The Race to Zero Carbon as an act of Historic Preservation

Do you want to keep America beautiful? The mountains majestic, the waves of grain amber and the plains fruited? Then you need to roll up your sleeves and engage in the ultimate act of historic landscape preservation.

chat Posted Apr 12, 2017 by Rezwan | Category : Narrative Vision
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Historic preservation is driven by the desire to preserve, conserve and protect buildings, landscapes or other objects of historical significance.

If you want to keep America the way it is (or at least keep it from turning into a desertified hellscape) then racing to zero carbon is your patriotic duty.

The Red Coats, Red Menace, Red Heat is coming!

Our mighty nation is heating up because of climate change. A rising, red hot menace. If it’s too abstract to think of an average rise in temperature, think of how many more days above 100 degrees each state will experience.

Those rising temperatures - rising quickly, persistently and pervasively - will have a profound effect on the landscape. Ask any farmer.

Faced with this invasion of heat, we need to take action. To switch off of fossil fuels. Our patriotic duty is to declare independence from burning fossil fuels and other practices that increase green house gases and drive up the heat.

For inspiration on how to declare independence from things, let’s check in with to the father of our country. 

George Washington and the Race to Zero Carbon

The idea for Footprint to Wings came to me while living in South Bound Brook, New Jersey. Our mission is to turn the Race to Zero Carbon into a national pastime and coach each state to win. That’s a revolutionary mission! Except we’re not declaring independence from the British, we’re declaring independence from fossil fuels.

The spirit of the Revolution is strong in South Bound Brook. Wandering across the Queens Bridge one day, I stumbled upon this sign which told the tale of this humble town in the Revolutionary War.

It was here in 1777 that George Washington executed a decisive retreat in the Battle of Bound Brook. (The classic “decisive retreat play”!) In light of the battle, he withdrew the garrison and moved part of his army from Morristown to a new camp near Middle Brook, just north of Bound Brook. This set them up to be well protected between the first and second Watchung Mountain ranges. From the top of the Watchung Mountains, Washington monitored British movements while the two sides continued to skirmish.

With this decision, Washington set a great example for us.

Every now and then, you need to step back and get an overview of the territory, the fields of battle, the way your opponents are moving.  You’ve got to scout out the opposition and get a sense of the whole.

Washington did it in the Revolutionary War, and we are doing this in the Race to Zero Carbon.

And when you look out from the mountaintops, you don’t just see the moves of the opposition. You also see the landscape. The gorgeous, rugged country you are fighting for. For the race to zero carbon, this is also a reminder that the land itself will be shaped by whatever decisions we make, so take a good look at the landscape before you leap into action.

The Landscape Impact of Your Decisions

Landscapes don’t just shape themselves. They are acted on by many forces.

For a look at how the American landscape has come to be what it is, check out this awesome book, The Making of The American Landscape.

The book helps you see how we got to the present American landscape, step by step, layer by layer. From colonial times to the present. Waves of migration and technology and cultural preferences swirling over the natural landscape and transforming it to what we have today.

The next chapters are yet to be written. We are living them now.

And they can be written in such different ways.

As the planet heats up, America heats up. Spring comes earlier. Summer is longer and hotter. What are we doing? Will we keep burning through the fossils as quickly as possible? Are we racing to an endless hellish summer? What impact will this have on the American landscape? How different will America be?

But what if we don’t race to endless summer? What if we decide to pivot and race to zero carbon instead?

That’s a different story, and it opens up yet more landscape options. We have some big lifestyle and energy infrastructure choices ahead of us and they have very different landscape impacts. Are you clear on the options and the impact?

You should know there are options. There is nothing inevitable about the direction we are headed in and you need to be informed. Our pledge to you is to do our best to clear up the information signal about the options to help you make decisions and pick a portfolio of solutions you will be happy with. Then it’s up to you to run with it!

In the meantime, for some fun inspiration and insight, check out Mr. Money Mustache’s review of “Happy City”

Drill Book to Playbook

Speaking of books, one of our main tools to win the Race to Zero Carbon is, drumroll please .... the Zero Carbon Playbook! We are writing the playbook now, headquartered right here in South Bound Brook.

It is most auspicious to be writing a zero carbon playbook on this spot of the planet. Why?

Before executing the decisive retreat, George Washington spent a lot of time here in South Bound Brook. He would head over to the Staats House, which was the headquarters of General Von Steuben.  The General is one of the architects of the Continental Army. He taught the essentials of military drills, tactics, and discipline. In short, Teamwork!  And he wrote the book that was the standard US drill manual until the War of 1812. That’s right! The Revolutionary Playbook!

Yes! The spirit of drills and coaching is strong in this land! 

Do you feel that spirit?

Our revolutionary ancestors, in their fancy hats, broke down problems, got perspective, put together teams, and won a revolution. That energy is always going to be in South Bound Brook, Bound Brook, New Jersey, America! And we’re tapping into it now.

Except now, from the top: it’s not the British we want independence from, its fossil fuels.

So let’s put on our tricornered hats and secure this land and the climate we’ve grown accustomed to. Let’s race to zero carbon as the ultimate act of historic preservation.

Are you ready for the next steps?

Take Action Now

1. Take the Proclamation Challenge and get your town’s commitment to the Race to Zero Carbon. #ProclamationChallenge

2. Become a Zero Carbon Coach by taking this Pledge. #ZeroCarbonPledge

3. Develop and Grow a local Race to Zero Carbon Chapter. If you’re in New Jersey, join the South + Bound Brook Chapter on Meetup. We need to get together and grow as a team. Talk strategy, zero carbon plays, and more. The movement is only as strong as the people who show up and get involved. We need YOU!

4. Engage on Social Media. Like our Facebook Page, follow @Footprint2Wings on Twitter, let’s talk!

5. Take the Tablecloth Challenge, and post on social media. #TableclothChallenge

To zero carbon and beyond!

-Coach Rezwan

The Parable of the Virgins
Footprint to Wings partners with the March for Science

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