Our View: Red + blue = GreenPolitical divide and fierce debate on issues is not something new to our country’s history, nor is it a reality that will be going away anytime soon.
By: Stephanie Bennett, Staff Intern, Woodbury Bulletin
Political divide and fierce debate on issues is not something new to our country’s history, nor is it a reality that will be going away anytime soon.
Though the current level of hostility between Republicans and Democrats has been palpably increasing over the past decade, there is one issue that is and should be getting support from both sides of the aisle: Energy conservation and sustainable development.
I realize a few red flags may be waving for those who think of “going green” as code for pushing a liberal agenda, but taking measures to curb our energy consumption and conserve natural resources has been a joint political effort in Washington and in Minnesota.
After all, it was our very own budget-bludgeoning Gov. Tim Pawlenty who signed the Next Generation Energy Act of 2007.
The bill, which outlines a list of state-wide energy saving goals and strategies, passed in the State House 125-9 and in the Senate 59-5. That’s impressive for a supposedly stealth left-biased piece of legislation.
Woodbury has been at the forefront in supporting the energy policies already encouraged by the state, and taking measures to educate the community on ways to conserve locally.
Did you know that all cleaning products used in Woodbury city buildings are eco-friendly at a cost comparable to standard cleaners? This may seem like an irrelevant step in a much larger process, but it gets to the heart of what sustainable development is all about.
Sustainability, as defined by the United Nations, simply means “meeting the needs of the present generation without sacrificing the ability of future generations to meet their own needs.”
Achieving this goal begins at the local level, with small, seemingly pointless efforts like using canvas instead of plastic bags or fixing a drafty window in your home.
Woodbury city government has been endorsing these policies not because of a hidden liberal agenda, but because it benefits all community members, no matter whom they voted for.
The remodeled city hall is an excellent example of that commitment. Construction techniques in city hall, like large exterior windows to maximize natural light, all the way to the geothermal heating and cooling system in building’s addition, serve as examples of how sustainability can be integrated as the city continues to develop.
Woodbury is one of the fastest growing communities in Minnesota.
Green building initiatives in residential and commercial buildings will not only save money on energy costs, but will increase property values and contribute to an overall better quality of life for Woodbury residents now and in the future.
It would have been irresponsible if the city had not taken steps to include sustainability in future endeavors.
The formation of the Sustainability Committee in 2007 was a necessary part in researching and recommending sustainable policies to the city council.
This bipartisan body also informs the community on green initiatives via newsletters and workshops, making the work they do as transparent as possible for anyone wondering exactly what “sustainable development” means.
Disseminating useful and relevant information is a public service, not a means for restricting individual energy use.
Benjamin Franklin wrote, “When the well’s dry, we know the worth of the water.”
People across Minnesota have been realizing the worth of our natural resources right now, regardless if they are particularly moved by Al Gore’s roving line graphs.
Woodbury’s commitment to sustainable development is not something that should divide. It is something to be proud of.