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Green Plans in Action: State of the States and Climate Change

The Western Climate Initiative

Arizona produced its Climate Change Action Plan in 2006. Members of the Climate Change Advisory Group included Government (U.S. & Native American), NGOs, Business, Industry, and Academia. Website: www.azclimatechange.gov/

California, which contributes 2% of worldwide GHG emissions, produced its Draft Scoping Plan in June 2008. A final Plan will be adopted in Jan. 2009, to include a mix of regulations, market mechanisms, fees, mandatory reporting and third-party verifications, and voluntary measures. The Plan will be updated every 5 years with continuing review of new tools or strategies as they emerge for possible incorporation on an ongoing basis. The Draft includes goals to decrease carbon dioxide, methane, nitrous oxide emissions from sources both inside and outside the state, including electricity, coal, landfills; a system of monitoring, reporting and enforcement. Sustainability issues include water use and quality, soil erosion, environmental justice, food prices, genetically modified organisms, biodiversity, labor rights, income distribution, working conditions, land rights. Education is a central theme, including developing a climate change education component by 2010 for the State's K-12 curriculum; transparency in developing regulations, including local community meetings, affected industries at workshops, workgroups and seminars; a small business outreach package with a calculator to assess energy use and guidance on best practices. The state's intent is that "every agency department and division will bring climate change considerations into its policies, planning and analysis." European Union is one model being studied by California policy makers as it shapes its plan. Website: www.arb.ca.gov

Montana is a member of the Western Climate Initiative. In late 2007 its Climate Change Advisory Committee issued its Climate Change Action Plan, whose members included representatives from government, labor, utilities, ranchers, education, and agriculture. Website: www.mtclimatechange.us/index.cfm

New Mexico's Climate Change Action Council reviews and provides recommendations to the Governor's office regarding climate change policy. The Council is chaired by the Secretary of the Environment and has representatives from the Departments of Agriculture; Economic Development; Energy, Mining, and Natural Resources; General Services; Health; Indian Affairs; and Transportation. The State Engineer, Director of Game and Fish, and the Governor's Advisor on Energy and Environment will also serve on the Council. The New Mexico Climate Change Advisory Group is a diverse group of stakeholders from across New Mexico who prepare reports for the Governor. Website: www.nmclimatechange.us

Oregon is developing its Climate Change Agenda for the 2009 legislative session. This will include development of a cap and trade proposal to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in the region; a comprehensive water package to address reduced snow pack leading to low water levels in the summer; steps for energy efficiency and the development of green building, a green collar workforce and electric cars; and, resources for state and local agencies to integrate climate change policy and analyze impacts of climate change on our water, forest, coastal and transportation resources. In January 2008 the governor's Climate Change Integration Group issued its Framework for Addressing Rapid Climate Change. Members of the CCIG are a cross section of government, business, religion, nonprofits, family farms, and academia. Website: http://www.oregon.gov/ENERGY/GBLWRM/index.shtml

Washington's 2009 Climate Change Agenda includes development of a cap and trade proposal to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in the region; a comprehensive water package to address reduced snow pack leading to low water levels in the summer; steps for energy efficiency and the development of green building, a green collar workforce and electric cars; and, resources for state and local agencies to integrate climate change policy and analyze impacts of climate change on water, forest, coastal and transportation resources. The Climate Advisory Team, a group of stakeholders representing industry, tribes, environmental groups, local government, and public agencies, issued its interim report recommendations in early 2008 on reducing GHGs and maximizing changes for a green economy. Website: www.ecy.wa.gov/climatechange/index.htm

Washington's Guiding Principles of Sustainability are: There is inter-dependence between ecological, economic and social factors in achieving sustainability. The concept of waste can and should be eliminated. Healthy natural systems are the basis for sustainable communities and economies. Future generations should be equal partners in decision-making. Local decisions have regional and global implications. Incentives are necessary to create sustainable behavior. Investment in the design phase of a process or product drives sustainable outcomes. Human relationships and a collaborative approach lead to sustainable solutions. Website: http://www.ecy.wa.gov/sustainability/

Utah created a Blue Ribbon Advisory Council (BRAC) on Climate Change, whose purpose is to provide a forum where representatives from government, industry, environment and the community can have a dialogue regarding the options available in Utah to address climate change. It is anticipated that the BRAC will deliver a report to the Governor that incorporates a set of policy options and recommendations formulated and voted on by the BRAC. Economics will be considered in the recommendations. BRAC issued its report in late 2007 addressing agriculture and forestry, crosscutting, energy supply, residential/commercial/industrial, transportation and land use. Website: www.deq.utah.gov/

The Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative

Connecticut implemented a Climate Change Action Plan includes components addressing transportation and land use; residential, commercial, and industrial energy use; agriculture, forestry and waste emissions; electricity generation; public education. Website: www.ctclimatechange.com/index.html

Delaware's Energy Plan is being updated, as required every 5 years. Workgroups are focusing on reducing: energy use, the environmental footprint of energy use, transportation energy, energy transmission and distribution systems; and supporting clean energy businesses. Website: http://www.delaware-energy.com/ . Delaware's Climate Change Action Plan is at: http://ceep.udel.edu/publications/globalenvironments/reports/deccap/fullreport.pdf

Maine issued its Second Biennial Progress Report in January 2008 under its Climate Action Plan. Maine's Department of Environmental Protection oversees the climate work as well as its other programs. http://www.maine.gov/dep/index.shtml

Maryland has established a Commission on Climate Change whose members include representatives from academia, business, industry, environmental groups and government. In January 2008 the Commission issued its Interim Report. A Plan of Action is scheduled to be released in July 2008. www.mdclimatechange.us Maryland also has an Office for a Sustainable Future within its Department of Natural Resources. www.dnr.maryland.gov

Massachusetts passed a Green Communities Act in July 2008 to lessen dependence on fossil fuels and encourage the use of clean technologies that don't contribute to global warming, including rebates for installing insulating windows and more efficient boilers. Homeowners and businesses will be able to rent solar panels from utilities to avoid expensive up-front costs, and the law makes it easier for homeowners who have installed wind turbines or solar panels to sell any surplus energy. The state's Department of Environmental Conservation also oversees programs to reduce emissions from transportation and stationary sources, renewable energy development, and smart growth in addition to its other environmental programs. Website: www.mass.gov/dep/about/missionp.htm

New Hampshire's Department of Environmental Services published NH's Climate Change Challenge document with input from legislators, business and industry, environmentalists, government agencies, educators, researchers, and other stakeholders and interested parties through their participation in an external workgroup. The Climate Change Challenge identifies over 70 recommendations that can be implemented by individuals, businesses and government through a combination of voluntary and regulatory approaches. www.des.state.nh.us/

New Jersey has an Office of Planning & Sustainable Communities within its Dept. of Environmental Protection. www.state.nj.us/dep/opsc/ . Programs in the state include a Clean Car Program, Renewable Portfolio Standards effective 2009, a Clean Energy Program, a Consolidated Savings Program, a Cool Cities Initiative, a State Procurement and Facilities Policy, a Green Homes Office, and an Environmentally Sustainable Communities Initiative. (www.state.nj.us/globalwarming/initiatives/). In January 2008 New Jersey created an Environmental Stewardship Initiative via the Compliance & Enforcement Division of the Dept. of Environmental Protection. This is a voluntary program for businesses that want to go beyond mandatory minimums. New Jersey also New Jersey's emerging Energy Master Plan can be found at: http://www.nj.gov/emp/

New York State's Department of Environmental Conservation is preparing a State Energy Plan for mid-2009 in addition to its participation in RGGI's cap and trade program. Other programs include a Renewable Energy Portfolio Standard for 25% of electrical supply to be renewable by 2013; green buildings; an energy efficiency plan, including decoupling utility profits from energy consumed and strengthening efficiency of appliances, building, and state government. Website: www.dec.ny.gov/60.html

Rhode Islandhas had a Greenhouse Gas Process (RI GHG) since 2002 that is guided by a stakeholder working group process. The stakeholder committee includes representatives from government, nonprofits, business, and academia. http://righg.raabassociates.org/

Vermont's Department of Environmental Conservation. The Governor's Commission on Climate Change is managed by a plenary group from the following sectors: energy, manufacturing, agriculture, forestry, tourism and recreation, heath care, non-governmental organizations, academia, and state and local government. The group issued its Final Report in late 2007: www.anr.state.vt.us/air/Planning/htm/ClimateChange.htm. The Department of Environmental Conservation is responsible for coordinating the GCCC and the Plenary Group. http://www.anr.state.vt.us/dec/dec.htm

Pennsylvania's Green Government Council is co-chaired by the Secretaries of the Department of Environmental Protection and the Department of General Services. The GGC was established in 1998 to help state government embed environmental sustainability throughout its policymaking and operational processes. It is co-chaired by the secretaries of the Departments of Environmental Protection and General Services. www.gggc.state.pa.us/gggc/site/default.asp?gggcNav=|

