"The whole world is waiting for your Congress to pass a climate bill." said a young woman from Italy I picked up in front of Smithsonian Air and Space Museum tonight. She works on climate change for the Italian Ministry for the Environment, Land and Sea, Environment Research and Development Department in Rome.
Vanessa has a Ph.D. in Microbiology; she worked on biological remediation methods for hydrocarbons (oil) pollution. She also has a Masters degree in International Law.
I feel like I disappointed her when I gave my jaded ex-lobbyist perception that the current priorities for the Obama Administration were The Economy (stupid !, as President Clinton campaigned), Afghanistan, health care, then maybe, climate change. I thought about Steven Covey's quadrants for prioritizing: urgent/not urgent vs important/not important. Global warming may be important (IT IS!) but not collectively perceived as urgent yet. It will take the Great(er) Communicator President Barack Obama many speeches and press conferences to convince the American people and thus their Congress that time is now, even overdue, for substantive action on climate change legislation.
She mentioned Obama's excellent campaign speeches promising action onclimate change legislation. I thought of that joke about heaven and hell where hell was golf courses, lobster and steak dinners, strolling violins etc. and heaven was quiet and harps. Something like one was advertising and one was something else. (OK, I can't remember the joke exactly so will edit the blog later..)
We took a 45 minute tour to the Lincoln Memorial, passing where the President was about to light the National Christmas tree! It looks great! Buon Natale!