Dira Dawa, Northern Ethiopia, January 2007

Inside emergency shelter camp, following massive flooding which left thousands of villagers homeless.

06 March 2012

Vermont's Governor: A Climate Change Leader. "When the Rivers Rise" - March/April 2012- Sierra Magazine - Sierra Club

Thank goodness we still have some highly admirable leaders in Government with a sense of responsibility to people beyond their corporate campaign contributors. No, I am not referring to Senator Mitch McConnell - the Senate's biggest backer of the carbon-spewing Keystone XL Pipeline who, in the past five years, has received more than $700,000 from Corporate oil and gas. (see: www.opensecrets.org/politicians/industries.php?type=C&cid=N00003389&newMem=N&cycle=2012)

Vermont Governor Peter Shumlin is emerging as a climate change leader whose efforts we should support and acknowledge. During an unplanned conversation with him at a small east Village tapas restaurant, he proudly told me he is 'banning fracking in my state". It was refreshing to hear a sitting US governor speak so decidedly against this unregulated and highly toxic new technological 'golden idol' of the corporate fossil fuel industry.

There are a few other state Governors, in addition to Shumlin, who are influenced more by science and responsibility to our future, than by the influence of Exxon and Conoco. Governor Markell of Delaware, for example, voted against fracking in his state in November 2011, providing an eloquent critique of the technology and its effects on future generations. (See: http://www.mapcidy.com/delware-governor-says-no-fracking).

I hope that my own state Governor, Mario Cuomo, follows Shumlin's example of leadership on energy and climate-related issues. He joined with Governor Markell in voting no on fracking in the Delaware River Basin (November 2011) but has not committed to any decision on several large fracking projects in New York state now being proposed.

There is hope. As extreme weather and other climactic effects of AGHE global warming become more widely discussed (see: emagazine.com), support for sustainable energy such as wind and solar will only grow among the general public, particularly as these industries become more viable for investment across the United States. Cincinnati, for example, is in the process of becoming one of the most renewals-powered cities in the United States - with a goal of 100% renewable power THIS YEAR. (See: http://cleantechnica.com/2012/02/18/cincinnati-could-be-completely-powered-by-renewables-this-year/). The northeast, including Vermont and New Hampshire, has also seen important growth in solar and other renewable investments.

I work alongside many people involved in climate change politics and activism. Please know, Governor Shumlin, that many people here are grateful for your example on fracking and, more widely, on renewable, responsible energy policy.

There are many who now realize that the fossil fuel industries have run their historical course and, at a time of historic and necessary energy transition, who are looking up to you as among our forward-thinking leaders at a time of historic transition.

Here's a snippet of some of what's going on in Vermont:

When the Rivers Rise - March/April 2012- Sierra Magazine - Sierra Club

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