“Control your own destiny or someone else will.” Jack Welch, CEO, General Electric
Last Friday the bomb-cyclone on the Northeast coast, the second monster storm in two months, was said to be their worst extreme weather event in history. Several people died from rising tides, coastal flooding, and high-speed winds. Destruction in Pennsylvania, Massachusetts, New York, Maryland, and Virginia took down power lines, leaving more than two million people in the cold and dark. This is additional evidence of the climate emergency. The cost of the devastation will take a massive toll on these communities.
Green money power
Extreme weather events have an enormous cost, not only the loss of life, but the destruction of property and time to recover. Avoiding and mitigating these economic losses provides a clear economic incentive. Climate change deniers will be shunned, ignorant business people set in their ways, blinded by ambition. Education, science, honesty, and hard work will once again be rewarded in the green economy. Sadly, in our democracy, it’s all about money. Let’s use green money to change the laws to protect our planet.
Phasing out fossil fuels
Carbon Fee and Dividend (CF&D) is the best way to transition from fossil fuels. CF&D is simple and honest, moving us to solar and offshore wind energy, benefitting the people and the planet. Polluters pay the price of carbon emissions and people get a check. Dr. Hansen’s granddaughter shows how it works on YouTube: Sophie Sez #3: $1000 for You – A Better World for Your Children. US plants produced five billion tons of CO2 last year. At $55 per ton, the yearly cost of emissions is $275 billion of green money!
Carbon capture and storage
Phasing out fossil fuels is not enough. Dr. James Hansen provides a solution in his 2017 report, Young people’s burden: requirement of negative CO2 emissions. We need to remove carbon from the atmosphere and store it in the soil, with improved agricultural and forestry practices.
Drawdown is a 2017 book describing what people all over the world are doing to extract and store CO2. Reading the stories at drawdown.org brings a sense of hope and determination. Arkansas Interfaith Power & Light is hosting Earth Care Gathering, a Drawdown conference, March 24, Little Rock.
A healthy environment and economy
My vision for Arkansas differs from what we have today: fossil fuels, forest clear cuts, lax environmental regulations, unsafe work conditions, false economic development, low-wages and unemployment, and rising incarceration.
Arkansas has been blessed with 19 million acres of private forests, the place where trees and wildlife live. These ecosystems provide clean air, water, and shelter. But forests are seen as timber factories for loggers and truckers. Noise, pollution, and stumps are the price people pay. Today, the remaining forests are invaluable oxygen factories and carbon sequestration stations, millions of acres working around the clock.
Forest owners get paid to keep their trees alive. The amount of carbon the forest holds, in tons of CO2 per acre, is converted into carbon credits. The Nature Conservancy Working Woodlands program and other agencies offer green money!
Foresters, loggers, and truckers, the people making a living from the forests, have a better role as forest guardians. Having experienced people on the ground protecting and preserving the forests will keep intruders, pests, and arsonists away.
Large projects use Foreign Direct Investments without public input and poor results. The Sun Paper project has taken years and tens of millions of dollars with federal, state and county funds. A lousy deal for Arkansas.
Green economy is Arkansas’ future
Many people travel to Arkansas to enjoy nature at its best. Tourists will be surprised by great roads and the sound of silence, wondering whatever happened to the massive logging machines used to clear cut the forests for wood mills, the road congestion and potholes on the roads. Arkansas will see increased tourist revenues, investing in lodging, fishing, canoeing, and other green local jobs. The bottom-up community development will reduce drug addiction and the increasing inmate population.
Let’s join the efforts and buy-back our democracy with green money!
Dr. Luis Contreras