In July 2008 the state passed legislation initiating the development of a Climate Change Action Plan based on the 2007 Climate Change Roadmap report by the Pennsylvania Environmental Council. The Roadmap was prepared by academic, agriculture, capital investment, energy generation, environmental, and government stakeholders. www.pecpa.org/roadmap

Midwestern Regional Greenhouse Gas Reduction Accord

Illinois created its Climate Advisory Group in 2006 with representatives from business, labor unions, energy and agricultural industries, scientists, and environmental groups throughout the state. The Group is chaired by the head of Illinois' Environmental Protection Agency. Illinois has a number of additional initiatives including conservation tillage for improved carbon sequestration. www.epa.state.il.us/air/climatechange/

Michigan has established a Climate Action Commission within its Department of Environmental Quality. The Council is scheduled to issue a comprehensive Climate Change Plan by the end of 2008. http://www.miclimatechange.us/

Minnesota issued its Sustainable Development Initiative in 1993. www.mnplan.state.mn.us/pdf/sdiprim3.pdf. In 2007 Minnesota convened a Climate Change Advisory Group, which issued its Report in 2008. The Advisory Group represents energy, manufacturing, agriculture, forestry, tourism and recreation, health care, non-governmental organizations, academia, and state and local government. www.mnclimatechange.us/MCCAG.cfm

Wisconsin joined the Great Lakes Compact in early 2008. The GLC's mission is to protect the Great Lakes by managing water quantity and promoting water conservation and efficiency. The state's Green Tier program includes its Green Tier Advantage, a program that helps businesses be healthy community members by beefing up methods to save dollars and the environment. Wisconsin's Environmental Initiative, modeled after Minnesota's EI, encourages collaboration between the Dept. of Natural Resources & private business to do well by doing good, a voluntary program that provides incentives including streamlined, but not reduced, environmental regulations for businesses. www.wi-ei.org/ The Governor's Task Force on Global Warming is working on a Final Report, which will included policies on and about conservation and energy efficiency; transportation; carbon tax/cap and trade; electric generation and supply; forestry and agriculture; industry; waste materials recovery and disposal; co-generation; and water conservation. Website: www.dnr.wi.gov/environmentprotect/gtfgw/templates/index.html#Sustainability

West Virginia has a program of Environmental Management Systems for Business, which provides a series of workshops run by its Department of Environmental Protection. The DEP has been running a study of using growing switch grass on former surface mine sites for use as a biofuel. www.wvdep.org/


RRI remembers Tom Fookes

By Peggy Lauer, Southern CA Coordinator for RRI’s Forces of Nature & former RRI Green Plans Director

Posted on August 29, 2013 by admin

Thomas Winston Fookes, a great friend to us at RRI and one of our first Forces of Nature, passed away on August 2 in his homeland of Aotearoa (New Zealand). Tom was a passionate practitioner and teacher of green planning and part of a tight knit network of green plan advisors from New Zealand, the Netherlands, other European states, Canada, and Mexico City. Numerous colleagues, students, friends and family the world over will sorely miss him.

Tom’s life was brief by most counts, but from his early 20s to his death in his 60s, he accomplished more for his community, his nation, and the field of planning than anyone RRI has met over the past 25 years. When I worked with Huey Johnson and our small RRI staff throughout the 1990s, he was a frequent speaker at conferences and workshops. He last joined RRI for a Green Planning conference held in conjunction with the 2008 Bioneers Conference. Tom was the one to orient visitors from the U.S. on his nation’s green plan – the Resource Management Act – during RRI’s Seeing is Believing policy tours to New Zealand. He knew everything about it, as he was a chief architect of the RMA during its first five years of inspiration and implementation.

Working within the Ministry of Environment, Tom was the author of some of the RMA’s important elements. He was behind the most extensive public participatory process in New Zealand history, an effort that gathered voices from the Coromandel in the North to the wee islands off the southernmost coast of the nation. For several days, people were encouraged to ring up the Minister, Geoffrey Palmer, and talk with him directly about environmental problems that concerned them as well as related societal issues. This democratic effort was the foundation of the restructuring of the nation’s environmental laws, a stark departure from the top-down approach of asking citizens to respond to a government proposed solution.

