Soaring energy prices and the threat of summer power shortages in the United States have prompted the Earth Day 2001 network to focus on renewable energy.
SEATTLE, Washington, US, 2001-04-12 <SolarAccess.com> “America has an historic opportunity to lead the world into the solar era,” says network chair Denis Hayes. “Instead, President Bush has proposed a budget that slashes the solar energy budget by 54 percent. Bush would cut the wind energy budget by 48 percent, the geothermal budget by 48 percent, and the hydrogen energy budget by yet another 48 percent.” Hayes is former director of the federal Solar Energy Research Institute. “Such crippling cuts in America’s most promising energy sources echo the disastrous assault on renewable energy made by the Reagan Administration 20 years ago,” he explains. “In real dollars, Bush proposes to spend less than one-fourth as much on solar energy as the Carter Administration spent. If the Carter solar program had not been scuttled in 1981, America would be obtaining more than 20 percent of its energy from renewable sources today, and California would have no energy problem.” Renewable energy and energy efficiency will be the focus of many of the 600 events scheduled to take place across the United States on Earth Day. Planned events include fairs with stages that are powered by solar energy, symposia, exhibits, demonstrations, conferences, walks, runs, river clean-ups, school energy audits, and other activities highlighting environmental protection. “Most of the world’s environmental problems are tied to our use of polluting energy sources,” adds Jan Thomas, U.S. program director for Earth Day Network. “From urban air pollution to global warming; from destruction of pristine lands to nuclear waste; from endangered species to endangered humans – whatever your individual concerns about the environment, they are probably linked to energy.” Earth Day 2001 is designed to motivate millions of people around the world to play a part in the transition to renewable energy and energy efficiency. The Earth Day Network website offers personal and political actions to encourage a healthy environment and a clean energy future, and is a guide to Earth Day activities around the world. The Network encompasses 5,000 groups in 184 countries. It is chaired by Denis Hayes, the national coordinator of the first Earth Day in 1970, an event that is credited with starting the modern environmental movement. Hayes was chair of the first international Earth Day celebration in 1990, and of the 30th anniversary of Earth Day last year. Former Senator Gaylord Nelson, the founder of Earth Day, is EDN’s Honorary Chair.