Earth Day, Revisited

A dispatch from the center of a city

All week it has been somewhere in the 40 degree range at this 42nd parallel north and apparently today it will be somewhere around 80 degrees. Fahrenheit, of course, because this is the USA.

There is a community event downtown — in the center of the city, which we lovingly refer to as the Commons — to celebrate Earth Day all week (because why is it just one day anyway). I plan to attend for a short while this afternoon, before it gets too hot.

I stopped by the Commons yesterday and chatted with a State Representative and was happy to see he is actively supporting the establishment of a local energy utility for the city. I let him know that the city office of sustainability had in fact just sent out a survey to residents to poll whether people would be in support of a public energy utility. He was not aware of this survey. I’m glad I brought it to his attention, as it is an opportunity to gain traction and support.

It would certainly be something if we could get a local energy supply at city scale. Maybe I could finally convert my household to 100% renewable energy.

You know, before the world melts.

an art installation that reads “Climate Action Now!”
An art installation on the Commons reads “Climate Action Now!” on Earth Day, 2022. Photo by author.

Something I’ve noticed about myself these past few years is how calm I am about climate change. It’s not because I don’t know the reality — trust me, I know — it’s more that I am done being overwhelmed by the grief of it all. I would rather focus on specific actions that I feel are worth doing.

Like getting a public energy utility established. I hope this happens for my city, it would be a great example of effective implementation of sustainability infrastructure. Other places could do the same.

Taking it a step further, implementing a distributed energy system through a series of smart (micro)grids at regional scale could make life easier for a whole lot of folks. In other words, it is a system of resilience that can be replicated many times over. You can learn more about it here.

Of course, I am assuming any new public energy utility or smart grid systems would be based on renewable energy options (wind, solar, hydro). It seems like an obvious next step, but now that I think about it, please make sure your local energy initiatives are in fact based on renewable energy options. (Honestly how are we still having this conversation in 2022…)

Happy Earth Day, revisited: a symbol of the modern environmental movement, fighting for a healthy planet and livable ecosystems since 1970.

Half a century of action, and still so far to go. Onward!

Essay 006 in the 0100 series.

© Dawn Nelson, 2022

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