The Recorder, September 23, 2019
Winning on climate change
Finally, the Climate Change issues are beginning to hit the newspaper headlines!
Yes, there were bits and pieces: a protest march in NYC 2016. News about the Paris Climate talks. Now Democratic presidential candidates are competing to contrast their solutions to life-on-earth-threatening crises. Many people do not realize, our future is being set NOW, although slower "feed-back loops" may make changes seem distant. We have to create a revolution in the way we live, and stop using greenhouse gasproducing fuels. This requires a Marshall Plan for the living beings on Planet Earth! Scientists are unified behind an 11-year ultimatum: Change our systems of heating/cooling/lighting,/ transportation/manufacturing/ agriculture ASAP.
What might be your personal response? Go online. Find a "carbon footprint calculator. " Try to get your "footprint" to near-zero carbon.
A readable book illustrates 100 of the most likely priorities. Metrics show how much carbon can be "drawn down" globally from each. "Drawdown," by Paul Hawkens, illustrates ways to get this massive conversion up on steroids.
Many major concerns are wrapped up in the climate crisis. Here are two: (1) Extinction of Living Things: just over the last 300 years (since Europeans arrived on what indigenous people call "Turtle Island" and people of European heritage call "The New World" ), thousands of species are being lost daily to practices that dis-respect our OWN self interest: over-fishing, farming using pollutant chemicals, extraction industries, especially those using fossil fuels that plague our atmosphere with "greenhouse gasses."
Pollinator Protection: Just as an example, here in Franklin County, one of the most agriculturally productive areas in the Northeast, we are losing our wild pollinators that service our food crops. Work in our county is now underway to first understand the issues, and then address them with the development of toxic-free pollinator nesting material and forage planting.
(2) We have to lower our use of climate-destroying greenhousegasses. A Conservation Law Foundation study found the major cause of Mass. greenhouse gas was methane, at least 22X worse than carbon, leaking from natural gas pipelines. So our goal is switch to renewable energy (solar, wind) an efficiency –really good insulation),.
Green technology exists now. Sophisticated insulation, new methods of electrical generation and storage, save people/ businesses money. Solar collectors (combined with Off-Shore wind power) mini-split heat pumps, electric cars and minibusses, are all subsidized! (Check with "Mass Save." Mass Clean Energy Center, and CPACE at Mass Development.) Training/Education: While technology is constantly improving, we need to get the pieces in place for quick changes, up and running. How about people trained in sustainability, experienced insulation contractors, builders, electricians, plumbers — and teachers in Community Colleges and Tech Schools?
The Green Works Bill (HB 3997): Fortunately, the Mass. legislature is proposing some huge changes. The Mass. House just unanimously passed The Green Works Bill—(now it goes to the Senate.) One billion to develop municipal infrastructure, raised, not from taxes, but by selling GREEN BONDS, to investors: Churches, foundations, insurance companies, universities hold billions in fees and endowments. By selling bonds, we provide a safer investment opportunity, while we also use the money to explode the economy with green jobs, rehabbing thousands of buildings, thus feathering our renewable energy nest with economic equal-ity, as we create good workingclass jobs. We will steadily pay back investors from money we save by using the energy in sunshine.
Green Banks: Our own Representative, Paul Mark, has played a major role in this by introducing legislation calling for Green Banks that use a similar principle: public funding to recruit private investment in the upcoming green transition. (Green Banks are already in use in CT, R.I., NY .) Mass. Senate: Both will be coming up in the Senate which is developing a Omnibus Energy Bill. Call your local senator to advocate for sources of funding big enough to meet the needs of a transitioning economy.
We may be in for a wild ride, but let’s keep our eyes on the prize. Chinese has two characters for "CRISIS:" – DANGER and OPPORTUNITY.
Pamela Kelly has been working for 5 years on Green Bank legislation with Rep. Paul Mark, and on green legislation with Nancy Hazard (Greening Greenfield), Bob Armstrong (CoChair of Climate Working Group, Continuing the Political Revolution, CPR).