This time last month, I was hammering away on my February editorial and simultaneously listening to President Obama’s sixth State of the Union address to Congress and the nation.
I kept the YouTube stream of the speech in a tiny video player in the lower-right hand corner of my screen. The first 30 minutes of the Jan. 28 address followed the similar pomp-and-circumstance formula of past speeches. There were senators and representatives reaching over one another in hopes of shaking the president’s hand, a plethora of standing ovations, and hilarious facial expressions from Vice President Joe Biden and Speaker of the House John Boehner.
Discussions can be made about the importance of a State of the Union address and whether any of the goals laid out by President Obama are truly attainable. That’s not my area of expertise. Even so, I believe it’s important for the nation to tune in and listen.
And as I typed away about the 2014 AHR Expo, one line from President Obama made my eyes shift back down to that miniscule video stream.
“The debate is settled. Climate change is a fact.”
I don’t need to tell you there are still people out there who will argue tooth and nail that climate change — or global warming — is not a proven scientific fact. Cable news networks have very high-profile “debates” — and I use that word quite loosely when it comes to both Fox News and MSNBC — that is just perpetual noise in the echo chamber of those networks’ base viewership.
If you look deeper you’ll see that with each passing year the gap of nonbelievers shrinks. A Pew Research Center poll from 2013 says that 69% of Americans believe there is solid evidence of global warning. In addition, according to a release from the Yale Project on Climate Change Communications, 83% of Americans believe the United States should make an effort to reduce global warming — even if there are economic costs. That’s a significant number of proponents and a large number of people willing to spend money to curtail climate change.
Personally, I want to see enhanced incentives set by the federal, state and local governments to sweeten the deal for constructing green commercial buildings. What more can be set in motion to help incentivize energy-efficient retrofits in the commercial sector?
In another Yale Project survey, 36% of people polled have (or would) join a campaign to convince elected officials to pass more legislation on renewable energy and energy efficiency.
I don’t expect unilateral agreement with my beliefs on global warming. I never expect that, but I do believe this industry has the strength to coalesce and make change happen. I’ve seen it in code development, embracing technology and robust finished applications.
As Abraham Lincoln said in the Gettysburg Address, this country is still a government “of the people, by the people, for the people.” As a nation we must become more engaged in what takes place in Washington. We complain about the tiresome antics and lack of progress made inside the Beltway, but this industry is especially strong. Uniting and making a singular voice heard will make a difference.
Are you willing to get involved? It may take time, but it’s the only way a change is going to come.