By Laurie Caswell Burke
Ice, snow, rain, more snow, more ice, more rain, with a little sunshine sprinkled in. Does this sound familiar? The past few months have clearly had many of us focused on the weather as we navigate another Vermont winter. This year we are not alone. The south, west, and midwest have all had their share of crazy extreme weather. The verdict is clear that climate change is here to stay, and we need to adapt to more severe weather patterns. Despite varying opinions on whether it is the result of human actions, there are always good reasons to think about the ways we can make a difference.
With the holidays well behind us, I’m back with my monthly “Living ECOnomically” column. This is a good year to celebrate our successes with hope that we can continue to inspire each other to move toward a more sustainable future. The following are only a few examples of noteworthy actions that have taken place in our community during the past two years:
Champlain Valley Union (CVU) High School was recently nominated for the U.S. Department of Education Green Ribbon Schools Program. This national program selects models of good work in our schools working toward a more sustainable future. CVU’s Environmental Action Club (EnACT) leads the initiatives with the help of a supportive maintenance team, teachers, and administrators. The zero-sort recycling program in the school cafeteria has been a huge success. In January, the “Push Me” campaign was launched, encouraging students and staff to turn off computers and monitors to lower CVU’s electricity bills.
In 2013, Shelburne Community School was honored with the National Green Ribbon award. And in 2012, Wake Robin received the Governor’s Award for Environmental Excellence.
Just recently, GroSolar completed a 2.96MW solar project for Meach Cove Farms. The average annual production for the facility is equivalent to the annual electrical consumption of 385 average Vermont homes.
Our children are growing food in school gardens, learning how to recycle and compost, and enjoying a cafeteria menu of more locally-sourced food. Also, visits to local New Village Farm provide an opportunity for greater awareness of where our food comes from.
Shelburne is “hot” on the “green” front. Mother Nature is clearly trying to tell us something with the wild and crazy weather. I look to all of you, our community citizens, to keep sharing and providing models to inspire, motivate, and learn from. Please share your environmentally-conscious activities and programs at firstname.lastname@example.org, ATTN: Living ECOnomically. I look forward to hearing from you!