On Earth Day's 50th anniversary, lend a hand (Shawn Garvin)
One day before Earth Day, in this News Journal column, DNREC Secretary Garvin observes that “while people celebrating our planet won’t be able to gather together as we have in past years [due to the coronavirus], it has never been more important to renew our commitment to protect the environment and redouble our resolve for sustainable change.”
To begin with the negatives, “Delawareans are already affected by the impacts of climate change,” as shown by their responses to a recent UD survey. And 77% of them “believe climate change will harm future generations.” However, it's not too late to pass cleaner, air, water and land on to our children and grandchildren, DNREC is on the job, and there are various ways in which everyone can help. (1) Collect rainwater, which will reduce the amount of runoff and wastewater that eventually ends up in our waterways. (2) Compost your yard waste and kitchen scraps, creating a free nutrient-rich soil conditioner. (3) Support Delaware’s Universal Recycling program, which is cost-effective and promotes jobs and economic growth. Don’t forget to completely empty and rinse all containers, leaving no food waste residue, and put the recyclables in the container without bagging them. Also, plastic bags should go in the trash container. (4) Plant trees, which help save energy, clean the air, and combat climate change. (5) Drive an alternative fuel vehicle; “clean transportation” is a crucial strategy in Delaware for reducing greenhouse gases and meeting the challenge of climate change. Rebates of up to $2,500 can be obtained, and additional manufacturer offers may be available. More rebates are available for charging equipment and for workplace charging stations that benefit businesses and their employees. (6) Buy solar panels, etc. And working with some Delaware utility companies, the Green Energy Program offers grants and rebates to offset the cost of installing solar panels, etc. in homes and businesses. There are also federal tax breaks for residents who install solar. (7) Weatherize your home. Fix drafty doors and windows, poorly insulated walls, etc. And once the coronavirus has passed, our Weatherization Assistance Program will resume helping low- and moderate-income homeworkers undertake this kind of projects.
Visit https://declimateplan.org to learn more about how climate change is impacting Delaware, and how you can help as we work to develop a climate action plan for the state. And notice that like Earth Day itself, DNREC is celebrating its 50th Anniversary this year. Some of the ideas are probably more trouble than they are worth, notably rain barrels and a properly organized composting operation. Others only work due to the subsidies provided, which of course are then charged to taxpayers. Trash companies are reportedly losing money on the recycling program due to low value of the scrap materials and high separation & handling costs.