Over the last year, activists have pushed back against dirty fuels like Keystone XL and made big progress on clean energy -- but now all of that may be at risk, according to Nathan Empsall of SierraRise.
The power to save our climate depends on stopping a corporate takeover of one of the most important tools the green movement has: the Internet.
(Don't miss the "Take Action" option at the end of this article.)
Last year, millions of activists used the Internet to speak against Keystone XL and coal pollution, RSVP for events, and share compelling updates with friends -- but thanks to ALEC member Verizon, it might all be at risk. Think about it this way: What would it mean for progressives if Rupert Murdoch or the Koch Brothers ran the Internet?
"This is about protecting 'net neutrality,'" said Empsall. "It's actually a really simple issue: Internet providers shouldn't be able to censor the content we visit, charge some websites more for access than others, or slow those websites down. That's all there is to it."
But earlier this month, a top federal court sided with Verizon and struck down existing net neutrality laws. Fortunately, the FCC still has the power to write new rules – we need to make sure they use it.
Here's why the climate movement needs net neutrality:
Let's say you want to watch a movie -- maybe you're showing your friends a new wildlife film. You already pay for Netflix, and they actually have it! But, then it has to reload every five minutes because it's so slow, or even shuts off in the middle of the film because you've reached an Internet data limit for the month. Why? Because your Internet provider wants you to use THEIR streaming video service instead of Netflix, it doesn't get counted against the limit.
That's already likely to happen, but it can get much worse. What if your Internet provider -- maybe another ALEC member, like Comcast or Time Warner -- owns a major newspaper or cable news station? And then, to increase traffic to their own news sources, blocked access to the New York Times, NPR, and Climate Progress websites? Or maybe a tea-party billionaire buys your Internet provider and blocks every climate website! That level of censorship seems like something that can't happen in a democracy, but without net neutrality, it would be perfectly legal for corporations to get away with it here.
But there's good news. While the court struck down net neutrality, they did so, on a technicality. In other words, if the FCC will reclassify the Internet as a telecommunications service, they can bring back net neutrality. It's up to us to make sure they act fast!
TAKE ACTION: Grassroots voices are more powerful than ever thanks to the Internet. We can't let corporations put that at risk. Click here to sign your name today!
(Amanda Carlucci has her finger on the pulse of the green movement. Stay up to date on the latest in green activism. You CAN make a difference. Be a part of the movement, and click here to subscribe. It's anonymous and free!)