In October of 2018, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change released a report and did something they'd never done before: demand action.
They declared that the governments of the world needed to launch a World War II scaled initiative aimed at retooling our energy and transportation infrastructure to cut carbon emissions by 45% in the next decade. Half our electricity infrastructure needs to be non-emitting renewables by 2030. Half of the car trips need to be fully electric vehicles, or not happen at all. Home gas use needs to be cut in half. Industry emissions: cut in half. We've got one decade. If we fail, we face catastrophic consequences.
The problem is global, but the solution is local.
Even if we get international treaties, even if we get a Green New Deal, we still need to restructure our infrastructure right here in Bloomington, Indiana. We can't wait for the national action. We have to get to work. Ten years is not a lot of time.
We know what we have to do.
We have to build a transportation infrastructure that prioritizes bikes, pedestrians, and public transit. We have to build a public transit system that allows people to travel to, and within, our city without driving their own vehicles. For those who can, we need to make it an easy choice to bike or walk. We need to create incentives that get people out of their cars and onto the bus or their bike.
And we need to get non-emitting renewable energy on to the grid any way we can.
Our current leaders are not grappling with this problem.
Even the most environmentally focused members of our city council do not seem to have absorbed what we're really up against. Few of our leaders seem to have the political will to do what we must. It's going to involve asking sacrifices. We'll be better off as a community once we're done, but we're out of time to do this slowly or gently. It's going to be hard. It's going to be disruptive. It's going to involve asking people to change their habits and behavior. We need leaders who understand that, and aren't afraid to step up, and to ask the community to join them. Our future, and the future of our children depends on it.
Unfortunately, it's not an exaggeration to say the very survival of the next generation is at stake.
We have to do our part.
Every community in every state and in every country across the globe is going to have to make similar changes. We can't control what other communities do. But we can do our part. We can only hope that there are those in other communities stepping up across the planet to do their parts. For those that aren't yet, maybe we can act as an inspiration. Bloomington can and should lead the way.
We can do this.