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Building a sustainable state 

How you can make a difference

Confronting a problem as vast and as serious as climate change can seem overwhelming, especially for an individual acting alone.

Fortunately, there are many organizations in North Carolina that are bringing people together to create a more environmentally sustainable energy future. Here are a few:

  • Two groups that have played a key role in working for the global warming legislation now under consideration at the General Assembly are the North Carolina office of Environmental Defense (www.environmentaldefense.org) and the Southern Alliance for Clean Energy (www.cleanenergy.org). The groups have also launched the N.C. Climate Action and Legislation Listserv, an e-mail service that provides North Carolinians with the latest news on global warming. To subscribe, contact marjorie@cleanenergy.org.
  • According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, transportation is responsible for 33 percent of North Carolina's greenhouse gas emissions. Recognizing that fact, Environmental Defense along with the Conservation Council of North Carolina (www.conservationcouncilnc.org), the N.C. Public Interest Research Group (www.ncpirg.org) and the N.C. Sierra Club (nc.sierraclub.org) are supporting clean car legislation (S. 1006 and H. 1460) to improve emissions standards and encourage the purchase of lower emission vehicles.
  • The Conservation Council is also urging lawmakers to appropriate money for the State Energy Office (www.energync.net), which otherwise will soon run out of funds. The agency provides information and services to consumers, businesses, governments and other organizations throughout the state relating to energy efficiency and renewable energy.
  • A good way to stay on top of the latest news on global warming and other environmental legislation at the General Assembly is to sign up for the public alerts offered by the N.C. Conservation Network (www.ncconservationnetwork.org). And for more information about global warming's impact on the North Carolina coast, visit the N.C. Coastal Federation's Web site (www.nccoast.org) and download the 2004 State of the Coast report.
  • Under the state's Clean Smokestacks Act, the N.C. Division of Air Quality by September must prepare a report on ways to reduce greenhouse gas emissions (for details, visit daq.state.nc.us/news/leg). In response, the N.C. Waste Awareness and Reduction Network (www.ncwarn.org) has released its own report called "A Smart-Energy Plan North Carolina Can Live With" that shows how the state could make a rapid transition to renewable energy sources by using energy more wisely. NC WARN also recently launched its Power Reduction education campaign to reduce electricity consumption in homes, businesses and institutions.
  • Another leader in the effort to promote wiser energy choices is the N.C. Sustainable Energy Association (www.ncsustainableenergy.org). In addition, the NC GreenPower program (www.ncgreenpower.org) is working to supplement the state's power supply with more green energy from renewable resources such as the sun, wind and organic matter. A typical household contribution of just $4 per month adds a block of 100 kilowatt-hours of green energy to the state's power supply.
  • Did you know that every ton of material recycled prevents 1.24 tons of carbon dioxide from being emitted, according to the National Recycling Coalition (www.nrc-recycle.org)? If you would like to help promote recycling in the Carolinas, consider joining the Carolina Recycling Association (www.cra-recycle.org), or visit the group's Web site and get more information on local recycling programs.
  • People of faith concerned about global warming might want to lend their energies to the N.C. Council of Churches' Climate Connection project (www.nccouncilofchurches.org). For more information, contact aliceloyd@earthlink.net.

  • And keep in mind that making progress on climate change requires breaking the corporate stranglehold on the state policymaking process. Among the organizations working for electoral, campaign finance and lobbying reform are Common Cause North Carolina (www.commoncause.org), Democracy North Carolina (www.democracy-nc.org), the League of Women Voters of North Carolina (www.rtpnet.org/~lwvnc), the N.C. Center for Voter Education (www.ncvotered.com), the N.C. Coalition for Lobbying Reform (www.nclobbyreform.org) and N.C. Voters for Clean Elections (www.ncvce.org).

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