CELEBRATING THE POWER OF GRASSROOTS CLIMATE ACTION
The 14th Annual Vermont Energy and Climate Action Conference took place virtually for the second year in a row. This event centers and celebrates the critical role that Vermonters in every community play in moving our state to a more clean, efficient, affordable and equitable energy future. This year’s event featured an overview of the federal, state, and local context for climate action, including the hot-off-the-presses Climate Action Plan, federal legislation, and local success stories. Starting December 6th, we hosted workshops on four key topics throughout the week. Thanks to those of you who joined us for a great series of events!
The five-day online series took place on December 4th, 6th, 7th, 8th & 9th.
All sessions were made available for free, thanks to our generous sponsors. Read more about our amazing sponsors and the critical role they play in helping us move to a more sustainable energy future in this Resource Provider Summary and below.
Welcome & the Landscape of State and Federal Climate Action Opportunities
Vermont’s (New) Climate Plan, the Legislative Landscape and Potential Transformational Federal Action
Jared Duval, Energy Action Network and Vermont Climate Council Member
Senate President Pro Tem Becca Balint
Camila Thorndike and Ethan Hinch, Office of U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders
Workshop: Environmental and Climate Justice in Vermont: Issues and Opportunities
There is a clear need – with growing momentum to meet it – to formally establish and more fully focus on environmental and climate justice in Vermont. In this workshop, get rooted in what environmental and climate justice means (or should mean) in Vermont. Hear about important co-created work that has been done to put forward and work to formally enact an “EJ” policy in Vermont this coming year. Get an update on the nascent but needed Vermont Climate Council work to focus – procedurally and in ensuing programs and policy design – on a just transition. And hear about opportunities to help achieve greater economic and environmental justice in rural, low income and overburdened communities, including an overview of some specific transportation and energy innovation programs and the potential transformative opportunities via incoming federal funds to advance a just transition.
Workshop: Building Back Better in Vermont: The (New) Climate Action Plan and a 2022 Legislative Look Forward
There is so much happening – with the potential to, finally, be necessarily transformative to create a more sustainable economy and climate-resilient future. In this workshop, hear all about it! Go deeper on what the hot-off-the-presses Climate Action Plan means for accelerating state-level climate action. Get a sense of the 2022 legislative session climate and energy priorities – and how you might help advance them. And learn more about what the American Rescue Plan Act, Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act and the potential “Build Back Better” bills mean for funding and accelerating essential climate action.
Workshop: Creating Resilient Communities in the Face of Climate Change
The global pandemic has prompted many Vermonters to think more deeply about preparing their families, neighborhoods, and communities for future disruptions. At the same time, many communities are already experiencing the impacts of climate change and at a pace quicker than predicted. What can we do now to help our communities adapt to better withstand the impacts of climate change and protect the most vulnerable? What special role can town energy committees play in moving these initiatives forward?
In this workshop, we explore the critical role resilience plays in climate action and several strategies to build community resilience, including:
Designing communities to enable more walking and biking
Re-localizing our food system
Protecting soil and ecosystem health
Building community and neighborhood connections and cohesion
Workshop: Tips, Tools and Strategies for an Effective Energy Committee
It isn’t easy being an energy committee! We’re constantly trying to do as much good as possible with limited resources and volunteers. In this session, energy committees from across the state will gather together to talk about ways to get more done without burning out in the process. Our session hosts will share some of the latest resources and strategies for effective committee meetings, project planning, public outreach, and more. Then we’ll break out into small groups to compare successes, challenges, and learnings related to common energy committee challenges:
How to grow and engage your team of local climate and energy volunteers
Ways to prioritize inclusion and equity in your committee’s work
Developing strong partnerships
How to do effective communications
Engaging your Select Board and other municipal staff/leaders
Sarah Brock, Vital Communities
Jon Copans, Vermont Council on Rural Development
Bekah Kuster, Vermont Natural Resources Council/VECAN, AmeriCorps Member