Concentration of CO2 in the Atmosphere

Zombie Blogging from the Vermont Climate Action Event

I didn’t manage to connect to the state house internet, so instead of a live blog, this is more of a “undead” blog (blogged live, but posted later). On to the good stuff! Below is a sampling of the speakers I got to hear and/or see at today’s event. Several were captured on video, and rather than writing those up, I’ve embedded the videos at the end of this post.

James Marc Leas Presents the Climate Action Bill of Rights

We the People of Vermont, in order to preserve our climate and our planet, do ordain and establish this Climate Action Bill of Rights. Climate scientists warn that green house gas emissions are causing catastrophic climate change. They warn that unless dramatic reductions are acheived in the next several years, we will see devastating and irreversible effects. The citizens of Vermont have a right to join together and demand an appropriately bold response from our federal, state, and local governments to meet this escalating threat.

  1. A natural and stable climate is a basic human right.
  2. We can no longer postpone action around climate change.
  3. In view of a stymied Federal government, Vermont state and town governments should take action and provide leadership for national and worldwide reforms.
  4. The scale of our solutions should match the scale of the risks from accelerating climate change!
  5. Make Vermont a Carbon Neutral state. (1)
  6. To ensure climate justice, accountable, participative, transparent, universal, and equitable decision making and action is essential.
  7. To ensure climate justice, Vermonters may work cooperatively with our elected officials, participate in Town Meeting votes, and join in united citizen actions. We call on citizens and town select boards to put a Carbon Neutral Now article on 2012 Vermont Town Meeting ballots requesting that Vermont take decisive action to become carbon neutral(2)
  8. To defend this human right, Vermont state government must be reorganized to implement a statewide climate action plan for Vermont to become carbon neutral. We call on the Governor to form a state level Climate Action Cabinet and Climate Action Agency to establish bold targets and to achieve results.
  9. To ensure climate justice and defend this human right, Vermont state government must raise the cost of carbon emission and distribute these revenues to all citizens to fund efficiency and conservation, carbon-free and radiation-free energy sources, such as solar, wind, and geothermal, and to vastly expand public transportation.
  10. To ensure climate justice and defend this human right, false solutions that absorb resources and waste precious time, such as “clean coal;” Vermont Yankee – a dangerous, aging, and leaking nuclear power plant; carbon markets; geo-engineering; certain bio-fuiels; and corporate greenwashing – such as attempted by Lockheed-Martin in Burlington; must be avoided.

Working together and demanding solutions that match the scale of the problem.

Betsy Hardy VT Interfaith Power and Light

We work w/faith communities around VT to address climate crisis – I call it climate crisis, because it is a crisis.

People talk about the effects of the climate crisis on our children and grandchildren, but climate change is affecting us now – it’s severely affecting our global neighbors, right now. We reach out to our neighbors and our global neighbors to mitigate the effects of the climate crisis. See me for specifics on how to join us.

[ed: or go to the Vermont Interfaith Power and Light web site for more information.]

Jesse Robbins, Green Building Network

We’re members of the US Green Building Council, working on LEED Green Building practices.

Earlier today, people talked about buildings;’ contribution to global warming.
– 30% of carbon from VT is from building use.
– 30% of VT solid waste stream is from discarded building materials and scrap.

We did a deep energy retrofit – cut energy use by 74% in my house. It was the worst house VT gas had ever tested. According to the blower door test, it was leaking 16,000 CFM50. A 1950s house might be 3,000 CFM50. After the retrofit, the monthly payment on the 0% loan to do the work, plus my utility bill, was less than half of what I was paying just for utilities before the retrofit.

We have the oldest building stock in the country, so we can make a big difference – our buildings are leakier. We do better than most places in the country on our overall carbon emissions, because of controls on sprawl. Sprawl-dwelling parents drive an average of 17 days per year. That’s more time than they spend feeding, bathing, and playing with their children combined.

Work on PACE (Property Assessed Clean Energy) funding for state.
Enforce our existing building standards – especially franchise buildings.
Green schools legislation – we’re the only state in NE without it. It provides a baseline for school systems to use for planning.

Green Building Network web site.

Didi Pershouse and Katie Williams, Center for Sustainable Medicine

In hospitals, we use twice energy of standard office buildings. Hospitals are also the largest producers of dioxins, and are excreting drugs in sewage water. With all those things, we’re harming those we’re supposed to help.

Working on economically, socially-responsible and non-polluting/warming methods to make hospitals better.

To the young people who spoke earlier: Don’t try to lead alone. Work together, and dare to say the things no one else is saying. If you’re shaking, you’re saying the right things!

Center for Sustainable Medicine web site.

Dawn LeBaron, On Fletcher Allen Hospital’s Sustainability Efforts

I am humbled by energy and ideas in this room. Fletcher Allen Hospital is committed to environmental stewardship.

Our Environmental Stewardship Mission statement:

Fletcher Allen Health Care’s mission is to improve the health of the people in the communities we serve by integrating patient care, education and research in a caring environment. Our vision is to be a national model for the delivery of high-quality academic health care for a rural region.

As a mission-driven non-profit with deep roots in the community, both out mission and vision are built on a foundation of values that includes a long standing commitment to being prudent stewards of limited natural resources.

