Each week, we’ll share some of our staff’s recommended local, national, and international stories. Check these articles out for news and context related to sustainability, human health, climate, environmental justice, and the economy. Follow the Punchlist to connect the dots between the built environment, the natural environment, and quality of life!
Students for Solar
Students around Pennsylvania are advocating for their schools to invest in renewable energy. Woodland Hills School District, located outside of Pittsburgh, passed a climate resolution with a goal of being carbon neutral by 2050. According to Generation180, schools using solar power in Pennsylvania doubled from 2020 to 2021. Schools around the country are implementing renewable energy sources, which reduce carbon dioxide emissions, give schools a deduction in taxes, and teach students about climate change and green energy.
The Price of Ignoring the Climate Crisis
Humans have relied on fossil fuels for hundreds of years, but as the climate crisis looms over us, the wealth we’ve accumulated may be wasted trying to protect us from the future. According to the World Economic Forum, it would cost $178 trillion to continue living as we are now with the addition of unpredictable climate change effects. Conversely, developing a green energy economy could boost the global economy by $43 trillion and add millions of jobs around the world. Eliminating fossil fuels from energy production and using other techniques to limit global warming to 1.5 degrees C would have an initial loss, but a green energy economy provides jobs, economic growth, and mitigates the climate crisis.
Clean Energy Development in the US
Americans rely on fossil fuel energy every day to power their homes and fuel their cars. According to RMI, a data-led nonprofit focusing on understanding climate change, Americans could save $5 billion every year by switching to renewable energy and advocating for the US government to pass clean energy tax credits. It is time to start investing in clean energy development to curb climate change, increase energy independence, and save Americans money.
The Importance of Trees
Pittsburgh has an urban tree canopy (UTC) of 42%, meaning that trees cover 42% of downtown Pittsburgh. This percentage was considered good for the US and put Pittsburgh in the top 5 for UTC. There are a lot of problems with this number, including that tree cover is not spread equally across the city. Low-income and Black communities have significantly less tree cover than white and upper-class communities. Many Pittsburgh organizations created the goal of 60% UTC, as well as teaching people about the importance of trees and why they are disproportionately spread around the city.