Friday, January 16, 2009

Vote for Preservation!

This appeared on the PreservationNation blog yesterday, posted by Jason Clement, online content provider for the National Trust for Historic Preservation:

For so many reasons, this past presidential election was like nothing we’ve ever seen - online that is.

With the candidates YouTube-ing, their advisors Twitter-ing and pretty much everyone Facebook-ing, we had a front-row seat to see politics get a daytime talk show-style makeover. And now that we’ve picked a president and he’s just days away from taking office, we have another avenue for getting involved online.

The YouTube video (see!) above is from Valerie Jarrett, a co-chair of the Obama-Biden Transition Team. In it, she describes an innovative new project on, the always-open online office of President-Elect Obama. Called the Citizen’s Briefing Book, it’s an opportunity for viewers to not only make policy suggestions for the new president, but to see and vote on the ideas of their fellow users. At the end of the project, the topics that are voted the most popular will make their way to Obama’s desk in the Oval Office.

All you need to do it visit and register - a necessary (yet quick and easy) step in order to participate. Next, search the idea pool for “Historic Preservation.” You’ll find a variety of topics related to our mission, including this popular entry entitled “Historic Preservation is Sustainability:”

The National Historic Preservation Program is essential for the funding of public and private initiatives to advance sustainability. Financial tools to improve energy efficiency in buildings must include assistance for owners of historic buildings, both residential and commercial, to rehabilitate and upgrade their properties in accordance with historic preservation standards.

Maximizing the contribution of historic preservation to the green economy and sustainability requires a skilled labor force.

Global climate change leads to increasingly devastating natural disasters that require a comprehensive approach to the protection of historic sites and communities.

Infrastructure rehabilitation and improvements are critical to the preservation and sustainability of our historic urban and rural communities.

To this end, expanding resources for the National Historic Preservation Program is critical to providing the infrastructure needed for the stewardship and sustainability of the built environment.

You’ll see the rating of each idea once you open them. The goal is to “vote up” ideas like the one above (which is already at over 1,500 and counting) that are related to our preservation goals.

And of course, if you have a spare moment after doing your voting up, consider leaving comments as well (use our policy platform if you need help making the case). This is, after all, a public forum designed to uncover what the people feel are the most pressing issues facing our nation today. It’s critical that, when given “open government” opportunities like this, we all act as thought-leaders by demonstrating how preservation is so much more than just standing in front of bulldozers.

Posted by Katie Eggers Comeau, Director of Preservation Services