Environmental Advocates Call for Action This Earth Day
This Earth Day, the Connecticut League of Conservation Voters (CTLCV) is calling on Connecticut lawmakers, leaders and representatives to stand up for a sustainable future in Connecticut. CTLCV is currently tracking over 60 bills that are being discussed by the legislature that could protect green spaces, support communities impacted by climate change, safeguard endangered and threatened species, power Connecticut through renewable energy and create long-lasting green collar jobs. The full legislative Watchlist can be found here.
“We stand at a major tipping point for Connecticut’s environment. We are moving in the right direction, but there is still so much more we have to do to create a sustainable future,” said Lori Brown, Executive Director of CTLCV. “The White House, Congress and EPA are not interested in fighting climate change at the moment. Until that changes, it is on us to build a sustainable future for the next generation. We have one planet, we have to protect it.”
At their annual Environmental Summit in January, dozens of lawmakers, advocates and members of the media gathered at Trinity College to hear newly elected Governor Lamont’s stance on environmental protections and sustainability. He has stated that everything he does during his term will be done “through an environmental lens” and that the environment will be one of his administration’s top priorities.
"CTLCV endorsed hundreds of advocates, lawmakers, and members of government, including Governor Lamont, for their commitment to environmental equity and a sustainable future,” said Amanda Schoen, Deputy Director of CTLCV. “We now need to take those words and turn them into actions. Connecticut is in a position to be powered by 100% renewable energy, while at the same time growing our economy through green jobs. There is no reason we can’t grow our economy while simultaneously protecting the environment."
Some of CTLCV’s top 2019 issues include:
Ending Plastic Bag Pollution: Greenwich and Westport have successfully banned single-use plastic bags, and Stamford passed a ban which will go into effect on May 3rd. Nearly a dozen other towns are considering similar bans, and even businesses like Big Y are proactively removing them from their stores. Connecticut uses 400 million single-use plastic bags a year, and they often end up in Long Island Sound or other waterways. CTLCV believes we can end their threat to our environment by passing a statewide ban on single-use plastic bags.
Environmental Equity: Climate change affects us all, but it does not affect us all equally. Green policies must be crafted with the input and consent of the communities they impact. For example, when implementing climate resilience adaptations in low-income neighborhoods, community leaders should be involved in the design of the adaptation, there should be a robust period of public comments and any concerns about potential negative side effects must be taken into account.
Connecticut Green Economy: As we transition to clean energy and green technology, we must take care not to leave workers or low-to-moderate income families behind. The most vulnerable among us should not bear the costs of these policies, and displaced workers in one sector should be given training or resources to find new positions.
Renewable Energy: To meet our ambitious goal of reducing our state’s carbon emissions by 80% by 2050, Connecticut must act swiftly to expand our investment in renewables like offshore wind. This means not only securing the full 2000 MW of renewable energy for the state, but also investing in the efficiency of Connecticut’s energy infrastructure in a way that creates jobs, fights climate change and is done in an environmentally responsible manner.
Carbon Pricing: Reducing the amount of carbon emissions we produce is a critical component of fighting climate change. Oil companies and fossil fuels are huge contributors to carbon emissions and air pollution—but they have not paid for the damage they cause to our environment or our public health. Attaching a price to carbon will encourage big businesses to reduce their carbon emissions and help Connecticut meet its energy targets. By following the successful model of programs like the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI), Connecticut can become a national leader by establishing a regional price on carbon.
Land Preservation: Towns and municipalities face ever-tightening budgets, and have asked repeatedly for a reliable source of revenue to acquire dedicated open space, local farmland, or water resources. Our parks, farms, trails, and beaches are what attract and keep residents in Connecticut. Communities in other states that have passed land preservation legislation saw their home values increase while simultaneously preserving tens of thousands of acres of open space.
"Earth Day is an important time for environmental advocacy. Spring is here, and now more than ever people are recognizing the importance of a green Connecticut," said Schoen. "We have to take action now to ensure our environment is protected for generations to come. CTLCV is calling on all our lawmakers this Earth Day to take promises and turn them into policies. We need a green Connecticut."