Evolving Peace

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Wednesday, January 10, 2007

Global Warming with Snow

Snow flurries fell down from the sky as I walked into the Vermont State House to hear Bill McKibben address a joint session of Vermont’s House and Senate. Unlike just a few days before, winter has reemerged itself in the mountains of Vermont. For those who are unaware, Bill McKibben is the author of “The End of Nature” and an activist on global warming. So while this past weekend, temperatures soared in the Northeast, the general notion is that global warming is a reality and that measures need to be taken. Inside Room 11 of the Statehouse were the various government committee members eagerly digesting the words and knowledge of Bill McKibben. The room was overflowing with late comers like me, a sign to me that global warming has become an issue that resonates strong with the public.

This legislative session was arranged by House Speaker Symington and Senate Pro-Tem Peter Shumlin as an information session to bring about greater awareness and understanding to its members. Having heard and read Bill McKibben before I had a notion of what his tone would be like. In other settings he has invoked the crowds with passionate calls for action. “The best time for action is twenty years ago,” I have recalled him stating numerous times before, but today with a room packed of Vermont governmental leaders the tone was set more on the ways to help.

Global warming is an issue that affects not just Vermont but affects the whole planet. Vermont itself as a state is carbon-neutral, which means that of all the carbon production with in the state, the natural environmental of trees offsets it. Although, at times it appears that Vermont is it is own republic, Vermont is deeply connected to the rest of the planets ecology. The federal government has denied any such policy addressing the issue and has merely ignored or cover upped the issue. The actions have been forced down to the state legislatures and town meetings to address the populaces concern. Fortunately, there is hope. In California, a Democratic Legislature and Republican Governor passed legislation that was a “break through… and models the European trusts” on the issue, McKibben said. Official US policy has ignored the issues but cities and states throughout the country are now acting on their own resolve.

He fervently flew through numerous issues and highlighted the notion that there is no magic silver bullet solution to the world’s energy problems. “We already had our magic energy supply…black magic” he passionately stated in regards to fossil fuels. Solar energy, hydro power, wind turbines and cow power are all parts of the solutions. It is already an emergency issue and the debate of using ridgelines is flawed, “it is the price we must pay” he concluded.

As this was a legislative session, he called on the legislators to set renewable energy standards high and keep tax credits growing. Vermont is filled with an abundant amount of resources and he urged the legislators to encourage and make it easier for those resources to prosper. In regards to policy, it would help progress the state into a economical and environmental sustainable community.

Blocking the development of sprawl, big box stores and the proposed “circ highway” that create an economy based on automobile usage is in order. Transportation is the cause of forty-six percent of the carbon emissions in the state. A need to address transportation is more than just a switch to hybrid technology; we must make it “so it feels they don’t even need a car.” Too much of modern American society is based on the notions of an automobile, an investment in public transportation and the continued promotion of our local communities is the only way to stop that. The ideal is to live in a community where an automobile is not needed.

He concluded with stating that on the week of April 14 his organization Stepitup2007.org has called for a week of demonstrations to bring about awareness of the issue. He hopes to see a contingent of Vermont’s legislators holding a banner on the statehouse lawn pledging support for this issue in addition to the leadership.

As I walked away from the State House and back into the snow flurries, I saw the potential and promises set forth with in that room. Global warming is not an issue being debated as a theory any longer and actions are starting to be brought out. The only problem is that while the rest of the nation lingers along on the issue the situation worsens. For those within Vermont, thank you for caring and for those outside, please care, it is your world too.

Robb Kidd

“Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed people can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has.” Margaret Mead


At January 11, 2007 7:03 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

'It is already an emergency issue and the debate of using ridgelines is flawed, “it is the price we must pay” he concluded.'

As you note, Vermont is already carbon neutral. Our use of fossil fuels is almost wholly for transport and heating, not electricity. It is therefore the desire to cut down thousands of acres of ridgeline forest (about 5 per wind turbine, plus roads and transmission rights of way) for a marginal source of electricity that is flawed.

And it is the environment and wildlife that will pay the price. Each giant wind turbine represents the loss of about 20 acres of interior forest (because of the creation of new edges and further fragments essential habitat.

At January 11, 2007 8:17 AM, Blogger RobbKidd said...

Thanks for the comment KM
With the questionable operation of Vermont Yankee and the potential for loss of the Hydro-Quebec contracts there is a need for all energy sources to be looked at. Yes, I hate to see the loss of wilderness and native habitats but serious questions must be addressed. There is not one solution but multiple.

At January 11, 2007 5:46 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Serious possibility, perhaps. But "emergency"? I don't think we're at that point yet.

If we are, then the emphasis must obviously be on cutting back, reducing our impact, not building more.

At January 11, 2007 6:00 PM, Blogger RobbKidd said...


The emphasis must be put on cutting back as well. No more building for the sake of building. Unlike, the statements of VP Cheney, conservation is a sane policy. Let's drive less, watch tv less, let stop building McMansion size homes, lets stop over-consumption of goods. If we can all do our part now, maybe we would not need wind turbines or Vermont Yankee.

At March 08, 2007 8:24 PM, Blogger Justin said...

lol, did anyone catch the irony here?


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