From: The Sydney Morning Herald
Published January 21, 2009 08:28 AM

Environmentalists welcome changing of the guard

Green is suddenly glamorous again.

After chafing under eight years of US President George Bush's environmental policies, advocates supporting renewable energy and conservation gathered on Monday night at a glitzy ball to celebrate the greening of the White House under Barack Obama.

The event, hosted by former vice-president and Nobel-laureate Al Gore, drew celebrities such as, Blair Underwood and Melissa Etheridge, many of whom made their entrance on a moss green carpet made partly of recycled fibre.

Also in attendance were Obama's choices to head the Environmental Protection Agency and the White House Council on Environmental Quality.


"I think America voted for a big green step by voting for Obama," said John Legend, who was one of the scheduled performers.

Obama, unlike his predecessor, supports stiff, mandatory reductions in the gases blamed for global warming and he wants to create millions of new "green" jobs.

Environmental groups that have spent years playing defence against the Bush administration see an opportunity to push through their policies under Obama.

"The new president totally gets it on these issues," said Gene Karpinksy, executive director of the League of Conservation Voters.

"This is by far the best reason to celebrate that the environmental movement has had."

The Green Inaugural Ball was one of four environmentally themed events scheduled for inauguration weekend. But it strived to be the greenest.

The food was local or organic and cooked in a kitchen nearby to reduce emissions of carbon dioxide.

The scraps will be composted.

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