I’m optimistic and inspired today.
I was invited to offer and sign Pig Farm at the 3rd Annual Arkansas Environmental Policy Summit in Little Rock last month.
The program featured former Colorado Governor Bill Ritter as keynote speaker. Governor Ritter successfully implemented progressive energy policies during his tenure transitioning Colorado into a new energy economy, including a 30% Renewable Portfolio Standard and a Clean Air Clean Jobs Act. His administration focused more on the economic sustainability of clean energy than the politically divisive climate change debate to gain policy consensus, though he believes strongly in the latter. He continues his efforts as founder and director of the Center for the New Energy Economy at Colorado State University, providing technical assistance across the country and the globe.
Gov. Ritter’s view is a most hopeful one. As is Fayetteville, AR’s 2018 commitment and plan to transition to 100% renewable energy, and even Springfield’s own City Utilities realization of 30% renewables in 2017, headed toward 45%.
There was also a spirited panel discussion about the Buffalo River CAFO featuring Gordon Watkins, President, the Buffalo River Watershed Alliance, and others, which generated a good deal of interest in Pig Farm.
Networking opportunities abounded. As one speaker noted, standing in front of more than 150 environmental leaders from Arkansas left him with “goose bumps,” and a whole lot of hope. All of this in a time of unprecedented attacks on progress in understanding and protecting our environment.
I was glad and honored to be invited to participate. And as noted above, feel better about the strength and effectiveness of local grass roots activism after rubbing elbows with it.
The Buffalo River CAFO saga drags on through ups and downs, including refusal of the Arkansas Department of Environmental Quality to renew the pig farm operating permit which expired earlier in the year, the intervention of a circuit judge with a stay on them issuing a final ruling, and a scheduled December 4, 2018 hearing to determine whether the court has jurisdiction to issue such a stay. I’m not a lawyer, but even if I were, I’m not sure I could find logic in this trail of loose ends.
Stay tuned! One attorney opined that the matter will ultimately be decided by the Arkansas Supreme Court. The future of America’s first national river to be determined in court. Can you believe it?
The bottom line for me is that there are many concerned and like minded souls around, and it was inspiring to spend time with a bunch of them. Whether it is clean water or air, or points in between, our obligation to the future is clear.
Enthusiasm and passion are contagious!
Coming next, November 30th – ANOTHER BOOK?
(PS. I stayed busy with other Pig Farm book signings throughout October. My traditional “first” at Mother’s Brewery (courtesy of owner Jeff Schrag), Barnes and Noble – Springfield, Barnes and Noble – Little Rock, and The Library Center. Lots of interesting and good conversations with book buyers!)