Which State Will Be First?

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Which State Will Be First?

“In America, consistent environmental protection can only come from government intervention and new laws.”

Henry W. Clearsky
sustainabilityforlife.com

Note: Communicating this information as news to others is free of charge. 5

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Introduction

  • A person recently said: “I am satisfied with the improvements we have made in environmental protection in America”….. Indeed…
  • This Sustainability for Life website emphasizes that America has only taken a few steps needed to preserve the planet Earth for future generations.
  • Sustainability Laws will evolve over the next ten years… and those laws will reflect the will of American voting citizens.
  • The following is an evaluation of options, and recommendations.
  • Included also is what any average American can do to help.
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The Areas Needing Improved Environmental Laws

  • Preserving the Environment has many facets.
  • The three most important areas of Sustainability are:
    • Reducing Carbon Pollution to the Atmosphere and stopping Climate Change
    • Massively Reducing America’s use of Plastic
    • Changing the American Economy to “Zero Waste to Landfill”.
  • Many other documents on this website describe how pollution can be reduced, and cost can be reduced in the medium to long-term.
  • Education and knowledge should come before casting a ballot. Please consider these new ideas.

The Justification for New Sustainability Laws

  • Globally, in all the wars of the 20th Century, over 108 million people died. (1)
  • Taking current reported death rates from pollution, escalating environmental damage, and 80 years remaining in the century, over 500 million humans could die from pollution-related causes in the 21st Century (this author’s estimate).
  • Pollution deaths could far exceed the toll of past global wars.
  • Is this not enough concern to inspire Americans to stop the harmful, deadly damage?

Current City and County Laws for Environmental Protection

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  • There are literally hundreds of examples of cities and counties enacting laws to protect the environment.
  • The city of Atherton, California, within San Mateo County, has a defined Climate Action Plan. (2)
  • The city of Austin, Texas has taken many steps to reduce carbon emissions, including setting a price for carbon emissions. (3)
  • The city of Portland, Oregon has a ban on single-use plastic bags by retailers, grocery stores and restaurants. (4)
  • Teton Valley, Idaho has a very active solid waste reduction emphasis and improved recycling systems. (5)

Current State Laws for Sustainability

  • Washington State has a comprehensive program to reduce carbon emissions. (6)
  • California recently set a requirement that all new vehicles sold after 2035 will be zero emission. (7)
  • In 2019, the State of Oregon banned plastic straws and bags. (8)
  • There are multiple examples of push-back concerning environmental protection laws, such as objections in Utah to plastic bag bans. (9)
  • Considering the negative impact on our children’s futures, the objections are confusing… but will continue as the education process moves forward.
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State Laws are the Key

  • This Sustainability For Life website clearly shows we do not have 20-30 years to make the transition to a Sustainable Economy.
  • It is already too late. Our children and grandchildren are already going to be miserable even if we make the transition in less than 10 years
  • Any improvements may save future lives, and ultimately allow some transition to a sustainable environment.
  • New state Laws are the most effective path forward for significant change.
  • Once new laws are established in one state, the adjacent states will be positively impacted.

Recommended New State Laws to Reduce Carbon Emissions

  • California requiring all new vehicles sold to be zero emission by 2035 is a landmark first step, but not nearly enough.
  • Any State could pass a law that by 2035 no fossil fuel vehicle can be operated within state boundaries. This gives plenty of time to get use from the old fossil fuel vehicles, or send them to another state… or to the car crusher.
  • Any State could pass a law requiring ALL electricity generation within the state to be 100% renewable sourced, with relatively quick target dates.
  • Any State could pass a law requiring massive carbon emission reductions for industrial facilities (few variances, with a time schedule).
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Recommended New State Laws to Reduce Carbon Emissions, continued

  • Any state could pass a law that starting immediately, all newly installed or replacement building-related equipment (furnaces, air conditioning, hot water heaters, cooking appliances, etc…) shall be zero carbon emission
  • Further, state laws could be established that by 2035, ALL building-related equipment shall be zero emission. This requires the replacement of all equipment across 15 years.
  • Further, new laws could ban the sale and/or use of any fossil fuel-burning lawn maintenance equipment by 2026.
  • Anyone who thinks the above is extreme, should spend some time educating themselves on the impact of pollution on current and future generations.

Examples of Laws to Reduce Plastic Pollution and Solid Waste

  • Any state could enact a law banning ALL one-time-use plastic items of any type, and set a target date of 2023. This gives plenty of time to use the old supplies.
  • Yes, sanitation requirements would have to be established, such as high temperature dishwashers for re-use of dishes.
  • Any state could pass laws establishing vastly improved recycle systems that lead to “zero waste to landfill”. Material that is composted does not count as landfill material.
  • This cannot be accomplished without new packaging laws that hugely change the way everyday food and retail items are packaged.
  • New laws could require every manufacturer to set up recycle or safe disposal of the products they sell in the state.

Summary

  • Which State will be first to boldly move forward with new laws requiring pollution reduction?
  • How will these new laws impact neighboring states?
  • Time is running out.
  • Every American can contact their government representatives to support environmental protection (Sustainability) laws.

Citations

  1. New York Times, 2003, What Every Person Should Know About War
  2. Institute for Local Government, 2020, Town of Atherton Climate Action Plan
  3. Citizens Climate Lobby, July 9, 2020, Austin, Texas, Puts a Price on Carbon
  4. City of Portland, Oregon, 2020, Plastic Bag Ban and Paper Bag fee
  5. Teton Valley, Idaho Community Recycling, 2020, Our Vision
  6. Department of Ecology, State of Washington, Reducing Greenhouse Gases
  7. Office of the Governor, September, 2020, Governor Newsom Announces California Will Phase Out Gasoline-Powered Cars & Drastically Reduce Demand for Fossil Fuel in California’s Fight Against Climate Change
  8. Wastedive, 2019, Oregon governor signs laws banning plastic bags, straws
  9. Fox 13, Salt Lake City, 2019, The ‘plastic bag ban ban’ bill has died in the Utah State Legislature

Henry W. Clearsky, born in America, resides in Texas