The key to Tom’s genius was his willingness to take chances in an arena that is risk-averse. He saw the enormous wave of challenges standing in the way of the Ministry’s inclusive big vision for forestry, fisheries, agriculture, habitat protection, air quality – and its relationship with industry. But, by turns of focused hard work and a mischievous, delightful way of tweaking the system he served, Tom was able to grab hold of opportunities that few in his generation noticed. From behind the scenes Tom always worked to turn those into opportunities for New Zealanders.

As a top student in geography and urban planning in the early 1960s, Tom studied best practices from around the world. He had the good fortune of studying for two years in Athens, Greece with Constantinos Doxiadis, who had assembled leaders in disciplines concerning the built environment. Together they developed Ekistics. Tom fell in love with the work and its practical complexity. He worked closely not only with Doxiadis, but those he brought to Greece, such as the anthropologist Margaret Mead and cutting edge architects, such as Buckminster Fuller and Lord Llewelyn Davies.

Tom brought home what he experienced in Greece, but he “left his hat” there, as he put it, which he went back often to retrieve. Years later Tom became president of the Society of Ekistics, and he and his wife, Susan, bought a second home where he went on to spent a month at a time, refreshing his vision for the environment and society.

My most vivid memories of Tom were from my three months in New Zealand in 1998. He had recommended me in my application for a visiting lectureship in the University of Auckland’s Planning Department. I learned I’d been accepted for the fall semester the day after I learned I was pregnant. I remember being startled when I saw the subject line of Tom’s email, which read, “Congratulations!” My first thought was, how did he know I’m having a baby?

Four months pregnant and with a light load as a guest lecturer on international green planning, I was lucky enough to audit one of Tom’s graduate town planning seminar classes. He listened more than spoke, gently guiding students’ ideas by giving them larger context. His enthusiasm and passion for his work was amazing to behold, particularly as he had recently been diagnosed with cancer and had begun his first round of chemotherapy. Despite his diminished energy, he pushed himself to maintain his workload. This was a concern to his family, but they knew how integral his work and intellectual rigor was to his quality of life. Tom’s colleague, Dr. Michael Pritchard, alternated with him as dean of the school. He watched over me, and oriented me to the campus and the politics. Although I lived on campus, Tom and Susan welcomed me to spend time with them and two of their young adult children. Catherine was studying art in college and Ian was in his first year in philosophy. Their older daughter, Emma, whom I had met as a university student years earlier, was now a law clerk for the government in Wellington. As an English teacher, Susan opened my eyes to the challenging education system in the nation’s largest city, and insights into the changing relationships between the Maori and other Polynesians and the dominant culture of the Pakeha, the Euro-New Zealanders.

It was exhilarating and calming to be pregnant in New Zealand, lecturing at a world-class university, in a city experiencing a cultural explosion in art, food, and wine (though I couldn’t drink it), and having a winning rugby team, the Auckland Blues, to cheer on. It was great to find truly cage-free eggs and chicken, and to walk and swim every day. And it was useful to read what others in resource management on an international scale saw in New Zealand’s green plan. Here was a small, largely agrarian, “laboratory” country – the first nation in which women voted, and where nuclear ships have been barred since 1987 – that was ending agricultural subsidies and using watersheds to redraw political lines. Dr. Fookes was among those explaining the eventual benefits to the people – and the environment – which was also so important to the nation’s economy.

My time there as an expectant mother, seeing a midwife and meeting Maori and Samoan mothers-to-be, led me to a deeper place spiritually – enhanced by the nation’s stunning physical wilderness. New Zealanders grok that Mother Earth is very much alive and always creating. Some of the majestic mountains are still active volcanoes, as well as sacred sites, revered by the Maori and acknowledged by the Pakeha. The sweeping seascapes and fiords sometimes shift during earthquakes. The rivers are pulsing with fish. Whatever their background, New Zealanders live closely with nature – and seemingly have it in their DNA from childhood. Many give back to this land. Tom did, with passion, savvy, and deep love.

I came home with a fresh perspective on the merits and challenges of green planning – and continue to use Tom’s wisdom in my work. On a personal level, I credit Tom and his extraordinary family for my deep love of New Zealand. On a trip to the Bay Area in 1998, Sue and Tom met my baby, Jackson Lee Lauer Meuse. Both Catherine and Ian each met him here a few years later.  My son spent three months of his inner water life in New Zealand, a place that nurtured both of us, and I believe he will return someday to Aotearoa to meet the Fookes family. While he won’t meet Tom, he will know many stories about him. Jackson will then see that so much of what Tom Fookes did for his beautiful and resourceful country is still there to behold. We will carry Tom Fookes’ legacy with us always.




























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