Food For Thought: 51st Earth Day
The first Earth Day was April 22, 1970. Roughly 18,600 trips around the sun later, we see the vast effects of climate change. Just in the past year, we’ve seen hurricanes, forest fires, landslides, heat waves, coastal floods, a freeze in Texas, and human climate migrations – all heightened in an environment of Covid-19 and
An Op-Ed from Sitka Citizens Climate Lobby
The first Earth Day was April 22, 1970. Roughly 18,600 trips around the sun later, we see the vast effects of climate change. Just in the past year, we’ve seen hurricanes, forest fires, landslides, heat waves, coastal floods, a freeze in Texas, and human climate migrations – all heightened in an environment of Covid-19 and racial & economic injustice.
Earth Week 2021 is a chance to re-think what we owe our planet, ourselves and future generations. What impact can one person, one family, one town/state/country possibly have??
You and I can be part of solutions to avoid further greenhouse gas emissions, decrease CO2 levels and cut emissions in half by 2030.
We can conserve energy by: turning off lights and computers; insulating our homes; walking, biking, carpooling; taking buses; using LED lighting: retiring old cars for electric vehicles; planting a garden; eating less barged-in beef; and switching from fuel oil heat to electric heat pumps. There are ways to find funding for these more energy efficient ways of living.
We can also speak up about policy to our city and state officials. Cities, for instance, can institute (on-bill) financing for landlords and homeowners to install heat pumps, and other measures, with energy savings paying for these upgrades over a few years.
Businesses can benefit with C-PACE. The Alaska legislature in 2017 opened the way for municipalities that do property assessments to develop “Commercial Property Assessed Clean Energy” programs. Anchorage is the first city in Alaska to do so, on April 1, 2021. C-PACE makes it possible for owners and developers of commercial properties to get low-cost, long-term financing which is paid back through an annual assessment on the organization’s property tax bill. Since energy retrofits require local labor, we keep more money and jobs in our communities, too!
As Alaskans, we can remind ourselves about the power of moving water – wave and tidal power can be pivotal, given our thousands of miles of coastline and many rivers. We can also be advocates for electric grid improvements by promoting micro-grids and renewable energy sources such as rooftop solar. Wind and solar combined technology would provide year-round energy.
Individual and municipal actions are not the whole story, though. We also need bipartisan national action. A national fee on fossil fuel production can motivate businesses to invest in green energy and infrastructure that will not only protect the environment but will also save money.
With collected fees paid as a monthly dividend to households, most Americans will be protected from increased prices arising from fossil fuel fees. A carbon-fee-and-dividend bill (re-introduced in Congress as HR 2307) may also inspire international cooperation, with a border tariff placed on goods from countries who do not have comparable carbon fees. Forty countries already have some form of carbon pricing.
These strategies will work. They will strengthen local economies and protect our health by decreasing air pollution. We can all be advocates for our planet by calling or writing our legislators – Lisa Murkowski, Dan Sullivan and Don Young – asking them to support carbon-fee-and-dividend as a first step.
- Earth Day:
- https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Earth_Day – The first Earth Day was (notably) supported by Walter Reuther and the United Auto Workers. Earth Day 2016 was the Paris Agreement. Per Wikipedia, the long- term focus areas are Climate Action, Science and Education, People and Communities, Conservation and Restoration, and Plastic and Pollution.
- Climate or Environmental Migrants:
- C-PACE program info:
- Tidal and Wave Energy development:
- Contact Members of Congress:
- Sen. Lisa Murkowski: https://www.murkowski.senate.gov/contact/email (907) 271-3735
- Sen. Dan Sullivan: https://www.sullivan.senate.gov/contact/email (907) 271-5915
- Rep. Don Young: https://donyoung.house.gov/contact/ (907) 271-5978
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