How energy and growth are impacting climate change + what you can do

In a discussion of sustainability, climate change is the elephant in the room. That’s why our July Grow Smart CLT panel discussion was all about energy and climate change.

Over 100 people filled the brew room at Three Spirits Brewery for the panel discussion, where our three panelists shared their perspective of potential solutions to our energy and climate challenges in the Greater Charlotte region, as well as their take-home advice for how attendees can make a difference on this issue. Here’s what they had to say.

Women smiling

Joel Olsen (O2emc) said the most important thing people can do to make an impact is vote in elected officials who will bring what the people of NC want, which is clean energy. He also shared some easy, hands-on ways to reduce energy consumption by taking steps like changing your weather stripping or insulation. DeAndrea Salvador (RETI) spoke passionately about the need for community partnerships around energy issues, whether it’s with other advocates, faith communities, or businesses. She said she encourages people to “be an energy hero in your own way”, by reducing energy consumption however they’re able. Emily Yates (Envision Charlotte) shared an update on the City’s new sustainability resolution, and that Envision Charlotte is working to develop a greenhouse gas baseline for our local area. She said an easy thing you can do is educate yourself about clean energy, and who you’re voting for. “Living consciously” is something to remember because when we build, what we’re putting on the ground could shape the next 100 years of our community.

DeAndra speaking

The panelists also fielded audience questions and delved into the complexities of energy and climate policy, tackling questions from “How do we get City employees to turn off their idling cars?”, to “How do we shift from centralized energy production to a dispersed model?” to “How can we combat misinformation campaigns about energy?” Check out our Facebook Live video to see the full Q&A session!

Shannon speaking

Here at Sustain Charlotte, we believe that one of the most important things we can do to reduce energy consumption and battle climate change is to grow our city in a more compact way. Charlotte residents drive a collective 10 billion miles each year, and 28.3% of our energy consumption comes from transportation. That’s a lot of fossil fuels being burned. But with more compact and walkable development, the need to drive is greatly reduced, and with it our energy consumption. Another way is to develop transportation systems that encourage car-alternatives for travel, like biking, walking and public transit. (If you agree, you should sign our statement of support for a safe, connected transportation network.)

Missed the event? View the photos and video here. Photos by Grant Baldwin Photography.

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