First Oregon, and now Washington state is on its way to a coal-free energy future. On Saturday, March 5, 2011, an agreement was reached and legislation was passed to phase out coal in Washington by 2025. This is huge and an example to emulate. Granted northwest states have a different power mix which includes lots of hydro power, some existing nuclear power and growing wind power, but the point is they are using their local resources to find substitutes for coal. They are cleaning up their serious air polluters and reducing their carbon emissions dramatically, thereby improving the health of their citizens and contributing to a better future for generations of Washingtonians to come. They are caring for Creation.
North Carolina needs to do the same! We have enormous off-shore wind potential and much more solar potential than the Pacific Northwest could ever dream of (I know — I grew up in Oregon!), so all we lack is the will to move forward. We can and should phase out coal, first the coal that comes from dirty, dangerous, and destructive mountain top removal and then all coal, by improving energy efficiency and moving forward rapidly on clean renewable energy like off-shore wind and solar. If we do this, it’s a win win win – cleaner air and water therefore better health, lower greenhouse gas emissions therefore healthier future, and stronger local economy because we generate our power from local resources rather than importing 100% of the coal we use from other states. To me it’s a no brainer.
Our faith requires us to be good stewards of Creation, yet we have allowed air and water pollution, species extinction and climate change to run rampant. It is time to return to basics and reverse the destructive use of our planet home. Climate change represents the biggest threat to human health ever known, but we can do something about it. Visit our website and learn about local solutions, energy efficiency audits for your churches, and faith in action advocacy opportunities. We need to follow the example of the Pacific NW states and phase out coal for a better future for our state and an abundant and resilient creation for our children.
–Dr. Kathy Shea, Director, North Carolina Interfaith Power & Light