Markey challenges students to target polluters and organize politically

Calls greening of America their generation's challenge

WALTHAM, Mass. — In the keynote speech of the Earthfest ’08 environmental program, U.S. Rep. Edward Markey told Brandeis students that unless they become more involved in electoral politics and social campaigning they would fail to meet the climate change crisis that is the central challenge of their generation.

The congressman told a crowd of 100 — mostly students — in Rapaporte Treasure Hall that for hundreds of years the test of American society has been whether each new generation will have the courage to rise up and face the challenge of that generation.

"You are not the greatest generation," he said, referring to the term popularized by journalist Tom Brokaw for the generation that fought in World War II. "You are not the baby-boom generation."

"You are the green generation," Markey said. "You are the beneficiaries of the Industrial Revolution your great grandparents built" — and are challenged to cope with unpleasant effects of that revolution that earlier generations could not have foreseen.

"This is the time. This is the place. Your are the people," said Markey, who is chairman of the House Select Committee on Energy Independence and Global Warming. "If you answer this challenge, we will win.’’

"It should start here at Brandeis," Markey said, following an introduction by President Jehuda Reinharz that included a pledge to eliminate plastic bottles on campus. "Pick one company, pick two companies…. It doesn’t take much" to influence corporate leaders who fear being target by an on-line campaign if they fail to respond to demands to go green.

Prior to the event, Markey and Reinharz spoke with organizers of Earthfest’08 at the Schuster Center for Investigative Journalism.

Markey photo

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