Pipelines leaking toxic material into our water supply. Oil bomb trains traveling on antiquated infrastructure through our towns and villages. Fossil fuel plants spewing carcinogens into the air we breathe. These are the things we can look forward to if we conduct business as usual.
Today, a coalition of 36 environmental, religious, and activist groups announced the launch of a coalition to scrap “business as usual” and jump start an aggressive campaign to address these problems.
Most of the actions taken by these individual groups to date have been in opposition of something – a pipeline through the Pinelands or processing of liquefied natural gas, a highly explosive and dangerous endeavor. Each group has done its own thing, often without specific goals other than to shut down a harmful project.
Now, the coalition is going head on with the dirty fuel industry by promoting the eventual elimination of these energy sources in favor of renewable energy. In a nutshell, they are proposing that our electricity be generated 100% from renewables by 2030, and the we totally eliminate dirty energy by 2050. These are realistic goals based academic research being conducted at Stanford University.
The coalition plans to educate the skeptics in the legislature and the general public, pointing out that renewable energy is now cost-competitive with dirty fuels. It will accomplish this through feasibility demonstrations, measurable milestones, and job creation on the way to its 2030 and 2050 goals. As a group, they need to develop and make public more detailed plans.
The coalition has a tough road to hoe. The dirty energy lobby is flush with cash and is not afraid to dole it out to willing politicians. And until our anti-environment governor leaves office, additional roadblocks to progress stand in the way. Some labor unions looking at short-term job growth at the expense of longer term jobs and a cleaner environment will also stand in the way.
The coalition released a one-page platform (below) on its goals. This is a good start, but not enough. In order to have an impact, members must engage the public, not just envirogeeks. They need to make a clean environment one of the top issues in every election – from town council to the presidency.
Their first event will be a lobby day and rally in Trenton this coming Thursday, June 25. Since this topic involves neither sex nor violence, it will be a challenge for the coalition to garner the press attention it deserves, and even more of a challenge to energize the public.
Whether joining together into a cohesive force provides strength in unity or whether this exercise is simply rearranging the deck chairs on the Titanic is yet to be seen. But without clean air and water, we have nothing.
The Already Devalued and Devastated Homeowners of Parsippany
Berks Gas Truth
Central Jersey Coalition Against Endless War
Citizens United for Renewable Energy (CURE)
Clean Water Action
Coalition to Ban Unsafe Oil Trains
Cooper River Watershed Association
Delaware Riverkeeper Network
Environment New Jersey
Food and Water Watch
GRAMMES (Grandmothers, Mothers, & More for Energy Safety)
Holland CCAP (Pipeline Not PennEast)
MSEIA (MidAtlantic Solar Energy Industry)
National Organization of Women (NOW)- NJ
NJ Citizen Action
NJ Industrial Union Council
NJ Sustainable Collegiate Partners
NJ Tenants Organization
NJ Working Families Alliance
New Jersey NOW
Northern NJ Chapter, NOW
North Jersey Pipeline Walkers
Pascack Sustainability Group
Raccoon Creek Watershed Association
Save Barnegat Bay
Sierra Club- NJ Chapter
South Jersey NOW
Unitarian Universalist Leg. Min. of NJ
West Amwell Citizens Against the Pipeline