I'm packing up my bags and getting read for inauguration week, and after receiving an invite from a ball on the 18th called Lincoln 2.0, my thoughts turn to the man who unified our nation, abolished slavery and laid the foundation for the modern conservation movement — all in 5 years. It's not surprising Barack Obama has chosen to evoke the memory, rhetoric and even the management style of Lincoln. He will be taking the oath upon Lincoln's bible, traveling the same train route Lincoln took to his inauguration. And like the founding father he emulates, Obama in dramatic contrast to former President Bush, has worked to establish a "team of rivals" who represent a wide range of viewpoints.
Hope is certainly in the air that this bold new direction will not only solve the monumental heap of problems our nation (and planet) currently faces, but will manage to use these difficult times to move the country forward, making it even better than it was before. An oft-repeated saying ... in the Chinese language the word for "crisis" is made from 2 characters — danger and opportunity. And opportunity in the face of adversity certainly seems to be the guiding theme for a host of amazing, planet-friendly events that will take place over the course of the next week. I'm going to start a running list of some of the events I'll be attending, starting with...
The 2009 Green Inaugural Ball (aka the "Al Gore one")
Not to be confused with the Green Inaugural Ball (see below) this is the shaping up to be one of the biggest parties of the entire week. The tickets sold out in about 4 minutes, and out of literally hundreds of press requests only a few were granted (I was one of the lucky ones). I think at this point, even if the Queen of England wanted it, she would have a hard time. The musical line-up will be amazing (I can't disclose you who yet, but its good) and Al Gore, Van Jones and a host of eco-hollywood celebs will be speaking. The event is sponsored by a pantheon of green industry leaders -- both the Solar and Wind associations, Google.org, The US Green Building Council, The Sierra Club, and other stellar companies and organizations. I will be going "behind the scenes" before the event and interviewing some of the sponsors. Also, as I blogged earlier, I have been helping out on an early beta website called the "GEN: the green economy network" and will let you know when tht site goes live. The event is bring produced by Live Earth who will be uploading video from the event. Here's their twitter feed.
Abraham Lincoln is usually remembered for the abolition of slavery, but not only was he an advocate for social justice, he also founded the US Department of Agriculture, the National Academy of Sciences, and laid the foundation for the modern conservation movement by signing a bill to protect Yosemite Valley in California after one of the valley's largest trees called "the Mother of the Forest" (over 100 feet wide) was felled. One of my favorite green websites Environmental Graffiti did a countdown of the top environmentally friendly US presidents, and Lincoln came in #5. The Lincoln 2.0 Ball will honor the man's legacy Victorian Style in the Smithsonian American Art Museum, the same room that Lincoln was inaugurated (and the same room incidentally that will host the Green Ball). The ball features a great line up including Anita Baker and Keb Mo. It will be one of the best balls and tickets are still available.
The (other) Green Inaugural Ball
This is a great event at the Mellon Auditorium with Wyclef Jean headlining. The premium sponsor is Planet Green, the Green TV network owned by the Discovery Channel, and it is hosted by AISO, a leader in the Green IT space and owner of the first solar-powered data center. The event is being produced by Event Emissary which specialized in green events, so everything from the beer to the linens will be organic. Apparently Washington is known for its wastefulness at parties, so producer Jenna Mack hopes to set a new tone in DC and raise the green bar for future events.
I will twittering @ greendig if you want to keep up with me through the week.