Letter: Natalie Pien, Leesburg

Editor: Today we know that the window of opportunity to address climate change is rapidly closing.  We have less than 12 years to take bold, unprecedented steps to avert runaway global warming.

  • Regionally, the cover of a recent Sunday Washington Post Magazine is about climate change, as were 24 other covers.
  • Locally, in the summer of 2018 Loudoun newspapers reported the heavy spring rains devastated many local farmers who said that there is no “normal” weather now due to climate change.

On May 6, scientists released a landmark United Nations report that linked the loss of species to human activity (including climate change) and explained how those losses are undermining food and water security, as well as human health.

Loudoun 2040 is an excellent tool to address climate change.  The addition of Sustainability Policies is a step in the right direction.  While it references the outdated 2009 County Energy Strategy, it does not include specific Energy Policies.  The climate crisis is caused by our addiction to fossil fuel energy. New energy policies are needed to address that addiction. 350 Loudoun and Sierra Club, Great Falls Group submitted new Energy Policies to the Loudoun Board of Supervisors.

The Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments, to which Loudoun belongs, adopted the Regional Climate and Energy Action Plan, 2017 – 2020.  It provides comprehensive guidance on how to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from all sectors including the built environment, transportation, land use, and purchasing practices.  Other jurisdictions in the Metropolitan area have adopted specific plans to aggressively reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

Loudoun, too, needs such plans. As the old saying goes, “If you are not part of the solution, you are part of the problem.” To be part of the solution, Loudoun 2040 must include energy policies to make a rapid transition off polluting fossil fuels to clean, renewable energy.

Natalie Pien, Leesburg

7 thoughts on “Letter: Natalie Pien, Leesburg

  • 2019-05-13 at 10:07 am
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    I’ve been hearing how the world is going to end for going on 40 years, all because of evil human beings.
    The latest prognostication is “12 years and we’re all gonnnnaaa die!!!” Unless we give up things like heat, AC, our cars, the trucks that stock our grocery shelves throughout the day, air plane travel, basic farming which fills out guts, you name it — it’s all evil to the true believers.

    There’s 400,000 plus folks in Loudoun County. How, exactly, would we feed everyone without fossil fuel? How would we heat all of our homes in the dead of winter? Wood? Cut down all the trees? Pray for a sunny day and hope we get enough juice to feed the expensive batteries to run a heater? How? How would we clear the snow off the roads? Would we even need roads anymore, since everyone would be on foot, or bikes or wagons pulled by livestock.

    How, exactly, would we run the internet? How, exactly would our telecommunications system work? How would ours kids get to school? How would teachers get to school? Do we go back to one room school houses, and pay teachers with chickens and semi-ripe fruit? What about sanitation? What heats our water? What happens when there is no water coming out of your tap? Where does the sewage go? How do hospitals operate?

    There’s no practical thought put into these grand slogans and (100% historically wrong) claims of doom unless we give up the highest standard of living ever achieved by human beings. Who’s first to give up their 2019 way of living?

  • 2019-05-13 at 10:17 pm
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    Chris’s answer to any and everything is to simply push the issue onto future generations – let them deal with the mess we are making – as long as we can continue our excesses, who cares what our kids and grandkids have to worry about?

  • 2019-05-14 at 10:36 am
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    Simple platitudes don’t cut it YN. Will you stop driving where and when you want? Stop going to fully stocked grocery stores where any food is always available and reasonable priced? How about that hot shower — you going to give it up? Fresh and safe water? Or are you up for toting buckets up from the creek every day? Are you ready to give up your comfortable Loudoun County home? Because for most of us, without reliable electricity, it’s just a cold and drafty barn. You ready to dig an outhouse?

    What livestock are you going to get to keep you alive? What crops are you planting to see you and yours through the long cold winter? Are you going to take the mythical electric trains on vacay? Where does the electricity come from to make the trains run? Ask California how that worked out? How are you going to get to work? Will you even have a job anymore? Explain it to us. Explain it to the kids how their life style will come to a screeching halt. We’re all ears.

    I’m not pushing things off on the kids; I plan to ensue the kids and grand kids have it way better than we do. Nobody, repeat nobody, does conservation and enviro protection better than America.

    Tell us YN, how is it folks keep blowing past all of these “expiration dates” on the end of the world, yet we’re all still here and doing fine? When folks keep saying ‘it’s now, or we’re all dead,’ reasonable people start lumping you all in with the hard core religious cult people who keep missing their end of the world due dates. Crazy talk.

