The Big Green Tent

(noon. – promoted by ek hornbeck)

In the coming days, for those not actively on the Democratic National Convention (DNC) floor, The Big Tent will be one of (if not the) places to be.  And, much of the Tent will be colored Green.  Much of The Big Tent’s agenda will focus on Green initiatives, energy efficiency, and Global Warming.  

Looking at this schedule makes this blogger envious of those able to attend.

And, a few tinges of off-green makes this same blogger concerned.

About The Big Tent

The Big Tent will be the place to be for new media journalists, bloggers, reporters, and non-profit leaders covering the Democratic National Convention in Denver this summer.

This is a Bloggers’ cattle call, letting you know that any / all who live in the blogosphere will have a welcome home in Denver in the coming week. And, a home which will enable rubbing shoulders and interacting with many others who you might only know via electrons and via user names.  A version of Netroots Nation on the edge of the DNC, drinks included at “sponsored happy hours” every day.

And, hopefully as an educational element for all concerned that will lead to change elsewhere, there is a real effort to green The Big Tent itself with local and organic food, bio-degradable tableware, reusable water bottles, energy efficient air conditioning, a station for free biking, and otherwise.

The hosts include such unknown, in these spaces, groups as Daily Kos, Progress Now, and the Alliance for Sustainable Colorado.  “Lead Sponsors” include Digg and Google.  “Major Sponsors” include Eco-Products and Netroots Nation.  “Participating Sponsors” include OneSky, Campaign for America’s Future, Democracy for America, Media Matters.  Scroll through the list, and there are many organizations that will have strong appeal.

The Agenda

Quite simply, for anyone concerned about fostering a path toward a prosperous, climate-friendly society, The Big Tent’s agenda reads like a who’s who of heroes. From Lester Brown to Van Jones to Majora Carter to …, there are people’s whose fights for a better future cannot be question and whose visions merit a hearing in the halls of power. And, come next January, they will have a more receptive audience in the Oval Office and the Executive Branch.

Some Off Green

Sigh …

Although there is much to cheer at The Big Tent, not all is shaded green in the way that one might expect.

Among the sponsoring organizations, some seem especially discordant with the venue. For example, among the lead sponsors is Eco-Driving USA which is a non-profit pushing automobile energy efficiency.  YEAH! This is truly excellent.  No?  Well, the Eco-Driving site and material is pretty impressive and has great recommendations/information. But, there is perhaps an item of concern to consider: this is from the auto industry and could be part of a campaign to fight any future increases in the CAFE standards. And, within The Big Tent, one can legitimately ask, did Eco-Driving’s “lead sponsor” status buy Dave McCurdy , president and CEO of The Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers, a seat at the table at the center of the “new media” place to be in Denver?

Another sponsoring organization could raise even more concern.  

The Pickens’ Plan is a “Major Sponsor” and is sponsoring a lunch in The Big Tent. And, speaking within The Big Tent will be T Boone Pickens.  Next Wednesday, in The Big Tent, outside the Democratic National Committee, T Boone will be on the stage with Carl Pope, the Executive Director of the Sierra Club, and John Podesta, the President and Chief Executive Office of American Progress.

Who is T Boone Pickens according to the material provided by The Big Tent biographies?  

The breadth of T. Boone Pickens’ career is staggering. He built the largest independent oil company in the United States and flourished as an entrepreneur after leaving it, generating hundreds of millions of dollars in the process. Among his lengthy accolades, Financial World named him CEO of the Decade in 1989 and the Oil and Gas Investor listed him as one of the “100 Most Influential People of the Petroleum Century.

Pickens is afflicted with the inherent restlessness that drives most entrepreneurs. That restlessness manifested itself early in his life. While he was still a teen, the Holdenville, Oklahoma, native expanded his newspaper route sales by acquiring surrounding routes one by one.

Traditional corporate life chafed Pickens. The Oklahoma State University graduate left his first adult employer, Phillips Petroleum, and started what would become Mesa Petroleum with $2,500 and a healthy dose of moxey. He built his company into an independent powerhouse that challenged and changed the good-old-boy corporate culture in America.

During the span of his career, Pickens has made hundreds of millions of dollars- for others as well as himself – and he isn’t timid about spreading it around. “I like making money. I like giving it away,” he has often said. The breadth of his philanthropy – more than $600 million – includes medical research, athletics, and academic projects. In 2006, his charitable activities, which included $175 million and the establishment of the T. Boone Pickens Foundation, placed him on the Chronicle of Philanthropy’s list of top U.S. philanthropists for the second straight year. His Foundation is focused on improving lives through grants supporting educational programs, health and medical research and services, athletics and corporate wellness, the entrepreneurial process, at-risk youth, and conservation and wildlife initiatives.

His life, stunning achievements and stinging losses alike, is chock full of lessons, most of which he has readily shared over the years. His impact on American culture reflects his many interests and passions, including his unyielding belief in the entrepreneurial spirit, his leadership in corporate fitness, the need for alternative fuel development, and his prudent stewardship of American lands. Pickens, a proud alum of OSU (it was operating as Oklahoma A&M when he graduated), has donated the gist of his professional papers to his alma mater.

For those listening to The Pickens Plan, a small reminder might be in order about The Pickens’ Problem which ranges from being a key (and unrepentent) funder of the Swift-Boat Veterans for Truthiness and a continuing major contributor to the Republican Party, including his most recent political contributions maxing out to Jim Inhofe who, quite simply, is perhaps the worst member of the Senate when it comes to ending our oil addiction and moving toward a sensible energy future.

Different Shades of Green

The Big Tent does look to be the place to be for ‘the new media’. It provides a chance for a wide range of the blogosphere to have a chance to hob nob with some true heros of the fight for a better future.  In addition to environmental green, it is clear that another form of Green has a major role in The Big Tent, with sponsors buying themselves a seat at the table amid the “new media”.  When we consider The Big Tent’s coloring, we have to wonder whether it is really shaded a tainted green …



    • A Siegel on August 25, 2008 at 6:59 am

    No, actually attention to this. I wish that I could be at The Big Tent. There are many there who I would love to hear, some to catch up with and others to meet for the first time.

    In any event, re T Boone, I have a question:

    The Big Tent is for new media, this is a blogger-dominated space.

    A multi-billionaire. A multi-billionaire who funded the Swift Boat Veterans for Truthiness and their attacks on John Kerry. A multi-billionaire who sends his donations to the Republican Party, to the tune of $millions over the years. A multi-billionaire has bought time and space at The Big Tent.

    Isn’t this an utter rejection of the entire concept of the blogosphere and Crashing the Gate?

    What is the difference between Energize America and The Pickens’ Plan? A focus on the common good vs a billionaire’s ability to spend $50+ million on a public communications campaign?

  1. Disappointing to say the least that someone of T. Boone Pickens was able to maneuver his way into The Big Tent and, many who are unaware of his background, will likely be influenced by him.

    Nothing, but nothing, is ever what it seems anymore!

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