There is no wonder that solar energy is the biggest available energy for earth’s needs; it has about 1280 times our electrical energy needs in (2005) (http://www.eia.doe.gov/iea/elec.html), more over it is abundant in more than 60 % of the world lands. The challenge for us is how to get it.

Over the past million years, plants used sunlight to obtain energy for their survival, photosynthesis process is considered a low efficiency process that needs water and soil to emerge.  Solar energy is typically used by humans to provide direct heating of fluids for human use; it is also used to generate electricity directly through photovoltaic cells.

Companies like GE, and Siemens are taking solar energy so seriously that they pumped funds of billions of dollars on solar energy projects.  Big companies have realized the importance of solar, now it is time to spread the idea among people.

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Last week, Bill McKibbon and the people over at 350.org went on a road trip from Unity College in Maine down to the White House in DC, with the goal of bringing one of the Carter solar panels to the Obama Administration for them to put up on the White House.  Sadly, the White House turned down their offer.

During Jimmy Carter’s presidency, he put up solar panels on the roof of the White House — making the White House a symbol of what could be the new clean energy future of the United States.  When Ronald Reagan took over the presidency in 1980, those solar panels came down. Unity College managed to secure both of them and have been using them on their university buildings.  When 350.org’s campaign to Put Solar on the White House started gaining momentum, Unity College offered to give one of the panels to the current White House, saving them the work of finding a new solar panel, and bringing some history back to the White House.

Even with the gift of a solar panel, and hundreds of thousands of supporters, the White declined to put the panel up on the White House, saying that they would continue to deliberate on the idea of putting up solar panels. As one member of 350.org put it “We tossed them a big, fat soft ball to hit out of the park and they just watched it float on by.”

This truly was a missed opportunity for the Obama Administration.  After Obama’s thrilling run and promises of hope and change, his administration has come to be stuck in the mud.  Grassroots organizers who thought that things would get easier with a progressive in office have been disappointed by the administration immobility.  This would have been a chance for the White House to be a leader in the clean energy movement, and to be representative of what hundreds of thousands of young people in the country want: a better, sustainable future.

Make sure your voice continues to be heard by following 350.org’s new campaign 10/10/10 and join a work party to do something for the environment that day.  Just because the White House said no now, doesn’t mean they always will.

Hello fellow AIDemocracy followers! I’m AIDemocracy’s new Global Development Intern, Noor Khalidi. I’m very excited to be on board this summer, to be learning more about social justice advocacy, and to be delivering you interesting news and reflections within the field of global development.

A little about myself—I am a junior at Virginia Tech studying Economics and International Studies. I began my college career very devoted to environmental issues, primarily due to a class I took my freshman year which exposed the frightening impact of modern human civilization on our Earth and its resources.

While my passion for environmental issues still burns, I have slowly begun to gravitate towards issues of global development and poverty alleviation. Earlier this summer, I traveled to Nicaragua as part of a Virginia Tech field study to learn more about approaches to sustainable development in poor rural communities–communities without running water and electricity, for example.

During my time in Nicaragua, I lived in two villages with very generous host families in modest adobe mud homes, filled with many chickens and a pig or two if lucky.  Through the international organization Green Empowerment and their local partner AsoFenix, I learned about low-impact sustainable development projects such as greywater filters and solar water pumps.

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