Precedent-Setting Policy Passed in Maryland Requires Renewable Energy For All Public Buildings
For the first time, a county in the U.S. decided that all of its new governmental buildings must incorporate renewable energy into their designs.
Prince George's County Council in Maryland unanimously approved a measure this week necessitating 1 kilowatt of solar, wind or geothermal energy for every 1,000 square feet of gross floor space in a public facility. The ruling also includes structures that are going to be renovated by 50 percent or more.
“I am thrilled the council has adopted one of the most ambitious policies for clean energy on public buildings in the country,” said Prince George's County Council member Mary Lehman, who proposed the measure.
“This bill will spur clean energy jobs for our workforce, energy savings for our taxpayers, and a cleaner environment for our children.”
The county is so serious about clean energy that its legislation also requires that the budget for each building or renovation includes an additional 2 percent for the renewable energy installations.
Prince George's County's announcement is part of the state's Greenhouse Gas Reduction Plan, which aims to reduce emissions by 25 percent by 2020.
“For the health of our communities, it’s critically important that lawmakers and advocates can come together on something that will have such a lasting impact on Prince George’s County and all of Maryland,” said Vidal Hines, clean energy organizer for the Maryland Chapter of the Sierra Club.
The Chesapeake Climate Action Network joined the state Sierra Club chapter in aiding the county's development of the legislation.
"This is exactly the kind of action we need,” said Tommy Landers, Maryland & Wasington D.C. policy director for the Chesapeake Climate Action Network. “Maryland still gets nearly 60 percent of its power from dirty, dangerous fossil fuels, which is our state's biggest source of climate change pollution.
"Local clean energy will make our families healthier, provide jobs for our communities and help reduce climate change."
Visit EcoWatch’s RENEWABLES page for more related news on this topic.
By Jake Johnson
Amid reports that oil industry-friendly former Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz remains under consideration to return to his old post in the incoming Biden administration, a diverse coalition of environmental groups is mobilizing for an "all-out push" to keep Moniz away from the White House and demand a cabinet willing to boldly confront the corporations responsible for the climate emergency.
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Anger, anxiety, overwhelm … climate change can evoke intense feelings.
"It's easy to feel dwarfed in the context of such a global systemic issue," says psychologist Renée Lertzman.
She says that when people experience these feelings, they often shut down and push information away. So to encourage climate action, she advises not bombarding people with frightening facts.
"When we lead with information, we are actually unwittingly walking right into a situation that is set up to undermine our efforts," she says.
She says if you want to engage people on the topic, take a compassionate approach. Ask people what they know and want to learn. Then have a conversation.
This conversational approach may seem at odds with the urgency of the issue, but Lertzman says it can get results faster.
"When we take a compassion-based approach, we are actively disarming defenses so that people are actually more willing and able to respond and engage quicker," she says. "And we don't have time right now to mess around, and so I do actually come to this topic with a sense of urgency… We do not have time to not take this approach."
Reporting credit: ChavoBart Digital Media
Reposted with permission from Yale Climate Connections.
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