OPINION: Strive to live Earth Day every day

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I remember as a child blowing out my birthday candles and making a wish that my birthday or Christmas or any gift-giving occasion could be every day.

As an adult, I now know it is better to give than to receive. One of the greatest gifts we can give is the environmental legacy we leave our children, grandchildren and other future generations. If we could make any day every day, it should be Earth Day.

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Organizations around the globe have celebrated Earth Day on April 22 since 1970 as a way to take positive environmental action and to encourage others to pledge to do the same.

We at Wisconsin Clean Cities are fortunate to live Earth Day every day. Our statewide, member-based nonprofit organization is one of the U.S. Department of Energy’s more than 75 Clean Cities coalitions and supports the adoption of clean domestic fuels and technologies such as alternative fuel and electric vehicles and their fueling and charging infrastructures.

We work with public and private fleets to overcome barriers to adopting sustainable transportation methodologies and successfully implementing them through a host of programs that address specific needs. Our work helps to reduce harmful emissions, improve air quality, reduce dependence on imported oil, support economic development and enhance the overall quality of life for those who live, work and play in Wisconsin.

Much of our work is supported by projects funded in part by grants from the U.S. Department of Energy and involves collaboration with Wisconsin public and private entities as well as other Clean Cities coalitions across the country.

We’re a partner on the Michigan to Montana I-94 Clean Fuel Corridor project, which aims to increase access to alternative fuels and electric vehicle charging along the I-94 corridor. Our participation in the Drive Clean Rural USA project is helping to increase access to clean fuel and vehicle solutions in our rural communities.

The DRIVE Electric Wisconsin project focuses on increasing the adoption of electric vehicles through a host of targeted efforts. The Vehicle Charging Innovations for Multi-Unit Dwellings project aims to increase the adoption of EVs by making charging more accessible for those in apartments or condominiums.

Our work with the Statewide Assistance for Energy Resiliency and Reliability program is assisting the Wisconsin Office of Energy Innovation in developing a comprehensive statewide effort to improve energy emergency plans at the local level.

The new Equitable Mobility Powering Opportunities for Workplace Electrification Readiness program aims to increase access to EV charging in workplaces as well.

We know our work is making a difference. Last year alone, our members and stakeholders reduced greenhouse gas emissions by more than 343,000 tons. That is the equivalent of removing nearly 100,000 passenger vehicles from the road for one year.

That is definitely something to celebrate. Let’s all strive to make Earth Day every day by supporting efforts to adopt clean, affordable domestic fuels and technologies and reduce harmful emissions. It’s a lasting gift, for ourselves and generations to come.

This column first appeared in The LaCrosse Tribune & other Lee Enterprises newspapers across Wisconsin. Lorrie Lisek is executive director of Wisconsin Clean Cities and president of Legacy Environmental Services. The opinions are the writer’s.

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