The actors--together with Professor Cornell West--want you to know that now is a time for you can make a real and profound difference on climate change, the biggest environmental and humanitarian crisis of our time.
The Senate is considering a bill that would create a clean energy future for America, generate 2 million jobs, and confront climate change.
There is a lot of support for the bill. The House of Representatives passed a similar one in June, and President Obama wants the Senate to pass its version this year.
But it will still be a tough political fight (just read this Rolling Stone cover story on how much oil and gas companies are spending to block the bill). To pass the bill, we need people from all walks of life raising their voices in support of a cleaner, safer, more prosperous energy economy.
That’s where young people come in. Because there is no escaping the fact that the future of your generation is at stake.
My three daughters and their friends--all in their twenties-- realize this. They know that climate change threatens their way of life and their economic opportunities. They know, like the young veterans at Operation Free, that it is a grave security risk that leaves them vulnerable.
They also know they can do something about it. In the past few years, I have seen the number of youth-lead efforts to tackle global warming expand dramatically. It is one of the most hopeful signs I have come across in my work.
Your generation has embraced your citizen power and the galvanizing effects new social media tools and networking sites can foster. You helped bring sweeping change to Washington in the 2008 election, because you had high hopes for what this country could become and you knew how to connect the masses through online tools my generation is still struggling to master.
You may not have seen all of those hopes realized yet, but that only means you have to keep up the fight. Keep up the energy. Keep up the pressure. Because when you do, your generation has a remarkable ability to influence people.
I have seen it in action. I will never forget being at the climate talks in Copenhagen and hearing Jessy Tolkan--who was then the executive director of the youth organization Energy Action and is now with Green for All--capturing the attention of Vice President Al Gore and a room full of battle-hardened environmental leaders with her passionate intensity.
It was like she shook our shoulders and reminded us that the future of her generation is on the line, and that if we don’t shift to clean energy now, she and young people around the world will pay a terribly high price.
But Jessy knows we can turn this ship around and that’s why she is working so hard to get us moving in the right direction. There are many, many ways you can get involved too, but the single most important act you can take right now is to tell your senators to pass the clean energy and climate bill and tell your friends to do the same.
The fastest, easiest way to take action is to watch this clip because you can click on the “Email the Senate” right from your video player. Then upload your own videos in support of the clean energy economy to the thisisourmoment.org site. And link to it on Facebook. Then tweet it. And make it go viral.
Because This Is Our Moment.
Frances Beinecke is the President of the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) and the author of Clean Energy Common Sense: An American Call to Action on Global Climate Change.