Earth Day Countdown: Your daily reasons to press for clean energy

It’s time to declare our independence from Big Oil. Earth Day is the time to do it.

Earth Day RevolutionEarth Day turns 40 this year, and it's never been more important to ensure this enduring legacy is a day of action.

Show your commitment by joining the 40-day countdown to Earth Day's 40th anniversary.  Every day until April 22, we're posting a new reason why this 40th Earth Day is the time for pushing the Senate to act on climate and clean energy. Join us daily for a new fact and then sign the Declaration of Energy Independence.

40 years of Earth Day = 40 reasons for a clean energy and climate bill:

Reason 40: For our planet, our nation’s security, and our economic prosperity, the Senate must act.

Reason 39: Our forests. America’s forests alone capture about 14% of our annual carbon emissions, greatly reducing the impacts of climate change that we feel. Continued warming, however, will place additional stresses on our forests, limiting their ability to provide this critical service.

Reason 38: $64.3 billion. That’s the amount Americans would save in lower electricity and gas bills by requiring that at least a quarter of our energy comes from renewable sources by 2025.

Reason 37: U.S. Troops. Too many military members have died or been seriously wounded in oil-motivated conflicts.

Reason 36: Stopping the decline of crop yields and livestock productivity. Consequences of climate change — heat stress, droughts, flooding, and more extreme weather patterns — are already costing farmers and ranchers critical crop yields and livestock productivity.

Reason 35: The water we drink. Healthy forests mean clean water for us – our national forests provide 58% of the nation’s water supply, and helping our forests adapt to changing climates helps keep water flowing to our sinks.

Reason 34: American Jobs on American Lands. By investing in projects that restore our nation’s forests and watersheds, we not only give our wildlands the best shot at adapting to changing climates but also create good paying jobs across the economy. A recent study found that for every $1 million invested in restoration, up to 23 jobs are created.

Reason 33: Oil dependence. Big Oil and other special interests are holding us back from a clean energy future by protecting their interests and keeping us tied to unfriendly regimes.

Reason 32: Rising gas prices. Investing in clean, renewable energy technology and more fuel-efficient cars will ultimately result in less of our incomes going to gas companies.

Reason 31: The evidence is indisputable. More than 2,000 economists and climate scientists, including 8 Nobel Laureates, demand action on climate change.

Reason 30: Death and disease. Climate change will lead to more infectious diseases — like malaria and dengue fever; more pollution that causes asthma; and more deadly heat waves.

Reason 29: Better lives for our children. If we continue on our current path, our children will inherit massive public policy problems to deal with.

Reason 28: Saving $1 billion daily. Americans could save $1 billion a day that otherwise gets sent overseas on oil floods in the global oil market.

Reason 27: Glacier National Park. A new report released this week found that if emissions remain unchecked, the park will lack any of its namesake glaciers in just 20 years.

Reason 26: Business demand. 3,000 American businesses are demanding clean energy and climate solutions.

Reason 25: Clean energy jobs. Between 1998 and 2007, job growth in America’s clean energy sector was nearly 2.5 times as fast as overall job growth.

Reason 24: Cash and crops. According to the USDA, the offset returns project could provide farmers with an annual net return of about $1-2 billion a year from 2012-2018 and up to $20 billion per year in 2050.

Reason 23: Major league baseball. Even major league baseball is going green and attempting to reduce its carbon footprint.

Reason 22: Our humanity. As members of the world’s community, we have the responsibility to be good stewards of the planet. Many of the world’s religions, including the Catholic church, are embracing this responsibility.

Reason 21: Your utility bills. Energy efficiency provisions of a clean energy bill are predicted to save American families $1,050 a year by 2020, and $4,400 a year by 2030.

Reason 20: Our health. Ground-level ozone can damage lung tissue.

Reason 19: Jobs for young people. As young people face the highest unemployment rates in the nation, they would benefit directly from the millions of jobs created by a new clean energy economy.

Reason 18: America’s manufacturing sector. Investing in clean energy technologies will help revive our country’s manufacturing sector by creating more than 850,000 good-paying jobs.

