Make your voice heard on climate bill THIS WEEK!

This Friday, June 26, 2009, the full House of Representatives will vote on the global warming and energy bill. In the words of Al Gore: "Make no mistake, this is the most important environmental vote of this generation. If passed this legislation will put us on the road to actually solving the climate crisis, in addition to building a green economy."

"The American Clean Energy and Security Act" aims to reduce greenhouse gas emissions 17 percent from 2005 levels by 2020, while creating "green" jobs. It would create a "cap-and-trade" system limiting overall pollution from large industrial sources and then allocating and selling pollution permits.

It is imperative that the US makes as much progress as possible on this issue before the December global climate change talks in Copenhagen, since US leadership is key to forging an international accord. "The whole world is looking at our capital. The whole world is waiting to see whether or not President Obama can arrive in Copenhagen as leader of the attempt to reduce greenhouse gases while at the same time unleashing a clean energy job revolution in our country and on our planet," said Democratic Representative Ed Markey, one of the measure's lead authors. Speaker of the House of Representatives Nancy Pelosi described the legislation as "a bill that unifies our country and our industry."

Make a simple phone call to your representative: 877-9-REPOWER (877-9-737-6937) and make sure they vote yes and write your representative TODAY to make your voice heard and ensure this bill is passed.

Click here to contact your representative

Please feel free to copy and paste the text I used to contact Congressman McDermott, the Representative for the 7th District of Washington, changing the specifics (name and state):

Dear Congressman McDermott,
I am writing you to ask you to please vote YES this Friday on "The American Clean Energy and Security Act." As you well know, it is imperative that the US shows leadership on this issue early, in order to forge an international accord at the December global climate change talks in Copenhagen. In addition, Al Gore has said that this is the most important environmental vote of this generation. It is critical that Washington state, as a true "green leader," supports a solution to the global climate crisis.
Thank you for your time and your vote.
Amy Hale

Happy Solstice...! Fremont Parade 2009 (where art, politics and nudity can happily coexist)

Well I'm back after almost 2 months of hiatus, during which I traveled here, there, to and fro: all over France and just a bit of a toe-dip into Spain. I do plan to write about my adventures (and perhaps even some misadventures), hopefully with some kind of eco-spin to it all, or maybe just some pretty pictures, in the coming days. But first things first:

This weekend I covered the 38th annual Fremont Fair and Parade as part of the Seattle social media press corps, sponsored by Solid Ground, a local Seattle Nonprofit dedicated to raising funds, awareness and support for the needs of the homeless and underprivileged in our community. The fair celebrates the Summer Solstice, and has become synonymously linked with what has become the infamous naked bike ride, in which hundreds of cyclists, skateboarders, unicyclists, and rollerbladers/skaters paint, adorn, and decorate themselves in all manner of colorful "costumes" and themes. I'm actually not sure how the whole "naked bike ride" originated, but I'm going to take an educated leap of a guess in that it has something to do with Celtic celebration of the solstice, a liberation and joyful celebration of the true self, but I could be reading too much into what in fact, was simply a loosely organized event originally started by streakers who crashed the parade sometime in the hippie heydays.

The parade has changed over the years, as participants decided to emphasize bodypainting and other forms of creative artistry done in the spirit of the host event. The entire fair is a multi-faceted celebration of art, including musicians, vendors, street performers, and "art cars" from all over the country. The cyclists kick off the colorful and hugely celebratory parade originating in Fremont, the self-proclaimed "Center of the Universe," traveling a mile and a half to Gas Works Park, alongside Lake Union. This being only my second summer in Seattle, and my first-ever Fremont Fair, I had no idea what to expect, and showed up, camera in hand, with more than a fair amount of trepidation.

However, the Seattle energy that has come to be quite familiar to me immediately permeated the air... throngs were lining the sidewalks well before the parade was scheduled to begin. Bike riders, painted and ready to go, were visibly excited to be adorned in new roles and costumes and participating in such a community-focused, fun event. It wouldn't be a Seattle event without messages - always liberal, the parade float themes ranged from Peace to vegetarianism, saving the oceans, recycling and eliminating plastics, the Iran election, Israel-Palestinian conflict, to legalization of marijuana. There was also a healthy sprinkling of pure celebration of the (occasional) sun and (frequent) rain in this part of the world as well as some baffling abstractions. I had a blast, and, as they say... photos speak a thousand words... Check it out in the slideshow at the top of this post(Click to enlarge it)!