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Blog Action Day, Part 3

Heard of the Renewable Energy Initiative? If you haven’t yet, you might very soon — thanks to New Hampshire-Vermont Schweitzer Fellow Daniel Abelson (Franklin Pierce Law Center). Abelson launched the Renewable Energy Initiative–aimed at creating an alternative energy initiative designed to interpret the meaning of renewable energy statutes and informing local government officials about renewable energy benefits created by new legislative measures–as his Schweitzer project.

“I am researching the legislative intent of the Renewable Energy Property Tax Exemptions (REPTE) and collecting data from municipalities on how they are administering the REPTE,” Abelson says. “The goal of my project is to promote the use of renewable energy systems by advocating laws that create incentives for homeowners to invest in renewable energy systems (i.e. solar panel systems, windmills, wood-burning furnaces). The overall policy behind the project is to help reduce dependence on fossil fuels and to preserve a suitable environment for our communities.”

Abelson’s hope is that the Renewable Energy Initiative will address climate change and the sustainability of the planet by promoting the implementation of renewable energy systems that lessen our dependence on energy that emits pollutants into the atmosphere. “Hopefully my program will  promote the use of more eco-friendly energy systems that limit climate change and reduce greenhouse gas emissions,” Abelson says.

He’s already making headway: “Talking to town government assessors and staff about my project has provoked discussion of the positive effects of sustainable energy on climate change,” Abelson says.”

Albert Schweitzer’s environmental legacy has resonated with Abelson in the work that he’s doing. “Albert Schweitzer, part by determination to help sustain the environment and part by necessity, used the resources available to him to construct a hospital for locals in Gabon,” Abelson says. “While my project is not as ambitious as Dr. Schweitzer’s, I do try to keep his determination for environmental conservation in mind by advocating for the use of basic resources, such as solar, wind, and wood, to limit our effect on climate change and advocate for a sustainable planet.”

Abelson believes that “the most important thing a person can do to combat climate change is to try to make an impact by applying his/her interests towards limiting the effects of climate change.” For example, he says, “if a person enjoys traveling, he could do something as simple as walk, bike, or carpool in order to emit less harmful gases that negatively affect our climate. If someone else has in interest in designing homes she can install energy efficient appliances to help conserve energy.”

“What matters,” Abelson says, “is that a person simply pursue his/her interests and be environmentally conscious while doing it.”