Meet A Policy Advocate
A story on action-taker and policy advocate, Ted Bergh, by Connie O'Connor. This article is featured in the November 2022 edition of The Ripple.
Ted Bergh has been enjoying CNC’s trails and programs over the past 25 years and feels a “lift” when surrounded by the trees in the forests. He understands that everything is connected and that human existence depends on a healthy, biodiverse ecosystem. He does what he calls “the normal, personal conservation practices"; he uses sustainable energy, recycling, less consumption, local purchases, policy advocacy. He has a deep commitment to “leaving the earth in better condition for our children and grandchildren.”
After retiring from a human service charitable agency, Ted had more time to address what he considers to be the biggest environmental challenge of our time: extreme weather events becoming more prevalent and getting worse. Although individual action is important on many levels, he explains that major changes are needed at the policy level to significantly reduce carbon emissions. These system-level changes require Ohio state legislative action, and so that is where Ted began to focus his conservation efforts.
Ted became knowledgeable on the issues and began talking to others about “improving the outlook for our shared future”. He advises finding trustworthy sources of information, to start, then talking about it with family and friends, and eventually calling your representatives about environmental legislation is helpful. Small acts will lead to cumulative effects and larger actions.
Ted would rather be in the woods than on the phone, writing letters, or attending meetings. “For me,” he says, “I sustain my commitment to address policy change by spending time in nature where I feel spiritual growth and restoration.” But he believes that environmental action sometimes requires political involvement. It is a responsibility he takes seriously. He says, “With the recent large number of extreme weather events, there is less denial of climate change. There is still active discussion over what should be done. It’s best to respect everyone’s opinion as you continue to develop your views and take actions to foster policies that can decrease and reverse ecosystem damage.”
Ted advises visiting the Ohio Environmental Council (https://theoec.org) as one good place to get started. He also encourages everyone to reach out to their elected officials and ask that they consider the impact each of the following bills could have on their constituents, the state, and our future:
HB 389 - Energy Efficiency (Sponsored by Representatives Seitz (R)- Leland (D)) Three committee hearings and passed unanimously out of committee in Nov 2021. Waiting for a house leadership to call a floor vote. This bill will restore incentives offered by utilities for energy efficiency. It is a more modest version of the efficiency program canceled in 2019 by HB 6. It has widespread support although some are critical for level of compensation included for utilities to operate programs.
HB 429 - Energy Jobs and Justice (Sponsored by Representatives Weinstein (D) – Howse (D) and 10 cosponsors.) Introduced to House, no committee meetings. This bill emphasizes jobs and justice on a path to 100% clean energy by 2050. “The Energy Jobs & Justice Act is a comprehensive clean energy policy rooted in equity, economic development, and accountability. After decades of energy policy that largely favors utilities and fossil fuels, Ohio needs forward-looking solutions that are good for our economy, our communities, and our health. The Energy Jobs & Justice Act ensures that Ohio emerges with an energy policy designed for all Ohioans.” See https://www.energyjobsandjustice.org/
SB 307 - Accelerating Ohio’s Auto Industry (Sponsored be Rulli (R) with 6 bi-partisan co-sponsors.) Has received three hearings with significant proponent testimony. The bill offers sales tax incentives for EV purchase, assist Ohio manufacturers to retool for EV production, provide worker training for Ohio EV production, incentives for EV charging stations, requiring for Ohio to increase state vehicle EV purchase.
HB 351 - Repeal/Refund HB 6 Coal Plant Subsidies (Sponsored by Representatives Lanese (R) and Stoltzfus (R)). Three committee hearings completed and could now be voted out of committee and move to a floor vote. Eliminates electric rate payer subsides of two inefficient and 70-year-old coal plants.
HB - 450 - Community Solar. (Sponsored by Representatives Baldridge (R) and Lanese (R)). This bill allows for development of community solar projects. Third committee hearing held on February 9. Could move forward for House vote if approved by leadership. Faith Communities Go Green has initiated climate action through post card signings at Earth Day, the Green Umbrella Midwest Sustainability Summit, and its advocacy outreach.