Here we are on the eve of history, January 19th, 2009, near the stroke of midnight – galvanized and ready to serve! Tomorrow (or today, for some of you reading this) America will officially swear-in its first African-American President and turn a corner that is an inspiration to all of humanity. Hope and vision and compassion are making a comeback in the halls of our nation’s capital tomorrow, and not a moment too soon. The challenges before us as a country are immense, but the groundswell of selfless service and American ingenuity building behind the new leadership in this country is palpable and awe-inspiring. People everywhere are feeling empowered again and tapping into their own inner sense of purpose and passion for a greater good.
One of the clearest voices in this “call to arms” on behalf of the planet and humanity has been the incredible and visionary Van Jones, Director and Founding President of Green For All. We were lucky enough to see him speak at Bioneers in 2007 and were moved by his impassioned presentation of a green “wave” that “lifts all boats.” Here he is, as inspiring as ever, speaking before Congress this past week:
As if Van Jones and an historical inauguration weren’t inspiring enough, for those of you who haven’t seen it already, here’s a fantastic new project by a company called CH2M Hill developing Solar Potential Maps for 25 US Cities – the first of which is for San Francisco and can be found HERE. It’s worth spending some serious time noodling with this map – they’ve done some major leg-work to remove many of the hurdles standing in the way of a solar-powered future by showing just what’s possible and where in an incredibly intuitive way. God bless the power of Googlemaps, CH2M Hill, and the internet. The other 24 cities are: Denver; Houston; Knoxville; Milwaukee; Minneapolis; Orlando; Philadelphia; Sacramento; San Antonio; San Jose; Santa Rosa; Seattle; Ann Arbor; Austin; Berkeley; New York City; Boston; Madison; New Orleans; Pittsburgh; Portland, Oregon; Salt Lake City; San Diego; and Tucson.
Treehugger has a couple great articles on the development of these solar maps HERE and HERE. It’s simply a fantastic idea whose time has certainly come – no surprise, then, that it won the 2008 Renewable Energy Innovation Award.
Finally, we found plenty of inspiration on our YERT travels. Here are a couple samples featuring folks from future YERTpods:
And on today of all days, don’t forget to check out the ultimate inaugural address we caught from our good friend Wes Jackson at the Land Institute here:
Our bank accounts might be taking it on the chin as our national “stuff” hits the fan this year and we face some hard realities, but, who knows, 2009 could be a great year after all!
Happy Inauguration, Mr. President! Here’s to our nation’s future!
-Ben and The YERT Team
PS – For a last tasty morsel of inspiration, check out Mark’s blog about David Korten’s new book below. Best of all, you can pre-order it from the YERT website HERE!