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Columbia Missourian

GUEST COMMENTARY: Early movements coming from the 'Peoples' Visioning'

By Monta Welch
January 23, 2013 | 6:00 a.m. CST

In response to events in our city, the nation and world, on the heels of the economic collapse and tenuous early recovery, and with obvious earth warming, validating all the science in predicting what would happen with one little exception: The conservative estimates of the scientists regarding time frame for all this to occur, and our own very local concerns "in all this."

The "Peoples' Visioning" took shape to update, activate and quickly address these profound problems, at the grassroots level, by interacting with citizens, local government and other entities to move quickly on these problems. We were formed to address climate concerns, bring good jobs without tax giveaways, harming education or blighting our neighborhoods using EEZs, tax increment financing and the like. We have and continue to invite all to attend and get involved to resolve these and other huge issues facing our community by working together.

The Peoples’ Visioning’s first idea was moved forward in public comment at Columbia City Council on Dec. 3 when we backed up our request to raise Columbia’s Renewable Energy Standard to 80 percent by 2015. (See George Kennedy's column on the issue.) This goal is well behind other leading cities including Oak Park, Ill., with 100 percent renewable energy; Cincinnati looking to follow Oak Park; Vancouver, Canada, at 90 percent; and Eugene, Ore., with 88 percent. Until our request to raise Columbia’s Renewable Energy Standard, there had been little or no movement on this idea for Columbia. After explaining the Peoples’ Visioning could also take Columbia a large part of the way to this goal with our concepts and ideas, Mayor Bob McDavid requested we go to the city’s boards and commissions, which has begun.

At the boards and commissions, we have been explaining that we want, among other ideas to reach this goal, for Columbia to move to a more decentralized, 99 percent model, rather than our present, centralized, 1 percent model. We want to generate renewable energy on every rooftop or sunny spot in the yard, for everyone wishing to participate, so even our small homeowners can and will want to take advantage of eventually becoming a local mini power producer. The decentralized model has numerous advantages:

People's Visioning has been discussing this decentralized model and ideas with other community entities as well and have ideas to accomplish this 99 percent, decentralized model and other important steps to reach the goal of at least 80 percent by 2015. It is already possible to purchase renewable energy on the market for just a few cents more than dangerous, dirty fossil and nuclear fuel. Whatever we do not generate with the 99 percent, decentralized model can then be purchased on the market at even more competitive prices two years from now.

Join Peoples’ Visioning. Bring your passion and ideas — there’s much more to accomplish, and your ideas are desired. Learn more about this or other topics Peoples’ Visioning addresses such as education, neighborhoods, development and finance, public health and many more. Find out how to get involved through Peoples’ Visioning on Facebook or at www.ColumbiaClimateChangeCoalition.org.

Monta Welch is the founder and president of the Columbia Climate Change Coalition and Interfaith Care for Creation.