Since the first Earth Day nearly 50 years ago, this day has served as a celebration of the environment and a reminder of our shared responsibility to protect it. Working in sustainability and clean energy for the past decade, I’ve seen how awareness of our collective environmental impact has dramatically grown. Action, however, has been slower to come. Today, we are already witnessing the impacts of climate change and live under the increasingly ominous cloud of predictions coming from scientists like those at the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, who warn of disaster as early as 2040 if our inaction continues.
Whether it’s because people are growing frustrated with the baffling lack of action on the federal level, or because more of us are seeing the impacts of climate change firsthand, Americans are signaling that they’re ready to do battle to protect the planet. A recent study by the Yale Climate Communications program found that the proportion of Americans who are alarmed by global warming and would place it among the country’s highest priorities has increased dramatically in the last five years.
Listen to our podcast with Anthony Leiserowitz, Director of the Yale Program on Climate Change Communication.
On the positive side, consequential initiatives are underway at the state and local level to curb emissions and encourage clean energy innovation. Eleven states, plus Washington D.C. and Puerto Rico, have introduced or enacted 100% renewable energy targets; more than 100 U.S. cities, including Chicago, are also answering the call. And just last week, CleanCapital’s home base of New York City passed a Green New Deal package that “aims to enact the largest carbon reduction measures of any city globally”.
Taking the initiative
Progress is happening, but we must truly step up and scale solutions to set a path towards a sustainable future. On this Earth Day, please consider what actions you can take on a personal, professional, and political level to combat climate change. To help support policy initiatives that will speed our national transition to clean energy, consider a donation to our friends at Vote Solar, a non-profit that defends and expands solar progress for families, businesses, & communities across the country.