An Earth Day Reflection by Ron McGarvey, April 2020
Where were you when Earth Day was “born” (April 22, 1970)?
Thanks to my “friends and neighbors” I was in the Army and not aware of this significant “birth”; but it marks what has become an important part of my life.
The early 1970’s were a time of increased awareness and advocacy for environmental issues. President Nixon created the Environmental Protection Agency (Dec. 1970), the Clean Air Act (1970) and the Clean Water Act (1972) were passed. I was influenced by this and realized that if we could reduce our energy use through efficiency improvements, we could reduce many of the environmental impacts that we faced. My professional career enabled me to pursue this path, and now, my current involvement with Vermont Interfaith Power and Light enables me to help improve the energy efficiency and reduce the carbon emissions of Vermont faith community buildings. Hopefully, the members of these faith communities, seeing the benefits of energy efficiency improvements in their houses of worship, will adopt these types of improvements for their own homes and lifestyles.
We’re now dealing with a global pandemic that is not unlike the climate crisis. COVID-19 shows that we are all part of one planet and one family. We all need to work together to address these crises; and we need to remember that those who are most vulnerable to environmental issues and climate change are those who have contributed the least to either, yet they are impacted the most.
Now, as people of faith and conscience we have a moral responsibility to care for Creation and those in need. If you would like to celebrate Earth Day’s 50th birthday and support Vermont Interfaith Power and Light’s mission of reducing greenhouse gas emissions, I have some suggestions:
#1 Write a handwritten letter to Governor Scott: Tell him that you support one or more of the following four legislative proposals, and that you want him to support them also.
Office of the Governor Phil Scott
109 State Street Pavilion
Montpelier, VT 05609
Hand-written letters have the greatest impact and influence.
- H. 688 Global Warming Solutions Act: This will increase accountability to ensure that Vermont meets its goals for reduced emissions and renewable energy by 2050
- S. 267 Renewable Energy: This will implement a true 100% renewable energy standard for Vermont electric utilities. It will increase local renewable energy generation and create jobs.
- S. 337 Efficiency Utility: This will enable our efficiency utilities, Efficiency Vermont and Burlington Electric along with Vermont Gas to implement programs and services that reduce climate pollution.
- S. 339 Transportation and Climate Initiative (TC&)I: This is a regional program that will generate revenue to help all Vermonters invest in clean transportation alternatives while mitigating financial impacts on those least able to afford them. Transportation is the largest source of greenhouse gas emissions in Vermont.
#2 Go to: https://www.interfaithpowerandlight.org/voter-pledge-form/ to take the Faith Climate Voter Pledge and commit to voting with climate and Creation in mind.
#3 Go to: https://www.faithclimateactionweek.org/organizers-kit/join-the-nationwide-climate-prayer/ and sign up to participate in the National Climate Prayer, Wednesday, April 22 at noon.
#4 Invite a friend, relative or neighbor to do one or all of the above.