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Category Archives:

Politics

From 4% to 45%: US Energy Dept Recommends Huge Solar Expansion

The Biden administration on Wednesday released a plan to produce almost half of the nation’s electricity from the sun by 2050 as part of its effort to combat climate change.

Solar energy provided less than 4 percent of the country’s electricity last year, and the administration’s target of 45 percent would represent a huge leap and will most likely take a fundamental reshaping of the energy industry. In a new report, the Energy Department said the country needed to double the amount of solar energy installed every year over the next four years compared with last year. And then it will need to double annual installations again by 2030.

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Bipartisan Infrastructure Bill Acknowledges the Need for Climate Action

The bipartisan infrastructure deal struck this week provides new money for climate resilience unmatched in United States history: Tens of billions of dollars to protect against floods, reduce damage from wildfires, develop new sources of drinking water in areas plagued by drought, and even relocate entire communities away from vulnerable places.

But the bill is remarkable for another reason. For the first time, both parties have acknowledged — by their actions, if not their words — that the United States is unprepared for the worsening effects of climate change and requires an enormous and urgent infusion of money and effort to get ready.

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Indigenous Congress Members

Where Do Congress’s New Indigenous Members Stand on Climate Issues?

Indigenous Congress MembersNative Americans make up about 1 percent of the U.S. population, but they’ve long been underrepresented in Congress. Since the founding of the country, just 23 Native Americans have served in the legislative body. That slow pace is starting to pick up, however. The 2020 election resulted in victories for a record six Native Americans who will serve as voting members of Congress. Four were reelected, and two were elected for the first time, bringing the historical total to 25.

Indigenous representation in Congress first surged two years ago, after the 2018 midterm elections. Deb Haaland, who is an enrolled member of the Pueblo of Laguna and has Jemez Pueblo heritage, was elected to represent New Mexico’s first congressional district. Sharice Davids, an enrolled member of the Ho-Chunk Nation of Wisconsin, was elected to represent Kansas’ third congressional district. Both Democrats were reelected this month.

The victors represent Hawaii, New Mexico, Kansas, and Oklahoma. An additional three representatives from the territories of Guam, American Samoa, and the Mariana Islands are non-voting members. Split between the two parties, the voting members’ views span the ideological spectrum — from Representative-elect Kai Kahele, a Democrat from Hawaii and an ardent supporter of the Green New Deal, to Representative-elect Yvette Herrell, a hard-line conservative who has called the Green New Deal a “radical government takeover.

To find out exactly where each of them stands on climate issues, you can read more at Grist.org here.

NYC Sunset Image

Solar One Statement on the 2020 Election

NYC Sunset ImageIt seemed like it would go on forever, but the 2020 U.S. election is finally over. However the work of restoring and repairing our democracy for the future is just beginning.

Many of us had hoped for a more decisive end to the division that has roiled our body politic for the last few years. We hoped that the face that we would show to the world would be one of reconciliation, healing and a recommitment to our oft-stated values of peace, justice and equality. But after four years of bitter disagreement, we are perhaps even more bitter and divided towards those who see the world differently than ever before. The damage caused by deceit, authoritarianism, racism and cruelty, especially toward immigrants, women, and BIPOC and LGBTQ+ people, along with the disproportionate effects of the coronavirus on our communities, over the past four years will not be fixed or disappear in an instant.

At the same time, these election results show that the future is not bleak. On Inauguration Day, women will be closer to the highest office in the land than ever before. Kamala Harris will take her place as the first Black woman, as well as the first person of South Asian descent, to serve as Vice President in our government’s 244-year history. And BIPOC and LGBTQ+ candidates made record gains in Congress and in state legislatures, winning elections where no one thought they could compete. Even more interestingly, these gains were made on both sides of the aisle, proving that groups of U.S. citizens are not as monolithic as we used to believe. That brings us one step closer to the Enlightenment ideal of truly seeing every single person as an independent individual regardless of race, creed, national origin, gender identity, sexual orientation or any other personal characteristic.

The heart of the work we do at Solar One, across every single program and activity that we are involved in, is education. Oftentimes we may imagine that education just means memorization and getting the right answer. But education encompasses far more than that. It means expanding our worldview in directions we never conceived before. It means opening up to the possibility that we may be mistaken in the ways that we have approached the problems inherent in just existing as humans in a complex world. It means using our imaginations to the fullest to find the best answers, not just the ones we’d prefer to be the best, and it means finding ways to communicate those answers that make people feel respected and seen, instead of insulted and ignored. That is what Solar One has been doing for the past 15+ years, and that is what we will continue to do for as long as it takes to get it done.

No matter who you may have supported in this election, our hope at Solar One is that we can all move forward by listening, learning and pushing each other toward more understanding, more shared values and more opportunity than ever before to prosper and thrive in a world that we all have to share. There is no other way.

Got questions about the incoming administration’s plans for climate action? The NY Times has the answers!

Meet Harvey Epstein

With Brian Kavanagh moving to the state Senate, his former seat representing the 74th Assembly District is currently vacant, pending a special election on April 24th.

Harvey was recently kind enough to speak to Solar One over the phone.  Here are the things he’d like you to know about him (remarks have been edited for clarity):

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Will NYC Be First in the US to Try Congestion Pricing?

Since the 1970s, off and on, NYC has considered a congestion pricing plan, where drivers would be charged a fee for driving in Manhattan south of 60th Street during certain hours of the day, for the purpose of relieving congestion on the streets and raising badly needed income for the public transportation system. Unlike previous plans, the current one under consideration does not include tolls on all the East River bridges. But opponents still believe the fees will be a drain on commuters.

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