Each August, I have the pleasure of getting my nephew for a week of vacation. It started when he was eight and it started small. First he would come to Atlanta and see the big city. As he has grown, we’ve included my parents on alternating years. In 2016, it was Washington DC with Nana. This year, it was the truly the great American road trip to the Grand Canyon with Granddaddy George.
Georgia Power recently released a new solar energy program to replace its Green Energy program which it retired in late 2016. The Green Energy program had people support renewable energy by paying a premium price to have Georgia Power purchase green energy into their mix of energy production. The base of the green energy program went into biofuels and biogas. There was an additional fee you could pay to guarantee new solar being implemented in Georgia. Many Georgians participated in this program. For solar proponents, this was a way to support new solar in Georgia because the Public Service Commission was persuaded that the extra opt-in money to be meaningful to local solar development.
It’s been a rough first week with the new president. The assault on the environmental issues we all care about has been swift. Many people took the wait and see approach but even before he was in office, it was clear that there was an agenda with the new administration. As President-elect Trump created his own TPP: Tillerson, Pruitt, and Perry wait and see, became despair and dismay within the sustainability community and a chorus of “this is so much worse than we thought” started spreading.
I decided to look back this year to see what the most popular stories for 2016 were. Unfortunately, the Black Warrior River in the Birmingham/Tuscaloosa, Alabama area had a tough year. Another top story for the year was glass, glass recycling that is. When I sent the newsletter out with the top stories, I asked for people to share theirs. We were honored to hear from two recycling leaders in Atlanta. Many thanks to Laura Turner Seydel and Gloria Hardegree for their thoughts on the top story of 2016.
Today is a tough day for half the country. The other half is ecstatic. For those of us in the sustainability community, regardless of who you voted for we do have something to celebrate. Why? Because the whats, the amendments, all passed that we shared on Monday. People voted for transparent solar in Florida. People voted for nature protected by the state in Alabama and in Atlanta there will be more alternative transit.
This week has been another tragic week for America. The recent shootings of innocent citizens in Louisiana and Minnesota followed by the terrifyingly, violent, rampage in Dallas have broken so many hearts. It’s hard to watch the events unfolding on the news and social media. Many of us are asking ourselves how does this stop? What is causing this? Why now? Haven’t we moved beyond this? Why? Why? Why?
There are probably going to be some people who read this and jadedly think, “Oh great we are connecting issues that should not be connected.” This is a society issue. This is a historical race issue. This is a gun-control cultural issue. This is not about our rapidly warming planet. Some of you may even think, this is just a way to get eyeballs on an article during a crisis in America.