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Jan 282010
 

Environmentalism is getting an injection of fun, but with a serious aim.

Today, some of the nation’s best-known and critically acclaimed celebrities, Leonardo DiCaprio, Edward Norton, Jason Bateman, Felicity Huffman and Forest Whitaker, along with rising stars Chace Crawford, Emmy Rossum and Justin Long, are leading a campaign to help citizens sound the call for clean energy in Washington.

(Noted professor Cornell West also makes a cameo appearance in the video, impishly declaring “Tweet this!)

The program, launched today by these actors and the Natural Resources Defense Council, is called  This is Our Moment. It’s main thrust: To help people contact their senators, even flood their email boxes, make videos and generally get viral in pushing for an American clean energy bill.

Those who want to register their support for clean energy action can use social networking tools at the website to spread the message. Fans of the movement will be able to embed a video player on their Facebook page or blog, and more. (Tweet this! says West.)

This is Our Moment supports legislation to shift the nation’s energy production from fossil-fuel based power sources to non-polluting, renewable sources such as wind and solar power.

The viral campaign was timed to begin after President Obama’s State of the Union address, in which he called for passage of a clean energy bill. The U.S. House passed such a measure in 2009, but the legislation, called the Clean Energy, Jobs and American Power Act, has been stalled in the Senate.

Advocates say that passage of the bill would create local jobs, free the U.S. from dependence on foreign oil and greatly reduce carbon emissions, which scientists warn are fueling accelerating climate change.

“This is our moment – our moment to fight for a cleaner and more secure future,” said DiCaprio, a longtime environmentalist and an NRDC Trustee, in a news release. “The time is now for people across the country to stand up and have their voices heard. We all must call on the Senate to act on this historic opportunity.”

Those opposed to a clean energy and climate action bill in the Senate have raised questions about the accuracy of the science of climate change. They’ve also called for the nation to pursue all energy sources, an approach opposed by environmentalists who want less of the nation’s energy to come from the burning of fossil fuels. Gasoline engines and coal-fired power plants generate the majority of carbon emissions in the U.S. and in countries around the world.

In his State of the Union address, Obama called on Congress to pass clean energy legislation so that the U.S. can remain a world manufacturing leader.

China, as well as India and most European nations, are adding wind and solar capacity, creating a large world market for clean energy technology expertise and goods.

Major U.S. firms, such as General Electric among others, make components for wind turbines. Several Silicon Valley companies are developing cheaper and more efficient solar tools, both for large industrial and home installations.

Like what you see on YouTube? Here’s the longer version by the “This is Our Moment” celebs:

Said NRDC President Frances Beinecke: “This is one of the most important pieces of legislation of our time – we cannot let our moment pass us by. Our Senators need to hear all of us loud and clear.”