Today, Environment America announced five Vermont residents as leading voices for clean energy. The Vermonters are profiled in a national project, Voices for 100% Renewable Energy, featuring photos, testimonials, and videos from a wide array of individuals from across America – from academics, to mayors and other public officials, to community leaders, to business and non-profit leaders – embracing a massive transition to clean energy.
Vermonters featured in the project include Bill McKibben, the founder of 350.org and a Schumann distinguished scholar in residence at Middlebury College and the Vermont Law School; Miro Weinberger, the mayor of Burlington; Gus Speth, the co-founder of the New Economy Law Center at the Vermont Law School; Jeffrey Hollender, the CEO of Hollender Sustainable Brands, a consumer products startup in Burlington; and Oliver Levis, the owner of Earth Sky Time Farm.
“We’re inspired by people like Bill McKibben, Gus Speth, and Mayor Weinberger, who know we can, and must, shift to 100 percent renewable energy,” said Rob Sargent, Energy Program Director with Environment America. “We’re thrilled to share some of their stories through this project. Our hope is that it will motivate the many folks who know we need a swift, steady, and complete transition from dirty to clean energy to lean into the effort.”
The people featured in the project cited a range of environmental, economic, equity, social, and health benefits from the transition to 100 percent renewable energy. Most focused on the urgent need to eliminate climate-altering carbon pollution. Others simply believe that it’s common sense and good economics to save energy and to harness unlimited, pollution-free energy sources.
Jeffrey Hollender, a Vermont entrepreneur, says, “100 percent renewable energy is an absolute necessity to stave off the most disastrous effects of climate change.” Gus Speth advocates as well: “I have 6 grandchildren, and I want them to live in a world made possible by a rapid shift to 100 percent renewable energy. We need action now!”
Oliver Levis, the owner of Earth Sky Time Farms says, “The planet’s on fire and we’re just watching it burn. We’ve got to start manifesting the love we want to see and that starts with radical concessions in favor of sustainability. Let’s stand together to keep fossil fuels in the ground. Let’s unite as concerned global citizens whose collective voice is stronger than all the corporate profiteers who’d sell our children’s future for a quick profit.”
Burlington Mayor Miro Weinberger advocates for the switch to 100 percent renewable power on the basis of the positive impacts it can have on a community. “In 2014, Burlington became the first city in the nation to source 100 percent of its energy from renewable generation. We accomplished this goal while keeping costs affordable, having not raised electric rates since 2009. Renewable energy provides fiscal stability to our city by isolating us from the volatility of the fossil fuel market,” he says. Burlington is currently continuing its work in renewable energy innovation by seeking to become a net zero city: a city that generates as much energy as it consumes in the heating and transportation as well as the electricity sectors.
Bill McKibben joins the call for 100 percent renewable energy. “If we are all generating our own power: from the sun that falls on our shingles or the wind that blows through our streets....We will be able to have not just clean power but a much cleaner democracy.”
“For years, we’ve been told that pollution from dirty fuels was the price we had to pay for progress,” said Anna Hofmann, Clean Energy Associate with Environment America. “Those days are over. My confidence that we can make the shift to clean renewable energy has been boosted by the conversations I’ve had with so many people we’ve profiled in the Voices for 100% Renewable project. As a Vermonter, I am especially excited to see leaders from the state blazing the trail to a cleaner and greener future.”
To view Voices for 100% Renewable Energy, go to www.100percentrenewable.org.