Green wave to come

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by Rachel Dykoski, 6/4/08 • Fourteen hours have passed since I struggled home from the most amazing rally. After hearing Sen. Barack Obama at the Xcel Energy Center in St. Paul last night, my heart is still full of hope.

So many of us are committed to the ideals of the Democratic party. Every vote must count because everybody matters, and hearing his speech yesterday made me believe it. “We are the future we’ve been waiting for,” is not some blithe accolade or turn of phrase. It’s an axiom for a movement – a green wave of opportunity in which we all can play a role.

Full disclosure: I went to Xcel because I got the ‘memo’ that I should. As a member of my DFL senate district’s central committee and a newly elected officer to boot, I felt I had to do it—even though my kids are beginning to feel neglected with my surging activism and many meetings. And let’s face it, when 40K people are expected show up to attend an event, the historic one this ‘mama4obama’ has been waiting for … and longing to be able to see—why not volunteer and make sure you’ll ‘be there’?

Is it cool that you know that I’m a ‘scene’ chaser? FINE. Now, back to that moment in time:

It was the perfect place to hold such and event, a Somali-American leader said to me before the rally. Yesterday, I agreed and stated, yeah it’s state-of-the-art, huge, and a great way to anoint Sen. McCain’s pulpit before the RNC convention (being held in this arena).

Today, I have second and deeper reflections about the significance of the venue. It was a perfect place and time.

But what about the costs to the people? Who’s tracking how the development impacts on the area where noise pollution, energy use and solid waste are concerned? Xcel, a polluter whose newly-branded venue sits along the mighty Mississippi benefits with every historic or landmark event held there.

It’s glass and steel and gorgeous but not very energy conservative. Xcel has committed to and is required by law to provide renewable energy sold in the state (something like 10-20% of all energy they produce). But to meet our energy needs over the next 3-5 years, our power supply here in the upper Midwest has and will come primarily from coal. Or so they say.

“He’s a breath of fresh air – ya’ know?” people say about Sen. Obama time and again. His vision is refreshing. His rhetoric has rejuvenated my hope for myself, family and world. He spoke about green justice and green jobs.

But we’re left gasping, clutching and clawing for solutions. Polluting the headwaters of ol’ Miss in the process. We’ve been waiting for someone to show us how to do it. And now, emboldened by joyful exuberance and book learning, we’re willing to take up the mantle and lead the charge.

We must come up with solution-based, timely models to clean up our power generation. We, the renewable Generation, must find the solutions without the power companies, and demand that they fall in line, as they come ON line…lest we leave them behind. That’s not a threat, it’s a promise.