I fancy myself an environmentalist. My personal choices center around environmental considerations. Here are some larger-scale energy issues and how I think Boulder should progress:
Current energy issues
Required disclosure of energy use
Privacy is important, but when does it get in the way of social change? I believe that businesses should be required to disclose information related to energy use because I believe that ultimately this will allow businesses to become more energy efficient. Energy efficiency saves resources (air, water, earth) while also reducing human impact on climate change, which disproportionately impacts those people who have less. Decreasing energy use is not only a good idea, it is necessary in order to protect the lives of future and current generations of humans and hundreds of nonhuman species.
Requirement for business energy efficiency improvements
As stated above, I am in favor of mandated energy efficiency improvements. The concern is where is there funding in place to help small businesses? Energy efficiency saves money, so the city should work with a local credit union to provide interest-free or low-interest loans that are paid back as energy bills decrease for the small businesses.
The city has spent $5.9 million fighting legal battles to gain the rights to municipalize. This is a fifth of the yearly corporate profits from energy from Boulder residents. Boulder benefits directly from our own electric utility, so this fight is still worth fighting. It is unfortunate that Xcel uses its economic power to try to delegitimize Boulder’s efforts. We are a resilient community; let’s stand up to this injustice together. If Boulder backed out of its municipalization efforts, the tax Boulder residents pay to create a municipal electric utility would be turned into profit seen by Xcel and Xcel’s shareholders as opposed to investment that goes back into the community. Together we can create a cleaner climate and see our investments returned to us.
Some folks have asked me to what length I would continue working toward electric utility municipalization. I would say as long as our yearly expenditures to gain independence from an oppressive corporation are lower than that of the corporation’s profits, let’s stay in. Xcel wouldn’t be fighting so hard to keep Boulder if it didn’t believe it could profit. Let’s break those profits, even if, initially, the money has to be spent just to bring the corporation down.
Progressive Environmental Issues
Meat and Dairy
According to research conducted by World Watch, “livestock and their byproducts actually account for at least 32,564 million tons of CO2e per year, or 51 percent of annual worldwide GHG emissions”, where CO2e is carbon dioxide equivalent pertaining to the greenhouse effect, and GHG means greenhouse gas. I believe people should be able to make their own choices except when it is harming others. According to the Nature Conservancy, 25% of species will be extinct by 2050. According to the City of Boulder, “The Boulder Climate Action Plan (CAP) is an integrated, aggressive set of programs and strategies to reduce Boulder’s greenhouse has (SIC) emissions and address the growing impact of human activity on global climate change”. The human activity that has the biggest impact is the livestock industry, so Boulder needs to take a stand on that too. Neither meat nor dairy should not be served at city-sponsored events. There should be a fund to support restaurants and other food service industries, stores, and farms that focus on energy reduction.
Zero Waste/Waste Reduction
Boulder is great at encouraging events to be “zero waste”. I commend the city for its efforts to reduce plastic use and keep waste out of landfills. More efforts need to be made to move beyond waste-centered products. Compostable plastics are still single-use and take energy to be produced. One of the easiest way to view products as “green” is to look at the life cycle analysis of energy use of said products. Products should be made to be durable. They should also be made from recycled material when possible. It’s important to value cradle-to-cradle analyses of products, which show the environmental impacts throughout the product’s life cycle.
This website is supported by Cha Cha for Boulder Council.