17 September 2010

2,500 mile 'Ride for Renewables' launched to champion green energy 'Moon Shot'

Green energy advocate Tom Weis is calling for a national goal of a 100% U.S. renewable energy grid by 2020. To promote his cause he's riding 2,500 miles from Colorado to Washington D.C on a human powered, electric assisted 'rocket trike'.

The ride began at the National Renewable Energy Laboratory's wind technology center on Sunday, which also happened to be the 48th anniversary of the historic speech by President Kennedy calling on the U.S. to land a man upon the moon within the following ten years.

"The urgency of our economic and planetary meltdown demands a modern day, green energy 'moon shot' for America," explained Weis. "We need a call to action from our President today, challenging America to once again do something great."

The ride and goal are backed by prominent environmental leaders demanding urgent action from Congress and the White House in response to a deteriorating global climate. Over the next eight weeks, Weis plans to visit a dozen states to profile alternative energy solutions, as well as the polluting energy problems like coal burning, nuclear power and mountaintop removal mining. A petition supporting the "100% by 2020" demand is posted at Climate Crisis Solutions.

Sponsor Lester Brown (President of the Earth Policy Institute and author of Plan B 4.0) says the goal is "achievable" citing precedents for such rapid economic conversions.

"During World War II, America mobilized its resources at a stunning pace, leading the Allied Forces to victory in three and a half short years," said Brown. "We need a similar, American-led green energy mobilization today to save civilization."

Citing the employment benefits of such a development, David Blittersdorf, CEO of AllEarth Renewables, Inc. and another ride sponsor, said, "Our industry is uniquely poised to put Americans back to work greening the grid. It is time for renewable energy leaders to embrace this bold national move."

Ride backer Dr. James Walker, past president of the American Wind Energy Association and vice chair of enXco Inc., agreed. "The wind industry needs to support a crash program to responsibly deploy as much wond power as humanly possible between now and 2020." He cited the creation of 85,000 jobs in the industry over the last five years, as well as its cost-effectiveness with coal, as reasons to favor wind power over polluting energy sources.

Executive Director of Greenpeace Phil Radford (another sponsor), addressed the urgent need to end coal burning saying, "Contrary to what the coal industry would have you believe, coal is anything but clean or cheap. Each year, more than 23,000 Americans die prematurely due to coal fired power plant pollution. No-one should have to die to keep the lights on."

"Congress and the President need to endorse this bold goal now," said author and supported Bill McKibben, founder of 350.org and the described by Time Magazine as the 'world's best green journalist'. "Fossil fuels are wrecking the planet and scientists are telling us we have very little time to act if we want to keep living on Earth."

Actor and activist supporter Ed Begley, Jr. added, "If China can produce 100 million electric bikes, America can produce a new fleet of green-grid electric cars and kick our addiction to oil."

"Nobody can tell me America can't do this," concluded Weis. "We have a long history of fresh, entrepreneurial thinking that uniquely suits us for this historic task. It is time for us to once again step up and help protect the world."

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Bev Hahler | @redhotvegan
Bev, a vegetarian since she was 14 years old, became more interested in veganism several years ago after studying Agro-business as part of an Ecology degree. Follow Bev on her blog and Facebook.

Photo credit: PRNewsFoto/Climate Crisis Solutions