Rhode Island Chapter Conservation Goals
People live in the Ocean States for its beauty and environmental jewels – Narragansett Bay, our ocean beaches, and the beautiful New England woods. These special places are the foundation of Rhode Island's appeal and the mainstays of its economy through tourism. Unfortunately, these assets are now at risk due to an increase in pollution and a related rise in global warming rates that has resulted from our heavy reliance on dirty imported energy sources. These outdated and polluting energy sources threaten to foul the freshness or our sea breezes, erode our beaches as sea levels rise, and cause disease and die-offs among our treasured bay wildlife.
King Coal, Big Oil, the auto corporations, and their friends in the federal government continue to lobby for the dirty energy sources of the past, slowing down progress that would re-energizing America with a clean energy economy. Still, Rhode Islanders have the means to bring about change and transform their economy by making smart decisions about their transportation choices and investing in the efficient use of imported resources and new clean energy. The switch to a clean energy mindset will create new green jobs, and restore Rhode Islanders' quality of life.
Every year at our Chapter Retreat the RI Sierra Club selects several important issues affecting Rhode Island to become the focus of our conservation work during the year. This year the Chapter is focusing on these specific issues:
The Obama Administration has to act now if it wants to seriously impact US carbon emissions. The place to start is setting strong fuel economy standards for new vehicles. The GO 60 mpg campaign asks President Obama to put in place a goal for a 60 mile per gallon average by 2025.
The world's scientists agree: Global warming is real, here, and happening faster than anyone predicted. But scientists also say we can curb global warming and its consequences -- if we take bold, comprehensive action now that adds up to an 80 percent cut in carbon emissions by 2050, or 2 percent a year.
Rhode Islands dependence on automobiles is hurting our communities, the environment and our economy. So Sierra Club is working to make sure that the proposed commuter rail lines in towns like Warwick and Wickford are built. Were advocating for expanded and improved RIPTA service state-wide. Were promoting the development of more neighborhood bikeways, and were working with a number of Rhode Island cities that are interested in promoting smart, affordable transportation choices through the Cool Cities campaign.
Rhode Island is in a race to energy independence. By getting both large scale and community renewable energy projects working ahead of neighboring states, Rhode Island can be the center of the new energy economy along the North East coast.
© copyright Sierra Club 1892-2012