President Obama’s recent announcement of his administration’s intention  to broaden offshore drilling to  waters in the Atlantic, the Gulf of Mexico and the North coast of Alaska may have been more eloquent than the Republican’s favored sentiment, “Drill, baby, drill”, but the core message seemed to be eerily similar.

President Obama also preemptively addressed his critics in his speech, stating, “There will be those who strongly disagree with this decision, including those who say we should not open any new areas to drilling. But what I want to emphasize is that this announcement is part of a broader strategy that will move us from an economy that runs on fossil fuels and foreign oil to one that relies more on homegrown fuels and clean energy.

Obama say what?

He further attempted to cushion the blow of this polarizing announcement by reminding the public of the positive things he and his administration have done for the environment and intend to do in the future, noting, Already, we’ve made the largest investment in clean energy in our nation’s history.

The President’s justifications have not been met with the understanding that he may have been hoping for, in fact, it seems as though his tooting of his own horn and his “the end justifies the means” defense is falling on a sea of deaf ears.

Critics have also been quick to identify this as a calculated move on his behalf in order to earn favor with Republicans. Ben Feller of the Huffington Post explains, “Inside politically conscious Washington, Obama’s announcement was viewed, too, as a play to win Republican support for a comprehensive climate change bill.”  While the intent of the President’s decision remains to be seen, it seems to be another rationalization for the expansion offshore drilling- if appeasing Republicans by giving them the offshore drilling that they love to enthusiastically chant for means that a bill that will be a positive step for the environment gets passed as a result, then is it really so bad?

Intentions aside, environmentalists are taking this surprise move by the President as a slap in the face. Among the offended, The Executive Director of Greenpeace, Phil Radford, offers “Expanding offshore drilling in areas that have been protected for decades threatens our oceans and the coastal communities that depend on them with devastating oil spills, more pollution and climate change.

Regardless of the reason or reasons President Obama made this decision, the reality is that offshore drilling comes with huge risks to the environment and to our nation‘s reputation worldwide. This decision gives the appearance that the President giving a huge thumbs up to the indulgent, gas guzzling habits prevalent in the United States today. Does President Obama really believe that offshore drilling is the methadone this junkie nation needs to finally kick the oil habit?

Supporting  the development and the implementation of cleaner energies would be a more proactive, long-term way to achieve energy independence. Compromises that include risky endeavors of seeking out more oil seem  not only senseless, but downright dangerous. Offshore drilling- no matter how much you dress it up or how many pretty bows you stick on it -comes with huge risks to the environment. Oil spills are dire events that have long-lasting negative repercussions for all types of life.

If you disagree with the President’s intention to extend offshore drilling, please, we urge you, to let your opinion be heard. Contact the President or sign this petition on Moveon.org. Also, remember to do your part and consume less energy.

Together, with a little effort and innovation-and perhaps a twelve step program-we can evolve into a nation that is free at last of our nasty oil habit.

-Meghan Hurley

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O beautiful for spacious skies, For amber waves of grain, For purple mountain majesties and… ever growing Urban Sprawl?

Urban Sprawl Photo By keepwaddling1
The outward spread of both city and suburban landscapes has become a harsh truth of modern life. While the lyrics to “America the Beautiful” have yet to be altered, the evidence of this sprawl is apparent to the most novice of Environmentalists. Driving through the suburbs, from state to state, coast to coast, one can not help but to note the formerly varying landscapes of the United States have taken on a more homogeneous aesthetic over the past half century or so. As strip malls and the chain stores spread their outreach, it is hard to know whether one is in the suburbs of New York state or California when parking lots and carbon copies of the same chain stores are all that are left to mark your surroundings. Even the suburban standby, of using regional coffee chains as a compass in deciding where the strip mall in question is likely located, such as: Coffee Shop A suggesting a Northeast area versus Coffee chain B suggesting a West Coast one, is becoming obsolete as these caffeinated chains spread their jittery wings to pepper the country with new, “convenient” locations.

Dead End in the Burbs Photo By √oхέƒx™

The ultimate staple of success in the U.S; the home in a quiet neighborhood with a large yard featuring a two car garage to house your families numerous vehicles, has become the main trapping of a modern life that encourages this sprawl. The reality of a life lived in the sprawl is one that entails longer commutes, often with one person per one vehicle sitting in traffic on a highway for long spans of time. In addition to, and largely because of these increased solitary vehicle commutes, pollution increases in these areas, which has serious impacts on the health of its citizens. Low air quality stimulates respiratory ailments. The lack of exercise, due to the lack of walk ways and bike ways available in these areas, which make driving a mandatory means of transportation, cause a rise in obesity and in turn, an increase the abundance of negative health effects that are associated with such weight increases. Not to mention the financial burden of needing to purchase new and larger slacks every few months or so. (Which may not be a problem when one can get a twelve pack of pants at their local Sprawl-Mart for the low, low price of $9.99.)