Reason 17: The world’s seas. The Jewish observance of Passover this week reminds us that when seas disappear, they can no longer be parted.

Reason 16: Unfriendly regimes. Every dollar we spend on foreign oil helps terrorist-supporting regimes do us harm.

Reason 15: National security. The Pentagon, CIA and the other security experts have declared climate change a significant security threat to the United States.

Reason 14: Jobs. Clean energy will become one of the biggest industries in the next decade. Other countries are already seizing the opportunity to invest in this historic job-creating opportunity.

Reason 13: Women. Climate change disproportionately affects poor women.

Reason 12: Winning the clean energy race. We will lose the global clean energy race if we don’t act now. China is already leading by spending around $9 billion a month on clean energy.

Reason 11: Americans farmers. The U.S. Department of Agriculture says economic opportunities for farmers and ranchers can potentially outweigh the costs of climate legislation, especially over the long-term.

Reason 10: U.S. businesses. Comprehensive climate and energy policies can save businesses nearly $130 billion a year by 2030.

Reason 9: Our National Parks. From the Rockies to he Everglades, our National Parks are already feeling the impacts of climate change through extreme weather, habitat loss and other changes, such as the loss of glaciers.

Reason 8: Economic leadership. The country that leads in clean energy will lead the global economy for the 21st Century.

Reason 7: Today's youth. Our children and grandchildren deserve to inherit a healthy planet.

Reason 6: Rising sea levels. The threat of floods and more extreme weather will likely displace hundreds of millions of people, putting more stress on already vulnerable countries.

Reason 5: The world’s security. Climate change means rising sea levels, more frequent and more severe drought, famines and floods; food and water shortages; and higher incidents of malaria and other diseases. These disasters could destabilize governments, intensify terrorism and displace hundreds of millions of people.

Reason 4: American businesses are waiting to put a price on carbon that will give them the signal to unleash billions in investment in clean technology and innovation. Clean energy legislation would give them the green light.

Reason 3: The American agricultural industry could save more than $1 billion annually through greater energy efficiency.

Reason 2: American families could save an average of $900 a year by 2030 through clean energy policies. 

Reason 1: Two Million new American jobs. That's how many clean energy and climate policies will create.

On March 11th (40 days before the 40th Earth Day), The Wilderness Society and a broad group of citizens and organizations began counting down to Earth Day 2010 with an eye on action, not just celebration. The overriding question for us all is will we do what it takes to move the United States Senate to act on behalf of a comprehensive clean energy and climate bill?

Big Oil and their special interest allies have stood in the way of this energy revolution for too long. Now is the time for America to make energy independent, and we have a question to ask our Senators: whose side are you on — Big Oil and their lobbyists or the Clean Energy Patriots?

The Wilderness Society is joining the call for Clean Energy Patriots in the Senate to step up and be counted. March 11 marked the kick off of this campaign in DC and The Wilderness Society President Bill Meadows joined other leaders from the environmental, national security, youth and clean energy communities in issuing a Declaration from the Capitol Steps. It says:

Since the first Earth Day began 40 years ago, and despite incredible progress on environmental protection, America has a failing energy policy that continues to reward polluters, undermines the health of the American people, threatens our national and economic security and keeps us dependent on energy sources from overseas. We call on the Congress to finally push aside the obstruction of the polluter lobby and stand with America's Clean Energy Patriots. We call for America's elected leaders to join us as Clean Energy Patriots and deliver on the promise of a clean energy revolution and climate action now.

Launch of the Earth<br />
Day Revolution" width="215" align="left" vspace="5" />For the next 40 days, please show your own commitment to this call for action. Visit the Earth Day Revolution website so sign the Pledge of Independence and for more information on actions directed at Senate offices and other activities around the country.

Thanks for your time and energy. We need it!

photo: TWS Climate Director David Moulton (second from left), TWS climate staff and interns, are joined by Rev. Lennox Yearwood Jr, president of the Hip Hop Caucus (third from left), and Denis Hayes (second from right), chair of the Earth Day Network and one of the organizers of the original Earth Day, on the steps of the Capitol to declare their support of the clean energy revolution.