California is Committing to Solar
Despite the current US President’s debilitating view on science and climate change, individual state governments are stepping up. Although plenty of states are now recognizing the need to address climate change, California in particular represents a shinning example, as it continues to pass progressive environmental legislation. Just last month, the California Energy Commission mandated that nearly all new residential construction will require solar panel or connections with a solar powered system. This requirement will take effect as of January 1, 2020, and is the first US state to do so.
With the passing of this requirement, California is once again demonstrating the way forward. Indeed, shortly after Trump declared his intention to withdraw the US from the Paris Climate Accord (this would leave the US as the only country in the world not committed), California Governor Jerry Brown renewed his state’s commitment.
California has pledged to reduce GHG (Greenhouse Gas) emissions by 40% by 2030 (see US Energy Info), and provide 50% of the state’s energy needs with renewable power by 2030 (see United Nations Climate Change). Not only is California seriously concerned with the effects of climate change (droughts, floods, fires, etc.), but adopting a sustainability strategy also provides for a source of innovation and competitive advantage. Contrary to the nay-sayers, tackling climate change is actually good for the economy. In fact, California recently became the world’s 5th biggest economy, as it continues to exercise legislative changes in combating climate change.
California certainly has a lot going on! It’s huge in terms of agriculture, manufacturing, and the technology sector (some of the internet’s biggest). As a result, it also has a lot of opportunities to improve upon current operations and make significant gains from connecting with climate goals. Also, Governor Brown is willing to share. He has offered the California environmental playbook to any other states interested in following their lead (see America’s Pledge).
Of course, California is not quite an environmental paradise (although you’d be forgiven the error if ever you’ve seen some of it’s breathtaking natural wonders). It does have its faults, including highly polluted air due to all the vehicular traffic, a number of water conservation challenges, and of course the intense demand of industrial monoculture on the environment (especially almonds). However it does offer this blogger hope.
I was genuinely disappointed by last week’s announcement from the Canadian government (see Canada’s Environmental Shame), and was looking online for some good news. Normally this website is dedicated to positive gains and insightful progress in the effort to live more sustainably. I try to share stories of hope, and practical information about what is being done and what to be aware of. However, I can’t simply omit the wrong that is being done to our planet, and last week’s decision from my home country was extremely upsetting.
I’ll Be Back
What helped pull me from my funk was a random tweet online from California’s former Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger. The movie-star Republican is quite active online and abroad, often adding his star power to bring attention to climate change. He openly criticizes the folly of the current White House administration (in backing coal for instance), while strongly advocating the adoption of sustainability to advert accelerating climate change and the corresponding disasters. He literally walks the talk and puts his money and muscle where his mouth is (see Years of Living Dangerously). It was a welcome reminder that we can continue to find hope from the countless men and women who are actively fighting to protect our environment.