Deer Crossing Photo By shouldbecleaning

The improper allotment of land Urban Sprawl calls for leaves less and less area for natural environments to be maintained or developed. This burden weighs not only on the physical health of humans, with less space to be physically active, but the mental health as well, as decreased activity sees an increase in depression. Humans are not the only ones blue over these harmful uses of land, wild life is being squeezed out of modern America. Many species have become extinct and many of those who fight for survival must adapt the world we have created, even seeking food and shelter in our neighborhoods, invading the landscapes of our American dreams due to their dreams of survival. When one wonders why a coyote is wandering through their neighbor’s yard, the answer probably lies within the reality of Urban Sprawl. Wild animals would much rather be frolicking in the forest than running across our highways and sorting through our old issues of Life magazine as they search for food in a Hefty bag.

Golden Forest Photo By *MickyThis seemingly endless unfurling of Urban sprawl occurring in our nation is on the radar of even our most powerful of citizens, with President Obama recently asserting, “For too long federal policy has actually encouraged sprawl and congestion and pollution, rather than quality public transportation and smart sustainable development” and further stating, “And we’ve been keeping communities isolated when we should have been bringing them together.” Sentiments that are a clear call for change in our Nation’s Urban policy. These strong words will hopefully, for the sake of the preservation of our nation, heed aggressive action. For as cliché as it may sound, actions speak louder than words, no matter how eloquent and truthful those words may be.

The Town of Middleburg Photo By La Citta VitaOur actions as citizens of this country are equally as important as that of our leaders. We need to encourage our leaders to change, supporting candidates who will support the legislature we need to prevent future harm to our nation, those who will seek preservation of natural habitats and encourage the development of public transportation, walkways and bike ways. Financially we can shop locally and shut out super store giants that push out small business owners, those slacks may be dirt cheap, but at what cost to our fellow man and our environment? We can even make simple choices, such as walking places when it is possible, or car pooling when it is not.

We owe it to ourselves, to our spacious skies, to our amber waves of grain, to our purple mountain’s majesty….and to that coyote out back rummaging through your rubbish.

-Meghan Hurley

CO: Obama signs economic recovery bill in Denver Photo By aflcio2008Just days after the huge economic recovery stimulus bill was passed and Obama signed it into law, critics on both sides put it their two cents. Economists and regular Joes can’t seem to agree whether the stimulus is a great move or a bad decision. However, there is one group of people who are celebrating the passage. The Green Movement seems to be one of the winners of the bill. The bill sets aside millions of funding for green development. From mass transit to solar energy, the bill definitely is a win for a growing industry.

Wind Power Photo By Luis AlvesImmediately following the passage several green groups celebrated in the news, including Green America.  They have released a great list of the “5 best stimulus provisions for a greener America.” And their list is full of hopeful parts of the stimulus plan including: 9.5 billion for energy efficient revitalization of federal buildings, 6 billion towards in loans for solar and wind projects, 11 million to modernize the electricity grid, and 17.5 billion for public transportation including high speed rail. Green America also celebrated that 50 million in funding of new nuclear and coal plants was cut out of the bill.

Green Jobs Now Sarasota - Sarasota, FL Photo By greenforall.orgThese are major victories in the green economy and we can only hope that this really will stimulate the economy as well convince the majority of America to switch to a greener lifestyle. This bill has potential to create millions of new jobs as well as jumpstart a move to a greener America! So we say congratulations to all of us who have been working to bring the green movement into the forefront! Even though a huge victory has happened, it doesn’t mean we can stop pushing. Stay involved with organizations like Green America and Green Jobs Now. And most of all try to to stay green in your daily life.

With the election of Obama to the White House many groups are hoping he brings real change. Shortly after the election, Change.org  hosted a contest for ten ideas for Obama to change in America. Online viewers were asked to vote on their favorite ideas! Winners included legalizing medicinal and recreational marijuana use, making the grid green, and a repeal of the Patriot Act. But before voting ended one idea gained many votes and caught our eye: “Declare the White House a Fair Trade Zone.”

1208885597_4795-300x194Even though this idea didn’t win the contest of the top ten ideas, its still a thought to keep in mind. And really transitioning the White House into a Fair Trade Zone may be easier than you think. The residence already has Starbucks coffee served at official events. What if they switched it out to Equal Exchange or Grounds for Change?  According to Fair Trade LA, Obama already has an affinity for Honest Tea, Equal Exchange, and Just Coffee. It would be a pretty simple change! On top of coffee we would love to see change over to fair trade chocolate, sugar, olive oil, and even bananas!

Could Fair Trade make its way into the most famous house on the hill? Maybe not right now.  But we shouldn’t give up the cause even though the idea didn’t win the competition. Keep spreading the word about fair trade products to your friends and family or join a fair trade campaign! Keep placing pressure on our leaders and the Obama administration and maybe we will see some real change!

button_red_signpetition1

More and more bad news keeps coming out about the state of our economy. With fourth quarter retail sales low, real estate continuing to plummet, and job loss at its highest since the last recession in 1993. This news may be staggering but don’t let it get you down! Let it mobilize you! Sign the petition to push this package through Congress today!

