I’m heading to Philly today for a week of politics, policy, and hopefully some stops in a city rich in American culture and history. Today, my old friend Noah will be meeting me and taking me around the city. Tomorrow, I’ll be rallying and marching for Clean Energy. Then as a Bernie Sanders delegate, I’ll be on the floor and in events of the Democratic National Committee Convention. Lots of listening, learning, and wrangling for progressive action are on the docket. Each day I will Tweet, share on Facebook, and write here on Peter is in the Forest to show you what’s going on in my neck of the city of brotherly love.
As a long-time environmental and community rights activist, I’ll be participating in the March for a Clean Energy Revolution on Sunday. In the face of climate change we have to transform our energy infrastructure into something more secure and healthy. We have been dumping greenhouse gases into the atmosphere that global temperatures have risen about 1 degree C over the last century, the lion’s share of that in the last 30 years. And recently? 2014 was the hottest year on record. With a strong El Nino, 2015 smashed 2014. And this year, despite the El Nino fading away, we are going to see another record year full of record-setting months for temperatures. People are being displaced from Louisiana to Alaska. Cyclones, king tides, droughts, and heat waves are all doing more damage to cities and farms, forests and rivers. It’s expensive and pointlessly risky.
And honestly, without climate change, why not just clean up energy anyway and make way for a cleaner and healthier economy, society, and environment? At this point, there’re no good reasons to keep poisoning Appalachian streams and skies when we can harness the wind and pay people good wages for doing it. There’re no good reasons to keep carving up Pennsylvania farms and forests for fracking when we can use the sun and pay people good wages for doing it. We have a moral obligation to do energy so much better.
Since I’m a first-time delegate, gotta admit that I’m a bit starry-eyed. Conventions can be exciting. Look back to the protests of 1968 Democratic convention. And last week’s Republican Convention has certainly raised my eyebrows a bit. Outside the RNC people hung anti-fracking banners from flag poles and some protestors got into skirmishes with police. Inside, there was a fair amount of discord as Ted Cruz refused to endorse Donald Trump and large numbers of Republicans have refused to collude with Trump’s cult of personality. While I personally think the Democrats should have quite a bit more unity, I’m well aware of the (warranted and unwarranted) disaffection among some Sanders supporters. All I can do is be prepared.
I’ve been reading policy positions and platforms, looking at the range of events, and seeing where I’ll best fit. You can bet I’ll be talking with people about the range of issues and getting into some heated agreements about Black Lives Matter and the state of race in this country, equal work for equal pay, women’s right to choose, economic equality, the price of college education, health care, taking care of veterans, solid public education, and more. I’ll probably get into some debates on issues like conditions of support for Israel and the role of the United States military in the world. Known bones of contention will arise from whether the Democratic party should continue using super delegates (no), fracking (seek its quick demise), and the TPP (stop it). Then there’re all the unknown unknowns as Donald Rumsfeld would say. I guess I’ll find some of those out. All things considered, I’m about as ready as I can be for a last-minute delegate.