The "Get Your Hands Green" eCampaign officially launched on the last day of the Georgia State Legislature at the Georgia State Capitol. Thursday, April 14th was declared, "Get Your Hands Green Under the Gold Dome Day" as Green legislation was passed by the Georgia General Assembly in the form of Senate Resolution 452. Click the image of SR 452 below for the actual resolution.
Why We Must
contributed by Urban E-Life Magazine
The past eight presidents, from Richard Nixon to Barack Obama, pledged to break America's addiction to foreign oil. Today, gasoline costs are over $4 per gallon at the pump in many places and speculators are pushing it to much higher prices.
How do we end America's addiction to foreign oil? We now import over 62% of our oil, much from countries that don't like us. There are only two paths to take; develop more domestic sources of energy and develop alternative sources of energy. Both paths must be traveled in an effort to improve our energy strategy on par with the same effort in which we traveled to the Moon in the 1960's.
Today, approximately 18% of the energy in the United States comes from non-fossil fuel sources. California has committed to reach 33% by 2020. Our cheapest and most abundant source of energy is coal. If we are to continue to use it in large quantities, we must find a way to capture and reuse the consequential carbon dioxide resulting from its burning. That's a technical problem in need of technical solutions, not political ones.
The U.S. Department of Energy is currently studying over a dozen approaches to solving this problem. Our oil addiction's severity will be reduced with better designed and insulated buildings, improved automobile and truck designs (including hybrid and electric cars), as well as acceptance of the facts about Climate Change. There is a real and severe threat of widespread damage caused by releasing millions of tons of greenhouse gases into the atmosphere daily. Our energy sources must not destroy the environment on which our existence depends.
We must Go Green Now; our very civilization depends on it. Going Green leads to millions of new jobs. Germany has the strongest economy in Europe today. They credit the conversion to a Green Economy as the basis for their economic expansion. Germany currently has 14% of its electricity generated by renewable sources and expects that number to grow to 50% by 2050, without any nuclear power. America can do it too. So far California has created over 500,000 jobs in the Green sector.
Canada has created a similar number. As we go forward, alternative energy sources will get less and less expensive, while we create millions of non-exportable jobs. Wind farms already generate electricity at the same cost as coal fired power plants.
Subsidies may be needed to fund new Green businesses and technologies but perhaps these can be paid for by reducing existing subsidies for non-renewable resources. We continue to subsidize the oil industry to the tune of $ 4.5 billion annually despite their enormous profits. The Defense Department basically funded the start of the computer industry, which has since paid dividends many fold and employed millions. Over the past couple of years, the Navy and Marine Corps have made huge strides in shifting to Green strategies because it makes economic sense and reduces vulnerable logistics lines.
According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the world population is expanding at a mind-boggling rate. The world reached 1 billion people in 1800; 2 billion by 1922; and over 6 billion by 2000. It is estimated that the population will swell to over 9 billion by 2050. That means that if the world's natural resources were evenly distributed, people in 2050 will only have 25% of the resources per capita that people in 1950 had.
The world has a fixed amount of natural resources - some of which are already depleted. So as population growth greatly strains our finite resources, there are fewer resources available. If we intend to leave our children and grandchildren with the same standard of living we have enjoyed, we must preserve the foundation of that standard of living. We save for college educations, orthodontia, and weddings, but what about saving clean air, water, fuel sources and soil for future generations?
Our greatest greenhouse gas emitters come from what we live in, what we drive and what we eat, in addition to, the things we throw away every day. Household batteries and electronics often contain dangerous chemicals that may, if sent to a local landfill, leak through the bottom barrier and pollute the groundwater. This can contaminate everything from the soil in which our food grows, to the water which will eventually come out of aquifers and into our tap water.
Many of these chemicals cannot be removed from the drinking water supply, nor from the crops that are harvested from contaminated fields. The risks to human health are tremendous.
Throwing away items that could be recycled diminishes energy, water and natural resources that could be saved by recycling. Did you know...?
- For every ton of paper that is recycled, the following is saved: 7,000 gallons of water; 380 gallons of oil; and enough electricity to power an average house for six months.
- You can run a TV for six hours on the amount of electricity that is saved by recycling one aluminum can.
- By recycling just one glass bottle, you save enough electricity to power a 100-watt bulb for four hours.
The more we throw away, the more space we take up in landfills. When a landfill becomes a "land full", taxpayers have to build a new one. The less we throw away, the longer our landfills will last. The amount of taxpayer money we save by extending the longevity of our landfills is an important community benefit. All these things together help us to reduce our carbon footprint, maybe even from neutral to zero.