From my position at the local level, one of the obstacles that I have run into pushing for more environmentally friendly and sustainable policies and practices is that some people don't see other communities doing the same and so they become resistant to being the first, especially if they perceive these practices to be costly or burdensome. Having trend setters like Grand Rapids and Ann Arbor is helpful as they show that these changes can be made without chasing business out-of-town or bankrupting the budget. But what would be helpful for those of us fighting for change at the local level is some statements about goals for areas like energy efficiency, renewable energy, alternative energy, etc. and best practices and
policies to achieve them that are focused specifically on local government. While there's no one-size-fits-all answers, even having some broad goals and some targeted policies that speak to local governments would give those of us making the push at the local level something to point to as the direction we want to go. Moving the discussion beyond what's good for just our local community to what's good for all local communities in Michigan would be a good thing.
I'm not sure what would be the best vehicle to make that happen, whether through the environmental community, the statewide municipal organizations, the state or some other group. But if we could develop something for local communities to pursue, I think we would see a lot more effort and progress at the local levels.
----- Original Message ----
From: Anne Woiwode
To: enviro-mich <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Sent: Friday, January 25, 2008 12:21:13 PM
Subject: RE: E-M:/ How About 20% Renewable Energy by 2008?
Bill’s points are quite legitimate,
but step back a moment -- NO ONE else in Michigan ,
especially not our Legislature, can claim to have made as much of a commitment
nor as much progress as Grand Rapids
and Mayor Heartwell. Ann Arbor
is making some serious commitments and a variety of cities and at least one
township have committed to become “Cool Cities” (see http://coolcities.us/ ). There are going
to be transitional steps needed, mistakes made in choice of alternative and
renewable sources of power, but inaction is the worst of all worlds, and that
is where we are today in way too many places. There are even still people
in the Legislature who want us to believe that some forms of coal for electric
generation should be considered renewable -- maybe that goes along with
bringing back dinosaurs.
Mayor Heartwell is not only personally
committed to winning this fight against climate change, he is working at the
state level as well to push these leaders to get moving. Thanks to Dave
Holtz for pointing out what is going on in
Grand Rapids -- yes, it is not perfect, but
let that community that has done more be the one to complain! We need
some healthy competition among Michigan
communities to see who can take us forward toward a real sound energy future in
the best, and fastest way.
Anne Woiwode, State Director