Bernie Sanders was questioned recently on VPR regarding his campaign to help lower gas prices in Vermont and whether that was in conflict with his stance on global warming and if it might serve to encourage more fossil fuel use. He stated that “we can’t penalize poor and middle-class people for global warming with higher gas prices.” OK, but we can penalize them for global warming by allowing multinational corporations to build industrial wind developments in their neighborhoods and destroy their quality of life, their health, and their property value.
I agree that we have to pursue many different avenues to combat climate change and we have to do this immediately. But why don’t we focus on the “win-win” options rather than the “win-lose” options? Industrial-scale wind is a “win-lose” — Vermonters of many economic classes lose. Residential energy conservation and efficiency is a “win-win-win” — we can do something concrete and good to combat global warming, we can also help struggling Vermonters to heat their homes, and we can foster the local economy. I’d like to see Bernie support programs like the Heat Squad and Efficiency Vermont and give those programs more federal assistance. How about production tax credits and renewable energy credits for homeowners who reduce their own fossil fuel use by conservation, efficiency, or renewable energy improvements?
Promoting local food production is a “win-win” — we can promote the health of Vermonters and save fossil fuels in the process. Actually, that one is a “win-win-win-win” because we can build our local economy and also help preserve and even promote the rural and sustainable character of our state.
Let’s work on projects on which we can find common ground and which will be positive for all stakeholders and let’s hesitate on the “win-lose” options, which have divided even those of us who started on the same page on these issues.
LISA WRIGHT GARCIA
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