Commentary

Green Lights Flashing

Ron Martino discusses the urgent need for a green reset and how it will tackle the environmental challenges we face

Allies and Partners
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Editor’s note: This is one in a continuing series of guest opinions about fostering environmental stewardship and leadership. The series is coordinated by ACES, the Alliance of Climate and Environmental Stewards.

Post-COVID, pre-election, with a jittery economy and in the face of multiple climate disasters, motivation is high worldwide for more dramatic climate action. It can all feel so disheartening and dire. But ACES is feeling a bit more optimistic lately.

A “green reset” is happening at every level and in every corner of the political, business, and nonprofit ecosystem as it regards climate. And money is beginning to flow via the Inflation Reduction Act to solve multiple problems by transitioning to cleaner energy sources to totally new ways of making and transporting things. And it’s change that is really needed.

In general, the United States. And other countries will do this by leveraging the pent-up demand for upgraded and new forms of infrastructure and the jobs that they generate. Building that new infrastructure will be a great investment opportunity and it will generate good, new jobs. Jobs that may require new job skills.

A big investment in much-needed new infrastructure, designed with green needs in mind, will energize community colleges and high schools to work with employers and business groups along with trade unions to invent new forms of apprenticeships for young America. Working to alter the course of climate degradation isn’t harmful to our economy. Rather, it’s the way forward to better jobs and a better economy. New investments in our economy can have a big payback both financially and in terms of climate.

Locally, Greater Newburyport has climate and environmental challenges of its own. Consider rising seas, a river that floods when moderately big storms hit. Consider the vulnerability of Plum Island and our sewer and water systems. Fortunately, our city leaders have worked to address some of these issues with upgraded sewer systems on Plum Island and coastal armoring at our wastewater treatment plant.

Intergovernmental things are needed too like working with other cities and the state and the Merrimack Valley Region Planning Commission to plan a river clean-up and rescue. We need regulators to press utilities to fix the gas leaks all over our cities. They may not be explosive, like in Lawrence, but they certainly add to global warming and affect the air we breathe.

As a new generation of aspiring politicians emerge on the local scene, we might ask them what they see they can do to create this needed “green reset.” How can they help make every neighborhood safe for biking and walking? How can they encourage and zone for walkable destinations like corner stores, coffee shops, meeting places and lunching in the neighborhoods as many more people telework and are in town during the day. What are the new green jobs that will emerge? How can the community arrange apprenticeships and internships to help young people get started? How can we, as a community, support them? Let’s push the big green reset button now for Greater Newburyport.

Green lights the color of money – they are flashing and it’s time to conceive of significant and important projects and apply for grants to roll forward towards a healthier future in the Merrimack Valley.

A resident of Newburyport, Ron Martino is an ACES advisor, and he publishes “GreenTalk Daily” on Twitter @ronmartino4

This column was coordinated by ACES youth corps member Ana Satir. To share any comments or questions, please send an email to acesnewburyport@gmail.com. To learn more about ACES and its 4 Initiatives, visit https://www.aces-alliance.org.

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about the author
Ron Martino

After a career in Marketing for science and high tech based corporations, Ron is a member of the Marketing Communications Team of the Alliance of Climate and Environmental Stewards (ACES) where he often focuses on our communication strategies both in traditional and social media.

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