The 13th Annual Vermont Energy and Climate Action Network Community Energy and Climate ActionConference took place virtually this year. This event centered and celebrated the critical role that Vermonters in every community play in moving our state to a more clean, efficient, affordable and equitable energy future. This four-day event featured an overview of the federal, state, and local context for climate action, and big, timely, potentially transformative opportunities.
Saturday, December 5th – New federal, state, and local opportunities for climate action
Monday, December 7th – Five concurrent workshops on The State of Solar, Weatherization & Efficiency Funding, Transportation Opportunities, A Legislative Look Forward and Organizing and Communicating Virtually and Beyond
Wednesday, December 9th – A deep dive on energy equity co-hosted with Renewable Energy Vermont
Friday, December 11th – A special video message from VECAN Partners, regional networking roundtables, and a closing keynote from Congressman Peter Welch
Keynote From Congressman Peter Welch
Congressman Peter Welch closes out the 2020 VECAN Conference, sharing his hopes and expectations for climate action under the Biden Administration.
06:24 – A New Day Dawns: Federal Climate Action Opportunities and Challenges
Darren Springer, Former Office of U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders, Burlington Electric Department (current)
Katie Thomas, Office of U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders
The once-bustling job-creating solar sector in Vermont has quieted dramatically. In this workshop, get an update on what’s happening in the solar sector in Vermont, what’s not, and why. Also hear about some creative strategies to bring solar to more vulnerable, lower income-earning Vermonters, as well as approaches to realize multiple benefits by advancing pollinator-friendly solar opportunities.
The Legislative Look Forward and Opportunities in the Global Warming Solutions Act
In this workshop, get an overview of the potential landscape for climate and clean energy progress in the upcoming 2021-2022 legislative biennium and how new, challenging realities might influence what’s possible — and when. Also, hear from a newly appointed Vermont Climate Council member about the overarching climate action framework of the Global Warming Solutions Act — and ways you might be able to get involved.
Whether you look at greenhouse gas emissions, relative energy use, or household spending on energy, the transportation sector poses among the biggest challenges for Vermont. It can be hard to know where to start to address this issue, especially at the community level. This workshop will allow participants to learn about some of the challenges, significant opportunities and inspiring examples of solutions for transforming Vermont’s transportation system to meet our climate goals. Get an update on state and regional initiatives and hear about specific ways that local communities can be involved in this work.
Weatherization and efficiency investments save money, reduce energy burdens, benefit public health and put people to work in well-paying jobs. There are dollars to do this work, though understanding the funding sources available in Vermont for weatherization, energy efficiency, and transportation can be confusing and frustrating. In this workshop, hear from experts about existing funding sources, how they are generated, regulated, implemented and how you might access them. Also, hear potential ideas for expanding these investments to support local efforts and make more, much-needed climate progress.
Tools, Tips and Strategies for Community Organizing and Effective Communications - Virtually and Beyond
This workshop will provide an overview of tools and approaches to engage your community, both virtually during this pandemic and beyond. We will also discuss strategies for organizing in communities, informed by recent experiences with volunteer mutual aid networks. Then, hear examples of effective online communication around climate and strategies for reaching beyond the choir in your communications. Finally, experts will help you identify clear action opportunities for consistent messaging in the coming year, and offer ideas about how to utilize the unique power of storytelling to advance critical climate work in your community.