As my conservation and environmental policy professor John Isham said yesterday, “We’re all sitting here literally beaming with pride.” Yesterday, the Obama Administration announced that they would put solar panels on the roof of the White House, powering a small part of the electricity needs of the family and providing a powerful symbol for the clean energy future of this nation.
“President Obama has said the Federal Government has to lead by example in creating opportunity and jobs in clean energy,” said Nancy Sutley, Chair of the White House Council on Environmental Quality. “By installing solar panels on arguably the most famous house in the country, his residence, the President is underscoring that commitment to lead and the promise and importance of renewable energy in the United States.”
This announcement is not, however, coming out of the blue. A campaign to get President Obama to put solar panels on the roof of the White House has been going on all summer and well into the fall. Middlebury’s own Bill McKibben and 350.org, the organization he started along with 7 other Middlebury students, have been working nonstop to achieve this momentous victory. Their campaign culminated in a road trip from Unity College, Maine, to Washington, D.C., with one of the solar panels from Jimmy Carter’s administration that had previously powered the White House. The road trip ended a failure without any firm commitment from the White House and no hope that things would change.
This announcement, however, has restored faith in the movement and the ability of this government to make real progress on climate change and environmental policy in the upcoming years.
Basically, Middlebury rocks.
Check out this video from the putsolaronit campaign: