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Yes, we can!

Yes we can! - That unforgettable call-and-response, heard again last night in Barack Obama's stunning acceptance speech, echoes today around the world.  And I and my fellow climate activists are happy to take all the credit for the President-elect's use of this phrase. Well, not really.  But I do feel that there is more than karma in the fact that this declaration was also the organizing theme of Ignition: What You Can Do to Fight Global Warming and Spark a Movement. The opening line of Ignition — which features chapters from leading climate activists Bill McKibben, Gus Speth, Mary Lou Finley and many others — is "Can we really win this fight against global warming?" The response comes one paragraph later: "Our answer — and the resounding answer of this book — is Yes, we can." OK, maybe Obama and his team didn't steal our line.  But I'm not surprised that leaders of the climate movement and of the Obama campaign have adopted the same language.  Consider what they have in common.  Both the movement and the campaign are driven by optimism about our future, a realistic assessment of present challenges, and an overarching sense that it is time — it's time for a mobilized groundswell to rebuild our world, fueled by the energy of the grassroots and the vision of leaders who get it. Now it would be wrong to say that the climate movement is partisan.  As we celebrate in Ignition, both Republicans and Democrats are at the helm: think Schwarzenegger and Gore.  But it is right to say that the raw energy and drive of Obama's team is akin to what drives the climate movement. Early this morning, I prepared a note of thanks to a dozen friends who, over the last several months, put their life on hold to help Barack Obama win last night: they are dedicated volunteers, fund-raisers, organizers.  As I was about to hit the send button, I had an ‘aha!' moment: so many of these inspiring folks are equally committed to the climate movement (Billy Parish is a great example of this.)  And since the skills and tools put to work in the Obama campaign are transferable, last nights' results are a promising sign for the world's drive for a clean-energy future.  It really is time, and our leaders are ready to go. So yes, we can!  Let's all pause and savor those words today — and then get back to work. What do you think? Leave us a comment. Jonathan Isham is Luce Professor of International Environmental Economics at Middlebury College in Vermont and co-editor of Ignition: What You Can Do to Fight Global Warming and Spark a Movement. Visit his website.