Zero Emissions Day, plus Earth Overshoot Day (yikes!). Get ready for Car Free Day, and, Illinois Gov. Pritzker signs Climate and Equitable Jobs Act.
Zero Emissions Day, Earth Overshoot Day, Get Ready For Car Free Day, and, Illinois Gov. Pritzker Signs Climate And Equitable Jobs Act
HAPPY ZERO EMISSIONS DAY!
This week is chock full of climate change-friendly initiatives, events and just good stuff. For instance, did you know that today is Zero Emissions Day?
According to legend, the idea originated from a concerned father from Nova Scotia, Canada, during the early 1980s while he was strolling his newborn daughter past a parked idling truck. The gas emission from the truck in combination with the surrounding traffic emissions was overwhelming, and he wanted to put a stop to it. People liked the concept, but it didn’t catch on until…
The rise of social media in the 21st century allowed Zero Emissions Day to gain traction, and was officially established on September 21st in Nova Scotia, Canada in 2008 with the idea to give the world a 24-hour break from fossil fuels and to raise awareness about the harm caused by carbon emissions.
Somebody said let’s give the planet a day off by removing carbon dioxide from the air, permanently, and Precision Textiles of Totowa, NJ said, “la do dis.” Precision Textiles, is a supplier of coated fabrics for the bedding and home furnishings industries, and according to Home Textiles Today, it will shut down its manufacturing plant in New Jersey for eight hours on Sept. 21 for Zero Emissions Day.
Scott Tesser, Precision Textiles, CEO, said, “The term ZeDay has become a global rallying cry to beat back climate change,” “During the shutdown, we will save a total of 13,600 KW of electricity and 40 mm Btu’s of natural gas preventing a combined total of more than 17,000 pounds of CO2 from entering the atmosphere. This initiative shines a light on the bigger picture of what is being taken from the earth and what can be done to help prevent that.”
ILLINOIS GOV. PRITZKER SIGNS CLIMATE AND EQUITABLE JOBS ACT INTO LAW
It took two years of wrangling and negotiations, but it’s finally official–Illinois is making the climate and jobs a top priority. The Climate and Equitable Jobs Act sets the state on a path to 100% clean energy by 2050 through a mix of providing subsidies to nuclear plants and setting closure timelines for coal and natural gas firing facilities, among other things.
According to the press release from Gov. JB Pritzker’s office, the new legislation
- Combats Climate Change and Invests in Renewable Energy
- Establishes Transition Programs and Assistance
- Ensures Consumer Protections Are at the Forefront
- Establishes Illinois as a Clean Transportation Leader
- Expands Ethics Reforms
- Ends Formula Rates
U.S. Secretary of Energy Jennifer M. Granholm issued a statement lauding the signing of the legislation, saying it shows “just what bold state-level action can do to usher in the clean energy future.”
J.C. Kibbey, Illinois Clean Energy Advocate, Natural Resources Defense Council said, “This bill not only takes major action on climate change, it supports disadvantaged communities and those transitioning away from fossil fuels. Today Illinois has become a leader in making policy that addresses the deep ties between climate change, pollution, and social equity. We hope our work here can inform states across the Midwest and the country.”
And added Governor Pritzker, “We can’t outrun or hide from climate change – not to the north, where the Boundary Waters burn; not to the south, where Ida swallows lives and livelihoods in the blink of an eye. There is no time to lose. Thanks to the Climate and Equitable Jobs Act, Illinois is taking action in the fight to stop and even reverse the damage that’s been done to our climate. As of today, Illinois is a force for good, for an environmental future we can be proud of.”
SEPTEMBER 22ND–CAR-FREE DAY!
Tomorrow is Car Free Day, people! Car Free Day is a worldwide event that encourages greener methods of travel; meaning ways to get around other than driving alone by car.
According to Wikipedia, car-free day was promoted on an ad hoc basis between the first Oil Crisis of 1973 and 1994. Then Eric Britton, a political scientist and sustainability activist gave a keynote speech at the 1994 Accessible Cities Conference in Toledo, Spain in which he outlined how to create an organized global event.
It took a minute to gain traction. For a while in the late 1990s, a Dutch group called Pippi Autoloze Zondag. Here’s the thing—this group would hijack streets, block them off to vehicular traffic and organize block parties throughout the Netherlands on Car Free Day. After two years of this, several cities in Netherland started to implement car free days. So the same city mayors that were ordering the police to arrest the car free activists two years earlier, were now playing the hero for implementing car free days in their cities.
And that’s actually why Car Free Day matters to us. Before Pippi Autoloze Zondag, people didn’t seriously study auto usage in urban environments. It turns out Studies reveal that for short trips, it’s actually less time-consuming to use a bicycle than using a car.
According to The Washington Post, the event promotes improvement of mass transit, cycling and walking, and the development of communities where jobs are closer to home and where shopping is within walking distance.
21 years ago, Carbusters—now called the World Carfree Network successfully launched Car Free Day worldwide. In the words of CarFree–Every year on or around 22 September, people from around the world get together in the streets, intersections, and neighbourhood blocks to remind the world that we don’t have to accept our car-dominated society.
It’s a global event, but not celebrated in every city. To find out if it is in yours, click on the links in the Deeper Dive section at the end of this story at theclimate.org/episodes.
DEEPER DIVE: WIKIPEDIA
EARTH OVERSHOOT DAY–YIKES!
Here’s a funny yet tragic day to celebrate–Earth Overshoot Day. Earth Overshoot Day marks the date when humanity’s demand for ecological resources and services in a given year exceeds what Earth can regenerate in that year. It used to be called Ecological Debt Day, and it used to be celebrated on or near September 23rd.
This year, Earth Overshoot Day fell on July 29. So why bring it up now? To point out the delta. To point out how far we’re slipping. To point out how we can do better, as a people! So why does Earth Overshoot Day matter to us?
Earth Overshoot Day occurs because humans constantly deplete the planet’s stocks of ecological resources while also accumulating waste, most of that waste being carbon dioxide pumped into the atmosphere. The goal of plugging Earth Overshoot Day is to help humans learn how to change the way the world measures and manages its natural resources. In other words, it helps us adjust our lifestyles and economies to operate within Earth’s ecological limits.
By the way, Earth Overshoot Day is an initiative of Global Footprint Network, an international research organization that provides decision-makers with a menu of tools to achieve that lofty yet commonsensical goal. The date of Earth Overshoot Day is calculated with data from Global Footprint Network’s National Footprint and Biocapacity Accounts, available for free at data.footprintnetwork.org.