Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Yes We Can...Create Clean Energy Jobs in the Ville!

(pictures are not uploading - will try later)

Today was yet another exciting day for Better World Betty, Charlottesville, and the larger Earth community as residents and community organizers joined our representatives and leaders in politics as they continue to forge the way toward a greener path.

5th District Congressman Tom Periello stood in front of Ms. Ingrid Feggans's home, where the "Creating Clean Energy Jobs: Helping People Helping the Environment" event was held to introduce a line-up of residents and political leaders who are . Her home was recently upgraded with the help of Eric Gilchrist, head of Spark's weatherization program, thereby reducing her energy costs (which were costing her in the thousands per month) and, it's important to mention our collective community carbon footprint.

A special treat for me was meeting Van Jones, author of a recent book I read Green Collar Jobs and Obama's advisor on Green Jobs and Nancy Sutley, Chair of the White House Council on Environmental Quality - straight from the West Wing!

Joined by Mayor Dave Norris, Congressman Periello, were other government officials like Sally Thomas, Ann Malleck, Holly Edwards, David Brown, and David Toscano as well as community organizers like Karen Waters of QCC (with Todd, urban farm extraordinaire at Garrett Square), Charlottesville Design Center Director Jane Fisher's crew, yours truly, and so many other members of our community who care about conserving energy, saving money, better ways of tending the planet, and the people who live on it, who require meaningful paychecks to provide for their families.


One of those interested in getting a job was Michael Stewart, who spoke about his desire to enter the green job sector I couldn't help but notice he was the first person to mention coming together for the Earth. Of course saving money, the comfort of the home, securing good-paying jobs are paramount. And I appreciated his extending his enthusiasm and desire to take it a step further by speaking about the importance of helping the planet.

Mayor Norris and Congressman Periello outlined the win-win solutions of revolving load funds and other financing programs to help people pay for the necessary retrofits and energy efficiency upgrades which may be cost-prohibitive without help or payback programs. LEAP, the Local Energy Alliance Program, plans to launch their initiative in January of 2010 with exciting and far-reachiing plans to systematically reduce energy use here in Charlottesville, reaching a whopping 20-40%of the market. It's my hope Betty can play a role in this exciting program, continuing to be a tool get the word out about these measures and provide you with local action steps/resources found in the directory and events to make it easy for you to enact change. "Inch-by-inch," one of the presenters touted!

I was excited to learn that officials are working with Piedmont Vally Community College to design certification programs in various green job fields.

Chairwoman Nancy Sutley gave encouraging words to our community as they watch us from Washington to see how a city can really impact change. She emphasized the administration's desire to see us reduce energy use, innovate new more efficient technology, and implement energy-savings into our homes and businesses.

I'm feeling energized by all that's going on greenwise in our fair city. Thank you to the leadership and efforts of everyone involved.


1 comment:

Zoosa said...

Great story! Given your topic, your readers might be interested in a new site for high impact / high paying green and nonprofit jobs.

We recently launched Zoosa (www.zoosa.org) as a single destination for all social enterprise resources (news, blogs, tweets, opportunities). Thanks to our partners, we already have 2000+ news items, jobs & skills based volunteering opportunities in the clean-tech, education, government, health care, and nonprofit sectors!

I'd love to hear your feedback if you get a chance to visit our site!