Lauridsen: Climate Change – Think Globally, Act Locally

Submitted by Gail Lauridsen, Cos Cob

Today (Thursday) the Greenwich Board of Selectmen passed a Climate Change Resolution. I want to thank First Selectman Fred Camillo and Selectwoman Lauren Rabin for working hard to remove the heavy-handedness of the original “Emergency Resolution” by eliminating the word “Emergency” altogether.

To further protect our town – while demonstrating a commitment to responsible policy – they replaced the word “shall” with “may”, in the following closing paragraph, making this a goal rather than a mandate. THANK YOU!

“…that the Town of Greenwich sets forth the following goals: the development of a

Sustainability and Climate Resiliency Plan by December 2023 that shall may include strategies in the areas of new buildings, energy efficiency, transportation, renewable energy, solid waste, water and wastewater, land use, natural systems, and the Town operations, to move Greenwich toward carbon neutrality and increase community resilience to a changing climate.”

While it seems rushed by some, we were told by Selectperson Janet Stone McGuigan at the July meeting that the well-meaning GHS students behind the resolution wished to complete their project before summer’s end. We were also told this document is the result of collaboration and compromise across all parties and interest groups. At some point I hope to have the names of those collaborators.

The students and adults behind this resolution never did tell us how they have personally reduced their own carbon footprints during the course of this project to demonstrate the potential benefits.

If you support this resolution, I challenge you to choose which of these steps you are willing to take immediately:

  • Trade in car keys for bike helmets and walking shoes
  • Turn off your air conditioning
  • Stop purchasing new clothes when old ones are serviceable
  • Cancel all flights
  • Cancel lawn services
  • Turn off irrigation systems
  • Stop swimming in heated pools

If you haven’t voluntarily opted to made any of these sacrifices, are you comfortable with your local government deciding for you?  What will happen when every town decision is made with this climate agenda as priority?  When the voluntary becomes involuntary?  Will we have a future where all cars are required to be electric?  What happens when our grid is overloaded on a hot summer day?  How bad will it really get?

We must not allow this resolution to force spending with no clear plan or guaranteed results.  We must resist millions of federal dollars, with tyrannical strings attached.  We must resist the U.N., with its goal of global governance.  Already, the wealthiest among us are insulated from the pain being inflicted upon low- and middle-income families by fossil-fuel-reducing government action. Not everyone can afford to buy a Tesla. Not everyone can afford to pay the resultant doubled electric bill. Nor does everyone want to move out of their family home in order to live on a bus line.  We have yet to experience how increased fuel prices will affect the majority of town residents this winter.

Even without the word “emergency”, any resolution which acknowledged (through “Whereas” clauses) the purported expertise and guidelines of unelected bureaucrats obviously should have been avoided at all costs. Town government should take the burden of climate-action locally, with absolutely no reference to the U.N. or any other unelected bureaucracy.

We can act locally while thinking globally.  China produces 30% of the world’s CO2. The U.S. produces half of that. If we created a movement to eliminate the purchase of Chinese-made goods, can you imagine how powerful the impact would be?

The inconvenient truth is that many reasonable scientists question the accepted climate-change solutions.  I find the censorship of their voices and subversion of debate to be problematic.  Any science which is not allowed scrutiny and debate must be questioned by logical minds.  It appears our students are not being taught the art of free thinking and intelligent debate. Instead, they are taught activist strategies to subvert such debate. This is disappointing.

In spite of what your television says, the Green New Deal must be questioned.

Bureaucrats who see billions of dollars at stake know very well how to cherry-pick the science, and how to make oppositional research disappear.  Plenty of people will – without question – swallow the scripted words of highly-paid “experts” presented through television.  Our town leaders are supposed to be smarter than that.  Their job is to ask the hard questions and protect the gullible.

During Covid we blindly took the money and followed the arbitrary guidelines of such “experts”, resulting in irreversible and unnecessary damage to childhood development, education, and to our economy. Now we know better.

We must acknowledge that as of today there is no available 1:1 replacement for fossil fuels as used in our daily lives. Trying to patch together inadequate solutions with solar and wind comes up short every time. What we can do, however is consider conservation solutions which can be implemented immediately. If each person reading this comes up with just one well-thought-out fuel conservation plan, and submits that plan to the First Selectman’s office, we just might be able to tackle this problem in the short term. I have some ideas of my own to offer, but that’s another letter.

I suggest we will find great satisfaction in pursuing our environmental goals locally, and should let the rest of the world do the same.

Let’s lead by example, instead of following someone else’s agenda.

These are my own thoughts and words, not representative of any committee or organization. -GL