By Elle O’Casey

For decades, the US Conference of Mayors has been meeting annual to discuss some of the most pressing issues of the day and plan for the future. The Conference was born out of a crisis. During the Great Depression, mayors across the country banded together and went to Congress asking for federal assistance. Congress responded by sending $300 million in federal aid to cities. This action contributed to the formation of the Conference of Mayors and their charter was written the same week as the inauguration of Franklin D. Roosevelt. Today, the Conference still focuses on addressing solutions to pressing crises.

This year’s summit was held in Miami Beach, an area threatened by climate change and sea water rise. Given the urgency of climate change and the profound need for action, this cohort of mayors representing 1,408 cities made tremendous progress at their meeting last Monday. Together, they approved a resolution to support 100 percent renewable energy in their cities by 2035, signing onto the “Ready for 100” campaign to endorse a move toward renewable power.

The Sierra Club and a select group of bipartisan mayors conceptualized the Ready for 100 campaign and looked to town and city leadership across the country to help enact it. The club asked these local leaders to pledge support and make a commitment to achieve 100 percent clean, renewable energy by 2035.

The Conference of Mayors agreement adds to another another landmark announcement that appeared in the Standard this June. The story featured Woodstock’s Municipal Manager Phil Swanson and his decision to sign onto the Ready for 100 campaign. This decision affirms Woodstock’s commitment to 100% renewable energy by 2035. Woodstock now joins a strong and motivated cohort of towns and cities across the country committed to embracing sustainable, clean energy.

Mr. Swanson’s decision underscores Vermont’s commitment to a sustainable future and demonstrates that the strong, locally-based activism here in our state can make a difference nationally. We are a people always looking for ways to activate the change we seek and leading the nation forward, particularly when it comes to sustainability.

There are a number of ways to get involved at the local level to impact change and contribute toward a renewable energy future. Sustainable Woodstock’s Energy Group meets Monday, July 10 at 5:30pm in the Town Hall and the Sustainable Woodstock Recycling Group meetings July 19 at 4:00pm at Mon Vert Cafe. These and many other local groups help contribute to meeting our renewable energy goals and our recycling targets. Come join the discussion and add your ideas and perspective to the mix.

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