It quickly became clear that smart energy policy is important to members for many reasons. In fact, one of the first topics was a proposed name change for the team from "Energy" to "Energy and Climate". Another focus of the discussion was how developing sustainable energy practices can and must lead to the creation of local jobs. Two members also explained how working to improve energy efficiency at a local level can strengthen bonds within neighborhoods and radically change the dynamics of all social movements.
Many ideas were brainstormed, with participants building on each others' suggestions. There were occasionally some points of disagreement, especially with respect to priorities, but the discussion remained courteous and was an excellent example of how we can come together for great effect even though we no longer have the single unifying goal most of us shared during the presidential campaign.
After the brainstorming, we voted on which issues to tackle. The top initiatives, in order of preference were:
- Organize neighborhood conservation/efficiency
- Raise awareness of how energy policy can benefit small business
- Advocate for the Stretch Energy Code, which mandates efficiency standards for new buildings
- Tie federal stimulus money to green jobs
- Connect the team via a Google Group and Google Docs, including a doc for the Stretch Energy Code
- Meet again
- Create a plan and presentation on the ideas above
- Hear suggestions on how we can organize
- Set up a meeting just to talk about neighborhoods as a base for organizing/advocacy
- Figure out how to reach decision makers - city council, mayor, governor, etc.
- Supply manpower and support to other groups that are experts on a particular issue
The breakout session was a great start. Now let's really kick it into high gear and drive the change we all want to see!