08obama2-500On January 8th, President Elect Obama urged Congress to push forth is economic stimulus plan. This plan is not just money being thrown at a problem. It has real hope for a move to the green economy. Some of the details of this plan include, doubling the production of alternative energy in the next 3 years, having medical records go electronic: saving energy and jobs, modernizing and weatherizing 75% of federal buildings, improve energy efficiency in millions of homes, updating thousands of schools, colleges, and universities, investing in science and technology, and creating millions of new GREEN JOBS! 

This stimulus package may get out economy back on its feet and its no question it will create a shift in our current economic practices. The only problem now is getting Congress to act! Obama had hoped the bill would be sitting on his new desk ready to sign on January 20th, but it looks unlikely at this point. Of course conservatives and lobbyists for big energy are attacking the bill. Some conservatives in Congress want to see tax breaks rather than investment. Which may seem like a great idea, but their current plan has breaks for the super rich and hardly benefits the middle and working classes. The lobbyists for big energy are trying to stop the bill from passing in order to stop green energy and jobs from being created!

Never worry though, because YOU can take action! MoveOn.org has created a petition to urge Congress members not to listen to lobbyists and to take action on this package. The petition states: “Congress should quickly pass Obama’s plan to invest in clean energy, green jobs, health care, and relief for struggling states. No more tax cuts for the rich.”

button_red_signpetition2So please if you believe in a shift to a green economy or hope to help our US economy, take the few seconds to sign the petition! Its a quick and easy way to be involved in your country’s actions. Because our responsibilities as citizens doesn’t stop on election day! We all took a second to sign, so we are urging you to do the same. PLEASE SIGN! And if you want to be involved even more, organize an event in your area or re-post this on your blogs or social sites!

So its finally here! November 4th, 2008. We just wanted to remind everyone to please please go out and vote today! This is the most important election of our generation, so please be sure to let your voice be heard! We know the lines are long and in some parts of the country the weather may not be cooperating, but we want to urge you to get out there! Believe us, its worth the wait, worth the soggy shoes, the future of our country depends on it! If you are unsure of where to vote, please type in your address and find your polling place!

We want to also remind you to please help us support Obama, Proposition 2 in California, and Question 3 in Massachusetts. We can bring change for our country, for farmed animals, and racing dogs! Please help us spread hope and prosperity, rather than fear and hate. We have a chance to make real change, so let’s do it! GET OUT AND VOTE TODAY!!!


Although in earlier posts we mentioned that our company has not openly supported a specific candidate over another, upon many nights of research, we have decided to officially endorse the Obama campaign!! After looking over countless articles and reading Obama and Biden’s beliefs, choices, and plans for our country, it has become clear that their views are very much in line with the views and vision of Autonomie Project.

We feel that this election is too close for comfort and is of such historical significance that we must do everything we can, as individuals and as a company, to support our chosen candidate.  That includes educating you, beloved readers, on the issues that matter most to us and how Obama and Joe Biden plan to help.  So read away, and let us know if you agree!

  1. Investment and Creation of 5 Million Green Jobs: AP applauds Obama’s support of the Green economy. Obama believes that one of the keys to boosting the economy and improving the environment is the development of a robust Green Market sector that would provide millions of jobs to replace the millions we are losing due to volatile capital markets, all while making our planet a healthier place.
  2. Support for Small Business and Start Ups: This one hits especially close to home, as AP is barely a year old and needs all the start-up help we can get!  We are just a few friends on a mission to spread the word of Fair Trade through organic fashions. Obama’s plan provides tax relief to small businesses so that innovation (like ours!) can be encouraged and new jobs created.  He also supports funding for incubators of start ups in disadvantaged communities.
  3. Worker’s Rights: Obviously labor and worker’s rights are very important to us at Autonomie. Obama has called to raise the minimum wage and to end the use of replacement workers when a union is on strike.  He also wants to push forth the Employee Free Choice Act protecting workers’ rights to organize.
  4. New Energy for America: This is the phrase Obama has used to describe his energy and environmental plan. Highlights of the plan include a move to reduce green house gases by 80%; develop an American-made, plug-in hybrid car market that will put 1 million hybrid cars on the road by 2015; end our addiction to foreign oil; and to push forth a plan to implement alternative energy as a source for electricity in American homes.
  5. A Responsible End to the Iraq War: It’s no question at this point that the Iraq War was a mistake and is eating up billions of American taxpayer money. Obama is calling for a responsible withdrawal of troops and plans to focus on finding the real people behind the 9-11 attacks.

These are just a few of the key issues we see eye-to-eye with Obama and are the reasons why we have chosen to not only vote for him as individuals, but to endorse him as a company!  Please stay informed, volunteer for the campaign, and realize this is the most important election for our generation. The choices we make on November 4th will affect our country and the world for us and our future generations.

The choice is ours. Let’s make real change together! OBAMA-BIDEN 2008!

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