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Imagine two tiny figures perched on a politician's shoulders—one scientific, the other political.

The scientist whispers in the politician's ear: "You can save 6,500 lives every year with these health protections!"

The tiny politician counters, "You can save those lives, but who will save you from the powerful industry lobbyists outside your door?"

When Lisa Jackson took the reins as administration of the Environmental Protection Agency, she issued a memo to staff stating that:

"Science must be the compass guiding our environmental protection decisions. We cannot make the best decisions unless we have confidence in the integrity of the science on which we rely. Therefore, it is my promise that scientific integrity will be the backbone of my leadership of the Agency."

It comes as no surprise: Americans overwhelmingly want clean air. We’re very pleased to see that our friends at the American Lung Association have concluded that 75 percent of American voters support the Environmental Protection Agency and their efforts to clean up smog pollution.

When Bush II’s Head of EPA came to California’s Central Valley, he tried to hold secret meetings with industry and was met with a protest from clean air advocates angered by EPA’s long history of ignoring the Valley’s severe public health and environmental justice problems in favor of big business interests.

For years citizens of California's central valley have been asking for help and Wednesday, if only for a few hours, one of the most influential people in the country listened. EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson travelled to a church in Fresno to hear the concerns of the people of the valley and what she heard was troubling to say the least.

As I write this, members of the House of Representatives continue to debate and move their way through votes on hundreds of amendments to the chamber's government spending bill. The voting and debate has been a marathon process, stretching from morning through late at night for the last three days, and looks to carry on until late tonight or tomorrow.

The Global Work Party organized by environmental activist Bill McKibben and his 350.org campaign may be the answer to life, the universe and everything.

In October 2009, the 350.org campaign orchestrated more than 5,000 rallies urging political leaders to make meaningful progress on climate change. The success of last year’s day of action spawned this year’s Global Work Party that takes place on a day with numerological significance.

In binary code (a computer system using the binary digits ‘0’ and ‘1’ to relay instructions), 10/10/10 translates to the number 42, which in the book The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy is offered up by the supercomputer Deep Thought as the “answer to life, the universe and everything.” The numbers have additional significance concerning the 10:10 climate change campaign.

And, speaking of numbers, why 350.org? The moniker refers to 350 parts per million of CO2 in the atmosphere, the number scientists have determined is the planet’s limit if significant climate change is to be averted.

Work party events are scheduled at locations globally, including throughout the United States. Those interested in taking part can check the 350.org site for work party locations in their area or register to host their own event. The 350.org campaign takes a sensible view of the event’s impact while stressing its overall importance. Their website explains:

The goal of the day is not to solve the climate crisis one project at a time, but to send a pointed political message: if we can get to work, you [government leaders] can get to work too--on the legislation and the treaties that will make all our work easier in the long run.

Word up.

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