    By the way YN, where is the sternly worded condemnation lecture from your “Loudoun Interfaith Clergy” gang about the hundreds of Christians slaughtered in Sri Lanka over Easter? Dog ate it? Left it on the bus? I’ve been looking for it everywhere. Not a peep! What gives?

    • 2019-05-14 at 8:50 pm
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      Chris – your attitude toward the world is despicable and short sighted – but that is what we expect from you

  • 2019-05-15 at 11:39 am
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    Call me whatever, but you haven’t answered even one practical question I pose YN? I’m not the one espousing the elimination of fossil fuels within 12 years. I’m not the one who makes cult-like prognostications of a world of doom with silly “5 years left; 500 days left,” and now, “less than12 years left” statements.

    Eliminate fossil fuels in 12, or even 20 years, and most people you know would starve to death within weeks. Entire regions would be depopulated. Without dino juice, Wegmans would cease to exist in a week, as would every grocery store in Loudoun. The fresh fruits and veg we so take for granted would disappear in 3 days. The logistics of growing, processing, and moving a single avocado from Cali, or Mexico to your granite countertop is mind boggling. What are we going to eat?

    The shear amount of electricity it takes to run the tens of thousands of pumps just in Loudoun alone nearly defies belief. Without those pumps running 24/7, you’d have no clean water, no water pressure, no sewage treatment or disposal (that’ll be swell for the environment!). Sewage would back up into most homes rendering them uninhabitable overnight.

    No food, no water, no sanitation, and we’d have third world diseases running rampant in two weeks. Ain’t the completely preventable measles outbreak bad enough? Pile on typhus and a host of other bugs most of us have never been exposed to, and folks would be dropping like flies. The hospitals would close minus strong steady electric current 24/7. Insulin must be refrigerated constantly; without it, diabetic’s are a countdown clock. And you call me despicable? I’m based in the real world.

    What do we replace fossil energy with? What? Tell me. Solar is great and it has a lot of promise, but it’s just not capable yet of replacing what we know and expect when we flip on the switch in the bathroom. Wind generators are hideous to the view scape and slaughter millions of birds and bats every year, all while producing negligible wattage even when they’re actually running. The only real answer are modern nuke plants, but we both know there’s no way in Hades enviros will ever go for that. You call me short-sighted, but you can’t answer a single of these simple, practical issues.

    Say, did you find that stern condemnation about the Easter massacres from the ole’ “Loudoun Interfaith Clergy” yet? Yeah… me neither.

  • 2019-05-16 at 7:02 am
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    Chris – your approach to any debate is that you insist that if you are not given a not a total solution that solves every and all issues, you won’t accept anything. The world is not a zero sum game and sometimes we must accept iterative solutions – start with one part and then work towards the bigger solution. Your way says to do nothing at all since you can’t have it all. This approach means to make no changes ever and make no progress ever.

  • 2019-05-16 at 11:59 am
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    Not the case at all YN. Folks make proclamations and demands backed up by outlandish statements instilling fear and doubt — “Do as I say, or else all of your kids are gonna die!” That doesn’t earn the speaker credibility. Rather, it makes them sound crazy.

    I understand Ms. Pien’s beliefs. I get that she wants the to eliminate all fossil fuels. I totally get it. Yet there’s never a serious discussion of what replaces this energy source and provides a reasonable standard of living? What is it? Solar is great, but it can’t, nor will it ever, provide the vast amounts of steady electricity we need to survive as a modern society. I’m not looking for a total solution, I’m asking the most practical of questions: What are we going to replace it with?

    This is full frontal science: How will we survive at the most basic level of today’s standard of living without fossil fuel based energy? What is the replacement in 12 years or less? That is what I’m asking.

    Until there is, we’re being browbeat by a few fringe voices into regressing to an 1800’s lifestyle. That, is not going to carry with anyone. Are you going to disconnect your electricity meter or gas line? Give up the phone? Air travel? Fresh food? Clean water and sanitation? Modern medicine? Of course you’re not! Neither is Ms. Pien, or anyone else who espouses these ridiculous notions.

    Instead of engaging me, you should be engaging Ms. Pien, and asking her what are we going to replace fossil fuel based energy with? That is a practical question which deserves a practical answer.

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