Earth Day feels a little different this year, and that’s putting it mildly. We’ve always faced significant environmental challenges, but the ones we’re confronting today are perhaps more serious and urgent than ever before. However, while things may look bleak today, there’s still a lot to be optimistic about, especially at the local level.
Let’s get the bad out of the way. Our air, water and open spaces are facing unprecedented and relentless attacks from a president and an administration that is intent on rolling back many of the cornerstone environmental protections we fought so hard for.
The list of actions taken by the president thus far is staggering: he appointed an EPA administrator who made a career out of suing the EPA and filled his cabinet with people who hold backwards views on climate change; he issued executive orders aimed at rolling back the Clean Power Plan, the Waters of the United States Rule and fuel efficiency standards; he signed executive orders approving the Keystone XL and Dakota Access pipelines; and has even signed legislation passed by Congress that allows coal companies to dump more waste into streams and makes it easier to sell off public lands.
Photo credit: Official White House photo by Benjamin Tuck
Looking at that sprawling yet somehow still incomplete list, it’s clear that we’re going to have to play a lot of defense over the next four years. That doesn’t mean that we can’t make meaningful progress at the same time, though, especially when it comes to renewable energy. And if you’re like me, you’re itching to do all you can to make it happen.
Here’s how you can make this Earth Day your most impactful and productive yet:
On Earth Day (Saturday, April 22), close to 500 communities around the world are hosting Marches for Science — you’ve probably seen the events on Facebook by now or heard about it on the news. The event in Washington, D.C. has close to 50,000 folks signed up as “interested,” with thousands more attending in cities across the country. Registering and finding your closest march is easy, and it’s a great way to affirm science as a democratic value and to support climate action. If you’re unable to march this weekend, you have another chance April 29th at the People’s Climate March.
It’s no secret that solar is booming in the U.S., and 2016 was its best year yet. We’ve been working to pass smart solar policy, while also pushing back against fossil fuel and utility interests trying to undermine its progress. As our recent Shining Cities report noted, cities have been the main hubs of solar energy progress, but by implementing any number of forward-thinking policies, they can do a lot more to keep forging ahead.
It’s never been easier or more affordable to go solar. Over the past decade, the cost to install panels has dropped 60 percent, allowing more and more people to take advantage of the many benefits of solar energy. To see if going solar is right for you, check out EnergySage, a company trying to “make going solar as easy as booking a flight online.”
Science tells us that in order to avoid the worst impacts of climate change, we have to power our lives entirely with renewable energy by 2050. The good news is that 100% renewable energy is 100% possible. Currently, 26 cities and towns from San Diego, Calif. to Georgetown, Texas have 100% renewable energy commitments, and that list is growing by the day. We’re currently working to pass a bill in Massachusetts that would move the state to 100% renewable electricity by 2035 and 100% renewable energy, including heating and transportation, by 2050. Similarly, large corporations like Walmart, Google and General Motors have completed the shift to renewable energy. Finally, we just released a project called Voices for 100% Renewable Energy, which highlights a range of individuals — academics, public officials, community leaders and business and nonprofit leaders — who share our vision for a 100% renewable energy future. Be sure to check out and share their inspiring stories today.
Make your voice heard by joining the conversation on social media.
The more that we can further the conversation on social media with our elected officials, community influencers, friends and family, the more successful we’ll be. Take a minute now to share what inspires you most:
- Tweet us @EnvAm and tell us about your March for Science or People’s Climate March experience.
- Check out our Voices for 100% Renewable Energy Facebook album and share the story or stories that you find most compelling. If you find them all inspiring, share the whole album.
- Share this blog with your Facebook and Twitter social networks.
While there’s certainly reason to feel overwhelmed by all we need to do to protect our environment this Earth Day, we can’t afford to stay silent. Every small action matters, whether it’s marching in the streets or sharing a Facebook post. We’re ready to act on climate, cut air and water pollution, and fight for a 100% renewable energy future — we hope you are too.