What You and We Can Do About Climate Change & Renewable Energy: Care for Creation with This Simple 1-2-3

Are you concerned about climate change but don’t know where to start?  Here’s a path forward.  For cleaner air, more jobs, and involvement for all, think 1-2-3 and prioritize!

  1. Take responsibility for the carbon intensity of our electricity. Insist on fossil free electricity for the whole community (avoid REC re-sales such as Arcadia!)
  2. Electrify everything—no more investments or taxes supporting fossil fuel.
  3. Efficiency improvements can provide the quickest and best return.

Take responsibility and lead in reducing the carbon intensity of our electricity.

  • If you have just 15 minutes per week to spend on this, spend it here!  Most cities have a franchise agreement with a monopoly utility provider, which is more inclined to listen to them than customers.  To get our world, society, and economy off coal have coffee with your city council people, as many as will meet with you.  Take some colored handouts/graphs.  Every year we delay our transition the steeper (and more difficult) the change we need to make in future years.     Explain your concerns and listen to theirs. Explain your concerns and listen to theirs.  If you don’t have an answer, that’s good!  It’s a chance to meet again and say: “I’ll check into that and get back to you.”  Insist that your city send a letter to your utility about getting off coal faster than they are planning. This works! Appreciate and congratulate them on the progress and commitments thus far, but explain our commitment to the dignity of all life, including health for all and our planet, and the urgency of our situation (see map at the end – high likelihood of a long-lasting dustbowl across our breadbasket, west, and south ruining too much to account and chances for the next generation, not to mention all the farmers and migrants losing their livelihoods). You can also ask your Mayor to join the Sierra Club’s Beyond Coal or Ready for 100% and work with others in your local area. http://www.sierraclub.org/ready-for-100,
  • Individual/Regional – Email your utility board of directors with a simple message: “We want our electricity to be fossil free by 2030!” (the leakage from methane can make the GHG effect high). Or something longer: “As a faith community member we value good life for all. We need to get these coal plants closed right away. How are we going to get to 100% renewable by 2030?” Mention the parish, city, or community group you are from and that you want action. Ask others to email, too. Email weekly if you want; this is not like voting! Think this goal sounds far out? It’s not. The costs of renewable energy have dropped enormously and a new day is dawning! See what others are doing: rapidshift.net.
  • International and Mission – 1.2 billion people in the world still need electricity. Work with other parishes, orders, networks to help developing communities get clean, reliable electric microgrids and shift to safe and healthy power, lighting, and cooking.

Electrify everything that can be transitioned now (like cars!)

  • Join the millions buying electric vehicles. Economical 200+ mile cars now on the market (and used ones are a deal!), take a second to plug in and then leave with a full tank each morning! Note that air and traffic pollution have an unexpectedly large impact on life, health, and wellbeing.  If you are interested in how traffic pollution affects your health, download a powerpoint overview of recent research presented by MPB parishioner at National Academies research meeting.
  • Move your banking and investments out of fossil fuels.It’s not just what you do with your charity that matters, but where your money and your tax money sleep at night.
  • The International Energy Agency, known for conservative estimates) says four renewable technologies are ready to market: wind, solar, batteries, and electric vehicles.
  • Think systems level change and explore how we can move faster, together!

Efficiency Improvements and Everything Else

Efficiency can be the cheapest in dollars spent and will provide the best return. Buildings last a long time and can take a long time to retrofit all of them.  That’s why our top priority is to stop emitting pollution in the first place.  We also want to raise our standards.

  • Raise our building standards. Zero net energy buildings are possible now and can produce savings and increased comfort and certainty for residents.
  • Replace all your light bulbs with LEDs.
  • Get an energy audit and do the suggested improvements.
  • Support programs and restructuring that help people transition and train for new jobs in renewable energy. Good jobs, adequate income for all/families, and a responsible shift that considers everyone, are necessary as we shift. Grid Alternatives is a local entity (https://gridalternatives.org) working on a just transition.

Why am I so passionate about this?  It’s about life and dignity for all.  Extra high temperatures, potential agriculture/food system disruption, fossil fuel exploration, production, and use—all are death dealing for many of us.  Jesus taught us to “choose life” and healing, the better path where the yoke is light! Let’s choose it.  Life can be better, more abundant and joyful!

If you need more information or any materials, don’t hesitate to email me at marie@catholicnetwork.us and I’ll try to get you what you need or think would help.


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