This past weekend was Earth Day. Earth Day, since it was first celebrated in 1970, is above anything a wakeup call to mankind to stop the destruction of the earth, and be more thoughtful about how we treat Mother Nature. This movement has spawned many things, including the Clean Water Act, Clean Air Act, and the establishment of the Environmental Protection Agency.
No one was talking about global warming in 1970, nor even in 2000. But this year a critical mass has been reached on the urgency of taking local, state, national and yes global action to stop the climate crisis. Throughout the Middlesex &Worcester District, I have seen how committed people are to doing their part.
Citizens in each community are forming Climate Action “Locals,” dedicated to finding ways to collectively reduce a town or city’s carbon footprint. Entrepreneurs are investing their own money, or quitting their more stable jobs, in order to dedicate themselves to perfecting a biofuel, performing energy audits, installing solar panels, establishing hydroelectric power, or promoting windpower. Elected officials are striving to tap into the Green Communities Act or federal stimulus funds to make municipal building more energy efficient and supporting expanded public transportation to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Utility companies, and other large companies, are doing their part to move away from a dependence on oil or coal.
The Middlesex & Worcester District, and generally MetroWest Massachusetts, is a vibrant place when it comes to combating global warming.
I’ve been doing my part, too, although I know I need to do more. From choosing to live in an apartment that provides the means to recycle to unplugging all unnecessary energy uses, from not using air conditioning in the apartment during the summer (though I still use it in the car) to taking the train to work as much as possible, it feels good to reduce my carbon footprint, even with these small examples of sacrifice.
But there is much, much more to do. Over the past few weeks, I’ve read The Green Collar Economy by Van Jones, Apollo’s Fire: Igniting America’s Clean Energy Economy by Congressman Jay Inslee and Bracken Hendricks, and I’ve started reading The Transition Handbook by Rob Hopkins. Not only do these books make the point that urgent national action is needed to reduce the impact of global warming before it’s too late, but that thousands if not millions of jobs can be created by investment in clean energy, and a healthier, more natural standard of living for all.
As the State Senator for the Middlesex & Worcester District, I stand committed to coordinating the efforts of area citizens, organizations, elected officials, and businesses committed to taking action to reduce greenhouse gases, to better reflect that this is indeed a “Green District,” and marshal our efforts to create a more secure world. If you have ideas on how to do this, or wish to join this effort, please contact me with your suggestions. We have no time to waste, with a peak oil reality already upon us.