Today, we not only celebrate President Obama’s signing of a bill that represents a significant down payment on America’s green future. We also celebrate the ideas and action of Green Americans everywhere, who over the past decades were the innovators, early adopters, and educators for the green ideas that now represent the way forward for our country.
Every time you take action for a greener future or pass along information to family and friends, you participate in the shift of ideas and values that led to today – where the whole nation is turning to the green economy for the future of the country.
Without solar energy’s early adopters, there wouldn’t be a solar industry ready for a government stimulus. Without commuters opting for mass transit over gas guzzlers, the logic of stimulating the light-rail industry wouldn’t make sense. And without people taking simple steps to make their homes more energy efficient — showing how much energy can be saved in homes everywhere — the government wouldn’t get it that putting people to work weatherization homes is a win-win-win for jobs, energy security and the environment.
Today, we have a lot to be proud of – and we can be hopeful for a more just and sustainable future.
Below, is a call out by Green America (aka Co-op America) of five of the greenest parts of this package, and point you toward Green America resources that can help you take a similar step in your own life:
1) $9.5 billion for energy efficiency – Called “weatherization” in the language of the stimulus bill, energy-efficiency improvements are always the first step toward greener energy use. The stimulus provides funding for both efficiency upgrades in existing federal buildings, and a Weatherization Assistance Program that puts Americans to work improving the energy efficiency for 2 million homes. Learn how to cut your energy bill in half with Green America’s “Energy First” magazine »
2) $6 billion in loan guarantees for solar and wind projects – Dirty and dangerous forms of energy like coal, oil and gas, and nuclear power have taken advantage of government loan guarantees for years. Now, solar and wind can get a significant boost, and a somewhat more level playing field. Green Americas allies at the Solar Energy Industries Association estimate that the stimulus will create 67,000 jobs in the solar industry just this year alone. Read the collection of articles on going solar at home »
3) $11 billion to modernize the electric grid – In our meeting with the Obama Transition Team, Green America emphasized the need to modernize our electricity grid. A new “smart grid” infrastructure allows customers to put energy on the grid as well as take it off, improves long-distance transmission capacity, and enables a massive deployment of solar, efficiency and plug-ins. Green America called for a smart-grid earlier this year in the Real Green article, “7 Solutions from the Green Economy” »
4) $17.5 billion for investing in public transportation (including Amtrak and high-speed rail) – This represents a significant win for greener transportation in a bill that ended up also providing tax credits to ALL car buyers (without tying those credits to greener technologies, like plug-in hybrids). Car buyers will get the credit no matter which type of car they purchase. Credits for truly green cars are more modest: 10-percent tax credits for drivers who convert an existing car to a plug-in now, and a future subsidy for plug-in car buyers that will start in 2010. Learn about the greenest fuel choices from the comparative automobile chart »
5) $50 billion in nuclear energy loan guarantees OUT of the bill. – Senate attempts to include loan guarantees for unsafe, risky nuclear power in the stimulus bill failed. Thanks to the public outcry of which Green America was a part, this dubious provision was removed from the final bill. However, there is still $3.4 billion remaining for fossil energy research and development, so we still have our work cut out for us in opposing dirty energy. Read the 10 Strikes against nuclear power »
Green America members who have been leaders in the renewable energy revolution – powering your homes with renewables, pursuing energy efficiency, speaking out about dirty energy, and much more. Our time is now.
It’s an exciting time for a Greener America,