Last login: Sat Oct 8 11:37:08 on ttys004 Daniels-MBP:~ danielgumbiner$ curl 90 DAYS, 90 REASONS

Megan Mayhew Bergman
Megan Mayhew Bergman lives on a small farm in Vermont with her veterinarian husband and two girls. Scribner released her story collection Birds of a Lesser Paradise and will publish her forthcoming novel Shepherd, Wolf.

REASON 93: Because the Obama administration’s stimulus package put $9 billion toward green energy.

I live in rural southern Vermont where, during the warmest year on record, we had only one significant snowfall, which was backbreaking to local ski mountains. That challenging winter season came on the heels of a devastating fall, where many of our roads and bridges were wiped out by Hurricane Irene. While the economy had already hurt many of Vermont’s small businesses, two bad tourism seasons were a death knell to many local shops and restaurants. Living here, I see directly how environmental pressure trickles down into economic and individual stress.

Tomorrow it will be 67 degrees on a day at the end of October; I’ll run in a t-shirt and shorts. Last year was the first year in nearly a decade when my husband and I didn’t strike off snowshoeing or cross-country skiing. The maple sap started running in February, weeks earlier than usual. We harvested ten apples from our seven-tree orchard because of a bizarre late frost. We usually have a freezer full of our own cider, but this year we have eight half gallons. If this warming pattern continues, with intense weather events increasing, I see Vermonters eventually losing a way of life, one I want to share with our two girls.

We need a president who isn’t afraid to say that climate change is real, who knows that seeking out alternative energy sources is the only ethical, sustainable way forward. We need a president who puts money behind green energy. Mitt Romney has been clear that controlling global warming is not on his priority list. He isn’t willing to admit that human choices like burning fossil fuels contribute to global warming, has no desire to control emissions, and chides Obama’s attention to green energy projects as “chasing fads.”

The Obama administration directed nine billion dollars of stimulus money to funding green energy initiatives, specifically solar and wind projects, which resulted in over 5,000 new jobs. Thanks in part to Senator Bernie Sanders' efforts, $69 million of stimulus money was invested in a smart grid in Vermont, which helped us cut energy use and incorporate green energy sources like solar into the power grid. Additionally, $16.5 million was applied to retrofit business and homes, making them more energy-efficient or reliant on renewable resources.

While I question his support of fracking and “clean coal,” I’m confident that Obama will do more to combat climate change and energy dependence in the next four years; he has to. Romney doesn’t listen to scientists. Romney listens to big donors, Big Oil, and economic interests. A state like Vermont, without a flashy private sector presence, would mean little to him.

Time is running out to address climate change. It may not be convenient, but it’s critical. Who can we trust to steward not just our economy but our environment as well? Here in Vermont, we know they’re inextricably linked, and that quality of life for ourselves and our children depends on climate action. I trust President Obama, who believes in climate change and green energy initiatives, and not Romney, who lacks the humility to listen to scientific experts, and has promised to approve the Keystone Pipeline as one of his first acts as president.

My husband and I had an energy audit scheduled for this week; we had to reschedule because it was too warm for the auditor to conduct his tests. But we’re determined to start doing more of our part to reduce energy and oil usage, and we trust Obama to move America forward on green energy if given four more years in office. We want lower oil bills and reduced dependence on foreign oil, but we also want clean air and curbed emissions. We want to cast a vote for a candidate who will help us keep four healthy seasons in Vermont, so our children and grandchildren know what it’s like to taste fresh syrup in March, or what it sounds like to walk on fresh snow through the quiet Green Mountain woods.

Megan Mayhew Bergman
 Shaftsbury, Vermont

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Daniels-MBP:~ danielgumbiner$