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Bonnie Raitt: The time is now for a green revolution

Program Note: CNN’s award-winning Planet in Peril returns this year to examine the conflict between growing populations and natural resources. Anderson Cooper, Dr. Sanjay Gupta, and Lisa Ling travel to the front lines of this worldwide battle.
Watch Planet In Peril: Battle Lines Thursday 9p ET

We devote several days on the blog to smart insight and commentary related to the special.
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Bonnie Raitt with Graham Nash on the left, and Jackson Browne on the right. The three artists started www.nukefree.org together.
Bonnie Raitt with Graham Nash on the left, and Jackson Browne on the right. The three artists started http://www.nukefree.org together.

Bonnie Raitt

At the very top of our lawmakers' agenda for change, should be moving the U.S. toward a clean energy economy that transcends fossil fuels and nuclear power. Generating electricity from renewable energy sources is possible today, and with support from lawmakers backing a thoughtful energy policy, these alternatives are poised to become mainstream. Conservation and increased efficiency must be a part of this policy. In the next four years, it is imperative that we develop more wind, solar, tidal, geothermal, ocean thermal, wave and other emerging forms of green power and reduce our dependence on the dirtiest of polluters - coal, oil, gas and nuclear.

As a safe energy activist for over thirty years, I've stood side-by-side with grassroots organizations and communities fighting the nuclear industry - from protesting uranium mining on Navajo lands, to blockading the construction of nuclear reactors and raising my voice to "Stop Yucca Mountain" (the proposed nuclear waste facility in Nevada that will cost taxpayers $90 billion to build). The nuclear industry is gearing up again, despite the fact that it can't secure private financing or insurance for construction of new reactors. If a change in our energy policy is going to come in the next four years, our lawmakers need to prioritize the mainstreaming of truly clean and renewable energy technologies. These technologies are as great for our economy as they are for the environment, and offer us hope for turning around our current global crisis. I ask that our lawmakers take these next four years to get us on the right track to energy independence, before we're too far gone.

While the economy here and around the world is in a historic crisis, with gas prices lowering, the tendency is to pull back on prioritizing the powerful green revolution that has picked up incredible steam the last few years. But it is crucial that we keep up the pressure on our legislators to push for better fuel standards, stronger environmental protections and proactively stimulating green technologies. We already have the means to switch to alternative energy and the jobs they create are a crucial part of the solution for our most serious problems: recession, unemployment, rapid environmental deterioration from global warming, and the continuing nightmare of our failed foreign policy, in great part due to our decades of dependence on controlling foreign oil.

With the election of Barack Obama, the American people have clearly mandated real change in how we do business. It is wonderful that he is starting off this new era reiterating his strong commitment to developing green alternative fuels and protections, including making any talk of bail outs conditional on significant shifts to new fuel efficiency. Now is the time for us to keep the pressure on, not letting the current financial crisis or expanding war efforts sway us away from our goal for a more sustainable, peaceful and prosperous green future. The green revolution stretches across all party lines, generations and national borders. We have the solution to our problems right here, right now at hand. There has never been a more crucial time to stay involved.


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