Tuesday, December 28, 2010


If there were a report card on climate change, what grade would Hawaii get? What mark for effort? Achievement?

by Larry Geller

At the end of this morning’s Democracy Now interview with Dr. Paul Epstein of Harvard University’s Center for Health and the Global Environment, Amy Goodman asked what we can do about global warming/climate change. Here are his closing remarks:

AMY GOODMAN: Dr. Paul Epstein, in just the minute we have left, what people can do about it?

DR. PAUL EPSTEIN: We can do a lot. We need to move, as we are, towards electric vehicles and stop burning everything. Even ethanol has its health impacts and affects ozone levels in the ground, the ground photochemical smog. But those vehicles need to be plugged in to a cleanly powered smart grid. And we need to move towards the clean grid, the cleanly powered smart grid. And we can move today rapidly towards a smart grid with technologies that optimize use. And then healthy cities programs, with green buildings, rooftop gardens, tree-lined streets, biking lanes, open space, permeable surface, smart growth, public transport, and cities connected by light rail—these can all make our cities healthier, create jobs, stimulate the economy, and help move us and move climate friendly technologies into the global marketplace.

Yeah, my ears perked up at the mention of “permeable surfaces” ‘cause I’ve been writing about that technology recently. But this is a good summary.

What progress are we making in these areas in Hawaii?  I mean real progress, not just hot air about being leaders in alternative energy (which we are not). We don’t need more hot air. We need to burn less coal, year by year. We need to use less petroleum, year by year. We need a smart grid. We need more open spaces and safe streets for pedestrians and to ride  bikes.

So as 2010 draws to a close, how is Hawaii really doing on these and other important measures?



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