Guest Author - Sharon Bejin
For those who live in and around the Great Lakes region, they can look forward to a new president who will work to help the environment. Whether you voted for Barack Obama or not, we all know that something more needs to be done to improve and ensure the quality of our land and air. The passing of laws to clean up our environment is needed and if we all work together we can incorporate new ways to help undo the damage that has been done to the planet.
Fortunately, both President-elect, Barack Obama and his Vice-Presidential pick, Joe Biden, recognize the need to make changes in the way the environment is used and conserved. Together, they plan to decrease emissions of pollutants by reducing carbon emissions by 80 percent by the year 2050. They plan to increase the usage of renewable energy with the use of wind and solar systems. For some, 2050 seems far away, but if nothing is done right now to prevent further environmental damage, our country wonít be a pretty place to life in a little more than four decades.
As a senator, Obama fought to keep our nationsí waters clean from pollutants, such as mercury and invasive species. The Great Lakes will benefit from his efforts with the Great Lakes Restoration Act that allows grants to improve water quality, restore wetlands, reduce non-point source pollution, and protect wildlife along the shorelines. The lake waters will be saved from further pollutants along and near the shorelines. Any reduction in both air and water pollution will benefit the Great Lakes.
Other things on their agenda include improving the efficiency of new buildings being erected. This will cut down on the emissions released from these buildings by 2025. They will offer grants to those states that make changes in their building codes to incorporate energy efficiencies in their plans.
Obama and Biden would like to put together a Green Job Corps that will allow youth to become involved in improving their communities with energy conservation. This will give youth the opportunity to work and improve their environment locally, while at the same time instill a sense of pride in their neighborhood.
We have all enjoyed materialism to the max in the last several decades and the damage to our environment is finally catching up to us. Efforts by everyone may help undo some of the destruction already done. Anything that we can do will allow us to leave our children and grandchildren a better place to live. Their health and safety depend on our efforts.