This letter was very welcome in my Inbox this morning:
Dear Co-op America Member,
On Monday of this week, I had the opportunity to meet with the Obama Transition Team along with several of our allies..
I was impressed with the Transition Team members’ deep listening and smart questions about the priorities we see for a sustainable economy.
We delivered the message that Green Americans see the following among the top priorities for the transition to a sustainable economy:
1. Green energy and green jobs: We applauded the Obama team’s focus on this as the centerpiece for the plan to jump start the economy. We called for President-elect Obama to up the ante and challenge Americans to cut 50% of their energy bill over the next five years – at just 10% per year – the very same challenge we introduced to our members last summer. Better than a one-time tax reduction, this will provide American families and businesses savings every year. And we recommended rapid, large-scale deployment of energy efficiency, solar power, and plug-in electric vehicles; and development of a “smart grid” to enable these deployments.
2. Clean Energy Victory Bonds: We are concerned that when the proposals for green energy and jobs hit Congress, there could be resistance about the price tag in the midst of a global recession. So Green America, along with our allies at Clean Edge, proposes Clean Energy Victory Bonds to help fund the energy efficiency, renewable energy and green energy infrastructure projects. (Read more about Clean Energy Victory Bonds in 7 Solutions from the Green Economy.)
3. Green Business Expansion Fund: We proposed this new fund for small business grants and loans made to green companies so that they can survive, thrive and create more green jobs during this economic crisis. And we’d like to see small business grants and loans for all businesses to help them go green – and hire all those people getting trained for green jobs.
4. Health Care Reform: We affirmed Obama’s focus on health care as a top priority. Without health care for all, we don’t have a socially responsible economy. We flagged that changing the health insurance system is necessary, but not sufficient. For example, within the next decade, the majority of Medicare costs will be for diabetes and its complications. Yet diabetes, and many other expensive and debilitating conditions, can be prevented or ameliorated with diet and exercise. Therefore, Green America proposes creating a whole new vista for health care – and a major new green career opportunity – health care coaches. These coaches would help patients and their families get back their health – and save Medicare and the health care system billions of dollars every year.
5. Transformational Economic System Thinking: There are many who hope that the current global economic crisis will be “fixed” and we can “get back to the way things were.” Others see that this crisis marks the end of an era, and there’s no going back, we have to move forward with new economic thinking. Green America affirmed that the first priority is to stabilize the current economic situation, and at the same time to begin moving on transformative system changes – from changing the short-term focus of today’s markets, to the structure of the monetary system, to the dependence on debt and consumerism as the engines of our economy.
I’m pleased to report that all of these priorities resonated with the members of the Transition Team, who asked for follow-up details.
Thanks to all our members who have been providing input on these and other priorities – keep those ideas coming – and stay tuned. We’ll be focusing on transformative ideas for the economy all year long.
Here’s to a Green America for all,
New ideas. Change. Cooperation.