Healing The Divide

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These are some of my favorite reasons to be cheerful. Around the world, the right and left are increasingly ensconcing themselves in their partisan bubbles, behaving and voting along tribal lines rather than according to what might actually make the most sense for them. These examples (and I’d love to have some from the liberal/Democrat side too) show that this needn’t be the case.

  Dale Ross, mayor of Georgetown, TX. Photo courtesy of Katie Hayes Luke for the Guardian.

Dale Ross, mayor of Georgetown, TX. Photo courtesy of Katie Hayes Luke for the Guardian.

Georgetown is about thirty miles outside of Austin and one of Texas’s most conservative suburbs. The city's mayor, Dale Ross, a staunch Republican in what is considered oil country, made a decision in 2015 for the area to get ALL its energy from renewable sources.

He looked at the numbers, thought long-term, ignored party orthodoxy and did what was best for his constituents.

“The revolution is here,” Mr. Ross said. “And I’m a good little Republican, a right wing fiscal conservative, but when it comes to making decisions based on facts, that’s what we do.”

That folks can think rationally and ignore partisan dogmas, on both sides, is hugely encouraging.
TV weathercasters are coming around too. And like the mayor, they are ignoring partisan politics.

  Photo courtesy of Jennifer Rukavina.

Photo courtesy of Jennifer Rukavina.

In 2008, Jennifer Rukavina, the weather person from WPSD in Paducah, Kentucky went to the Glen Gerberg Weather and Climate Summit—a Colorado-based conference for climate scientists and weather casters for the first time. She said that she changed her mind about humans being the cause of climate change after hearing from the scientists themselves. She said, “I decided that I needed to educate myself, because the meteorologist is often viewed as the station scientist. I am a registered Republican, but I don’t let politics dictate what good science is to me.”

Likewise, Tomás Regalado, former Republican mayor of Miami, recently initiated a $400 million bond to deal with climate change in his city.

  Flooding in Miami. Photo courtesy of Reuters/Zachary Fagenson.

Flooding in Miami. Photo courtesy of Reuters/Zachary Fagenson.

“I think it’s a clear message to Washington that the majority of people in Miami at least understand and see this as a nonpartisan issue,” he said.

So… The bottom line sometimes trumps politics, and as renewable energy costs keep falling, the chances for cooperation between blue and red states will increase. Energy may help heal the partisan divide!