This commentary originally appeared on the EDF Climate Corps Blog
By: Katie Ware, EDF Senior Marketing Communications Specialist
The environmental community is abuzz with reactions to President Obama's wide-ranging Climate Action Plan. His speech introducing the plan Tuesday sparked immediate conversations about the Keystone XL Pipeline, the coal industry, the transportation sector and half a dozen other hot button environmental issues.
For me, his speech hit home in the first minute. Addressing the crowd at Georgetown University, he said he wanted to speak directly to my generation “because the decisions we make now and in the years ahead will have a profound impact on the world that all of you inherit.”
Confident, connected and open to change (says Pew), we Millennials are 95 million strong. We elected and then re-elected Obama looking for precisely this type of bold action on issues we feel passionately about.
“Someday our children and our children’s children will look us in the eye and ask did we do all that we could when we had the chance to deal with this problem and leave them a cleaner, safer, more sustainable world. I want to be able to say yes we did. Don’t you want that?” he asked.
My answer to the President is, heck yes, and my peers are with me.
As we speak, 116 of the nation’s brightest and best Millennials are proving their willingness to do this through participation in EDF Climate Corps. EDF Climate Corps fellows hail from the nation’s top graduate schools and could spend their summer internships working wherever they want. But year-after-year, many of the nation’s most capable MBA and MPP students choose to roll up their sleeves to tackle the energy challenge for some of America’s most influential public and private sector organizations.
Since 2008, EDF Climate Corps has hand-selected, trained and embedded 400 energy efficiency superstars in hundreds of corporations and public sector organizations around the U.S. These young people have found $1.2 billion in energy savings at participating organizations like Google, GM, PepsiCo and Verizon, and they’re graduating with job offers for positions like Director of Sustainability and Energy Manager.
The President reminded us that we can choose to fear the future, but Americans have always taken the path to shape the future. That’s just what EDF Climate Corps is doing – building the next generation of business leaders with the skills we need to shift our nation toward a cleaner, more prosperous future.
He was smart to call us to action. We Millennials are outspoken and online. He knows that. He told us to tell our classmates, our colleagues, our parents and our friends what’s at stake – to remind them “there’s no contradiction between a sound environment and strong economic growth.” That’s what EDF Climate Corps fellows are doing every day in these organizations, in their schools and right here on the EDF Climate Corps Blog.
How do you plan to answer the President’s call to help spread the word?