To the Editor:
I strongly encourage the residents of Stowe to support the renewable energy resolution on Town Meeting Day.
I am part of a group of concerned citizens who brought this resolution to our select board where it was passed as an agenda item for the town meeting March 6. Thirty-eight other towns in the state also have resolutions.
The resolution seeks to support Vermont’s goal of 90 percent reliance on renewable energy sources by 2050. Currently, Vermont is making insufficient progress toward achieving this goal. The hope is that this resolution will forward the public debate on renewable energy solutions and illustrate to legislators that Vermonters are serious about the commitment to taking action on climate change.
The proposals laid out in this resolution include halting any new fossil fuel infrastructure and making a fair and equitable transition toward renewable energy, electric vehicles and improved public transportation. Additionally, it recommends that our town consider commuter parking areas, weatherize town buildings and schools where applicable, and identify appropriate sites for solar panels.
The impact of climate change in our state is undeniable. The Vermont Department of Health reports that our federally declared disaster rate has increased over 50 percent from the preceding 10 years. This means that weather events like Irene are more likely to occur in the future. As a town that is heavily reliant on our outdoor tourism industry, we know how badly windstorms and heavy rain can affect our mountain bike trails. Similarly, unpredictable temperatures threaten our winters, not to mention the financial hardship of cleaning up from extreme weather events.
I grew up in Vermont and hope to call it my home forever. I cannot bear to sit idly by while so much of what I love about it is destroyed. We have a choice. We can watch our state potentially experience devastation akin to Houston or Puerto Rico, or we can be a leader and mitigate further damage.
We have the opportunity to invest in our community and strategically locate renewable power generation while working together to help protect the place we know and love. Even though this resolution is a small step, as Margaret Mead said, “Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed, citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has.”