[at-l] A bit OT, but then again, not really!
icw at wardanddavis.com
Tue Apr 10 16:26:50 CDT 2007
I don’t want to start a major rehashing on AT-L of various opinions on who
has, or has not caused global warming, but I do want to share with you a
great letter to the editor that recently appeared in a major Raleigh, NC
newspaper. The author presents some very constructive food for thought and
suggests the kind of potential action that makes sense wherever one comes
down in terms of the so-called global warming debate. In one way or the
other, this issue will affect us all – including the long term management of
CHAPEL HILL - The past several months have seen unprecedented movement
toward local, state and national action on climate change. A week ago the
U.S. Supreme Court ruled that carbon dioxide emissions should be covered
under the Clean Air Act, paving the way for regulatory strategies by the
These actions will profoundly affect the ways in which we live our lives --
but they are changes we should embrace because they will pass quickly from
being voluntary to being one's ante into citizenship.
It is clear that the path will not be paved with old-style environmental
action. It will not be paved with pointing fingers at industry, business and
utilities and calling for them, and only them, to change. They have their
roles to play as members of our community, but they play those roles on a
stage set by the market demands we all make in using energy in our lives.
And the path will not be paved through scolding each other for the problems.
We all arrived at this condition as a community while making decisions to
fill legitimate humans needs. The task in front of us is to work as a
community to meet those needs in ways that produce less carbon dioxide and
other greenhouse gases.
HOW CAN SUCH COMMUNITY-WIDE CHANGES BE MADE? The specific measures we take
-- free buses, energy-efficient buildings, increasing density in the inner
city -- are to be worked out over many years of planning.
Those of us on the state's Legislative Commission on Global Climate Change
sent our first set of recommendations forward to require changes in how
buildings are constructed and energy is used in North Carolina.
As it spreads over the next several years, our core message will not waver:
work together in your communities and celebrate success when you see it.
Our local Chapel Hill Restaurant Group (owners of Spanky's, Squids and more)
has committed to build its new Durham location as one of the first LEED-
(Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) certified restaurants in the
country. This must be rewarded through the market, by a community that
thanks the owners by choosing to eat there.
The Greenbridge development will be coming to downtown Chapel Hill, with
state-of-the-art energy systems to reduce energy use and carbon dioxide
emissions. Roger Perry and partners have designed their University Inn site
along N.C. 54 in Chapel Hill to serve as a shining example of sustainable
communities. These innovative developers must be rewarded through community
members choosing to live in those houses and frequent those businesses.
Utilities will be drawn into the mix, moving toward changes in the fuels
they use and the number of power plants they construct. When they make these
changes, the rest of our community must be prepared to meet them halfway,
accepting perhaps higher energy prices and working in homes and businesses
to reduce peak energy load.
MUNICIPAL GOVERNMENTS WILL MAKE TOUGH CHOICES as to where development can
and cannot occur if travel distances, and hence emissions from cars, are to
be minimized. Again the response of the community must be to embrace these
changes as ways to continue meeting human needs while transforming the face
of energy use.
And on April 12, the launch of the new UNC Institute for the Environment on
the Chapel Hill campus will coincide with the formal start of the
Institute's Community Carbon Reduction program. Through the program, the
town of Chapel Hill and the campus have joined forces to reduce carbon
dioxide emissions by 60 percent.
The Community Carbon Reduction program is set to spread throughout Chapel
Hill, and then into Carrboro, through innovative partnerships between the
Institute, Carolina students, the utilities, municipal government and
environmental organizations. We would love to see it wend its way into the
lives of every community in North Carolina.
If you would like to learn from the experience in Chapel Hill, call on us at
the Institute. We have only two requirements: that you approach us as a
community with all sectors ready to play their parts, and that you come
ready to point fingers, not at each other as causes of the problem, but
toward those members of your community you want to celebrate because they
stepped forward first with creative solutions and will show us all the path.
(Douglas Crawford-Brown is director of the UNC Institute for the
I. Clark Wright, Jr.
Ward and Davis, LLP
409 Pollock Street
New Bern, NC 28560
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