The Roanoke Times and national media recently covered numerous climate strike activities with lots of signs, chants and speeches. Since this climate emergency impacts us all, where do we go from here? What can we personally do? First, educate yourself. Do you know who Greta Thunberg is? Have you learned actual details of the proposed Green New Deal? Do you know where your power comes from? Ignorance is our biggest challenge, but as sixteen-year-old Greta says: “The climate crisis has already been solved. We already have all the facts and solutions. All we have to do is to wake up and change.”

Next, create change yourself. Energy efficiency is critical. Switch to LED light bulbs. Energy Check of Blacksburg improved my house with added insulation and “air-sealing.” It’s critical each of us invest in insulation, new windows, appliance upgrades, etc. to increase efficiency. My power bill was $13.61 this month. Why? I invested in solar panels. On sunny days my electric meter runs backwards and sends excess power to my neighbors’ homes. At night my needs come from the grid. I hope to add battery storage to eventually provide total energy independence. Yes, this can be a big investment, but prices are rapidly falling, and solar is now cheaper than power from gas or coal. Ask yourself honestly: “Can we any longer afford NOT to do these things?”

Finally, get involved. Corrupt leadership, inaction and stupidity got us into this mess. We are the ones we have been waiting for to bring about real change! Support renewable energy. Vote out politicians who will not take decisive action. We must immediately halt dangerous fossil fuel projects like the Mountain Valley and Atlantic Coast pipelines. We must subsidize renewables rather than the fossil fuel industry. Join the Sierra Club, Wilderness Society, Greenpeace or other environmental organizations. Support the local pipeline fight at powhr.org.

I’ll finish with another quote from my hero Greta: “You say you love your children above all else and yet you are stealing their future in front of their very eyes.” WE MUST TAKE ACTION NOW!

DAVID SERIFF

BLACKSBURG

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