Fletcher Allen Health Care recognizes that the health of the community is linked to the health of the environment. Fletcher Allen Health Care therefore, will strive to ensure that the day to day operations are founded in sound environmental policies in all aspects of care delivery. Fletcher Allen will also strive to minimize its environmental footprint in the community through adherence to the following principles:

Conservation of Natural Resources
Fletcher Allen Health Care recognizes that there is a finite quantity of natural resources such as clean air, water, and land, and will conserve, recycle and re-use those resources where appropriate, as part of our commitment to the community.

Emissions Reductions
Fletcher Allen will make efforts to achieve an ongoing performance record of emissions reductions. This may include air, water, and other waste emissions, which could have an adverse effect on the environment.

Waste Reduction
Ongoing monitoring of all categories of waste generation will continue, with associated analyses of waste volumes as related to healthcare delivery services. Fletcher Allen has already made tremendous strides in this area by reducing the volume of wastes requiring special treatment, recycling and re-using products where appropriate. The challenge will be to continue to achieve waste volume reductions in light of simultaneous and aggressive evolution and development of health care goods and services in an economically tight business environment.

Energy Conservation
Fletcher Allen will continue to identify opportunities for energy conservation in all aspects of operations, to build on the successful track record of energy conservation over the past decade.

Product Stewardship
Fletcher Allen will collaborate with its suppliers to ensure that selected health care products afford efficacy in care delivery, as well as economic and environmental performance. Fletcher Allen will continue to actively phase out the use of mercury and mercury containing products. Fletcher Allen will take the long-trm approach in evaluating reusable versus disposable products. Environmental impacts and resource utilization will be a factor in these decisions. A preference will be developed for products that support the principles listed herein.

Sustainable Food
Fletcher Allen is committed to offering where feasible, locally produced, minimally processed, unrefined foods. We will adopt a sustainable approach to food procurement which is environmentally sound, farmer-fafe, and ecologically protective. Fletcher Allen is also committed to minimizing and beneficially reusing food waste and supporting the use of food packaging and products that are ecologically sound.

Upstream Management System
Through the Environmental Management System, Fletcher Allen will focus on the root cause of situations which lead to potential environmental problems. Root cause allows problems to be solved “upstream.” In particular, Fletcher Allen will continue to educate its workforce on environmental issues, pollution prevention, and waste management. Educational efforts will promote conservation and ultimately help to minimize the environmental impact of health care byproducts. Environmental stewardship also includes educating the community we serve and promoting opportunities.

Sustainable use of Natural Resources
Fletcher Allen will continue to develop capacity to make decisions, which are reflective of a sustainable us of natural resources. In particular, energy, water, land, and fuel use.

Fletcher Allen will strive to ensure full compliance with regulatory requirements including, but not limited to:

  • All applicable U.S. EPA Regulations
  • Chittenden Solid Waste District Recycling Requirements
  • Local Requirements
  • Joint Commission for Accreditation of Healthcare Organizations Standards (JCAHO)

Fletcher Allen will continue to demonstrate improvement in environmental performance. This will be determined by a number if indicators. These may include ongoing waste audits/assessments, ongoing monitoring of recycling and re-use programs, hazardous materials use, energy, water and gas use, fuel consumption, emissions, etc.

Fletcher Allen makes this commitment to the community as part of our ongoing mission to improve the health of the communities we serve. Fletcher Allen believes that by practicing environmental stewardship, we can provide corporate leadership in our community while protecting the environment.

Some examples of successes:
With our waste reduction program, we were early adopters of recycling. We have saved 1,507 tons of solid waste. Our facilities’ footprint in sq ft makes it a challenge to reduce energy use, but we have reduced emissions by 1.8 tons of carbon by cutting electrical use. We have implemented a comprehensive pharmaceutical waste reduction practice, and provide car pooling and incentives for employees. Green construction: we are the 1st health care LEED gold recipient in state. Clinical areas: physicians have added environmental responsible protocols in inpatient areas.

We have only just begun. We’re looking forward to new ideas and new ways to contribute.

Brigit Bartlett from Walden Project at Vergennes HS

Choices made by the prior generation have been ignorant selfish and catastrophic. Previous generations looked toward profit, but not to dealing with the resulting mess.

We need to stand up to prior generations. Everyone from every generation needs to come together to make it happen.

We need to include more than wealthy, white adults. Poor, youth, and elderly need to be included so my generation has something to look forward to.

Article on Walden Project

Closing Words, Matt Riley

We call upon the power of the air to give us the smooth strong winds that firmly and steadily turn the blades of our turbines while carrying our clean message softly to the hearts of those who fear the change upon us.

We call upon the power of the water to provide the hydro energy through the refreshing cleansing rains which nourish our community gardens, that unify neighbors to a common purpose, creating life giving beauty together.

We call upon the power of the sun’s fire which energizes the solar arrays that feed our grid and grows our crops thick and lush … while warming our heart to the tasks at hand as we Vermonters set the bar high for transition towns and cities both nationally and globally.

And we call upon the power of earth, mother of all life, to continue to provide us the nourishment we need as we set our minds and bodies to the challenging and rewarding work of repairing the damage already wrought while marshalling the creative energy to build the model upon which future historians will look back and recognize as the point when the spark of awareness truly caught hold in a small rugged corner of the planet and ignited a beacon of hope which illuminated humanity’s path to a sustainable future. May our hearts and minds retain the wisdom of our eyes and earth have brought us today.

Aho, Awen, Amen

We are the ones we’ve been waiting for.


Representative Jason Lorber

Rep. Tony Klein

Rep. Chris Pearson

Rep. Michael Mrowicki

Rep. Sarah Edwards

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