Rhode Island Chapter

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Bolstering RI's Solar Industry

Just about everyone I talk to about renewable energy says that they want solar panels on their roof. Not only do you get the warm and fuzzy feeling of helping save the planet, but in the long run it's a great investment. Even without any support through State incentives, solar systems will pay for themselves in a little over a decade, after which they generate energy cost savings for decades. For most people though, that 10 year pay back period is just a little too long, and the upfront capital just a little too large to justify the investment. As a result, Rhode Island's residential renewable energy industry has been anemic in the years since 2010 when the State's renewable energy tax credit program was phased out.

Citizens Climate Lobby

Citizens Climate Lobby (CCL) is new to the RI environmental scene and its mission is to create the political will for federal climate legislation. Persistent and nonpartisan, CCL volunteers meet with their members of congress (MOC), editorial boards and community groups, building support for putting a price on carbon.  Last year there were 70 chapters throughout the USA. Today there are 150. These people are stubborn and want action on climate.

Obama Hands Climate Change Keys to EPA’s Gina McCarthy

BY Robert Malin- Since President Obama's State of the Union lacked details on he was going to address the accelerating climate change problems while touting his "all-of-the above" energy policy that was buoyed up by domestic "fracking" of oil and gas (http://huff.to/1ef18HS v) and the need to Fast Track trade deals like the Trans Pacific Partnership that “protect the environment (the opposite of what leaked documents indicated)”, I was not excited when he later said "if congress won't act, then I will."     

Protected Bike Lanes on Westminster?

Providence is looking to become more friendly for cyclists. Plans are in the works to bring a bike share program to the big city, and the new iteration of Bike Providence was released recently. These are trends that bode well not only for Rhode Island's environment, but also for its economy, as Providence tries to woo young professionals to move in and revitalize the neighborhoods that were emptied out by the exodus to the suburbs.

W. Virginia Water Crisis Still Not Resolved - Having "No Plan" Backfires

By ROBERT MALIN / 01.17.14 - The chemical contamination of the Elk River with a coal cleaning solvent 4-methylcyclohexane methanol (MCHM) by Freedom Industries outside of Charleston West Virginia in chemical valley on January 10th http://wapo.st/1gpHlEA was an accident waiting to happen.  This problem was set up by 30 years of deregulation and business friendly politics where the coal and chemical industries were given special permission to bend or ignore regulations while promising local communities that public health wasn't being put at risk. As soon as the spill was reported, some three hours after it began, local residents sprung into action led by the Sierra Club and other activists in the area like OVEC- Organizing Voices and Empowering Communities sprung into action. (OVEC: www.ohvec.org note donations accepted).
 
Immediately there were panicked complaints from local residents, particularly mothers who had washed their babies in it before hearing about the ban and restaurants where tainted water was inadvertently served.

CLIMATE CHANGE – Why some scientists are panicking.

By Peter Galvin, 11/10/13 -- Prominent climate change scientists are now in panic mode.   These experts do not believe the world will succeed in reducing fossil fuel emissions enough to avoid a civilization threatening increase in temperature.  Some are saying we must accept nuclear power to keep the wolf from our doors.  Others are saying we need to double down on adaptation strategies because the wolf is already at the door.  Are they right?    

Climate Change: The Hole We've Dug, Opportunities to Climb Out

By Peter Galvin / 10.11.13 - Scientists around the world have reached a consensus that, at current emission rates, we have less than 30 years to completely stop generating greenhouse gases if we are to avoid facing major threats to our civilization. In some places collapse will come much sooner.  To put it another way, scientists now agree that we are emitting greenhouse gases at such a fast rate that, absent drastic change, we will end up emitting almost as much in the next 30 years as we have emitted since the beginning of the industrial revolution, and that such an emissions level will push us over the edge of the climate that has prevailed on the planet for millions of years.  

Outings Journal: Kids Love Nature… Who Knew?

By KEVIN PROFT/ 6.25.13 - During the RI Sierra Club’s August, 2012 Step Stone Falls outing in West Greenwich I was delighted by seven-year-old Annabelle who seemed excited by everything from catching frogs to reading the trail map. It was a pleasant reminder that the entertainment value of nature can compete with a smart phone or video game when given the chance. At this year’s Step Stone Falls outings, it seemed we wouldn’t get so lucky. “How long have we been hiking,” moaned one of two young boys only minutes into the hike. 

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