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Billy Parish's Posts

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Community solar pioneers

David Brosch had a problem many Americans can relate to. He wanted solar power, but wasn't able to put it on his house. His roof had the wrong orientation, a tree partially blocked the sun, and it was more than he could afford. Many of his neighbors were in the same situation -- some were renters, others were too busy to handle the process of an installation on their house. They got together and formed a company, University Park Community Solar (UPCS), and approached a local church with a large roof and good solar orientation. In exchange for placing solar panels …

Read more: Climate & Energy

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Community-Owned Clean Energy

When I was a younger man than I am today, I had a vision of the Great Plains transformed: buffalo roaming across great tracts of tallgrass prairie studded with wind farms that powered the whole Midwest. Tribal communities, farmers and ranchers and young people all working together to develop an economy that could sustain the people and restore the land. Maybe even a little folk school, something like the Highlander Center in east Tennessee, to bring everyone together to sing and dance and strategize together. As I've learned, usually the hard way, big visions only become reality through perseverance, hard …

Read more: Climate & Energy

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Accept it in Oslo, earn it in Copenhagen

Today is "Young and Future Generations Day" here at the International Climate Negotiations in Copenhagen, and I'm here with my wife Wahleah and our two-year-old daughter Tohaana. Along with over a thousand other young people, mostly wearing orange t-shirts today, we're doing everything in our power to convince world leaders to commit to a fair, ambitious, and legally binding international agreement based on a target of 350 parts per million (ppm), which is the safe upper limit of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere. Less than 400 miles away in Oslo, Norway, President Obama is accepting the Nobel Peace Prize "for …

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Why We Fight

We fight, even against insurmountable odds, because sometimes we win. As I get ready to head to Copenhagen this Saturday for the international climate negotiations, I'm thrilled to see the success of The Leadership Campaign and their efforts to have Massachusetts use 100% clean electricity by 2020. On Monday, Representative William Brownsberger will file their bill, An Act to Re-power Massachusetts, in the Massachusetts House, calling on Gov. Deval Patrick to create a task force to formulate a plan to get Massachusetts to100% clean electricity by 2020. To draw attention to their campaign, they have refused to sleep in homes, …

Read more: Climate & Energy

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Young, Green, and Out of Work

by Rinku Sen & Billy Parish Last week, the Labor Department reported that youth unemployment stands at 18.2%, nearly twice the national average of 9.8%. The percentage of young people without a job is a staggering 53.4 percent, the highest figure since World War II. Looking deeper, the statistics for youth of color are terrible and telling.  According to the most recent data released by the Bureau of Labor Statistics, 40.7% of black youth between 16-19 are unemployed, almost double the amount of whites teenagers (23%). For Latinos the same age, the rate is nearly 30%. Get a little older and …

Read more: Climate & Energy

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A big breakthrough on green jobs

The New York State Senate and Assembly, too often a model of corruption and dysfunctionality, rose above petty politics last week to pass forward-thinking legislation on climate and energy, setting a precedent for bipartisanship and a sensible cap and trade system.  The State Senate passed the groundbreaking Green Job/Green New York Act, with strong support from Republicans, Democrats, and the Working Families Party, which spearheaded the legislation. The bill -- expected to be signed into law this week by Gov. David Patterson -- leverages $112m in revenue from the Northeasts's Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI) into $5 billion of private …

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A New Number For a New Era: From 9/11 to 350

Eight years ago today, two planes flew into the World Trade Center, another crashed into the Pentagon, and a fourth landed in a Pennsylvania field. The raw power of that day came to be symbolized by a date composed of three numbers. Three numbers that evoked the shock of being attacked, the horror of the sounds and images on our television sets, and the heroism of so many men and women. Three numbers that framed the events of the last decade and seemed like they would define my generation. But eight years ago, many in my generation couldn't vote. We …

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Seven ways to fight dirty (energy)

In case you missed it, dirty energy is back to dirty tricks. This time with the help of DC lobbyists, Bonner & Associates, who forged letters to Congressman Tom Perriello of Virgina's 5th District. The letters, written on "official" letterhead from the local NAACP chapter and a Hispanic group, Creciendo Juntos, asked Perriello to vote against the American Clean Energy & Security Act.  Now we know that the fossil fuel industry will stop at nothing to prevent the creation of a just, clean energy economy, but this is a new low! If we are going to pass effective legislation this …

Read more: Climate & Energy

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Can a number save the world?

500 marshmallows organize for climate action.Robert van Waarden / Spectral QIt can if that number is 350. That’s the safe upper limit of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere: 350 parts per million (ppm). It’s also the rallying cry of a creative campaign to raise awareness of the climate crisis and build grassroots support for the 2009 Climate Conference in Copenhagen. 350.org wants communities around the world to join together on October 24 for an International Day of Climate Action. You can join with your church, your school, or your friends and do something to visibly get the word out about …

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Green sector creates 50 percent of new jobs

...in Ireland. This is great news for the people of Ireland. But we need to create those jobs in the U.S. too. In Ireland, a country of four million, 10,000 "green" jobs were created in the last three months in organic farming, energy efficient construction, electric cars, and other green industries. With US GDP falling by 1.6% in the first quarter of 2009 we need more action and investment from our government and the private sector. Passing effective climate and energy legislation this year will increase both public and private investment in a clean energy economy, creating new jobs and …