Speeding it Up

Solarize Roof

by Melissa Everett

Our mission is to accelerate climate action in ways that make our communities more vibrant and resilient…..We agree with Bill McKibben’s argument in Rolling Stone, that “If we don’t win very quickly…. We will never win. That makes global warming different from every other problem our political systems have faced.”   Winning on climate is more than any single organization can do, so our mission is really to spark a movement and provide a platform for collaboration.


How do we speed up progress, when we’re all dancing as fast as we can?


We can focus on projects of greater scale – like big solar farms, providing they are done in ecologically responsible ways. This includes Community Shared Solar, which we are helping people to access in a pilot project through Jan 15 – see www.solarize-hudsonvalley.org for more on that.


We can also focus on new arenas for action. Check out Project Drawdown (.org) — a collection of 100 thoroughly reviewed climate actions that include more than the usual. Think: new ways of producing cement, better containment of refrigerants, and much more.


We can also focus on increasing leverage. As we’ve learned in our marketplace programs, Solarize and Drive Electric Hudson Valley, everybody who gets solar panels or an electric car –ideally both – can be an ambassador, influencing widening circles.


But actually, my favorite way to increase leverage through involvement is to take action out of the private sphere and reframe it as a community project, with room for everyone and people inspiring each other.   One of the most exciting opportunities I’ve seen is the new movement to prepare for the shift to 100% renewable energy. Mayors across the country are declaring that intention. The first wave of quirky communities is actually getting it done – from Aspen Colorado to Greensburgh, Kansas to Columbia, MD – very different stories


Now, Sustainable Hudson Valley has a planning framework that we are about to introduce to our communities. It has been developed by a couple of actuaries in Connecticut and been piloted with towns like West Hartford and Milford. Bernie Pelletier, Project Manager of 100% CT at People’s Action for Clean Energy, will be teaching us how they’re going about it, in a pair of workshops, February 10 – in Millbrook in the morning and Newburgh in the afternoon. Don’t miss it.



As heard on Your Environment, Mid-Hudson News, Dec. 1, 2017