Climate Change, by Sally Deng | via New York Times
“We All Must Act on Climate Change.”
John Kerry’s opinion piece in the New York Times yesterday is SO right on!
My research over the past three years in support of the Net Zero Energy Coalition’s residential zero-energy inventory has revealed a virtuous circle. Geographic ‘hot spots’ for zero-energy development show up on our inventory map (page 4 in the 2017 inventory report). What they represent is typically one, or two, or all three of the following phenomena:
- Advanced building energy policies or programs;
- A community known for its environmental activism;
- An individual builder or design professional with a mission.
These come together to create the virtuous circle because the passionate individuals create proofs of concept (yes, it IS possible to build a zero-energy home that a buyer will pay a fair price for) that enable political activists to successfully lobby their decision-makers to enact progressive energy policies and programs. The policies and programs, in turn, spur more building activity, providing further proofs of concept, and so on. Success in local programs often leads to the creation of state-level initiatives, further amplifying this phenomenon.
My takeaway from this is that you don’t have to be a builder, architect, city official or politician to create change. Residents of every community have the ability to influence local policy by showing up at city council or supervisorial meetings, or writing letters, voicing their concerns about climate change and calling for decision-makers to take action to reduce carbon emissions in the building, transportation, and industrial sectors. Everyone can and must participate in this urgent change.