Buffalo’s green future is a grass-roots effort

The Nov. 22 News headline, “City’s future looks very green,” is a dream come true. Ever since former Common Council President James Pitts launched the Green Gold Development Corp. in 1997, there has been a solid core of local folks working to build the renewable energy sector as a source of green jobs and truly sustainable development.

These efforts included the Learning Sustainability Conference in 2001, which brought Jane Goodall, David Suzuki and other luminaries to Buffalo. From there, the Wind Action Group arose, and the Steel Winds project was soon producing clean wind energy at the old Bethlehem Steel site.

Add to that Walter Simpson’s successful efforts to green the University at Buffalo campus while saving millions, Joan Bozer starting the Western New York Sustainable Energy Association, the Rizzo brothers founding Solar Liberty, Sam Hoyt’s Sustainable Business Summit, Daemen College’s Sustainability Center, Sen. Antoine Thompson’s annual Green Expos, PUSH Buffalo’s Green Jobs/Green New York program, the GreenWorks speaker series, thousands of local businesses and homeowners who have insulated their buildings, powered them with the wind and sun and heated and cooled them with geothermal heat pumps, the Community Foundation for Greater Buffalo’s push to create the WNY Environmental Alliance, IBEW Local 41’s solar training program, and the Sierra Club and United Steel Worker’s local clean energy campaigns.

All of these efforts have built a solid foundation for Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s initiative to rebuild the economy on a sustainable, green energy foundation. Cuomo is on to something. Hundreds of citizens stand ready to support this visionary way forward. May it stay true to its promise and provide good jobs and a solid future for our community as the human race struggles to blunt the ravages of climate change with a rapid transition to clean energy.

Bill Nowak