The diary is long and detailed and probably not of much interest for those who weren't involved in the creation of the plan. However, one question emerged that I think bears the attention of anyone who cares about our dependence on fossil fuels or the fate of our planet:
How can the dailyKos community best utilize its expertise and people power to bring to life the great ideas captured in Energize America? We proved that we could use them to elect politicians who truly represent the values of the American people... can we use them to shape a healthy energy and environmental future?
There are a lot of disadvantages to suddenly going from energy/climate change novices to activists, but there are also advantages. And one of the main advantages of being "outside" of current efforts and not having the knowledge/wherewithal of the already converted is that we can see what's missing.
Having worked in the nonprofit world for a number of different social causes, I've been continuously frustrated by the lack of collaboration and redundancy amongst groups working towards the same mission. And so I wonder here, with regard to energy/climate change policy, how are all these players working together? What differentiates them from one another? Where is the united front?
Trust me, even having more time to do research and such, it would take us a full year just to read through the different proposals out there, get to know who the various players are, keep abreast of changes in policy, technology and other solutions... and then we'd have to start all over. It's a movement, and it's fluid. So a big missing piece, in my honest opinion, is unification and alignment. Who is doing that? Who is bringing the Union of Concerned Scientists, RMI, NRDC, Sierra Club, EIN, etc. together?
Connected to that, and just as important, are the need for a succinct, easy to understand, and non-threatening message for the layperson, along with a means for people at various stages of knowledge and engagement to get tools, information, and resources for being part of the solution. There is no "portal" (to use 90s internet parlance) for this, at least as far as I know.
That's the big picture. In terms of Energize America and the dKos community, I think the best course of action is to focus on using its key strengths. Those are:
*The fact that Energize America was developed through open discourse by "average" people, not policy specialists or special interests. It has that populist hook.
*dKos is a large, vibrant and progressive community that has proven its clout politically. It is now a known entity and has the oomph of true people power.
So how can we best utilize those strengths towards the cause of energy independence and mitigation of global climate change? Maybe it's not about advancing a separate plan. Maybe it's about using the power of its reach to advance specific goals. Like dKos effectively endorsed and backed progressive candidates, maybe the community can endorse and back specific proposals and use the community's varied expertise to help flesh out certain solutions.
One thing I'd ask you guys to consider is breaking down Energize America into very concrete and simple pieces and tackling each of them individually. (This could be 20 individual Acts or packages of related Acts.) Rather than trying to get 1,000 or 10,000 emails sent from community members to Pelosi, asking the Dems to adopt the entire Energize America plan, pick one or a couple of specific proposals to push.
As I've heard from a number of people: The plan needs work, particularly in the financials, and so it may not be ready yet to go "public." And people have understandably complained that my diary, just listing out some questions and thoughts in response to reading the plan, is way too long and complex to digest at once. So, how likely is it that a great many dKos community members would feel that they had taken the time to understand and fully digest Energize America enough to endorse the plan? But this could be accomplished if the plan was broken down into separate pieces.
The steps could be:
1. Decide what area (transportation, energy production, conservation, neighborhood/regional models, etc.) we want to tackle first. This should be weighted based on the most critical and timely needs with what's most possible.
2. Figure out if there is an existing proposal out there that the community collectively feels is the best solution. (If one doesn't exist, create our own.)
3. Contact the makers of said proposal with any suggestions for changing/adapting the proposal, based on ideas and feedback from community members. Let them know that we plan on launching an endorsement campaign.
4. Launch a campaign to promote the plan that would hopefully spread from dailyKos to other progressive online communities. Set a target and deadline.
5. Engage the dKos community to contact their local/state/federal representatives to collect their endorsement of the plan.
6. Promote, promote, promote. Keep tabs on who's behind the plan (and make this public... there's nothing like praise or shame to motivate) and its legislative status.
7. Celebrate success. Take stock of what worked and what didn't.
8. Start all over again with the next campaign.
What this could accomplish, IMHO, is to use the strengths of dailyKos (both the resident expertise and the power of its collective will) to back good policy and put pressure on elected officials to make the right things happen. If successful with this strategy, I believe people will pay attention and some momentum can be established.