A Note from Our Chapter Chair

Susan Eastwood

September 2022

Writing on this hot August morning, I am filled with hope. Yesterday, the U.S. Senate passed the “Inflation Reduction Act” (IRA), the first major legislation to address climate change ever passed in this country. Never mind that the margin was slight, or that it is long overdue. This is a game changer!

 

How many times did we ask what it would take to finally achieve the political will to act – to overcome political obstructionists? How many wildfires, droughts, floods, outages, illnesses, and extinctions, before our government would act to save its people?

 

The bill is not what we may have wanted, but it is a good start. It will reduce our greenhouse gas emissions by 30% by 2040, close to the goals mandated here in Connecticut. With this major progress, we can turn to the doomsayers, the apathetic, and say, “there is hope!” We must continue the fight and build on this good work, with a strong focus on climate justice. Sierra Club’s Environmental Justice Policy will guide our efforts. We must use these dollars wisely, and equitably, helping to incentivize change where it is most needed.

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I think of the words of R.O. Kwon, "I want to live on a planet that can hold us. I believe we can all still help it, us, do so. If nothing else, why not try? Why not hope, and then act as if? This is our one lone, wild home; what other choice do we have?"

Don’t give in to climate doomsayers. This victory promises real progress and will encourage other countries to step up as well. Our years of work are paying off!

 

Many ask what they can do to help.

 

Here in Connecticut, we can pass legislation that impacts the climate crisis. It isn’t easy work, going up against the big money lobbyists, but we have had many successes. Sierra Club Connecticut has influence because of you, our 40,000 members and supporters! Some people argue that passing climate policy in a small state will not make a difference, but they are wrong. Connecticut has led the nation by modeling policies, like the Connecticut Green Bank, for example, which was used as a model for the National Green Bank funded in the IRA! We work together with other New England states, and California, to have a greater impact. Also key, we have important businesses here, especially insurance companies, which we are working to influence. 

 

So, what can our members do? 

  1. Number one for 2022 is to VOTE! We must support candidates who understand the urgency of the climate crisis and the necessity to preserve our natural world. 

  2. Speaking of paying off, the campaigns to urge financial divestment are having a real impact. Young and old people are calling on banks, corporations, insurers, to divest their money from fossil fuel projects, and to no longer insure them. As Universities divest and insurers hesitate to insure projects that are likely to become stranded assets, fossil fuel projects are having a harder time getting financed, as we saw locally with the Killingly Energy Center. Sierra Club Connecticut is part of the Insure our Future campaign, and has been collaborating with our allies to convince the insurance headquarters in Hartford that there is a better way to ensure the future for our world. This is a local effort that can have ripples throughout the financial world. Get involved!

  3. This fight is a marathon, not a sprint. We must take care of ourselves! If just one hour in nature can revive our spirits, increase our creativity, and even improve our memory and attention by 20%, then let’s get outside! This fall we have fun and interesting outings and events planned.

 

As you read this article, our Chapter Communications Leader Dennis Desmaris is about half-way through his 1,000 mile Climate Ride, raising funds to support our chapter.  You can help him and take action on Climate Change by donating here.  All donations will be matched, so your impact on our chapter will be doubled!

 

Join us on September 17th for a Garden and House Party, a FUNdraiser to help support our work. You'll visit a solar-powered home with heat pumps, three electric cars, and battery backup, and learn more about how you can electrify your home and transportation. In addition, the property was on this year's South Windsor Garden Tour and the plantings have a focus on pollinator habitat and native plantings for wildlife.

 

National Drive Electric Week is September 23 to October 2, and there will be several events around the state, including Hamden, Windsor, West Hartford, Old Saybrook and Fairfield.

 

In October, come out to Eastern Connecticut for some leaf peeping at the Trail Woods Sanctuary in Hampton. Learn about naturalist Edwin O. Teale and enjoy a lovely walk in the woods.

 

Hoping to see you outside soon!

 

Susan

 

Susan Eastwood is Chapter Chair of Sierra Club Connecticut.

 

Photo credit: Angela C from Pixabay