Changes in Latitudes
We elected a new president under the mantra of "change" and "Yes we can!” There's no doubt there's going to be change and with the right balance I'm confident that change will do us all good.
I didn't vote for Mr. Obama (or McCain) but reading up on the subjects in the "love triangle" (environment, health, food), in the wake of his win, I'm optimistic he gets the connection. Of course that's speculation mixed with high hopes. (I'm not too happy with his pick for USDA chief but I'm willing to give him a chance.)
One subject I know will be sure to cause a lot of discussion (to put it politely) when Mr. Obama becomes president is climate change. In case you didn't know, "they're" trying to replace global warming as the term because climate change helps convey that there are changes in addition to rising temperatures (and probably because it flies in the face of the extreme cold and heavy snow in some parts of the country and world.)
I like to live by the phrase "don't sweat the small stuff" and try to keep focused on the big picture. But in the case of climate change, it's the opposite. I can't say one way or another with certainty whether we're affecting the climate or not. But to me it doesn't matter because every reasonable step we take in the name of thwarting climate change is a step we take to better health, a lower cost of living, and leaving a sustainable planet to future generations.
Changes in Attitude
And that's the point I'm hoping climate skeptics will think about when the debate starts up. One trend I'm suddenly seeing is almost every environmental issue is now attaching itself to climate change. In the beginning I thought it was great. For some reason a lot of people who had no care about air pollution suddenly were interested in CO2 levels and reducing their carbon footprint. But now I'm afraid it's turning people off from better consideration of other important environmental issues. Issues that will no doubt be coming up for public/congressional debate.
For instance, an article the other day pointed out how the entire Southeast is under threats of water shortages in the not too distant future- and climate change is going to worsen it.
And another article reported new coal powered plants are being held up not so much because of their terrible air pollution or for the other perfectly good reasons (as I pointed out in last Wednesday's Green Acres post) but mostly because of possible new rules for climate change under the Obama administration.
Anyway, I just ask that when you hear some new law or regulation being debated in Congress with climate change attached to it that it doesn't cloud your judgement and you consider the small picture. Please consider addressing water pollution/shortages and air pollution whether from coal plants, factories or CAFO's (confined or concentrated animal feeding operations) on their own merits even if they're attached to the coattails of climate change.
Now what in the name of climate change can Mr. Obama’s change possibly mean for IRC?
To be honest, I don't really know. I just know there's talk about a stimulus plan costing nearly a trillion dollars and a lot of it is in the name of holding off climate change. But it's mostly going into infrastructure, green technology, green jobs, alternative energy, health care, education, and food. You know we have to stop looking at growth as a driver of our economy. If there's a windfall for us from a stimulus package I'd like to see it used to set ourselves up sustainably for the long haul. It might be for naught but is there any reason we shouldn't start putting together an outline of possibilities should Mr. Obama's plan come to pass?
Infrastructure: If we could, what would upgrading our rail system do for us? Would a bridge to beachside in Sebastian improve business the same as new industry? What other infrastructure needs attention? How about public transportation? Does it serve everyone? Is it practical to use to get to work? Especially for those in the poorer neighborhoods?
Education: Most of our out of work construction people are ready for green jobs. A lot of other green jobs don't need a college degree but they do need training. Can we find (clean) industry in need of skilled workers and put them out for them as an incentive to locate here? Also, can we adopt vocational training for other green jobs? Can we reduce our recidivism rates through educational or vocational programs for those same jobs? (Funding is already slated for next year for the training of green jobs.)
They'll go along with what some are saying may be a green energy corps. Who in our community should be the first to have their homes or small businesses retrofitted to be energy efficient? Or which non-profit offices or publicly owned buildings should be first?
Not the last or the least, alternative energy: Is it possible for the county to build and own its own solar panel manufacturing plant? Or how about a county owned solar power plant? Is it possible to use federal dollars to help fund rooftop solar for county residents? (Some places are loaning homeowners the money interest free or low interest, to put solar on their roof and spreading the bill out on their property taxes.)
What possibilities can you think of?
With wishes of a happy, healthy New Year, TTFN, LDouglas
P. S. My apologies to Max. I didn't mean to pilfer your signature. It's just that I could think of no other headings that fit as perfectly as they did. (In my defense I've always thought there was a song title or lyrics about most any subject you could think of.).