My Turn: How to survive both inflation and climate change

  • mactrunk mactrunk

Published: 8/4/2022 4:59:13 PM

When people get tired of hearing complaints and political inaction, they also stop listening to the news about new projects and new ideas that are helping us cut inflation and greenhouse gas emissions. I hope that those who read my thoughts will share these ideas with others so that our whole community and state can fight inflation and climate change together and help lift us all out of despair and apathy.

In Massachusetts our state Legislature is working hard to reach a goal of being net zero in carbon dioxide and methane emissions by 2050. To reach our 2030 goals, The Vineyard Wind project has started to install 800 MW of wind power about 15 miles off the coast of Martha’s Vineyard. This project will create hundreds of permanent jobs making steel cables in Somerset and moving the wind turbine parts out of Massachusetts ports that used to handle coal shipments. A total of 3200 MW of electricity could be installed by 2035 and provide 20% of our total electricity.

We can help achieve this goal by voting for legislators and a new governor who will continue to move this big project forward along with more solar energy projects and a few more biogas projects on our dairy farms and increase our local biodiesel production.

Through generous MASSSAVE programs homeowners and businesses can convert to the new electric heat pumps that efficiently heat your home in winter and cool your home in summer. Go to massave.com for details about the rebates and zero or low-interest loans that make it possible for you to put in these new systems and save thousands of dollars. Many companies that used to service oil burners are now installing heat pumps and more jobs are being created by insulation and weatherization projects that also decrease utility costs.

The state is also in the process of installing more EV charging stations that will allow more people to own and operate electric vehicles. The cost and variety of EVs is also coming down due to rebates and the availability of second hand vehicles at affordable prices. As more people buy EVs, more second-hand vehicles that get high mileage will become available and save money for those drivers. Moving toward more electric buses and vans for public transportation will also save money and stabilize costs as we decrease greenhouse gases.

Anything that we can do to slow climate change will also slow down the damage done by rising sea levels and increasing temperatures. This in turn will decrease our overall repair and transition costs as we convert to an almost all electric economy.

If you are worried that all these government programs will increase taxes, vote for candidates that want to pass a millionaire’s tax or wealth tax that forces the wealthiest 10% of our population to pay more taxes while the rest of us can take advantage of vital government supported services like affordable education, health care, transportation, and utilities.

Wasting food also increases greenhouse gases and worsens both inflation and global warming. Some food waste estimates show that the U.S. could feed the world with all the food it wastes each day. Our food banks try to distribute food that is about to spoil fast before it becomes food waste. We are grateful that healthy food is very abundant in our area because we have generous SNAP (food stamps) and school lunch programs as well as food pantries like the Center for Self Reliance and free meal programs almost daily in town. Call Community Action Pioneer Valley at 413-475-1570 for advice about community services for help with food and utilities. Rents and utilities have become unaffordable for many low income households. By taking advantage of food abundance, some of these households can manage to pay increasing rent and utility costs. By creating more energy efficient affordable housing, we all can help each other survive inflation by reducing waste and greenhouse gasses.

Emma Stamas lives in Colrain.


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