Food: To be more healthy, support our local farmers and growers, and increase food security: Increase consumption of locally-grown food to 80% by 2032 with individual and community gardens, community storage facilities, affordable CSAs, farmers markets, and farming diversity.
Energy: To reduce our electric bills, live more sustainably and provide for the energy future of the next generations: Reduce energy use by 50% and increase use of renewable energy by 80%. There are three major (3) areas: electricity use, heating, and transportation. Goals can be achieved through conventional efficiency improvements and supplemented with lifestyle changes such as reducing the temperatures of our thermostats. Make transition to renewable energy more economical using energy mix of more wind and solar, mass transit, and electric vehicles. Manage biomass in a way that complements conservation of land.
Shelter: To improve the comfort of our homes sustainably: Reduce the energy used for heating by changing the construction and renovation of our homes. Use more stringent energy standards than currently exist for new houses. Use locally sourced materials. Create new jobs with retraining in how to work with local materials, such as clay, stone, straw, and timber using old methods “reskilled” to new techniques.
Transportation: To reduce our carbon foot print [C02 levels]: Decrease our reliance on fossil fuels for transportation. Support 80 mpg fuel efficiency in conjunction with 1/3 of car fleet that is electric or plug-in hybrid by 2032. For improved health, promote increased use of public transportation, car pooling, ride shares, biking and walking.
Lifestyle: To promote resilience: Encourage a renewed spirit of self reliance with improved health because we walk more and eat locally grown, unprocessed foods; we decrease energy use because we take public transportation or share rides; we build a stronger community because we know our neighbors. These lifestyle changes are needed in order to achieve the Shumlin administration’s plan for 90% renewable energy by 2050.
2 Year Contingency Plan: To meet any disaster with resilience: We can meet catastrophic events because we have stored food and water, and fuel to mitigate the effects of the disasters. We educate ourselves on the steps we must take to meet power outages for long lengths of time, using strong neighborhood networks to keep track each other and care for each other in the event of an emergency.
Where Do We Go From Here? Reach out to the public with workshops and presentations to planning committees, community and activist groups. The change we want to be must occur at all levels: personal, commercial and government levels. Implement the plan on a personal basis and support others wishing to make similar changes. Continue study of these issues as new options develop, so we better understand the economic changes that will occur as we move to a more localized economy. Come join us!
Click here for the full written version of the Energy Descent Action Plan.