Happy New (Challenging) Year 2017 and Let’s Get Involved

January 28, 2017 at 7:03 pm

Happy New Year to all and continued prosperity!

With the new leadership in the U.S., 2017 promises to be a challenging one for those of us in the pro-environment industry, here and abroad.  With the elections past and a new president in office, many of us feel disillusioned, angry, and even scared with the looming specter of the new administration’s upcoming four years.  But even if you say and believe “He’s not My president,” like it or not he actually is for now – but there is always something we can do as citizens to not feel so disenfranchised.  We can be part of the solution (or at least the opposition)!

Happy New Challenging Year 2017 Let's Get Involved Climate Change

Joseph Velazquez in Atlanta for the The March for Social Justice and Women. Photo by Hilary Bradford, Atlanta, 2017.

Even if you were not particularly politically active in the past, as I have been, for me this is the time for our collective similar-minded community to speak up and contribute our thoughts and actions.  We can voice our opinions and fight for a just, open, healthy, pro-environment and all-embracing peaceful community – on a small scale for all of our people and places, and on a grand scale for the future health of our planet.  Even if you voted for Trump for a host of other reasons, it must be clear that his policies on the environment and energy are dire, at best and to say the least.

Earlier this month two of our family members participated in The March for Social Justice and Women, which had an attendance of about 60,000 here in Atlanta and 3,000,000 globally.  On February 16 Aramis and I are planning to attend the Climate & Health Meeting: How the Climate Crisis Affects Public Health from The Climate Reality Project in partnership with the American Public Health Association, Harvard Global Health Institute, the University of Washington Center for Health and the Global Environment, and Dr. Howard Frumkin, former director of the CDC’s National Center for Environmental Health at the Carter Center.  Originally scheduled as a 3-day conference, it was unexpectedly cancelled earlier this month:

The Climate & Health Meeting is being held following the abrupt cancellation of a major climate change-public health conference planned by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). APHA Executive Director Georges Benjamin told The Washington Post that the CDC’s event was called off preemptively in an attempt to avoid any entanglements with the then-incoming Trump Administration, which has nominated several climate deniers to key cabinet positions relating to the environment and already has ordered science-based government agencies to cease the release of important public information and put a freeze on Environmental Protection Agency grants and contracts that could, according to the Post, “affect everything from state-led climate research to localized efforts to improve air and water quality to environmental justice projects aimed at helping poor communities.” ~ The Climate Reality Project

And we are keeping our eyes open for more information on the 2017 People’s Climate March on Washington just announced two days ago for April 29:

Happy New Challenging Year 2017 Let's Get Involved Climate Change

A steering committee of more than two dozen organizations is organizing the event. It is supported by the major national environmental groups and an array of social justice, religious, and labor groups, ranging from the Hip Hop Caucus to the Franciscan Action Network to the BlueGreen Alliance. More than 100 groups have endorsed the march. ~ InsideClimateNews

Climate reality is just that – science-based and real, here to stay.  Preaching to the choir here, we all know how climate change affects so many aspects of our lives, and we believe that designing with nature by incorporating plants on, over, and within our built environment can ameliorate at least our own neighborhoods and urban heat islands.  Greening buildings and creating green infrastructure is what we all do in some form or another – it’s our industry, so let’s get involved!

In the past many have devoted their time and effort to promoting Earth Hour, March 25; Earth Month, April; or specifically Earth Day, April 22.  But these events are meant to serve as reminders that our planet should be revered and protected every day of the year, not just sometimes.

So what can we do?  Beyond writing and calling your state senators and representatives, why not join or see what The Climate Reality Project, Earth HourEarth MonthEarth Day and these other organizations are doing, too: 350.orgNRDCAvaaz, League of Conservation Voters, Sierra Club, EARTHJUSTICEGreen AmericaGreenpeace, Scientists’ March on Washington, ACORE, WWF, Environmental Defense Fund, The Nature Conservancy, and of course Green Roofs for Healthy Cities, our own North American industry association, among so many others!

Of course, we would love to have you join/follow us our social media networks, too, to voice your opinion within our specific industry: Greenroofs.com Network on LinkedIn; Facebook; Twitter; GreenroofsTV Channel on YouTubePinterest; and our eNewsletters.

Earlier this month on January 18 both NASA and NOAA announced that 2016 was the hottest year ever recorded (since 1880), to the indifference of climate-deniers.  Previously, 2015 held the title of Warmest Global Year on Record.

Happy New Challenging Year 2017 Let's Get Involved Climate Change

In the past I have always believed in supporting our U.S. presidents – at least having respect for the Office of the President, but for me currently there is very little to respect in the persona of Donald Trump.  But with enough voices and actions, perhaps we can create some change and at least make his tenure palatable.

And to this effect, we hope you join us for our 4th biennial 2017 Greenroofs & Walls of the World™ Virtual Summit starting on April 9 through April 30. With a distinguished Advisory Group for 2017 and easier and more socially interactive online platforms, come network with us along with a host of fellow influencers from around the world, and bring your voice to the global table.

Happy New Challenging Year 2017 Let's Get Involved Climate Change

Here’s to peace, love, happiness, thriving business, and action for all in 2017!

By Linda S. Velazquez, ASLA, LEED AP, GRP
Greenroofs.com Publisher