Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Westport Connecticut's Quest to Go Green

This New York Times article concerns the efforts of the Connecticut town to shrink it's greenhouse gas footprint. (See excerpt below):

Westport, with its beachfront parks and leafy neighborhoods where the populace naturally tilts green, is ahead of the game but hardly unique in trying, in its own small way, to address climate change through public and private action.
“Our big job is to tell people they can do something,” said Carl Leaman, a former selectman who is chairman of the group, formed a year ago. “Many people acknowledge there’s a problem and they don’t know what to do. So the first thing we did was come up with the carbon footprint and then came up with ways to reduce it.”
The carbon footprint, the measure of human impact on the environment in terms of greenhouse gases, particularly carbon dioxide, was 18 tons per person per year — relatively high because Interstate 95 passes through town. The goal was to find ways to reduce it by a ton a year for the next three years.
That’s doable if enough people do relatively painless things like replace three light bulbs with compact fluorescents (300 pounds), drop thermostats to 68 from 70 (2,000 pounds), take shorter showers (350 pounds) and turn off electronic devices they’re not using (1,000 pounds). You get 6,000 pounds by trading in a standard car for a hybrid, but even in Westport, not everyone is ready to ante up for a Prius.
That’s added to various public initiatives, like solar panels at fire headquarters, no-idling policies for most city vehicles. The agenda item Thursday night was the showing of “Everything’s Cool,” a documentary about the long, slow trudge toward an understanding of the enormous stakes of addressing climate change.
It’s both breezy and sobering, whistling its way past the edge of despair, arguing that the Bush administration and shills for the oil industry have kept a fake debate going about whether global warming is real as a way to suck the passion and urgency out of doing anything about it.
So when the author and environmentalist
Bill McKibben laments in the film that the financial world, with its thrilling booms and crushing busts, its plucky efforts to ward off recessions, its fevers and chills, seems more real to us than the natural world where we live, you could see people nodding throughout the room.
CLIMATE change, after all, was cited as an issue in the 1950s. Its dangers were noted in a report to President
Jimmy Carter in the 1970s. It was a Time magazine cover story in 1987.

Interfaith Power and Light is a religious response to global warming with chapters in 25 states and Greater Washington, D.C. Find a link to your local chapter at http://www.theregenerationproject.org/State.
Find discounts on energy saving products at http://www.shopipl.org/

No comments: